He who continues in sin…

… is of the devil (1Jn 3:8).

Lets say that you went up to a stranger and asked him what was going on in his life, knowing nothing else about him, and his answer was something like this- “Well, I was caught having a homosexual affair on my wife… again. It would have continued if I had not been caught. I have been lying to everyone, trying to hide it so I would not get in trouble.” What would you say about that man? Do you think it is possible that he is right with God? What if he said to you, “Oh, I am a Christian”, would your attitude toward him change?

I have seen situations like this where people have said, “Oh he is still a Christian, he is just a backslider.” One such incident was concerning the Ted Haggard scandal. Bloggers were defending Pastor Haggard’s salvation while others were saying that it was not possible that he was a Christian at all.

This begs the question, at what point can we say that a person is really a false Christian? Some would say that we cannot make that judgment at all. Or are these people, who are living in a lifestyle of sin, just backsliders who need a little TLC? Do we need to dust them off and prop them back up in the pew, or should we witness to them as we would someone who never claimed to be Christian in the first place?

What if I told you that I am a Christian, but every two weeks I go out and rape a woman and then murder her because I am ashamed of my actions? Don’t all Christians still sin? This may be an extreme case, but I have had people try and justify their actions. Here is the answer I give them.

The answer is YES, Christians do still sin. I am sure I sin every single day, but understand that there is a distinction between falling into sin and diving into it. The unregenerate heart runs to sin. It drinks it like water, it is unrepentant. It is a slave to sin, it can’t help it. People with unregenerate hearts live in a lifestyle of sin, they may know that what they are doing is wrong, but it doesn’t stop them from fulfilling their lusts.

But the heart that has been crucified with Christ is made anew, with new thoughts and new desires. That heart HATES sin. Those people are marked by a thirst for holiness and repentance. They read God’s word, they reach out to the lost, they spend time in prayer and the look to grow in Christ and die more and more to themselves. They are broken by their sin, not empowered by it. If they sin, it is against their will. They FALL rather than DIVE.

The problem is, we are so quick to pronounce someone saved that we forget that true salvation shows itself in our actions not in our profession of faith. I know people who go to church on Sunday and raise their hands in praise to God and then sin to their hearts content until it is time to go back to church.

The apostle John wrote that if you say that you have a relationship with God, but you walk in darkness, then you are a liar and the truth is not in you. And for those of us who know people who are living in persistent sin, we need the courage to reach out to these people and let them know we are concerned for their salvation.


Published in: on November 10, 2008 at 8:50 am  Leave a Comment  

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