Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Systematic Theology, Chapter 24 continued...

Sin (Part 2).

Are some sins worse than others?

Before God, even one sin makes us legally guilty and thus worthy of eternal punishment.  Adam and Eve's one act of disobedience is a perfect example, introducing death into the world and separating their relationship with God.

James 2:10-11, Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it....

Some sins have more harmful consequences, both between us and our fellow man, and between us and God.   The Bible speaks of "greater sins," but in general, we can see sins that are done willfully, repeatedly, knowingly, with a calloused heart, are more displeasing to God than others.

Unintentional sin is still sin. (Just like speeding when you didnt know the speed limit is still punishable).

Coveting a neighbors car is a sin before God.  Stealing the car and killing the owner of the car is obviously a more "serious" sin.   The same goes for a new believer losing their temper and striking someone compared with a Mature pastor doing the same.

James 3:1, those whoe teach will be judged with greater strictness.  Teachers and those in leadership spiritually will be held to a higher standard of accountability.

What happens when a Christian sins?  We are still in the legal sense forgiven before God, for Christ's death paid for our past, present, and future sins.  We are still children of God, members of his family.

BUT, our fellowship with God is disrupted and our Christian life is damaged.  God still loves us but is displeased with us.  He disciplines us, because he loves us.

Hebrews 12:10, He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

When we sin as Christians, our Christian life and fruitfulness in ministry are also damaged.  "As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me."  John 15:4.

Peter says that sinful desires that remain in our hearts "wage war against your soul!" 1 Peter 2:11. To give into those sinful desires is to welcome enemies into the camp.

The danger of unconverted evangelicals.  A genuine Christian who sins does not lose their justification before God, BUT people who are "playing church," and not true believers should not be lulled into complacency that their sinfulness is ok.

A consistent pattern of disobedience to Christ coupled with a lack of the elements of the fruit of the Holy Spirit such as love, joy, peace, and so forth, is a warning signal that the person is probably not a true Christian inwardly, that there probably has been no genuine heart faith from the beginning and no regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. !

What about unpardonable sin?  Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, what is that?

There are several possibilities, but Grudem leans towards a willful rejection and slander against the Holy Spirit's work attesting to Christ.  The example in the Bible was when the pharisees claim that Jesus is casting out demons by Beelzebul's power.

This requires a clear knowledge of who Christ is and the power of the Holy Spirit working through him, a willful rejection of the facts about Christ, and attributing that work/power to Satan.  

God does not just punish sin to help us to grow and learn from our sins, but rather because God's righteousness demands it, so that he might be glorified in the universe that he has created.

Next time, "The covenants between God and man." 

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