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#45964 - Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:24 PM Saved to Continue in Sin?  
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Lynda Offline
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What of the person who went forward in church to receive Christ as his Savior; yet that person has no apparent change in his life or thinking. Since his teen years he has believed that nature proves there is a God. He believes that Christ's blood pays for his sins. He talks of the better life that awaits him after death. Why doesn't the Holy Spirit create a change is his desire to serve the Lord in the ways of holiness? Why is the person seemingly addicted to porn and trying to keep his wrongdoing from those who would claim it is sin?

I don't believe that people don't struggle with sin, but I have trouble with an apparent lack of repulsion towards it. Yet can such a person be more interested in what others think of him rather than actually hating the sin itself? Does this person want the approval of men more than that of God?

Can someone explain this?

Last edited by Lynda; Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:27 PM.
#45966 - Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:36 AM Re: Saved to Continue in Sin? [Re: Lynda]  
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Originally Posted by Lynda
What of the person who went forward in church to receive Christ as his Savior; yet that person has no apparent change in his life or thinking. Since his teen years he has believed that nature proves there is a God. He believes that Christ's blood pays for his sins. He talks of the better life that awaits him after death.

Such a person, according to Scripture, is still spiritually dead, unregenerate, self-deceived and remains under the wrath and condemnation of God. I'm afraid there are thousands upon thousands out there who are even communicant members of churches.

Originally Posted by Lynda
Why doesn't the Holy Spirit create a change is his desire to serve the Lord in the ways of holiness? Why is the person seemingly addicted to porn and trying to keep his wrongdoing from those who would claim it is sin?

1. Why should the Holy Spirit regenerate his dead soul? God is under no obligation to do so, right? Salvation is by grace alone according to His determinate counsel and infinite mercy. This is a question that is best answered by Deut 29:29. grin

2. This person's sinful life is natural; how one would expect an unregenerate man to live.

Originally Posted by Lynda
I don't believe that people don't struggle with sin, but I have trouble with an apparent lack of repulsion towards it. Yet can such a person be more interested in what others think of him rather than actually hating the sin itself? Does this person want the approval of men more than that of God?

Truly regenerate individuals do have a repulsion toward sin to one degree or another. We can't quantify the repulsion and shouldn't; that belongs to the Spirit. And we must allow that people who are regenerated don't become instant "saints" and perfectly holy. Sanctification is progressive in nature and it takes time, a lifetime for most of us, to even begin to make a dent in our transformation. There are those, however, who think they have already arrived and are not bashful about telling you so. You can usually identify these people by their constant and almost immediate condemnation of everyone else, relegating nearly all to perdition because "they ain't saved". But back to a more biblical view, this person you are asking about obviously is living a life that is not consistent with one who professes to believe in Christ. Paul puts it this way:

Titus 1:15-16 (ASV) "To the pure all things are pure: but to them that are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess that they know God; but by their works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate."

Has anyone had some communication with this person to speak of these things to him? IF this person is a member of a church, then the elder(s) should be aware of this man's sinful lifestyle and take appropriate action to counsel and/or discipline him if necessary. Should this person be confronted with his sin(s) and the seriousness of it/them and refuse to repent, then at least if/until he repents of the sin(s), he must be considered an unbeliever. (1Cor 5:1ff)


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#45967 - Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:14 AM Re: Saved to Continue in Sin? [Re: Lynda]  
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The gospel in many cases has been dumbed down to four points or say this short prayer with me or some such thing.The person who "comes forward" is or has not been counseled about repentence and what being reconciled to God means.They are immediately baptized and with a voice vote joined to the visible church.
Some may be brought to salvation with this method but many more attend church for a few weeks and then are never seen again.Luke 6:43 says "For no good tree bears bad fruit,nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit."
If this person shows no fruit in his life,no hunger for the Word,no concern for prayer one has to wonder if he is still unregenerate


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#45970 - Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:08 PM Re: Saved to Continue in Sin? [Re: sojourner]  
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Thanks to both of you. I wanted to see if my thoughts were accurate in your opinions and apparently they are. Thanks again.

#45975 - Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:56 AM Re: Saved to Continue in Sin? [Re: Lynda]  
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Lynda,

I want to approach your question from the angle of the differences between historical, temporary and true faith. Of course, all of this boils down to regeneration as Pilgrim mentioned and simply supports what he and Sojourner said. In this regard it is worth reading Zacharias Ursinus' commentary on the Heidelberg Cathechism's question 21. You can find it HERE.

Here is what Ursinus says about a temporary faith:
Quote

Temporary faith is an assent to the doctrines of the church, accompanied with profession and joy, but not with a true and abiding joy, such as arises from a consciousness that we are the objects of the divine favor, but from some other cause, whatever it may be, so that it endures only for a time, and in seasons of affliction dies away. Or, it is to assent to the doctrine delivered by the prophets and apostles, to profess it, to glory in it, and to rejoice for a time in the knowledge of it; but not on account of an application of the promise to itself, or on account of a sense of the grace of God in the heart, but for other causes. This definition is drawn from what Christ says in the explanation of the parable of the sower; "He that received the seed into the stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while, for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended." (Matt. 13:20 ). The causes of this joy are in a manner infinite, and different in different individuals; yet they are all temporary, and when they fade, the faith that is built upon them, vanishes away. Hypocrites rejoice in hearing the gospel, either because it is new to them, or because it seems to calm their minds, whilst it delivers them from the burdens which men, by their traditions, have imposed upon them, as does the doctrine of christian liberty, justification, &c.; or, because they seek, under its profession, a cloak for their sins, and hope to reap rewards and advantages, both public and private, such as riches, honors, glory, &c., which shows itself when they are called to bear the cross; for then, because they have no root in themselves, they fall away. But hypocrites do not rejoice as true believers, from a sense of the grace of God, and from an application to themselves of the benefits offered in the divine word, which may be regarded as the cause of true and substantial joy in the faithful-the removal of which single cause is sufficient to make their faith temporary.


Note that a temporary faith also make people rejoice in hearing the gospel, but for the wrong reasons. On the other hand, here is what Ursinus is saying about true faith:

Quote

Justifying faith is properly that which is defined in the catechism; according to which definition, the general nature of saving faith consists in knowledge and an assured confidence; for there can be no faith in a doctrine that is wholly unknown. It is proper for us, therefore, to obtain a knowledge of that in which we are to believe, before we exercise faith; from which we may see the absurdity of the implicit faith of the Papists. The difference, or formal character of saving faith, is the confidence and application which every one makes to himself, of the free remission of sins by and for the sake of Christ. The property, or peculiar character of this faith, is trust and delight in God, on account of this great benefit. The efficient cause of justifying faith is the Holy Ghost. The instrumental cause is the gospel, in which the use of the sacraments is also comprehended. The subject of this faith is the will and heart of man.

Justifying or saving faith differs, therefore, from the other kinds of faith, because it alone is that assured confidence by which we apply unto ourselves the merit of Christ, which is done when we firmly believe that the righteousness of Christ is granted and imputed unto us, so that we are accounted just in the sight of God. Confidence is an exercise or motion of the will and heart, following something good-resting and rejoicing in it.

Justifying faith differs from historical, because it always includes that which is historical. Historical faith is not sufficient for our justification. The same thing may also be said of the other two kinds of faith. Justifying faith, again, differs from all other kinds of faith, in this, that it is by it alone that we obtain righteousness, and a title to the inheritance of the saints. For if, as the Apostle says, we are justified by faith, and faith is imputed for righteousness, and by faith is the inheritance, then this faith must be one of the four kinds of which we have spoken. But it is not historical faith; for then the devils would also be accounted just, and be heirs of the promise. Neither is it temporary faith; for Christ rejects this. Nor is it the faith of miracles; for in that case, Judas would also be an heir. Hence it is by justifying faith alone that we obtain righteousness, and an inheritance among the saints; which the Scriptures properly and simply call faith, and which is also peculiar to the elect.

No man, however, truly knows what justifying faith is, except he who believes, or possesses it; as he, who never saw or tasted honey, knows nothing of its quality or taste, although you may tell him many things of the sweetness of honey. But the man who truly believes, experience these things in himself, and is able, also, to explain them to others.

1. He believes that every thing which the Scriptures contain is true, and from God.

2. He feels himself constrained firmly to believe and embrace these things; for if we confess that they are true and from God, it is proper that we should assent to them.

3. He sees, embraces, and applies particularly, to himself, the promise of grace, or the free remission of sins, righteousness and eternal life, by and for the sake of Christ, as it is said: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life." (John 3:36).

4. Having this confidence, he trusts and rejoices in the present grace of God, and from this he thus concludes in reference to future good: since God now loves me, and grants unto me such great blessings, he will also preserve me unto eternal life; because he is unchangeable, and his gifts are without repentance.

5. Joy arises in the heart, in view of such benefits, which joy is accompanied with a peace of conscience that passes all understanding.

6. Then he has a will and an earnest desire to obey all the commands of God, without a single exception, and is willing to endure patiently whatever God may send upon him. The man, therefore, who possesses a justifying faith, does that which is required of him, regardless of the opposition of the world, and the devil. He who truly believes, experiences all these things in himself; and he who experiences these things in himself, truly believes.



I think it applies to all of us to examine ourselves whether we have a true justifying faith or a temporary faith. For what reason do I rejoice in the gospel?

As for the person you refer to, it is indeed true that his life does not agree with a justifying faith. Maybe you should point this out to him.

Hope this helps a bit.

Johan

#45976 - Fri Feb 25, 2011 9:01 AM Re: Saved to Continue in Sin? [Re: Johan]  
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Lynda Offline
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Thank you, Johan. That's a great link, too. I might be reading forever. smile

#45977 - Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:56 PM Re: Saved to Continue in Sin? [Re: Lynda]  
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Lynda, at least I am glad that you find the link useful. Last Sunday I had a conversation with someone just after the morning service and this person rather aggressively "attacked" the Heidelberg Catechism as being based on a worldview of 500 years ago and that it should be rewritten. I know that this man also have it against the Canons of Dordt, being of the opinion that it is not relevant anymore.

So, I am VERY glad that you find Ursinus' commentary useful.

bananas

Johan

#45978 - Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:53 PM Re: Saved to Continue in Sin? [Re: Johan]  
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Originally Posted by Johan
Last Sunday I had a conversation with someone just after the morning service and this person rather aggressively "attacked" the Heidelberg Catechism as being based on a worldview of 500 years ago and that it should be rewritten. I know that this man also have it against the Canons of Dordt, being of the opinion that it is not relevant anymore.

scratchchin Hmmm, does this person also believe that the Bible should be rewritten since it is more than 2000 years old? Is the Gospel no longer relevant today due to our modern culture?

2 Corinthians 2:14-17 (ASV) "But thanks be unto God, who always leadeth us in triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest through us the savor of his knowledge in every place. For we are a sweet savor of Christ unto God, in them that are saved, and in them that perish; to the one a savor from death unto death; to the other a savor from life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as the many, corrupting the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, speak we in Christ."


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#45982 - Fri Feb 25, 2011 8:20 PM Re: Saved to Continue in Sin? [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Pilgrim,

I could have expected you will react to that!!! BigThumbUp

Well, he actually explicitly said that he views Genesis 1 - 11 as a story and that there are no historic facts in what we read there. Of course when he says that one of the consequences is that what's written in Hebrews 11 about Abel, Noah, and Enoch has absolutely no meaning to him. And if Adam was not a real person then Romans 5 does not make sense.

Even more, he questions Divine inspiration of parts of Scripture. For example, I think it is parts of Proverbs 22 or Proverbs 24 that apparently are also found in ancient Egyptian texts and he says that simply shows that Scripture also contains other non-inspired parts.

He also said that he avoids reading the Psalms because of the violence spoken off in some psalms.

Johan



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