Sin

The Greater Sin: Are There Degrees of Sin? (Part 4)

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The Unpardonable Sin Today?

In light of these and other passages, it seems difficult to deny that there is such a thing as an “unpardonable sin” or what Jesus calls, “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.” But the possibility of such a sin raises many difficult questions, especially for pastors. Was the unpardonable sin unique to the first century? Or is it still possible for someone to commit this sin today? If so, how shall we counsel the struggling soul who believes he has commit­ted this sin and can no longer be forgiven? Can we know whether someone has committed this sin? If so, should we pray for their salvation or refrain from doing so?

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The Greater Sin: Are There Degrees of Sin? (Part 3)

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There is an unpardonable sin.

Jesus’ greatest critics were the scribes and the Pharisees. As we have seen above, they were religious men who possessed much biblical knowledge but who refused to submit to God’s will. On one occasion, they actually accuse Jesus of per­forming miracles by the power of the devil rather than by the power of God. Jesus’ response is tremendously sobering:

Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blas­phemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation (Mark 3:28-29).

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The Greater Sin: Are There Degrees of Sin? (Part 2)

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Why does God treat some sin more seriously than other sin? The answer to that question depends upon at least two factors: the degree of light the sinner possesses, and the degree of intention involved in the sin. Let’s consider each of these in turn.

1. The degree of one’s guilt is relative to the degree of one’s knowledge of truth.

In Luke 12:47-48, Jesus teaches this principle by way of an illustration:

And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare him­self or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.

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The Greater Sin: Are There Degrees of Sin? (Part 1)

Are there degrees of sin? The simple answer to that question is “yes.” Jesus himself acknowledged degrees of sin when He said to Pilate, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin” (John 19:11). In light of Christ’s words, we must acknowledge degrees of sin. However, we must also beware of drawing unbiblical conclusions from this truth.

In the article below, I want to examine the Bible’s teaching on degrees of sin. We will note that the Scriptures treat all human sin as serious. Nevertheless, some sins are more serious than others. Moreover, we will give some space to consider the most egregious sin, namely, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Before we launch into our study, though, I would like to describe and refute the Roman Catholic distinction between “mortal” and “venial” sins.1

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Correct Ways to Correct: Addressing Sin in the Church

From The Cripplegate, with permission.

Some believe he was the greatest tennis player of all time. He finished as the world’s top-seeded player four years in a row and spent a total of 170 weeks in that top spot. He won Wimbledon three times and the US Open four times, and finished his career with 77 singles titles and 78 doubles titles, which remains the highest men’s combined total of the Open Era.

But most of us probably don’t remember him for those stats.

We know him for his harsh words fired mercilessly at umpires in fits of outrage and unbridled temper tantrums. Who else could I be referring to other than John McEnroe?

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The Biblical Conception of Sin

(About this series)

CHAPTER I — THE BIBLICAL CONCEPTION OF SIN

BY REV. THOMAS WHITELAW, M. A., D. D., KILMARNOCK, AYRSHIRE, SCOTLAND

Holy Scripture undertakes no demonstration of the reality of sin. In all its statements concerning sin, sin is presupposed as a fact which can neither be controverted nor denied, neither challenged nor obscured. It is true that some reasoners, through false philosophy and materialistic science, refuse to admit the existence of sin, but their endeavors to explain it away by their respective theories is sufficient proof that sin is no figment of the imagination but a solid reality. Others who are not thinkers may sink so far beneath the power of sin as to lose all sense of its actuality, their moral and spiritual natures becoming so hardened and fossilized as to be “past feeling,” in which case conviction of sin is no more possible, or at least so deteriorated and unimpressible that only a tremendous upheaval within their souls, occasioned perhaps by severe affliction, but brought about by the inward operation of the Spirit of God, will break up the hard crust of moral numbness and religious torpor in which their spirits are encased. A third class of persons, by simply declining to think about sin, may come in course of time to conclude that whether sin be a reality or not, it does not stand in any relation to them and does not concern them—in which case once more they are merely deceiving themselves. The truth is that it

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From the Archives: 1 John 3:9 – Those “Born of God” Do Not Sin?

Reprinted with permission from Faith Pulpit, November/December ‘05

Four views that appeal to this verse

1. The works-righteousness view

This view teaches that one earns or keeps salvation by good works, and thus that the person who chooses to sin has forfeited any right to heaven. This view contradicts the Bible’s clear teaching on salvation as God’s gift through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), purchased for us not by our works but by the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross (Romans 3:24-25, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:24).

2. The instantaneous sanctification/Wesleyan view

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