Thursday, December 03, 2009

SIN: Christian Responsibilities

All sin is serious and if left unchecked will separate us from God. Consider that it took one bite of a piece of fruit to separate Adam from his creator and the paradise that was his home.
Likewise look at Israel and their example in the wilderness and note this is used several times in the NT as a warning to Christians to remind us what will happen to anyone who continues in rebellion against God.

It is my understanding that continued sin will eventually harden our heart against God causing us to “hide” from Him instead of relying on Him. While our heart is open to God and His ways we will find ourselves being convicted of sin in our lives. If we resist that conviction we harden ourselves against the Holy Spirit’s prompting and our conscience will become seared and impenetrable. We will start to accept our sin and experience no feelings of remorse.

Many make the mistake of thinking any effort on our part is an attempt to earn our salvation; but when scripture emphasises a need for repentance it is calling for an action. Repentance is not merely regret or remorse, true repentance results in action and obedience. When Jesus gave His great commission to His followers he told them to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and TEACHING THEM TO OBEY everything I have commanded you.” Too often Christians forget about the OBEY part and look at attempted obedience as being legalistic.

In dealing with sin within my own life, the most powerful things I’ve encountered are:
1) The awareness of how serious sin is, and that if unchecked it could eventually disqualify me from salvation; is that moment of pleasure worth the price of forfeiting an eternity with God?
Maintaining a “God’s-eye” view of sin, recognising its offensiveness to God and determining to cleanse ourselves of it and its effects through genuine, contrite confession will keep us in fellowship with God and we will remain responsive to His discipline.

2) I am what I eat. This not only applies to the food and drink I put into my body, but also to the kinds of things that are fed into my mind. When I feed my mind with spiritual things I find I am less troubled by temptation and therefore less prone to sin. If I feed my mind with things that are likely to lead to temptation, then I am more prone to sin. Paul wrote that we should be transformed by the renewing of our mind. The way we exercise and feed our minds will have an effect on the kind of person we are transformed into.

3) When we DO sin there is no need for despair because if we confess our sin He is faithful and just and will forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

That third point is something we need to apply in faith. That is, we need to believe what GOD has said instead of what our feelings are telling us. If God’s word says we are forgiven and cleansed we need to stand on the truth of THAT and not on the impression given by our feelings of guilt. We also need to understand that forgiven sin is forgotten sin – at least in God’s eyes. Unfortunately we are not able to forget in the way that God is able to forget and the memory of our sin remains with us. Again this is where we need to exercise faith. No matter how we feel. No matter what our circumstances (eg. feelings of guilt) may indicate, we need to trust the integrity of God’s word instead of our own impressions.

1 John

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.


Vince said...

Onesimus, THANK YOU FOR THIS STRONG REMINDER! I NEEDED THIS! IT IS TRUTH! Sin must be battled against, as Peter said it wages war against the soul! Please my brother pray for me, for strength, perseverance and discipline! I will print this out as a reminder. Thanks once again! I will keep in touch. On another note, you may want to check back in to ETPW, as I have worn myself out in responding to that thread!! Vince

Onesimus said...

Hi Vince,
I'm happy that this thread could be encouraging to you. There's more to be added to the topic which I hope to do some time this week.

Yes, the thread on ETPW is going in circles. But that's what happens when people put their theology first and then use scripture as a tool to support that theology.

Bless you mate.

Onesimus said...

To the pseudonymous Calvinist:
Your attempt to hijack yet another thread with your irrelevant Calvinist ranting has failed. Again I have deleted your four comments under yet another name. If you believe your false god has made every decision for you and controls your every action; and that he tolerates continued sin in your life. If you believe that you have absolutely no responsibility because your god has elected you and will therefore keep you saved for all eternity, with absolutely no response required from you then I’m sorry that you choose to continue with that demonic delusion. I sincerely hope that you open your eyes and turn to the TRUE God in repentance, and put your faith in HIM and not in your assumed exalted position as one of “the elect”.

JESUS is the elect and there is only salvation through Him and in Him.

arminian, not said...

the 5 points of arminianism:

Dude! you mean I get to choose God!

Anyone who sez "yes" to Jesus can go to heaven.

I'm okay, you're okay, 'cause Jesus died for everyone.

So, if I just repeat this magic prayer, I'm in?!!!

You better make sure you keep doing good or you're out!

There it is: DAISY!

arminian, not said...

You are one Radical Arminian Theologian!

there are "ordinary Arminians" who realize doctrinal differences are here to stay and are open for discussion about such matters. They are still teachable.

And then there are the "ornery Arminians" who would like to see all Calvinists banned from the marketplace. You can't tell them anything.

To such "Theologs" we reply, "Say Cheese!"

Their pictures are taken and they come out blurry every time. That is because they are not yet fully developed as they should be.

These radicals will continue to load their cannons with semi-Pelagian ammo and fire at those Christians who have a particular fondness for tulips.

Hey! Don't blame me...I was predestined to be a Sovereign Grace man!

Onesimus said...

"arminan not" (we at least have that in common!)
Your comment re. 5 points of Arminianism proves your spiritual heritage. You lie and attempt to deceive like your father the devil who is the original deceiver and the father of lies.

Anyone can visit an Arminian site (and this site is NOT one) and see how much you misrepresent (in other words LIE about) arminian belief.

Your only hope is to repent, turn to God and believe in His Son Jesus Christ.

Turn from the prideful delusion that you were personally and unconditionally chosen by God out of billions of men before you; and that you therefore qualify for a guaranteed salvation.
And according to your demonic doctrines what happens to those billions who are not as lucky as you?
They are condemned to hell by a decree made PRIOR to the sin of any man; in other words they also were unconditinally elected but for damnation instead of for salvation.

Yes doctrinal differences are here to stay but Calvinism is more than a mere "doctrinal difference" it promotes a different god with different purposes.
As your lies and attempted deceptions prove, it is not the God of truth that you worship.

Apelles said...

It is astonishing to realize that when our will is bad, there are things we cannot know. “If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know . . .” And if he stays in his rebellion, he will not know. Therefore, one way God teaches is by overcoming our blinding rebellion. And when it is overcome, we see the compelling truth and beauty of Christ and we come. That is how the Father draws us to the Son—by teaching us, by sending the Son and by overcoming what blinds us to the truth of the superior value of Christ.

When Peter answers Jesus’ question Who do men say that I am? with the words, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:16-17). The Father taught Peter who Jesus was by overcoming his resistance to the truth.

And Paul taught the same thing in 2 Corinthians 4:6: “God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

That is how you were drawn to Christ. That is how those whom you love will be drawn to Christ. God taught you. He did so externally by bringing you into contact with Christ in the word. And he did so internally by overcoming your rebellion so you could see Christ for who he really is. And when you saw him for who he is, you came to him, you received him. That is how you were drawn. And that is how those you love will be drawn.

Our job is to make the word known. To display Christ and his work on the cross as clearly as we can. And to pray that God will do his humbling, teaching, drawing work.

May we see a great outpouring of his power in these days.

Apelles said...

It seems to me that self-righteousness poses challenges that are similar to wealth in terms of how hard it is to get into the kingdom. If you think you are righteous on your own, you don't believe you need the forgiveness Jesus has to offer. If you are wealthy, you do not need the treasures Jesus has to offer. The poor and the more outwardly sinful often can more clearly see their need for the Savior.

But the wonderful thing about the gospel is that Jesus came to deliver both the prodigals and the older brothers in their respective slavery to sin. It takes a miracle to be delivered from both blinding sinful self-righteousness and blinding sinful indulgence.

One great word of hope for "older brother" types is that the person Jesus chose to write most of the New Testament and to be the great champion of God's grace was Paul, who had excelled all his contemporaries in his "older brotherly" zeal. And one reason I think Jesus did this is to show us that God certainly can help older brothers see how much they have been forgiven and therefore love much (Philippians 3:2-10).

"With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God" (Mark 10:27).

Rufus said...

“Christian! the only thing that makes you differ from the vilest being that pollutes the earth, or from the darkest fiend that gnaws his chains in hell, is the free grace of God!”

- Octavius Winslow

Rufus said...

“Whoever is afraid to see sin’s utmost vileness, and to confess the desperate wickedness of his own heart, suspects the merits of Christ.”

- Thomas Wilcox

Onesimus said...

Rufus posted:
"Rufus has left a new comment on your post "SIN: Christian Responsibilities":

“Christian! the only thing that makes you differ from the vilest being that pollutes the earth, or from the darkest fiend that gnaws his chains in hell, is the free grace of God!”

- Octavius Winslow "

A grace that is received through faith.
A grace that is NOT extended to a prechosen minority, but a grace that makes salvation available to WHOEVER believes in the Son who was given as a ransom for all. Given in an act of love towards a sinful world by a Holy God.

Rufus said...

The moral law, ordained by God, does not make itself weak to the weak by excusing our shortcomings. It remains absolute for all time and eternity. If we are not aware of this, it is because we are less than alive. Once we do realize it, our life immediately becomes a fatal tragedy. "I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died" ( Romans 7:9 ). The moment we realize this, the Spirit of God convicts us of sin. Until a person gets there and sees that there is no hope, the Cross of Christ remains absurd to him. Conviction of sin always brings a fearful, confining sense of the law. It makes a person hopeless— ". . . sold under sin" ( Romans 7:14 ). I, a guilty sinner, can never work to get right with God— it is impossible. There is only one way by which I can get right with God, and that is through the death of Jesus Christ. I must get rid of the underlying idea that I can ever be right with God because of my obedience. Who of us could ever obey God to absolute perfection!

Onesimus said...

rufus asked:
"Who of us could ever obey God to absolute perfection!"

Do we use that as an excuse to keep sinning? Do we use that fact to excuse our sin?

The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin - but what do we do about it? Wallow in the knowledge that we are unworthy and can not live in perfection? And then do we continue in that sin becasue we belive we can not be free from it?

NO! we confess our sin and we turn from that sin.

Do we live under the constant compulsion to sin? Do we live under the constant inability to resist temptation? When tempted are we incapable of resisting that temptation?

NO! We are NEVER tempted beyond our ability to resist, according to God's promise through he apostle Paul.

Apelles said...

I suppose there are some persons whose minds naturally incline towards the doctrine of free-will. I can only say that mine inclines as naturally towards the doctrines of sovereign grace.

Looking back on my past life, I can see that the dawning of it all was of God; of God effectively. I took no torch with which to light the sun, but the sun enlightened me. I did not commence my spiritual life—no, I rather kicked, and struggled against the things of the Spirit: when He drew me, for a time I did not run after Him: there was a natural hatred in my soul of everything holy and good. Wooings were lost upon me—warnings were cast to the wind—and as for the whispers of His love, they were rejected as being less than nothing and vanity. But, I can say now, "He only is my salvation." It was He who turned my heart, and brought me down on my knees before Him.

"Salvation is of the Lord." I cannot find in Scripture any other doctrine than this. It is the essence of the Bible. "He only is my rock and my salvation." Tell me anything contrary to this truth, and it will be a heresy; tell me a heresy, and I shall find its essence here--that it has departed from this great, fundamental, rock-truth, "God is my rock and my salvation." What is the heresy of Rome, but the addition of something to the perfect merits of Jesus Christ—the bringing in of the works of the flesh, to assist in our justification? And what is the heresy of Arminianism but the addition of something to the work of the Redeemer? Every heresy, if brought to the touchstone, will discover itself here.

Onesimus said...

Yes, Salvation is of the Lord. There is no disagreement there.

The disagreement comes down to who is the Lord, what is He like, what is His will and what are His purposes.

Man can not add anything to the salvation God has provided. Man can not earn it. Man can not decide upon the terms of salvation.
God has said that faith in Him is the means of receiving salvation. Believing is not adding something to His work; it is acknowledging and receiving His work and HIS way as the only path to be brought into relationship with Him. It is acknowledging and accepting HIS ways instead of mans’. It is HIM determining the means of salvation and man submitting to HIS ways instead of relying upon vain theologies of man.

The problem here is NOT about the means of salvation – it lies with the question of WHO is the God we believe in for salvation? The God who categorically revealed that He desires ALL to be saved? The God who gave His Son as a ransom for ALL? (But gives man the right to remain in rebellion and therefore be denied the salvation that was freely available to him)
Or a god who has unconditionally elected a minority for salvation (and equally has personally and unconditionally elected billions to be burned in hell for being the very people he created them to be)?

I pray that you will be delivered from the delusions that Calvinism has instilled into you, and that you will soon see the Lord God Almighty in His true Glory; that you will repent of maligning His name through the promotion of those abominable Calvinist doctrines. The doctrines that create a false conflict between God’s grace and the free will that God has sovereignly imparted to man.

As you said:
"Every heresy, if brought to the touchstone, will discover itself here. "

And the heretical nature of any teaching can be discovered through how it portrays God and what it says about His ways and purposes.

Apelles said...

Who initiates and guides the individual to salvation---God,
man, or both?

Does the human will cooperate with divine grace in the work of regeneration?

No one will argue that many do think they seek after God, even claim to have faith, and yet
not end up saved (Matt 7:21;25:41-46; James 2:26). So there must be a form of spirituality, a
seeking of sorts, that leads one down to hell itself.

On the other hand, there is a seeking after God, which results in eternal life. Who begins
the search, and what is the actual cause that results in regeneration? For you see, the answer to that question will determine to whom credit (glory, honor, and praise) is due.


Onesimus said...

Appelles said:

"Who initiates and guides the individual to salvation---God, man, or both?"


“Does the human will cooperate with divine grace in the work of regeneration?”

Man is required to respond to God’s provision through faith. That is GOD'S sovereignly ordained condition.
Man is not compelled against his will to be regenerated through any mythical force such as “irresistible grace”.

The gospel of Jesus Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit leads men to the truth of their condition and reveals that the only way to salvation is through the Lord Jesus. Man can then choose to place their trust Jesus and His righteousness, or he can resist the Spirit and remain in rebellion.

“No one will argue that many do think they seek after God, even claim to have faith, and yet not end up saved (Matt 7:21;25:41-46; James 2:26).”

Many prefer the delusion of man’s theology and doctrines and therefore follow a false path.

“On the other hand, there is a seeking after God, which results in eternal life. Who begins the search, and what is the actual cause that results in regeneration? For you see, the answer to that question will determine to whom credit (glory, honor, and praise) is due.”

All credit, glory and honour and praise is due to Jesus who left the glory of heaven and came to earth as a man; giving Himself as a ransom for all so that whoever faithfully believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life.

Such credit is NOT due to any counterfeit Jesus promoted by man made theologies that deny the extent and availability of the salvation that Jesus’ death and resurrection made possible.