Charles Buck Theological Dictionary
The act of turning from the path of duty. It may be considered as partial when applied to true believers, who do not backslide with the whole bent of their will; as voluntary, when applied to those who, after professing to know the truth, wilfully turn from it, and live in the practice of sin; as final, when the mind is given up to judicial hardness, as in the case of Judas. Partial backsliding must be distinguished from hypocrisy, as the former may exist where there are gracious intentions on the whole; but the latter is a studied profession of appearing to be what we are not.
The causes of backsliding are the cares of the world; improper connections; inattention to secret or closet duties; self-conceit, and dependence; indulgence; listening to and parleying with temptations. A backsliding state is manifested by indifference to prayer and self-examination; trifling or unprofitable conversation; neglect of public ordinances; shunning the people of God; associating with the world; thinking lightly of sin; neglect of the Bible; and often by gross immorality.
The consequences of this awful state are loss of character; loss of comfort; loss of usefulness; and, as long as any remain in this state, a loss of a well-grounded hope of future happiness. To avoid this state or recover from it, we should beware of the first appearance of sin; be much in prayer; attend the ordinances; and unite with the people of God. We should consider the awful instances of apostacy, as Saul, Judas, Demas, &c; the many warnings we have of it, Matthew 24:13 . Hebrews 10:38 . Luke 9:62 .; how it grieves the Holy Spirit; and how wretched it makes us; above all things, our dependence should be on God, that we may always be directed by his Spirit, and kept by his power.
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Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Backsliding'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/cbd/b/backsliding.html. 1802.