Tom Haynie column sig

God must hate to see a person think he/she could become a Christian and still live in continuing sinful situations, such as living with someone in a sexual relationship without being married, continuing thievery, drunkenness, living in a homosexual relationship, or one of many other sinful lifestyles — and still be considered a Christian!

It is being taught today that God’s mercy will continue to forgive even when the person has made no attempt to repent or cease such sins!

Is God’s grace limited today? Either his grace IS limited, or grace alone can save.

Of course, we know that grace alone cannot save. Otherwise, the entire world, including the most wicked people who have ever lived, would be saved. God will not keep forgiving the person who thumbs his nose at his commands!

Jesus says more will be lost in Hell than will be permitted into Heaven. Matthew 7:13, 14 are powerful words of Jesus who promises that many will be lost, while only a few will follow the road to heaven.

The apostle John differentiated between two types of sin. “If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, but there is a sin not leading to death. We know that whoever is born of God does not continue in a sin, but he who has been born of God guards himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.” (I John 5:16-18)

Some have suggested this sin that leads to death is the unpardonable sin, and that all other sins are sins that do not lead to death. That makes no sense, though, since God uses such strong language in condemning certain sins that He especially hates. Many lists are found in the New Testament. I will gladly send a list to anyone who emails me a request.

One chapter, Colossians 3, shows a clear difference in two types of sins. I believe these are examples of sins leading to death in the first list, and sins not leading to death in the second. Read them in verse 5 and note the strong words of God in verse 6, “Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience.”

Verse 8 begins a second list that ends in verse 9, sins that are definitely wrong, but apparently not in the same category as those earlier listed. The first I would call sins of the flesh, the second sins of the heart, character sins.

The first involved something or someone else in the sin. The second just involves one’s own heart and character. It is easier to walk away from the first set of sins than it is to give up the second, because the second have been ingrained in one’s character.

“Thought sins” of anger, greed, lust and jealousy have to be worked on for many years to lessen them and come closer to God’s ideal. I believe these are the sins not leading to death, since God expects us to keep working on them, even through the Christian life.

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling …” Paul told the Philippians (2:12b) Encourage your congregation to evaluate themselves at the end of every month.

We should see monthly improvement, gradually forming the ideal Christian, with a whole lot of God’s help (Philippians 2:13), to the one He wants us to be.

You may contact Tom Haynie at tom.julie.haynie@gmail.com

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