Sunday, December 29, 2013
Two Kinds of Sinners
Basically, there are two kinds of sinners; those who hold onto their sin, and those who repent of their sin. After reading comments on a Facebook post and listening to responses of people who are resistant to the Gospel, I realize that there are some misunderstandings of Christianity of those who are resistant. Perhaps if they truly understood the nature of the Gospel, they wouldn't be as resistant. I have to admit first that there are many professing Christians that don't understand the Gospel, and may be the very reason why Gospel opponents don't understand the Gospel. One of the biggest objections to the Gospel is that 'Christians are hypocrites'. This accusation might be partly true, for there are those professing Christians who hold onto their sins while proclaiming that God is 'all-loving' and 'all-forgiving'. The problem is that God really is all-loving and all-forgiving, but only to those who genuinely repent of their sins and turn to Christ. Jesus didn't die for our sins, so that we could continue in them (see Romans 6). But I do hear some professing Christians proclaim this kind of message. It is confusing to the unchurched though, and we need to stick with what the Scriptures say, not what we want them to say. The other group says that a person has to repent of their sins and turn to Christ (which, up to this point is correct), but they continue by saying that a person has to keep God's commandments or else he won't be saved anymore. The first group of professing Christians are basically Universalists, believing that any kind of acknowledgement of Jesus dying to pay for our sins will get us into heaven, while the other group has gone all the way to the other side of the spectrum (probably in reaction to Universalism) in saying that a person has to keep the commandments. Both groups have some truth in them but in reality, and based upon Scriptures, we repent of our sins, trust in Jesus (not just mental assent) and when we do truly repent, God does come in and makes the sinner a new creation in Christ and gives him or her a new heart. The person who has genuinely repented and come to Christ on God's terms (not his or her own) is 'born again'. When that happens, a person has the ability to obey God, because the Power of God lives inside that person. The word of God is activated in that person and they can live a holy life. But, because of indwelling sin, that same person can still sin. It doesn't mean that God will leave him or her because of the sin, but it does mean that the person who is born again can repent and turn back to God and continue to walk with God. This person will not be held down by their sin anymore (note: some will have serious struggles with sin and will need others in the church to walk with him or her until they are fully delivered). Now back to the main point of the post. There really are two kinds of sinners. There are those sinners who repent of their sins and trust in Jesus, and there are those sinners who continue to oppose the Gospel (and use excuses like 'Christians are hypocrites' to avoid responding to the Gospel.) The issue isn't that Christians are on a high, supernatural level, better than everyone else, because they have figured out a way to keep the commandments and please God. Always keep in mind that any true Christian is a sinner. The only difference is that those who put their trust in Jesus Christ have their sins forgiven and have become new creatures in Christ, not by anything they have done, but because of what God has done for them. Always remember, salvation is a gift of God. It is never achieved by any works by human beings. But it is a gift that must be received and acted upon. If you knew you had a gift at someone's house, but that person lived far away, the gift wouldn't do you any good, would it? You would have to go to the person's house and take the gift, open it up, then use it. That is similar to the way salvation works. We have to receive it and it becomes activated in us. Only then can we benefit from it.