God's More Than Words

If there is a god, what kind of god is he?

Instructions for the Sinning Christian?

Is God evil to use perfection as the standard for believers? No.

But what response does God expect from a believer who sins?

And is this just?

In my mind, sin is the most horrible thing.  If god is the ultimate supreme being and authority, perfect in holiness and morality, and man his creation, then when man shakes his fist in rebellion at god, what greater act of defiance could ever be made in the whole universe?  To make matters worse, man is not the lowliest of all creatures.  On the contrary, Psalm 8 helps us understand the important position god gave to man as ruler and caretaker over creation and how valuable man is in god’s eyes.  If a stray dog were to defy my commands to “heel” I would think the offense trite.  If my own son defies my commands to “Come here, so I can talk to you” his offense is much greater in my eyes, so man’s rebellion then is the ultimate offense to god because of the more personal nature of the choice to rebel.  (Aside – Ironically, the heavier the view of sin, the greater the view of god’s grace.  That’s why the word “wretch” is in the song Amazing Grace)

What does god want for man to do when confronted with his sin?

Before accepting the sacrifice of Christ for eternal salvation, the answer is pretty obvious.  Repent, ask for forgiveness, and god will grant it to you.  I believe that in conversion/salvation there should be a brokenness over one’s sin.  A realization of what we have done should cause a few tears of sorrow and cause us to become humble before god, throwing ourselves at his feet asking for his mercy, to withhold our due punishment, and his grace, to be given favor and treated as a son.

What, though, does god want for man to do when confronted with his sin, after he has already repented and received assurance that in the final judgement he will not be condemned (Rom 8)?

Here’s the problem, if we say that a believer should still repent, be sorrowful, crushed in their heart, remorseful, that is too much, isn’t it?  That would not seem just, since we have already established that is it impossible for even a believer to live a sinless life.  But this is what some passages in the bible seem to teach.

2 Corinthians 7:9-11

James 4:5-10

(I hesitate to use Psalm 51:17 because this is prayed by David prior to Christ’s redeeming work on the cross, but if I were to use it, I would say that god continues to be pleased with this heart response, as he has always been.)

On the other hand, if we say that repentance is not required for a believer, that we are only to admit wrongdoing and be willing to give it another go at doing right, that seems too little a response in light of what sin actually is.  To go on sinning without remorse would be to count our salvation a common thing.  Which is almost, it seems, a worse offense than the original sin.

“For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins…of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of Grace…It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

Hebrews 10:26-31

And if we say it is somewhere in between, I fear that isn’t being intellectually honest.  How can I be sort of broken over my sin?  Or humbled slightly?  A middle of the road response validates how unjust it is for god to want repentance from beings who were not created with the ability to achieve perfection.

Is repentance demanded by god for a believer after sinning?

Please, I need references for whatever responses you give.  If you’re new here, this is just another part of me trying to answer The Big Question.

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6 comments on “Instructions for the Sinning Christian?

  1. killian
    February 4, 2013

    What do you expect from your children when they do wrong?

    • @AnOrdinaryDad
      February 4, 2013

      Ah! Answering a question with a question!

      Who’s to say, though, that what I expect is the same as what God expects?

      Touché !

  2. born2bfree
    February 5, 2013

    Repentance is more than just being sorry and asking for forgiveness. It is a true foresaking and turning from our sin and our own ways and even our own thoughts, and turning to God to seek his will and his ways and his thoughts. Isaiah 55:6-9

    If a person is continuing to sin, it shows they have not been delivered. They need to repent and seek God for deliverance. Salvation is more than forgiveness, it includes deliverance. Luke 4:18 “deliverance to the captives”. John 8:31-36 …whoever sins is the servant of sin… if the Son shall make you free, you shall be truly free!

    When a person realizes they are a sinner (some may not realize their condition 1Jn1:8), 1Jn1:9 tells us to confess and that God will forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He has promised to give us a new heart. We won’t be the same, when we have received real salvation. The proof will be in our changed behavior. 1Jn2:3-6, 3:5-10… this is how we know we know him, if we keep his commandments… whoever abides in him does not sin… Whoever sins has not seen him, neither known him… let no man deceive you! … he that does righteousness is righteous even as he is righteous… he that commits sin is of the devil… for this purpose Jesus came, to destroy the works of the devil… whoever is born of God does not sin… this is how you will know the children of God and the children of the devil… whoever does not righteousness is not of God.

    Strong words., but true. Thank God for strong words that enable us to see our need to seek God, not excuses.

  3. Chris
    February 10, 2013

    Is God evil to use perfection as the standard…?

    I have no idea how you arrived at “No” for an answer, when you can’t define good or evil, perfection, or even God, let alone put together a worthwhile standard from bronze age texts that advocated genocide, racism, and slavery.

    Not to mention, that you seem to have started with so many assumptions,assuming a god exists, and assuming it’s this particular one, and assuming you can reliably know anything about it, and assuming that 1500 pages of fine print on tissue thin paper are more reliable than most other large books.

    If you had any reliable way to tell the difference between truth that was beyond reality, and something that simply isn’t real, I’d love to hears about it, but there is no way to discern what’s true or find real truth when what’s real is removed from the equation and discernment is replaced with faith.

    • @AnOrdinaryDad
      February 10, 2013

      Let me rephrase the question.

      If an ultimate being like a god existed, would it be evil for it to use perfection as a standard for men to strive for?

      Does that help? I see what you’re saying. And I am sort of working at this backward to see if some of the things I already believe can make sense.

      Deconstructing a faith is much different than constructing a faith. That’s the perspective you have to take with all of my posts. It’s the process I’m going through and I am by no means going to be able to build a proof for any specific god or religion from logic.

      • Chris
        February 11, 2013

        I appreciate that you’re working backwards. I was not asking for you to prove anything, merely to support things, and I understand that you want people to cite references, because you see that as a valid means of supporting ideas and claims. My point was that citing references is dependent on the reference material itself being true.

        Back to the question, it depends on how you define perfection. If “perfect” is doing whatever the more powerful being asks you to do, then I suppose it’s perfect and good to slaughter all your neighboring tribes, and it’s perfect to institute slavery where people of your own race go free in 7 years, but slaves of any other tribe are considered property that can be inherited. Since you haven’t defined good, evil, or perfection, you can’t simply answer “No” to the question. What if an anti-deity like Satan actually existed and turned out to be more powerful? Would anything he decided was good be good? Would doing whatever he said be a standard for perfection that you would find acceptable?

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This entry was posted on February 3, 2013 by in Hamartiology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .
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