Backsliding – Bunyan

The Steps of Backsliding according to Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress.

1. They draw off their thoughts, all that they may, from the remembrance of God, death, and judgment to come.

2. Then they cast off by degrees private duties, as closet prayer, curbing their lusts, watching, sorrow for sin, and the like.

3. Then they shun the company of lively and warm Christians.

4. After that they grow cold to public duty, as hearing, reading, godly conference, and the like.

5. Then they begin to pick holes, as we say, in the coats of some of the godly; and that devilishly, that they may have a seeming colour to throw religion (for the sake of some infirmity they have espied in them) behind their backs.

6. Then they begin to adhere to, and associate themselves with, carnal, loose, and wanton men.

7. Then they give way to carnal and wanton discourses in secret; and glad are they if they can see such things in any that are counted honest, that they may the more boldly do it through their example.

8. After this they begin to play with little sins openly.

9. And then, being hardened, they show themselves as they are. Thus, being launched again into the gulf of misery, unless a miracle of grace prevent it, they everlastingly perish in their own deceivings.

Are you traveling along the steps of backsliding?

Do you know others that need to be made aware that they are backsliding or at least moving in that direction?

Has prayer and Bible study faded into the distance?

Are you toying with “little” sins?

Do you pick apart the lives of others:

“They’re not as righteous as they seem to be ….”.
“He ignored me when I said hello last Sunday.”
“They are too judgmental ‘judge not’.”


Bible Study based on the book Pilgrim’s Progress in Today’s English.


4 thoughts on “Backsliding – Bunyan

  1. Wow! It is hard to see all of that and recoginise some of the behaviour in it in yourself. I’m glad to say that I have taken to dealing with those things now and I hope I am getting on track again and since becoming a seeker of all Truth in the Word and in applying it to my own life. I’ve had a journey of realising that there is a lot of error in the church and focusing on ‘false doctrine’ but realised that it is all well and good to realise there is lots of false doctrine about and have sound doctrine, but what about living right and holy and what about love, without which we are clanging gongs apparently(1 Cor 13)! The journey continues….

    It is interesting to see that Bunyan believes you can lose your salvation. I have looked into this and am inconclusive about it which I feel is not a bad place to be. On the one hand if it is once saved always saved then you can sit on your hands, live how you want as per Romans 8:1(first half of verse) and await your redemption; on the other hand to have to work a little at living right and being in right relationship with God and others, and being obedient to His Word and His calling is hard work. So while unsure about which side of the argument to fall upon, I am glad I struggle with it because it keeps me in the fight(with sin and against the flesh) as it were!!

    Kind regards.

    I really like your blog!


    Berean Wife Reply:


    It is easy to see this behavior start to crop up in ourselves. All the more reason to continually examine ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5) and encourage others to do so also. Our orthodoxy and orthopraxy must match, but rarely do.

    Actually Bunyan and Pilgrim’s Progress is clear that those who do not make into the Celestial City (Heaven) were not believers to begin with. Ignorance who traveled the whole journey made it to the gate of the Celestial City and was hauled away to the Gate of Hell and cast in. Just as those who call “Lord, Lord” in Matthew 7:21 – 23.

    Then in point nine Bunyan is clear that they show themselves for who they are – unbelievers who have been decieving.

    9. And then, being hardened, they show themselves as they are. Thus, being launched again into the gulf of misery, unless a miracle of grace prevent it, they everlastingly perish in their own deceivings.

    If salvation was required to be kept by us and our actions, we would be right around full circle to “earning” our salvation. None of us would be saved if keeping our salvation was up to us. The Lord is clear that He keeps us

    Luke 15:6 The Lord seeks until He finds the lamb that was lost. The lamb was His to begin with and He will find it and keep it safe. If it is lost forever it was not His to begin with.

    John 18:9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.”

    He will not loose His own. If one is lost it is because they did not belong to begin with.

    Glad I can provide food for thought through the blog.

    Berean Wife


  2. Can I just share from a message I heard some time ago?

    In referring to those who backslide, in Matthew 13, Jesus tells us the parable of the sower.

    The four types of soil, hearts, mentioned, tells us that only one of those was truly saved, that was the one that produced fruit.

    The first one hears the word, but does not understand it.

    The second one receives the word, as it says, immediately, does he understand it?

    The third also receives, but he seems to want both God and the world. The world wins.

    The fourth is described as good ground, and understands, who indeed bears fruit.

    Did those first 3 ever come to a saving faith?

    Also, concerning Ignorance, from Pilgrims Progress, how many more presumptious people in the churches are there, who suppose they can ignore God’s word, please themselves, and yet not perish in their ‘Ignorance’?

    “…fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell”.


    Berean Wife Reply:


    Thank you for sharing that. You are correct. I’m afraid there are many, even in the church, who are like Ignorance seeking Heaven in their own way and not according to God’s Word.

    Berean Wife


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