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All about sin. What is it, how does it work, what does it do—whatever your questions are

What's a sin if all is forgiven?

Postby Footloose » Sun Oct 19, 2014 2:46 pm

What's a sin if you know God's just going to forgive you for whatever it is you do? Sure, God loves you. Sure, he doesn't like it when you sin. But other than that, what's keeping you from sinning?

It seems to me that the process of sinning goes something like this. 1. Commit the sin, knowing you're sinning 2. Regret (or not regret) the sin 3. Apologizing to God (or get seen through) 4. Forgiveness. (Or go to Hell)

This isn't exactly a foolproof plan to me, especially if you don't believe you even have to confess your sins and think the sole belief in God saves you.

Re: What's a sin if all is forgiven?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Oct 19, 2014 3:25 pm

Let's start in 1 John 3.6: "No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him." The idea isn't that anyone becomes sinless (1 Jn. 1.10), but that if you truly seek a relationship with God, you'll turn away from sin. You'll stop doing it. Keep reading in 1 John 3. A person who truly turns to God does what is righteous. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's nature is in him, not sin nature any more. 1 Jn. 2.3 says we can tell the people who belong to God because they have turned away from sin (Mt. 7.16-20). Keep reading in 1 Jn. 2. (If you want the real answer to your question, go right to the source: 1 Jn. 2, 1 Jn. 3; Mt. 7.16-20).

But just because God forgives so freely, does that mean we should take advantage of that, and not worry about our sin, knowing, "Hey, who cares? God'll just forgive it! GO FOR IT!" Absolutely not. That's a travesty. Romans 6.1 says, just because there's a lot of grace, does that mean it's OK to just go on sinning? The answer (Rom. 6.2): "By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?"

I'll end with Hebrew 10.26: "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left..." When a person freely turns his or her life over to God, and God makes a decisive change in their life and he or she becomes a new creation (2 Cor. 5.17), he or she is making an absolute commitment to turn away from sin and continue in it no longer.

Your point #2 above: "Regret (or not regret) the sin"? You'll notice in the Bible that without repentance there is no forgiveness (Lk. 24.47, and others), but wherever someone genuinely repents (which is not just an apology but a turning around in [1] remorse for the sin, [2] commitment to the new path, and [3] action that proves both sincerity and life change), he will be genuinely forgiven (1 Jn. 1.9).

> especially if you don't believe you even have to confess your sins and think the sole belief in God saves you.

The Bible is filled with references to the necessity of confession and repentance for forgiveness. There are hundreds of them.

What's a sin then? The Bible doesn't give just one definition of sin, but it's a multi-faceted concept. "Sin is thinking, doing, or being anything that demonstrates a dissatisfaction with God." "Sin is declaring ourselves the arbiters of right and wrong, rather than living in a dependent relationship." "Sin is humanity's enmity against God consisting in his refusal to understand and will what is right." "Sin refers to our human propensity to f*** things up..., our active inclination to break stuff—moods, promises, relationships we care about, and our own well-being and other people's..." Sin is a state of being, an orientation, and a behavior. Sin is missing the mark, making mistakes, rebellion, perversion, evil, and trouble. Sin is any lack of conformity to the moral law of God.

For the person who doesn't belong to God, sin is their state (sin nature) of separation from God, as well as descriptive of their choices and behavior (we do stuff that we shouldn't do). For those who belong to God and have the nature of Jesus in them instead of a sin nature, sin is the choices they make to please themselves rather than the God they have chosen to serve. As such those actions can and will be forgiven, but anyone who is serious about having a relationship with God will put sin away from them as thoroughly as they are able (Rom. 6.6, 12-14; Ps. 1.1).
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Re: What's a sin if all is forgiven?

Postby Uber Gumby » Thu Dec 11, 2014 4:28 pm

But does that mean we are capable of living without sin here on earth? I'm very new to christian philosophy and I was under the impression that we can't ever stop sinning, that's why we don't deserve heaven.
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Re: What's a sin if all is forgiven?

Postby jimwalton » Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:38 am

Thanks for letting me clarify. No, we're not capable of living without sin here on earth. I'll refer you to 1 John 1.8 & 10: "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. ... If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives." The Old Testament prophets also rebuked people for claiming innocence from sin (Jer. 2.35; Hos 7.2; cf. Prov. 30.12). There is no such thing as innocence from sin. To answer your question directly, we are not capable of living without sin here on earth. You are right: we can't truly ever stop sinning. Now, we are able to make great improvements. It's a process called "sanctification" (in theological circles). We do put off sin, live by the Spirit, are renewed by the transforming of our minds, and are becoming conformed to the image of Christ. But we are never truly and finally done with sin.

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