Friday, December 11, 2009

Sinning Deliberately

“For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, [27] but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. [28] Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. [29] How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? [30] For we know him who said, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge his people." [31] It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. “ (Hebrews 10:26-31 (ESV)
I don’t know how one reads this and still holds to the idea of the perseverance of the saints.” The author of Hebrews is in any case not in agreement with Calvin. To go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of truth. The author is getting at falling away from the faith, as you can see by reading the rest of this little paragraph. Even when we keep the faith, we find ourselves sinning, even deliberately, which is why we need to keep being forgiven. The forgiveness of sins is our only ally in our fight against sin.
So often we fight against sin in our lives. All Christians do, for we all have sins to fight against. It can be a tough fight. Some struggle with drunkenness, porn addictions, a propensity to fornicate, gossiping, and uncharitable attitudes towards others, etc. How many of us don’t go through periods of outright hate towards our parents? It is perhaps within the sphere of family relations we have the hardest struggle, the first murder was fratricide. We see these sins tearing up our lives and we try to overcome them. Perhaps we pray to God for strength, and find ourselves back in the ditch 2 minutes after church. This becomes especially dangerous when we start measuring our faith by our ability to overcome these sins. If one is not careful one can quickly find themselves despairing of salvation and spurning the Son of God. He knows our sin. He knows who we are. He is faithful though, faithful to forgive. This is why the Christian life is not living the perfect life, but the forgiven life. We don’t use this forgiveness as an excuse to sin, but when we sin, and you will sin, we know that this does not count against us because we are forgiven. We live in forgiveness. We swim in forgiveness. It is the only way to keep the faith, for forgiveness is the faith. Forgiveness is what the Son of God came to accomplish, it is the purpose of his sanctifying love. We need it. We need it bad. So don’t cut yourself off from it!


Jonathan said...

So, is the "deliberately" part here inclusive of a person declaring something "not sinful" that God's law has declared is sinful? I'm thinking of the "But God made me that way" argument here. Are such people in danger of falling away, denying Christ?

Larry said...


The “deliberately sin” part was always taught to me when I was a “calvinistic baptist” as a sign of being truly reborn/elect/converted/saved. That is those that don’t deliberately sin. That NEVER comforted me because I cannot recall a moment when I sinned that I didn’t not do it deliberately. I use to think, “these other Christians have something, some power I clearly don’t”. In fact what use to strike me the hardest was not even the actual outward doing of a sin, which I could prevent now and then. Rather when I did manage to “prevent the event of sin” I still felt in my heart that I wanted to do so I just didn’t. And that want to do so was for me the deliberate part I could never get away from. Thus, when the “comfort” of being elect and cannot fall away was, “don’t worry only if you deliberately sin do you need to worry”, simply assured me I was reprobate elected to hell.


Bror Erickson said...

The deliberately keeping on sinning is a deliberate turning away from the faith, a rejection of Jesus Christ. With this comes a propensity to blame God for your sinful condition.
I don't think my wife would like me invoking that same argument either. More to this it is to carry a heart unrepentant.

Bror Erickson said...

God bless you for enduring that doctrinal torture. I really don't know how people do it. Quite frankly, I think if I had grown up with that sort of teaching I'd be passed out in a brothel right now. This sort of teaching does not make Christians, but as the pharisees who travel over land and sea to make a proselyte, only breeds children of hell, twice as bad as the teachers. It can't help but do anything else. Despair or stupid pride.

Frank Sonnek said...

Bror careful here. I do believe God made me as I am. and I am a gay man. and no I do not believe that being gay is , of itself , a sin. Jonathan may disagree. This is not an argument that will be resolved with the Bible.

Trust me when I say that being informed by gods word that marriage would be an option that would be rank immorality. and that there would be no alternative solutions for the needs of companionship or sex. And yes sex is a normal human impulse or need for most of us. so then sex nor an intimate adult relationship will ever be an option, with no accompanying gift of celebacy, does teach one volumes about self denial, restraint, managing ones feelings and all the other things that fall under the heading of mortification of the flesh.

I am sure you got a little taste of this in divorce. Imagine if you had come to the conclusion that remarriage would have been forbidden for you after divorce. That would have been a hard road to follow. But you would have tried your best. it sort of grinds on me that people are quick to morally dissect my situation in a way that looks about as unloving as I can imagine. zero empathy.

All this to say that saying 'god made me this way' is not an attempt to avoid calling sin for what it is.

someday, a very earnest, overly religious young lutheran boy or girl will approach you with all these questions. depending on how you respond, do not be surprised if they quietly just stop comming to church when they go off to college. that would be a shame. I did that, I am so glad I came back. but it was unnecessary to have to leave church and go through the wilderness I went through.