In Nehemiah chapter 10, we read how the people made a covenant with God, a firm promise that was supposed to be unbreakable. They pledged, “We will not neglect the house of our God.”
In Nehemiah 13, we read about all the ways they were neglecting the house of God and God in general, from breaking the Sabbath to setting up house in the temple where the holy things were supposed to be stored. Priests had married forbidden wives and the people had stopped bringing the tithe.
How does backsliding happen? The flesh is always trying to have its way. It will resurrect itself and try to get you to act in the interest of self instead of letting Christ live through you to love others and God.
“Self” acts selfishly, and nothing bad seems to happen. Laziness is easier than diligence, and little by little self gets more and more of its own way, ignoring God’s commands.
Romans 2:4-5 says: Do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
What does that mean? God was being kind and patient with them even though they had sinned. God’s intentions were that they would repent, get the sin out of their lives.
But people were thinking they were taking advantage of God’s forgiving, gracious, merciful nature and thinking they could just do what they wanted.
They are not realizing that although God didn’t immediately strike them for their sin, they were storing up wrath for themselves.
Wrath is the end of the road, the wiping out, the point of no return. God stays His hand to give you a chance to repent, in His kindness.
His kindness is in giving you more and more chances to repent and turn your life over to Him.
God’s kindness has nothing to do with you sinning and that being okay for you. Sin separates from God. Wrath is eternal separation from God. Your choosing to remain in sin is your choosing to separate yourself from God. God is patient and kind and will wait for you, but not forever.