Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Do Christians Sin?

Do Christians sin? Yes. Christians are like everyone else. Christians disobey God. Christians do things that are wrong. The difference is in the response to sin. The story in the Bible about Simon the Samaritan shows this. Simon was a Samaritan sorcerer who was very influential because of the magic he performed. Then he heard Philip preach and he became a Christian. But as happens with many Christians his old desires stayed with him. Here is his story from Acts 8:13-24 (NLT)

"Then Simon himself believed and was baptized. He began following Philip wherever he went, and he was amazed by the great miracles and signs Philip performed."

"When the apostles back in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God's message, they sent Peter and John there. As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new Christians to receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. The Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers and they received the Holy Spirit."

"When Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given when the apostles placed their hands upon people's heads, he offered money to buy this power. 'Let me have this power, too,' he exclaimed, 'so that when I lay my hands on people, they will receive the Holy Spirit!'"

"But Peter replied, 'May your money perish with you for thinking God's gift can be bought! You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right before God. Turn from your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive your evil thoughts, for I can see that you are full of bitterness and held captive by sin.'"

"'Pray to the Lord for me,' Simon exclaimed, 'that these terrible things won't happen to me!'"

What was Simon's response to learning he was sinning? He recognized his sin, turned away from his sin, and sought God's forgiveness. He was so overwhelmed by recognizing he was sinning that he felt the great separation from God that sin brings, and did not feel worthy to pray himself.

This is the difference between a Christian and non-Christian. The Christian recognizes their sin, recognizes their responsibility for their sin, and recognizes the evil of their sin. They desire to stop sinning. They seek forgiveness from God for the sin.

The non-Christian embraces their sin. The non-Christian finds excuses for their sin.

Both Christians and non-Christians sin (disobey God). The difference is that Christians fall into sin and non-Christians dive into sin.

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Anonymous cesty said...

There is no doubt that Christians can sin.

However, I would have to say that it isn't entirely impossible for a Christian to dive into sin too.

Moreover, it isn't impossible for an unbeliever to feel remorse for doing something immoral.

Sunday, August 03, 2008 2:21:00 AM  
Blogger BrickBalloon said...

Thank you for your comment.

Yes, it is true that Christians can sin. We all sin all the time. Becoming a Christian does not stop someone from sinning.

Yes, an unbeliever can feel remorse. Because we all have God's law written on our hearts our conscience tells us when we have done wronbg. We can also feel remorse because our culture "guilts" us into feeling remorse, and it may even be that we have done nothing wrong. So it can be remorse with no Biblical basis.

But this is not about remorse.

A Christian may be sinning without knowing it is wrong. For example, God may be working on getting us away from one type of sin, leaving other sin to be delt with later. Sin can come into our lives in many ways.

The difference is, that when a Christian learns they have sinned (disobeyed God), the response is repentence. Not just remorse, but repentence. That means remorse plus a turning away from sin.

That's the difference between diving into sin and falling into sin.

Sunday, August 03, 2008 3:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is interesting too is whether a christian has the moral obligation to consider whether something that he is doing is actually sinful, even though the church says TODAY it is sinful, when deep down he/she knows it is not.

I guess what I'm wondering is whether we should trust the church's teachings to tell us what sin is given that historically the church has not been all that steady on what constitutes a sin, or what the severity of a sin is. e.g. divorce.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008 11:15:00 PM  
Blogger BrickBalloon said...

It is not "the church" that is the authority on sin, it is God's word. Neither is it what you feel "deep down" that is the authority on sin. We are fallen, wretched people... there is no way we can trust our "deep down" feelings to discern what is sin and what is not. Only God's word, in the Bible is the authority on sin.

Can "the church" help us understand the Bible? Yes. That is part of a pastor's job... to be studying scripture and always growing in conformoty with Christ. How do we know which pastors (or priests) we can trust to help us? The #1 characteristic to look for is a pastor or priest who is a Christian. Many are not. All pastors (and all churches) claim to follow the Bible, but that's probably a false claim if the pastor is not a Christian.

Thursday, September 18, 2008 9:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but even the bible has mixed messages on what is a sin and what isn't. isn't that what the church is supposed to help us with?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger BrickBalloon said...

The Bible is rather clear on what sin is. Just read what is written. For example: have you ever told a lie? Have you ever taken anything that did not belong to you? Have you ever used God's name in a wrong way (blasphemy)? Have you ever looked at another person with lust? Jesus said that when you look with lust you have committed adultery in your heart.

These are just four of the Ten Commandments. If you answered yes to any of these straight forward questions, that's all you need to know. You have broken God's law and must pay the penalty... unless you can find someone else to pay your penalty for you.

It's people who try to make the definition of sin complicated... and in that way they attempt to avoid the consequences sin.

Yes, as individuals, there are times we can use help understanding sin because we attempt to hang on to our sin. We reject God so as to continue in sin, and we'll do anything to hang on to those sins we love. Other Christians, not just "the church" are called by Scripture to help us. The key words, as I mentioned before, are "other Christians." Not just people who call themselves Christians. In talking with people on the street I once spoke with 300 people in one day. Based on how they responded to a question I asked, I'd estimate that 290 were not Christians... although all would have claimed to be Christian. (see www.911christ.com) You can't expect a non-Christian to give you good and accurate advice about gthe Bible.

The Bible is clear on what sin is. We are the ones who want to muddy the understanding of sin. True Christians can help us clearly see our sin.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 7:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i disagree. there are so many mixed messages. i'll just use this one for the sake of argument - (deut 22) -->
If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl's father fifty shekels of silver.

any reasonable person reading the bible would find this confusing, not to mention quite appalling!

my point is not that rape is fine as long as you pay for it afterwards - i'm just saying that something may have been acceptable at one point and then at a later point it is no longer acceptable (thank goodness in this case).

so don't you think that a christian has an obligation to think about whether he/she is doing the right thing even though his pastor or the bible may say that it's ok?

Thursday, September 25, 2008 2:06:00 AM  
Blogger BrickBalloon said...

You stated what needs to be done, read the Bible ("anyone who reads the Bible"). Read the verse in the context of the paragraph it is in; in the conext of the chapter it is in; in the context of the Book it is in; in the context of the testament it is in; and in the context of the whole Bible.

By the way, you put a period at the end of your quote of the verse from Deuteronomy 22 when in reality there is no period. That makes the verse much harder to understand. There is more the man must do than pay 50 shekels. (Deut 22:28-29) A basic principle for understanding the Bible is to read the ENTIRE passage. In this case the man must provide for and take care of the woman for the rest of her life. (He must marry her with no possibility of divorce... and in first century culture that meant he was responsible for her care.)

You final paragraph is almost right. But we don't find the answer by thinking about it. The would mean we were applying human wisdom and judging God based on ur human wisdom. We need a higher wisdom than that. No matter who tells you something about the Bible your obligation is to be like the Bereans (Acts 17:11), and search Scripture to see whether what you've been told is true. Scripture (the Bible) is always the final authority.

Saturday, September 27, 2008 7:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

look, i don't know much about period placement, but even if you pay the money and marry the victim rape is WRONG! (i can't see how marrying someone after you've raped her will help anyway)

i know that this is wrong and everyone that i know know's that this is wrong too. you don't have to read the entire bible to put it 'in context' just to see that.

all i'm saying is that regardless of what the bible or your preacher says you still have a responsibility to use common sense or common decency.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008 7:54:00 PM  
Blogger BrickBalloon said...

If you want to read things and understand what you are reading, please start caring about periods.

The second part of your comment is where a good pastor could help you... which is somewhat where we started. A good pastor will know the historical and cultural context in which this law existed.

By the way, the Old Testament Levitical Civil Law (that's the category this is in) is no longer in effect.

The historical context is a culture that did not place much value on women. A woman needed a husband or she starved and had no shelter. Also, in early Jewish culture a woman had to be a virgin to get married. So someone who was raped, as described in the verse we are discussing, was essentially condemmed to a death sentence. She no longer could get married, and had no way to support herself. The law addresses that and restores to her (to the extent possible) what was taken away.

You are doing what most people do, rip an ancient situation out of it's context, time period, and culture, and bringing it into our present culture. That's a recipe for confusion. It doesn't work and it's no wonder it does not make sense. What is commonm sense in America today, is not necessarily common sense in ancient Jewish culture. Common sense is very much rooted in the culture in from which it is derived.

Friday, October 03, 2008 7:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, pause the sanctimony for a minute and answer this: can you always blindly follow the bible?

(hint: no)

ok dude, now hit me with the lecture - we'll see how badly you can miss the point again!

Sunday, October 05, 2008 4:49:00 AM  
Blogger BrickBalloon said...

To start, Christianity is the only religion that is not a blind faith. It is an informed faith in which the foundational doctrines are backed by facts. That's why Jesus rose from the dead publically. He died in public, he was buried in public, and he rose from the dead and was seen and interacted with hundreds of people for 40 days before he ascended into heaven. He did this, leading the way, showing us that we also can live again. Jesus demonstrated that what he promised was true.

Where blindness comes into play is because of the fact that most people who call themselves Christian are not. The are nominal Christians. They are trusting in their own goodness instead of trusting in Jesus. This is what the Bible says: "The man without the Spirit [non-Christian] does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, becase they are spiritually discerned." 1 Corinthians 2:14,15 So nominal Christians say they are following the Bible, but they are following the Bible in blindness... and thus misrepresenting the Bible and God.

A Christian does not blindly follow the Bible, but has the light of the Holy Spirit to guide them.

This does not mean Christians do not make mistakes. That's why Christian fellowship is so important, and why the Bible tells Christians (including pastors, but not limited to pastors) to help other Christians know when they are straying from Biblical truth. This help may come at the request of a Christian seeking Biblical truth, or after the fact to help guide someone who has strayed from Biblical truth.

Sunday, October 05, 2008 7:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so that's a no then?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008 1:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We continue to use terms like "true christian" to describe ourselves and "unbelievers" or "lukewarm christians" to describe others who are different than us.

Those terms are like saying "We are all sinners, but I am less of a sinner than you." It is spiritual arrogance and hypocricy.

Christ is our sole source of salvation. He paid the price. We have nothing to boast about.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 3:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with Christians today is not secularism or darwinism.

The problem with Christians today is that they do not follow nor accept that Christ paid the price of sin in full.

If you want to use the term "true christian"...the true christian isn't the one who continues to judge himself and others with the law. He lives under grace and feels the need to tell others..."You don't have to follow this religious perfectionist bullshit to be SAVED....follow and trust in Christ!"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 3:26:00 PM  
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Thursday, March 05, 2009 8:03:00 AM  

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