“Remember therefore from where you are fallen, and repent, and do the first works.” Revelation 2:5
Let the backsliding believer be brought to this first step. “Remember from where you are fallen”—revert to your past history, your former spiritual state—remember your first sorrow for sin, the first joy of its pardon—remember the spring-tide of your first love—how precious Jesus was, how glorious was His person, how sweet was His cross, how fragrant was His name, how rich was His grace—remember how dear to you was the throne of grace, how frequently you resorted to it, regarding it of all spots on earth the most blessed—remember how, under the anointings of adopting love, you walked with God as with a Father—how filial, how close, how holy was your communion with Him—remember the seasons of refreshing in the sanctuary, in the social meeting, in the closet; how your soul did seem to dwell on the sunny sides of glory, and you longed for the wings of a dove that you might fly to your Lord; remember how, publicly and before many witnesses, you put off sin and put on Christ, and; turning your back upon the world, took your place among the followers of the Lamb—remember how holy, and circumspect, and spotless your walk, how tender was your conscience, how guileless was your spirit, how humble and lovely your whole deportment.
But what and where are you now? Oh, remember from where you are fallen! Think from what a high profession, from what an elevated walk, from what holy employments, from what hallowed joys, from what sweet delights, and from what pleasant ways have you declined!
But in the exhortation given to the backsliding church at Ephesus, there is yet another instruction equally applicable to the case of all wanderers from the Lord: “Repent, and do the first works.” How can a departing soul return without repentance? by what other avenue can the prodigal reach his Father’s heart?
Repentance implies the existence and conviction of sin. Ah! is it no sin, beloved reader, to have turned your back upon God? is it no sin to have lost your first love, to have backslidden from Jesus, to have transferred your affections from Him to the world, or to the creature, or to yourself? is it no sin to go no more with the Shepherd, and to follow no more the footsteps of the flock, and to feed no more in the green pastures, or repose by the side of the still waters?
Oh yes! it is a sin of peculiar magnitude; it is a sin against God in the character of a loving Father, against Jesus in the character of a tender Redeemer, against the Holy Spirit in the character of a faithful Indweller and a Sanctifier; it is a sin against the most precious experience of His grace, against the most melting exhibitions of His love, and against the most tender proofs of His covenant faithfulness.
Repent, then, of this your sin. Think how you have wounded Jesus afresh, and repent; think how you have requited your Father’s love, and repent; think how you have grieved the Spirit, and repent. Humble yourself in dust and ashes before the cross, and through that cross look up again to your forgiving God and Father. The sweet promise is, “They shall look upon Him whom they have pierced, and shall mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son.”