Posted by: the warrioress | January 18, 2012

The Biggest Sinner II

Beauty of stained glass

Part one of the Biggest Sinner became a bit tense in the comment section; there is  disagreement and misunderstanding on this topic within the body of Christ.  I thought I should try to clarify further with respected, reputable sources from theological scholars and those who are extremely well-studied on this issue.

I found a very interesting reading which tells us a bit more about what happens when we continue to sin as Christians and how God handles the sin that occurs when we slip up. This topic can be confusing. The way things are worded are important. If we don’t understand what Jesus did for us on the cross and continues to do for us, we can be overwhelmed by our struggles with sin and think we are not really saved. It’s important to understand this topic. 
Question: “Will God continue to forgive you if you commit the same sin over and over again?”

To best answer this question, we’re going to look at two powerful passages of Scripture. The first is found in the book of Psalms: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).

One of the most effective tricks Satan plays on Christians is to convince us that our sins aren’t really forgiven, despite the promise of God’s Word. If we’ve truly received Jesus as Savior by faith, and still have that uneasy feeling wondering whether or not there is true forgiveness, that may be coming from demonic influences. Demons hate it when people are delivered from their grasp, and they try to plant seeds of doubt in our minds about the reality of our salvation.

In his vast arsenal of tricks, one of Satan’s biggest tools is to constantly remind us of our past transgressions, and he uses those to prove that God couldn’t possibly forgive or restore us. The devil’s attacks make it a real challenge for us to simply rest in the promises of God and trust His love.

But this psalm also tells us that God not only forgives our sins, but removes them completely from His presence. This is a profound thing! Without question, this is a very difficult concept for humans to grasp, which is why it’s so easy for us to worry and wonder about forgiveness instead of just accepting it. The key lies in simply giving up our doubts and our feelings of guilt and resting in His promises of forgiveness.

Another passage is 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” What an incredible promise! God forgives His children when they sin if only they come to Him and in an attitude of repentance and ask to be forgiven. God’s grace is so great that it can cleanse the sinner from his sin so that he becomes a child of God, and, correspondingly, it is so great that even when we stumble, we can be forgiven still.

In Matthew 18:21-22, we read, “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’” Peter was probably thinking that he was being generous.

Rather than repay a person who had committed a sin against him with equal retribution, Peter suggested giving the brother some leeway, say, up to seven times. But the eighth time, forgiveness and grace would run out. But Christ challenged the rules of Peter’s suggested economy of grace by saying that forgiveness is infinite for those who are truly seeking it. This is only possible because of the infinite grace of God which is made possible through the shed blood of Christ on the cross. Because of Christ’s forgiving power, we can always be made clean after we sin if we humbly seek it.

At the same time, it must be noted that it is not biblical for a person to sin habitually and continually as a lifestyle and still be a believer (1 John 3:8-9). This is why Paul admonishes us to “examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

As Christians, we do stumble, but we do not live a lifestyle of continual, unrepentant sin. All of us have weaknesses and can fall into sin, even if we don’t want to. Even the apostle Paul did what he didn’t want to do because of the sin at work in his body (Romans 7:15). Like Paul, the response of the believer is to hate the sin, repent of it and ask for divine grace to overcome it (Romans 7:24-25). Although we need not fall because of God’s sufficient grace, sometimes we do because we rely upon our insufficient strength. When our faith grows weak and like Peter, we deny our Lord in word or in life, even then there is still a chance to repent and be forgiven of our sin.

Another one of Satan’s tricks is to get us into thinking that there is no hope, that there is no possibility that we can be forgiven, healed, and restored. He will try to get us to feel consumed and trapped by guilt so that we do not feel worthy of God’s forgiveness any longer. But since when were we ever worthy of God’s grace?

God loved us, forgave us and chose us to be in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-6), not because of anything we did, but “in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:12). We must always keep in mind that there is no place we can go that God’s grace cannot reach, and there is no depth to which we can sink that God is no longer able to pull us out. His grace is greater than all of our sin. Whether we are just starting to wander off course or we are already sinking and drowning in our sin, grace can be received.

Grace is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8). When we sin, the Spirit will convict us of sin such that a godly sorrow will result (2 Corinthians 7:10-11). He will not condemn our souls as if there is no hope, for there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). The Spirit’s conviction within us is a movement of love and grace.

Grace is not an excuse to sin (Romans 6:1-2), and it dare not be abused, meaning that sin must be called sin, and it cannot be treated as if it is harmless or inoffensive. Unrepentant believers need to be lovingly confronted and guided to freedom, and unbelievers need to be told that they need to repent. Yet let us also emphasize the remedy, for we have been given grace upon grace (John 1:16). It is how we live, how we are saved, how we are sanctified, and how we will be kept and glorified. Let us receive grace when we sin by repenting and confessing our sin to God. Why live a soiled life when Christ offers to make us clean and whole and right in the eyes of God? 

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  1. Excellent post, Warrioress.

  2. Excellent. Can I add this to my post I made yesterday about Depression?

  3. Sure, Cathy. It’s a great site. They answer pretty much every controversial question out there and the responders are learned people in the word. I’ve grown to trust the guidance of this site. Glad you liked it.

  4. Thank you, LeRoy.

  5. Excellent article! Keep up the great Kingdom work!

  6. Thank you for yje reminder Adrienne. Sometimes I lose sight of how incredible is His all-loving Grace truly.

    From my puny mortal mind it’s difficult to fathom the magnificent depth of His love. Often I examine my sins from the shallowness of my own mortal perspective and I come-up desperately short every time.

    Thank God He does not see me as I see myself.

    I rest in His loving arms.

  7. Awesome post. Enjoyed it very much. Blessings, Freddy.

  8. Just realized you posted from Got Questions? I am a writer with the ministry for a few years now. It has been a blessing. Great ministry. They always look for more writers. Let me know if you may be interested.

  9. Thank you! Christ died on the cross for a reason; We are all too weak, too imperfect to gain the Kingdom of Heaven on our own. If we are able to to become sinless and worthy of everlasting life by ourselves, then his death was pointless. I am saved by grace! Great post!

  10. You’re welcome, Tom! His Grace is a beautiful thing, isn’t it? (hugs) Hope you’re doing well….

  11. Thanks, Freddy! I love that site, and thank you, I will let you know.

  12. Wonderful way of putting it, Rich. Thanks so much for your contributions on this topic.

  13. Thanks for this Adrienne. I’ve been struggling. And just recently I’ve repented about the habitual sin I just haven’t forced myself to deal with yet. (Assuring myself that through His grace everything would be alright.)

    Some of the more-habitual sin in our lives begins to take on the spiritual appearance of an old pair of favourite shoes. The shoes might be a little scuffed-up, but they’ve been with us for so long and they’ve never really been too annoying. So we just shrug when we think about dealing with them, and move on past them.

    Just yesterday I decided to get tough with this particular sin. I decided that He has been far better to me than I could ever merit. Right then + there I was convicted of eliminating “the thing” that I was responsible for that expressed my defiance.

    How could I, with a straight-face, say that I truly loved Him and still be so easily moved to disobey Him?

  14. Hmm. You’re making me so curious about what this particular sin of yours is…

    Well, nevermind that. I’m sure many of us have something. There are sins that we may not even be sure fit the definition of sin. I think it’s also possible that for one person, something may be sin and for another, perhaps it isn’t. Becoming a stumbling block for one’s brother *is,* however.

    Anyway, I’m going to pray that you’ll have victory over this area of your life that you’re attempting to get in line with what you feel is the will of God. I know you take your Christian life very seriously. If there is a way to remove that sin, God will help you do it.

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