Sunday, October 17, 2010

Letting Sin Abound

The other day I wrote a blog post that ended up going in a different direction than I planned. If you haven't read it yet, you can read it here so you can understand this post a little easier. As with the last post, this one is based off a book I read about dirt and the immune system. The basic premise of the book was that we need to be exposed to dirt and germs and the sickness brought on by viruses and bacteria in order to keep our immune system active and strong. I believed that was true before reading the book, but was only strengthened by it. When it comes to our physical health, dirt and all the things within it that we fear are needed for us to stay healthy. Sometimes this mindset becomes part of spiritual practice though, and in that situation there is no benefit.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote, "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?" (Rom 6:1). What was Paul referring to? Up through chapter five of Romans Paul discussed how sin entered into society and all were sinful and in need of redemption. He reaches the climax of his argument by noting that it was for this reason that Christ came to Earth and through Him we can have redemption and forgiveness of sins by His grace. It seems the response by some was that if God's grace was the clear and beautiful answer to sin, then if we sin more, there will be more of God's grace to cover those sins, and who could argue that more grace is a bad thing? Paul give his inspired answer in verse two writing,"By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?" While the human immune system is strengthened by introducing small bits of bacteria and viruses to fight off, to introduce small bits of sin into our life is a monstrosity and has no redeeming value.

Despite Paul's response and his inspired argument for why we cannot continue in sin found in the rest of chapter six, many in the religious world follow the mindset that Paul condemned, if not in verbal teaching, at least in practice. I've heard some in the past that they will do something they know is wrong now and repent of it later. One claimed to be joking, but surely there are others in the world who have this mindset? It often goes along with the teaching of Once Saved Always Saved. To believe in such a thing, you have to make some sort of reasoning for how one can be saved continuously, even if they keep sinning. Some might say that if one is living in sin, they weren't really saved to begin with. This is an unjust judgment though and claiming to know one's heart and mind through some special knowledge. This is impossible. The other justification is usually made by stating that, "Christ has already paid for all of my sins, so no matter what I do or what I might do, it's already been taken care of so I don't have to worry." Paul made it clear though that one could fall away, and even that those who were truly saints could later be "delivered to Satan" (I Timothy 1:19-20). John wrote that we must confess our sins in order to have them forgiven (I John 1:9). John did not write that to the lost, but to those who had already been saved.

Sin is never a good thing, nor is it anything to make light of. While Christ's sacrifice made it possible for sins to be forgiven, we must remember to do our part as well and actively seek forgiveness. The Christian has no room in his life for sin.

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