The Book of Ephesians ~ Chapter 4:17 ~ Doctrine of Reversionism

Vol. 15 No. 36 – September 25, 2016

heb-12-vs-15-for-09-25-16-word Vs. 17

Eph 4:17, “This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind.”

Paul urges the Gentiles not to fall back into their old self-indulgent habits. In other words, religion, legalism, liberalism, and false doctrines and other concepts have infiltrated the souls of these reversionistic believers. They have taken on the same thought pattern of the unbelievers in their decadent society. Such permissive behavior springs from an aimless attitude to life that cuts the nerve of moral endeavor.

In addition, there is a long-standing debate about what happens to the fallen, sinful nature / OSN, of a person who becomes a Christian. For example, some individuals think it is completely eradicated at conversion. Others take a “group encounter” approach in which through a “self-discovery” or “catharsis” method they attempt to bring the sinful nature under control. The Bible clearly expresses the fact that God does not remove the OSN at salvation, but its power is broken so that the believer is no longer governed by it, though he still must grapple with it daily. Instead of removing the Adamic nature when a person becomes a believer, God places a new nature within the person, plus the indwelling Holy Spirit, Rom 8:9; 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15. In fact, Rom 7, Gal 2:20; 5:13-26; Col 3:1-17, as well as many other passages, describe the constant internal warfare within the Christian between the “new nature of Christ” and the Adamic nature. Eph 4:17-32 is one of these passages.

Therefore, Paul approached the matter by first explaining the negative aspect of the process and further showing how God broke the power of the sinful nature at the person’s conversion. He first encouraged the Gentile believers not to live as they had before their conversion to Christ. They formerly lived “in the vanity of their mind,” the way pagans were living. They had lived in the sphere of the emptiness of their minds, denoting an ignorance of Divine things, a lack of knowledge that involved moral blindness. Then, he is going to explain the principle of reversionism as a frustration to spiritual growth and the attainment of the super-grace life. That leads us to an understanding of the Doctrine of Reversionism.

The Doctrine of Reversionism


  • Reversionism is the status quo of the believer in phase two who is consistently negative toward Bible doctrine. It is the decline from any of the stages of spiritual growth, even supergrace, to a state of living under the control of the Old Sin Nature, (OSN) once again. It is characterized by negative volition to doctrine, being influenced by evil, and results in perpetual carnality causing a life of perpetual discipline. In the believer, it is analogous to apostasy and synonymous to the term “backsliding.”
  • Reversionism is distinguished from carnality. Carnality simply means living under sin. The carnal believer is temporarily out of fellowship with God due to sinning in some way. This temporary state is frequently corrected in their life through the application of the confession of their sin(s) to God the Father, (i.e., Rebound), in application of 1 John 1:9. When they do, they are no longer living in carnality, (i.e., under the control of the Old Sin Nature), and regain fellowship with God. Yet, a reversionistic believer is one who is constantly living in sin and is negative toward the intake and application of Bible doctrine.
  • Because the reversionistic believer is not inclined to Rebound and instead live under sin, he is out of fellowship with God. As a result, he falls under the three stages of Divine discipline and moves ever closer to the third stage of Divine discipline called the “Sin Unto Death,” 1 Cor 12:28-32; cf. 1 John 5:16.
  • Therefore, reversionism is an act of reversing or turning in the opposite way, or a state of being so turned. As believers, we were designed to execute the Plan of God, but in reversionism, we turn the other way and cannot be distinguished from our pre-salvation status. Being in such a state, it is maximum control of the Old Sin Nature over the life of the believer so that the believer functions under the dictates of the sin nature exactly as he did as an unbeliever. As a result, they are believers thinking in terms of human viewpoint and in the process, they revert to a former state, habits, beliefs, or practices of pre-salvation sinning. They reverse their priorities, attitudes, affections, and personality. Inside the cosmic system, you completely change your personality.
  • Finally, reversionism is lack of spiritual growth, failure to attain the three stages of spiritual adulthood, (Spiritual Self-Esteem, Spiritual Autonomy, and Spiritual Maturity), and failure to live the super-grace life, which otherwise is God’s plan and desire for our lives.
  • There is also reversionism for the unbeliever, described in 2 Peter 2:17-22, in which the unbeliever departs from the laws of Divine establishment to a condition of total apostasy and liberalism. The mechanics of this reversionism include rejection of the gospel, which opens the floodgates for satanic propaganda in the soul, i.e., the dog returning to his vomit.
  • Biblical nomenclature for reversionism.

Jer 9:25-26, “Uncircumcised of heart.”

John 15:23, “He who hates me, (Jesus Christ), also hates my Father.”

Gal 5:4, “Fallen from (drifting off course from) grace.”

Phil 3:18, “The enemy of the Cross.”Note:  The change to pitch (12) and font (1) must be converted manually.

1 Tim 1:19, “Shipwrecked.”

2 Tim 2:26, “They have entered the devil’s trap.”

Heb 12:15, “Come short of (falling from) grace,” means total malfunction of any grace mode of operation, and total ignorance of the grace policy of God and His Plan.

1 Peter 5:8, “Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” “Devouring” is accomplished when you change your priorities by reverse process reversionism.

2 Peter 2:7-8, “The tortured soul.”

2 Peter 2:14, “The unstable soul.”

Rev 2:4, “Left your first love.”

Rev 2:5, “Fallen.”

Rev 3:15-16, “Lukewarm.”

  • The Profile of the reversionist is found in Psa 7:14-16.

Eight Stages of Reversionism that the Apostate Believer Falls Into:

  • Reversionism in the Christians life is first motivated by “reactor factors”. Therefore, the first stage in reversionism is the “Reaction Stage.”

The reaction stage means that there are things in your soul that lead you to have an initial negative volition towards God. That initial negative volition towards God intensifies and leads to negative volition toward His Word that causes you to neglect it. Neglect of Bible doctrine, indifference, or sporadic interest followed by indifference to the Word of God results in even more reactor factors in the soul. These reactor factors include discouragement, boredom, disillusion, self-pity, failure to handle loneliness, and various frustrations. All of these are basic reactor factors in the life. You think in terms of one or more of these things and your thought pattern is one of frustration, and from frustration comes mental attitude sins. To solve the frustration, rather than turning to God, you turn to other things to satisfy yourself. This leads to also reacting negatively towards Bible doctrine and the one who teaches Bible doctrine. Cf. Rom 12:2-3; 1 Tim 6:3-4.

Other reaction factors include disasters of one type or another, adverse circumstances, being jilted, etc., where you are not able to cope. The presence of reactor factors in your life combined with difficulties in your life, combined with indifference or lack of exposure to Bible teaching, causes the reactor factors to have a negative influence over your life. If gone unchecked, Reaction leads to the second stage of reversionism.

  • The second stage is the “Frantic Search for Happiness.” This is reaction to the reactor factors. The frantic search for happiness follows the pattern of the Old Sin Nature’s (OSN) trends, where you seek out pleasures and happiness in the world to overcome the frustrations in your soul, 2 Tim 3:4-5; Heb 13:5. The OSN has a trend toward lasciviousness and a trend toward asceticism. In both cases, a lustful pattern urges them towards these trends in the pursuit of happiness, which is a false and fleeting form of happiness. The reaction factors will take them in one or the other of these trends.

a)  If the trend is toward asceticism, your lust pattern is toward approbation, (the praise and approval of others), then you become a holy roller and enter into religion and legalism as a counterfeit to the Christian way of life. Religion and legalism are one type of the frantic search for happiness as you try to win your way into heaven, win God’s approval of you and subsequent blessing, or win the affection of others. Unfortunately, the person involved is a reversionist, but often construed by other ascetic reversionists as being a great believer. This person is looking for the praise and approval of others in an attempt to overcome their unhappiness. They have accepted a substitute for true Bible doctrine and they are trying to compensate for the reactor factors in their life,

b)  The other type is the person with the trend toward lasciviousness, (i.e., immorality, lustfulness, wanton, lewd, etc.), where your lust pattern is towards antinomianism, (without law), in which a person goes out into debauchery, seduction, mischief making, etc., looking to gain happiness from stimulation and exhilaration. This is a little more obvious but no different in degree from the other frantic search for happiness. They are looking to gain happiness through drugs, alcohol, sex, criminal activity, and other types of immorality.

In both searches for happiness, they are looking to replace the true happiness that comes from God and His Word in your soul with the things of this world, cf. Phil 4:11-13; 1 Tim 6:6-12Note:  The change to pitch (12) and font (2) must be converted manually.. The frantic search for happiness immediately leads to a third stage of reversionism.

  • The third stage is the intensification of reversionism, the intensification of the reactor factors. When this happens, there is a greater frustration than previously and it results in “Operation Boomerang” in which the frantic search intensifies the original reactor factors. As the reversionistic believer searches to gain happiness in their life, other than through God and His Word, they soon find the happiness from asceticism and lasciviousness brings no happiness or a fleeting one at best, Heb 11:25.

Heb 11:25, “Choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.”

This frustrates them further and instead of turning to God, they react and chase after the things of this world and Satan’s cosmic system more intently, leading to frantic behavior in order to obtain happiness. As a result, those “other things,” easily become an addiction in their life, not just chemically but mentally. When the frantic search for happiness boomerangs, frustration becomes greater frustration, misery becomes greater misery, and unhappiness becomes intensified unhappiness. Every search for happiness makes happiness more elusive. Therefore, the believer is bored, disillusioned, frustrated, and miserable. Pleasure, social and sexual distractions, and drug addiction only intensifies his problem in life. The same intensification of problems occurs with the distractions of the morally degenerate believer. All these only remove the believer farther away from true happiness. Operation boomerang gone unchecked leads to the fourth stage of reversionism.

  • The fourth stage is “Emotional Revolt of the Soul.” The emotion of the soul is designed to respond to the right lobe of your soul, the heart. The right lobe is where you do your thinking. It has a frame of reference, a memory center, vocabulary, categories, norms and standards, and a launching pad. Emotion was designed to respond, it is the right woman of the soul. The heart is the right man of the soul.

The emotion is designed to respond to the right lobe or the heart that is filled with Bible doctrine, but when the frantic search for happiness boomerangs and still there is no true happiness, the emotion starts a revolt in the soul, which further frustrates and confuses the reversionist. This fourth stage is the stage of confusion. Instead of turning to God and His Word, the soul revolts against it. Once there is a revolt, all of the compartments of the right lobe begin to shut down destroying the function of doctrine in that area. As a result, their life is now run by their emotions and they are always trying to satisfy their emotions with their actions or material things. At the same time, they are hypersensitive about themselves and people’s interactions with them, either positive or negative, which leads to having a life on an emotional rollercoaster, cf. Rom 16:17-18; 2 Cor 6:11-12. This leads to the fifth stage of reversionism.

  • The fifth stage is “Permanent Negative Volition Toward Doctrine” that becomes very pronounced. Because of the reactor factors, the frantic search for happiness, the intensification of these things in operation boomerang, and the emotional revolt of the soul, negative volition is now characterized by several things:

a) Indifference or apathy to Bible teaching.

b) Being so occupied with the things of life that there is no time for Bible teaching.

c) Antagonism or personality hang-ups regarding the Bible teaching and/or the Pastor-Teacher.

d) Antagonism or conflict with others in the congregation.

e) Failure to utilize the Rebound technique, and under lack of the filling of the Spirit permitting reactor factors in the life, or in permitting their intensity.

f) Inability to handle prosperity; spiritual, temporal and blessing by association. There is often in the life some type of prosperity, sometimes a blessing from God, sometimes something else. There is an inability to handle that prosperity and therefore a decline in the intake of the Word of God.

g) The early patterns of reversionism, (i.e., reaction, frantic search for happiness, emotional revolt of the soul), are permitted to continue by the volition of the soul. In other words, you can do what you want to do and it does not matter. Therefore, intensified negative volition at this point becomes a factor that leads to other factors.

  • The sixth stage is found in our verse, Eph 4:17-18. This is an attack on the left lobe or the NOUS. It is called “The Blackout of the Soul,” which is an attack upon the left lobe, NOUS – mind, only. It leads to an attack upon the right lobe, KARDIA – heart, which is “scar tissue on the soul,” Eph 4:19, but the blackout is an attack upon the mind or the NOUS. Blackout of the Soul is the result of negative volition toward God’s Word that produces an emptiness or void in your soul, called in the Greek MATAIOTES. The Apostle John describes Blackout of the Soul in, John 12:35; 1 John 1:6; 2:11. When there is a void, a vacuum occurs that sucks in other things from Satan’s cosmic system including doctrines of demons, 1 Tim 4:1, false doctrines, world and human viewpoint, 2 Cor 4:3. This vacuum is the source of setting up all the false viewpoints of life. It is known as demon influence in contrast to demon possession. (Remember the believer cannot be possessed by a demon, but he can be influenced by them.) When you get all of these false doctrines, false concepts, into the staging area of your brain called the mind, NOUS, they immediately move over to the right lobe/heart, KARDIA, and therefore the Blackout of the Soul becomes a general thing. So blackout means being devoid of Bible doctrine in your mind or NOUS and instead filled with false doctrines, concepts, world and human viewpoint. Because you are not taking in any Bible doctrine, your thoughts are being filled and overwhelmed with the garbage of Satan’s cosmic system. This leads to the seventh stage of reversionism.
  • The seventh stage is “Scar Tissue of the Soul.” Just as Blackout of the Soul attacks the left lobe, scar tissue attacks the right lobe. As noted above, various compartments make up the heart for you to store and apply God’s Word. When there is no doctrine coming into your soul through the left lobe, the NOUS, the other garbage comes in and fills up the various compartments of the right lobe or heart. As a result, there is a destroying of the true norms and standards of the Word of God in your soul. Vocabulary and categories change and human viewpoint is on the launching pad rather than God’s Word, making personal applications resulting in subjectivity, hypersensitivity and emotionalism the rule of the day, Eph 4:18. Because of making overt applications of cosmic viewpoint rather than Divine viewpoint, you become a casualty in the intensified stage of the Angelic Conflict, become a loser believer and cause yourself many problems and difficulties in life. The Scripture calls Scar Tissue of the Soul “hardness of heart, hardening of the neck, or hardening of the face.”

a) “Hardening the heart” is found in John 14:20; Rom 2:5.

b) “Hardening the neck” is found in Neh 9:16-17. This is insubordinate to the point of revolt. It is failure to be authority oriented in spiritual things, Jer 7:25-27.

c) “Hardening the face” is found in Prov 21:29-31.

Scar tissue of the soul is the status of cosmic involvement, and therefore a violation of 1 John 2:15.

Therefore, scar tissue is the result of the Blackout of the Soul in which the believer adopts satanic worldly viewpoint about everything in life, to their determent. This leads to the eighth stage of reversionism.

  • The eighth and last stage is “Reverse Process Reversionism,” in contrast to super-grace being the final stage of spiritual growth. This final stage of reversionism is the exact antithesis of super-grace in which the believer loves and desires the opposite of what the Bible commands. It is a reversal of the objects of true love for the believer. The object of true love is the Lord Jesus Christ. We were designed to love Jesus Christ who is the King of kings. We are members of His Royal Family. Therefore, we replace the love of Jesus Christ with something else and this becomes the reversal. Interest in Bible doctrine is now replaced by other things to the neglect of doctrine. Interest in other things is legitimate provided you are on the road to super-grace, but these things replace doctrine as interests in your life. Reverse process reversionism is the area in which the believer dies the Sin Unto Death.

The believer in this stage is described in several ways.

  • The enemy of God, James 4:4.
  • The enemy of the Cross, Phil 3:18.
  • A hater of God, John 15:23.
  • Spiritual schizophrenia, “double-minded,” James 4:8.
  • Anti or against Christ, 1 John 2:18, 22, 4:3; 2 John 7.
  • Disciple of the devil, 1 John 3:8, 10.

In any and all stages, the reversionist cannot be distinguished from the unbeliever in mental attitude, their way of life, motivation, and their method of operation. The reversionistic believer is under demon influence where the soul is infiltrated by false doctrine, called the “doctrine of demons.” This comes through the vacuum of the mind. Reversionism is a simple means of explaining that there are degrees of failure in the Christian life, just as there are degrees of success.


If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#’s 16-106 through 16-108



If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you.  He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins.  He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life.

To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.

So right now you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!

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