If there is a god, what kind of god is he?
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
(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.”
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.