The Beginning of Backsliding

daily-devotionalsIt is not surprising Peter would follow Christ afar off when he followed him so sleepily. We cannot hope to hear courage from the tongue, when the feet begin so soon to play the cowards. It is not likely that Peter will come near to Christ at Golgotha when he follows him afar off in the judgment hall. If he is not willing to own Christ, he will be quick to deny him.

The beginning of Peter’s backsliding is seen in how he followed Christ. To follow Christ is a work of faith, but to follow him afar off is nothing else but little by little to go back from him (Matthew 26:58). In this we see how the preparations for Peter’s fall follow each other; after sleeping he followed afar off. From that he comes to sitting still, and not in private prayer, but in public to warm himself at the fire where his conscience is hardened. He who prefers the company of blasphemous and wicked men to the sweet company of Christ cannot be far from denying him.

The man who can be induced to forsake Christ by the enjoyment of any temporal benefit or the opportunity of any sensual or worldly delight is at the door to apostasy and backsliding.

Dr. Edward Reynolds was born in 1599 in Southampton, England. He received his BA degree at Oxford in 1618. In 1622, before studying for his masters, Reynolds became a chaplain to the king and preacher at Lincoln’s Inn, London. The puritanical inclinations of Dr. Reynolds were well known; his character of piety and decorum were evident even in his college years. Edward Reynolds is known as the Bishop of Norfolk, but he was bishop for only the final fifteen years of his life and ministry. Prior to that he was the rector of Braunston, Northamptonshire, for almost thirty years. Although Reynolds was a Presbyterian by conviction, he had a reputation of moderation in his church polity. This was evidenced in his role in the Westminster Assembly. He was the only member to sit on all three of the major committees on the Confession of Faith, and with his moderate spirit provided balance in the discussions.

These devotions are taken from the works of Edward Reynolds. They have been edited for © 2013 thinkgospel.