The Beginning of Backsliding
It 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.