Seven Steps of Spiritual Retreat

Eph. 4:17-19

Heb. 10:38-39 “But the just shall live by faith, and if he turns back (retreats), my soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who turn back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the persevering of the soul.

THE FIRST STEP OF RETREAT IS WHEN THE BELIEVER LIVES JUST LIKE AN UNBELIEVER. This is the “walk” of carnality (1Co. 3:1-3) and worldliness. (Jam. 4:1-4)

THIS RESULTS IN A VACUUM, A VOID IN THE MIND. The mind of a believer is designed for the word of God. (Rom. 12:2, Eph. 4:23-24) The believer now attempts to fill the void with things of this world. Note the picture in Jer. 2:13. Bible study ceases here.

SPIRITUAL VACUUM PRODUCES A BLACKOUT IN THE SOUL. The “understanding darkened” is the blackout of light from past Bible learning. Once we reject the necessity of Bible study in our life, we begin to dismantle edification already in the soul.

WE ENTER A LIFE ALIENATED FROM GOD AND HIS GRACE. The “abundant life” is rejected for the temporal life. We have volitionally isolated ourselves spiritually and alienated ourselves from God’s will. Instead of being “set apart” from the world, we are from God. (Gal. 5:1-7)

THE HEART NOW BECOMES HARDENED, THE SOUL SCARED. The process called “Hardness of the heart” (Heb. 3:7, Heb. 3:15) is the destructive process in the soul resulting from rejecting God or His word. First, it is volitional, then “God hardens” the heart as judgment. (Exo. 4:21, Exo. 7:3; Rom. 1:18-28)

THE REBEL NOW BETRAYS HIMSELF TO SELF GRATIFICATION, WORLDLINESS. This is the “frantic search for happiness” seen in Jam. 4:1-4 and Eze. 16. The word “deliver over” is the same word used of Judas’ betrayal of the Lord. The believer’s sin now becomes Idolatry and Spiritual Adultery. The “friend of the world” has made himself “an enemy of God“. (Jam. 4:4, Phi. 3:18)

THE FINAL STAGE IS TOTAL SELF DEFILEMENT IN IMPLACABLE LUST. “Every kind of impurity” means all limits and boundaries have been passed (cf. Rom. 1:28-32) “Greediness” is a word meaning “Insatiable and implacable; unable to be satisfied“, the soul has become a “broken cistern“. (Jer. 2:13)

PRINCIPLE: The only hope is recovery according to the steps of Jam. 4:6-10, followed by persistent growth outlined in 2Pe. 1:5-7. Otherwise, the end is the “Sin unto death“. (1Jo. 5:16, Act 5:1-11) This believer has not lost salvation, he is simply an “unfruitful branch“. (Joh. 15:2)

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