Defiant Sin

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The Bible makes it clear that even after becoming a Christian people can reject Jesus and lose their salvation.  The entire book of Hebrews would not have needed to be written if this weren’t the case.  The Hebrew author states, “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame” (Heb. 6:4-6).  It is possible to “fall away” from the faith.  The Hebrew writer writes his epistle specifically to encourage them not to fall away, since a judgment would await them if they did: “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries” (Heb. 10:26-27).

The apostle Peter speaks of the same possibility: “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first” (2 Pet. 2:20).

Why is this important to understand?  More and more self-proclaimed Christians and congregations are accepting of so-called Christian friends and family who are knowingly living in sin.  While we are all sinners, Christians are not supposed to willfully continue to live in sin.  If we had to separate ourselves from all sinners, then we wouldn’t be able to fellowship with anyone.  However, God distinguishes very clearly from those who sin and repent versus those who choose to sin willfully.  The same thing we see in Hebrews was true in the covenant of Moses:

But the person who does anything defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming the Lord; and that person shall be cut off from among his people.  Because he has despised the word of the Lord and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt will be on him.” (Num. 15:30-31).

Since we know that we’re all sinners, is there really that big of a difference between defiant sin and any other sin?  God’s word says yes.  The difference is one of intent, and it is important to distinguish.  When we are weak and succumb to temptation, even when we know we shouldn’t, it is not a defiant sin, so long as true repentance occurs.  It is when we choose to stop fighting and make up our minds to continue in sin that we are rebelling against God with a high hand.

This is a very important distinction to make when it comes to who we fellowship with.  We cannot have as part of our body someone who is in open defiance to God’s will.  A person living in adultery or brazenly embracing a vice will defile the body of Christ (1 Cor. 5:7).  On the other hand, we can have a group of people who are struggling to overcome temptation and fail from time to time (1 Jn. 1:8-9).  This doesn’t make any sin less important, but the motives of our heart make a big difference.  There is a sacrifice that has been made for the humble heart, and with that we can have union.  Let us all continue to strive together to overcome our temptations through the power, grace, and forgiveness of Christ.

1 Response to “Defiant Sin”

  1. Pete Green August 30, 2016

    Matt,
    Great point for all Christians to remember, no such suggestion in Bible as once saved always saved. We are using these lessons as part of our daily Bible study.
    Thanks,
    Pete & jim


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