Friday, July 31, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: What Is God's Attitude Toward Someone Who Falls Into Sin?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

If a child of God, perhaps a new convert, or one who is immature and weak, stumbles and staggers and falls into sin, what is God's attitude toward him? Does God remove from him His grace until he repents and is converted anew?

This question perplexes many people. For example, King David: he has committed adultery with Bathsheba; if he should die of a heart attack, is he a lost man? According to David himself, he realized that he came within a hair's breadth of being lost; he was terribly afraid that he had committed the unpardonable sin (see Psalm 51:11). Yes, there is great danger in sin. But is it because God cuts off His grace from us? Or could it be that we cut ourselves off?

The apostle John says there are two kinds of sin: (1) There is "a sin which does not lead to death"; we can pray for such a person. (2) "There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that" (1 John 5:16, 17). And John pleads with us: "My little children, ... I write to you, that you may not sin." But suppose someone stumbles into it? "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (2:1). Please note: the "Advocate" is still there even if we have sinned! John goes on to say that "He Himself is [present tense] the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world" (vs. 2).

There is only one possible conclusion: Christ is "the Savior of the world" (John 4:42), "the Savior of all men" (1 Tim. 4:10). A wise writer says that He has encircled the world with an atmosphere of grace as real as the air we breathe. The immature Christian who has fallen into sin has the same "Advocate" or "propitiation" as "the whole world"!

Paul enlarges on this truth in Hebrews 10:26-29: for anyone who has committed the unpardonable sin, "there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins." The unpardonable sin is serious! But ... and this "but" is important: for anyone who has not committed that final irrevocable sin, there does "remain a sacrifice for sins"! God's grace is still given, not merely offered, to him. Christ's "sacrifice" still avails, because His grace still "remains"! Repentance is possible; but it must be received.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 15, 2000.

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