Question of the Week: Does God Give Believers Up To Their Sin?
This question is in reference to a passage discussing non-believers. While it is true that God allows His people to sin, the passage being quoted to describe the deeper implications of that would not be appropriate to apply to believers.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
Romans 1:28 (NKJV)
If the act of God “giving up” a believer to their sin is possible in this sense, then they would have been mentioned. The problem is that the verse itself specifically mentions this kind of giving over as a direct consequence of people not liking to retain God in their knowledge. A willful rejection of God does not sound like the behavior of a believer.
How then does God allow believers to sin if it isn’t in this sense? In matters of discipline, we have examples of God allowing His children to see the full consequences of their sin with the intention of ultimately saving them from a worse state down the road. (1 Corinthians 5:4-5) In matters of salvation, we are told that acknowledging the sins we commit are a prerequisite for being forgiven for them. (1 John 1:8-10) And in matters of sanctification, we are told that our struggle against sin is a daily one. (Galatians 2:17-20) In order for there to be a struggle, there needs to be a legitimate adversary. The assumptions that God permanently separates Himself from Christians who fall into even the most grievous sins, that Christians don’t sin after coming to Christ, and that our salvation before God is dependent on our ceasing from sin are not biblical ideas. Our salvation is dependent on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross for the sins we struggle with daily. The fact that there is a struggle proves the Spirit had fundamentally altered our natures from what they were. We can’t allow the legalistic and pride-based assumptions to corrupt our understanding of our relationship with God. The best case scenario is that you deceive yourself into never dealing with your sin because of your unwillingness to acknowledge it as God brings it to your attention. The worst case scenario is that you give up on having a relationship with God that was never properly defined to begin with.
A Reason For Hope is a ministry of Calvary Christian Fellowship of Tucson
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