Saturday, January 17, 2009

A New Attitude About Sin

"I often tell my congregation that when it comes to battling sin in our lives, the difference between Christians and non-Christians is not that non-Christians sin whereas Christians don't. The difference is found in which side we take in the battle. Christians take God's side against sin, whereas non-Christians take sin's side against God. In other words, a Christian will sin, but then he will turn to God and his Word and say, 'Help me fight against sin.' A non-Christian, even if he recognizes his sin, effectively responds, 'I want my sin more than God.'"
-Mark Dever

8 comments:

Morris Brooks said...

When my oldest son was twelve he confided to us why he was not yet ready to become a Christian. His reason...he wasn't ready to give up his sin. As usual from the mouth of a child comes raw honesty. Would that adults would be as honest with themselves and others.

Saint Jakab said...

I agree. 1 John 9 basically says that "He that continues in sin is not a Christian." Christians do not practice sin. They hate it. To have a new relationship with God means also having a new relationship with sin. We are new creations in Christ Jesus our Savior. :)

a helmet said...

Morris B,

Do you have to give up your sins before you can become a christian? I think that is odd and unbiblical. Grace demands no price.

Saint Jakab,

Do you mean 1 John 1:9?

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I don't interpret this as "He that continues in sin is not a christian."

Morris Brooks said...

SJ,

Turning from your sin and turning to God is the essence of repentance. My son understood that it was his sin between him and God, but was unwilling to say no to sin.

Your comment that, "Grace demands no price," does not hold water biblically. In Luke 14:25-33 that if we don't hate our own family and even our own life we can not be His disciples. We are told that unless we bear our own cross and come after him we can not be His disciple. He then goes on to tell us to count the cost with examples to illustrate what He means. He finishes this section with the admonition that any one who does not renounce all that he has cannot be His disciple.

In essence that is also what He was telling the rich young ruler who came to Him, but left saddened when Christ said that entrance to the kingdom would require him to give up all his possessions.

This is why Peter exclaimed to Christ, "Lord, we have given up everything to follow you." So, even though salvation is a free gift of God, there is a cost to following Christ, in fact, it is a price He demands we pay.

In Hebrews 11:24-25 we have the synopsis of Moses life which finishes with "choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God, that to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin."

Yes, you have to be willing to give up your sin, not that you won't sin again, but that Christ is more precious to you than sin's pleasures.

Morris

Morris Brooks said...

Oops, I meant to address to a helmet.

mb

a helmet said...

M.B.,

Thanks for answering,

"Grace demands no price," does not hold water biblically.

I could as well say, "grace is without works, or else is is not grace by definition". This, I think, is biblical according to Rom 11,6 - "If by grace then no more by works, for else grace is no more grace".

Grace that is mixed with works in the sense that the works function as a price for grace, is no grace at all. Grace is completely for free or else it is not real grace.


In Luke 14:25-33 that if we don't hate our own family and even our own life we can not be His disciples. We are told that unless we bear our own cross and come after him we can not be His disciple. He then goes on to tell us to count the cost with examples to illustrate what He means. He finishes this section with the admonition that any one who does not renounce all that he has cannot be His disciple.


This reminds me of the gospel according to the Book of Mormon which says
"if your deny yourselves of all ungodliness...then his grace is sufficient for you" which establishes a works + grace gospel. This is clearly contrary to the most fundamental protestant understanding of grace! Note, there is a pre-easter era of Jesus' ministry and a post-easter era. Surely the gospel of grace could only be realized after Jesus' completed mission. All of his pre-easter teachings must be understood in light of his glorious completed work after his entire mission was accredited by God by the resurrection.

Honestly: grace demands no price! Such is heretical.

Grace is absolutely free. It is the starting point! There is no requirement for grace. This is the core protestant doctrine.

Yes, you have to be willing to give up your sin, not that you won't sin again, but that Christ is more precious to you than sin's pleasures.


This again, sounds very, very similar to the gospel according to the Book of Mormon which only offers grace "after all we can do".

M.B. you will never do "all you can do" and never truly be willing to give up your sin, without God's grace. Grace must stand at the very beginning and it must be absolutely unconditional. If you are required to deny yourself of all ungodliness to begin with, you will never truly love God. If I tell you in the beginning you can receive God's grace but you must do this and deny that and so on, then this grace would not be free at all. It would demand a price you could never pay. This is why Luther was so disburdened when he found out that God's grace was really free and not based on his sacrificial dead works which were in reality nothing but hypocrisy.

Again, Grace must be absolutely conditional in order to be grace

Greetings
-a helmet

Morris Brooks said...

AH,

You can not give me one Scripture that says that Grace is free. It is Charis in the Greek and its meaning is unmerited favor, lovingkindness, merciful kindness, benefit, or a charitable disposition towards.

Charis is used 148 times in the NT, and never once is it referred to as free. God's grace is the means by which the free gift of salvation is given to man. Which is why the Ephesians 2:5 says you have been saved by grace. Paul then goes on in 2:8 to say that we have been saved by grace through faith and that our faith is the gift of God.

I never mentioned works, or working for your salvation. I did say that salvation is a free gift a la Ephesians 2:8-9, and Romans 5:15-17. My son being willing to let go of his sin and turn to God was not a work, but an act of faith, which had been given to him by the grace of God.

Instead of using Scripture to back up your points, you referred to the Book of Mormon. If you are are going to argue over Scripture then use Scripture. What the Book of Mormon does or doesn't say means nothing. It would be beneficial to you to know more of the Scriptures and less of the Book of Mormon.

Grace being absolutely free is not the core Protestant doctrine. The core Prostestant doctrine is salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. It was the five solas that were and are the bedrock of the Reformation and of the Protestant faith:

Sola Gratia
Sola Fide
Solus Christus
Sola Scriptura
Sola Deo Gloria

Your view of grace has no biblical support, in fact, it is much more than you have made it out to be. Look up its 148 uses and use them to construct your doctrine of grace.

Free grace, as it is used today, is just another subtle tentacle of Gnosticism and a product of hyper-dispensationalism.

Also, the word for work(s)is ergon. It is used 158 times in the NT. It would be good to go through those so that you can see how the Scriptures define works.

Morris

a helmet said...

Hello Morris Brooks,

you said
You can not give me one Scripture that says that Grace is free[...]unmerited favor, lovingkindness, merciful kindness, benefit, or a charitable disposition towards.


Unmerited means free. It is a gift. No price.

Paul then goes on in 2:8 to say that we have been saved by grace through faith and that our faith is the gift of God.

What about grace? Is it no gift? In order for grace to be a gift it must be free.

My son being willing to let go of his sin and turn to God was not a work, but an act of faith, which had been given to him by the grace of God.

And did the grace cost anything? Did he have to meet any prerequisites? No.

Grace being absolutely free is not the core Protestant doctrine.

What an incredible statement!
This sentence is the very opposite of everything the reformers stood for. If grace is not absolutely free, then it is truly an empty word. You might substitute it by a "Get-It-Now-Pay-Later" offer. No, no, a gift is a gift is a gift. It is free, or it is something meritorious.

I am sure that the vast majority of all Protestants agree with me here!

Free grace, as it is used today, is just another subtle tentacle of Gnosticism and a product of hyper-dispensationalism.

If that is true, then the "Solas" don't communicate much. For if grace is not free then "Sola Gratia" is meaningless. It is coupled with some price, whatever that might be.

What is the difference between "Grace demands a price" and "Grace demands works" ? I see no difference!

Also, the word for work(s)is ergon. It is used 158 times in the NT. It would be good to go through those so that you can see how the Scriptures define works.

In any case, works are contrasted with grace. They are mutually exclusive. Either -- or. Grace is independent of works. If grace nevertheless costs something , then it would be meritorious it would have to be worked for. There is ultimately no difference.

Or maybe the protestant grace-works-relation is altogether fallacious to begin with.

Greetings
-a helmet