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Repentance, Repentance, Repentance…where’s the faith?

with 48 comments

I’ve been thinking lately about the preaching of Repentance.  In many circles “Repentance” has kinda become the new buzz word.  In reality this should be a good thing because so much of modern Christianity refuses to preach any kind of repentance.  Yet, like any biblical truth if it’s taught, presented, or preached in an unbiblical manner it can do more harm than good.  In fact, I’ve seen many believers come under a weight of despair and hopelessness under so called repentance preaching.  I think some of the problem has to do with the fact that many have a faulty definition or idea of what repentance is and others don’t know how (in relation to believers) to preach repentance in a way that brings life to those they are preaching too. 

Many for some reason have the idea that the word repent or repentance means to stop sinning.  They equate repentance with the action of stopping something that God considers sin or doesnt’ like.  While this is true it’s only partially true.  Partial truth can bring about a false repentance or lead believers to a place of frustration in their walk with the Lord.  Strong’s defines repentance as:  “to think differently, to reconsider”.  To be a little more clear it in essence means to be convinced and change our mind and agree with God.  Repentance starts in the mind and heart and then leads to a change in our life.  This is exactly what John the Baptist says in Luke 3:8 when he says:  “Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance,”.  In other words, if you have truly repented, been convinced – changed your mind and agree with God, then produce actions that now agree with your convictions.  True repentance is not just a changing of behaviour but primarily is a changing of the way one believes.  Changing one’s behaviour without the truth needed to change one’s mind can lead to a false repentance and a frustrated life. 

 I find that often when a BELIEVER is involved in a sin (pick your sin) and it’s something that has a hold on their life that many times other believers will tell them of their sin and tell them to repent.  While it’s true a believer who is in known sin needs to repent the preaching of repentance is often not enough (especially in this day and age when many believers seem to be lacking in understanding a lot of biblical truth).  I think a great example of confronting believers with their sin, with the expectation of seeing repentance, is found in the book of 1 Corinthians.  Specifically Chapter 6.  Notice how at the beginning of the chapter Paul is chastising/rebuking the Corinthians for suing each other (taking each other to court).  Not only that, they were doing so in front of non-believers and have them judge the matter.  He is rebuking the believers for defrauding each other and because they would rather go to court than suffer wrong.  (1 Cor 6:7,8)  These believers are openly sinning against each other.   Paul then goes on to tell them that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God by stating:  “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  Paul rebukes these BELIEVERS and tells them that if they continue to practice these things they will not inherit the kingdom of God.  In dealing with a believer who is in sin.. here is where I find that most people stop their preaching.  They confront the sin and then tell them the consequence of continuing on in that sin.  But Paul didn’t stop there and this I believe is vitally important to know.  Paul continues on as says….”AND such WERE some of you, but ye WERE washed, but ye WERE sanctified, but ye WERE justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of God. (1 Cor 6:11)  Paul reminds them of what had happened to them as believers in Jesus Christ.  He is sharing these wonderful truths that are true for these believers in an effort to remind them and to get them to BELIEVE what they have in Christ.  In short, he is moving beyond preaching repentance and is preaching FAITH.  He wants them to see what they’ve been given in Christ so they can walk in it.  As they believe these truths the truths will become a reality in their lives.  That is where I see a break down in much of the repentance preaching today.  It consist primarily in preaching about sin and very little with helping the believer see who they are in Christ.  Preaching sin and repentance (to a believer) without helping them see what Christ has done for them and what they have been given in Christ can often times lead a believer to a place of frustration.  FAITH is the missing element in most repentance preaching today. 

I’ve practically seen this play out again and again in believers lives.  For example, I’ve know several believers who have been in bondage to the sin of lust.  They even hated it while they were in it but felt powerless to overcome.  They had heard the repentance messages over and over again.  They knew they need to repent but found themselves often powerless to overcome this sin.  What they needed was not more repentance preaching what they needed was what Paul preached AFTER rebuking the Corinthians.. they need to hear 1 Cor 6:11.  They need to be reminded of who they were in Christ and what Christ had done for them.  In one instance a brother I know found complete deliverance because he came to understand the wonderful truths in Romans 6.  It was the revelation that his old man WAS crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6), that he WAS (already) freed from sin (Romans 6:7), and that sin WOULD NOT have dominion over him (Romans 6:14).  As he received this BY FAITH he found the power to walk in this truth.  FAITH in what Christ had already done for him brought about repentance.  He had been convinced of the truth about himself in God’s word and found the power to walk in it.  That is what is entirely lacking in much of today’s “repentance preaching”.  We have to ask ourselves…what is the goal of repentance preaching?  Is it to merely get a believer to stop a certain sin…to change their behaviour?  Or should our goal be to get a believer to see who they are in Christ and help them walk in this truth?  That should be our ultimate goal with believers.  To help them grow into the fullness of who they are in Christ.  To receive all that they ALREADY have in Christ.  Repentance and faith MUST go hand in hand for there to be true repentance.

Now some, especially in certain theological camps, would say that a true believer would not come into a place of deep sin.  They would say that if you’re born of God that you will bear fruit and that fruit will be a lifestyle of Holiness for the believer.  They would say that if a believer is overcome with lust or some other sin that they were never converted and need to be born again.  This however, while sometimes true, is not always true.  1 Cor 6 (and almost the whole book of 1 Cor) shows that believers can and do sin and do not always produce a life that consistently bears fruit.  In Corinthians Paul address these BELIEVERS and confronts them with their sin.  He is very clear that these ARE God’s children by his statement in 1 Cor 6:13.  Paul does exactly what we should do when we see a believer in sin…warn them of their sin and the consequence of continuing in it (not inheriting God’s kingdom)..but also reminding them of what they’ve already received in Jesus Christ.  I’m not saying that a believer will live their whole life in willful sin and die in it (nor is there any comfort, assurance, or security when one abides in that state by any means).  That is not the abiding mark of a believer.  But there is a place where a believer falls and needs to be brought out of their sin so they can continue to grow in Christ.  And while many believers are preached to as if they need to be converted for the first time I believe in many cases they need to be rebuked/corrected and then shown who they are in Christ and HOW to walk in an overcoming way.

So in regards to a believer, when preaching repentance, let us not forget to preach FAITH and give them the means to bring about true repentance.

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Written by Sean Scott

March 1, 2010 at 1:29 am

Posted in Uncategorized

48 Responses

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  1. Brother-

    Great insight, this reminds me of how the Lord worked in my life. I heard a lot of repentance preaching and knew that I should not be in bondage to lust as a follower of Christ but hadn’t heard of the great and mighty victory that He had purchased for us on the cross and who I was in Him. That is what actually effected and changed my heart and gave me the victory. I remember praying for a long time that I would not keep sinning, but even while I was praying I would think “you are just going to fall right back into it again today”. That was not a prayer of faith, I didn’t even know that Christ died to save us from our sin (only Gods judgment) let alone believe such a thing at that time. Then I spent one summer following a young zealous brother around Detroit as he witnessed to other people and that is when I started to really hear and understand both the warning and encouragement of these verses.

    It reminds me in a greater sense how the use of the law, judgment, and punishment are all Holy means whereby we can be lead to Christ who is the end of the law (including bondage to the sinful passions it arouses and the judgment that it brings) for everyone that believes. I find that true not just in the initial conversion of a man but as a continuing theme in the Christian walk too. When we slip or find we are short in an attitude or area we should turn in confession and look to Christ, remembering what He has done for us. Not so we can continue in sin, but because this is where the true victory is found, beholding Him. Like you said though, it is a really bad thing when the end (Christ, His mercy, victory, righteousness, deliverance) is never revealed. It is like telling someone who is lost, confused, and in danger that they need to “go somewhere else” without telling them where to go or how to get there!

    There are two other places in the New Testament that I can think of also that give similar warnings to professing believers followed by an encouragement. 1 John 3:3-9 and Hebrews 10:26-39 I would really encourage any professing believer who is under the weight of guilt and shame from continuing in a known sin to meditate on these verses.

    In Christ,

    Jim

    fleebabylon

    March 2, 2010 at 3:33 am

  2. Without any desire to take away from what you have said, can I add that we escape the wickedness in this world through lust, not through fear of going to hell. If fire preaching can stun a person for the moment and warn them of the wages of sin, that is up to God to perform. But the power to depart from evil is found in the desire for the things that are everlasting, upholding the highness of God and a lust for his treasures and earnestly seeking for them. No one will ever lust for that which the preachers they listen to, uphold as some sort of common thing, easy come easy go, or some sort of spiritual discipline that only the smart can acquire. The only way that one will lust for the highness of God, is being influenced by preachers who are overcome with their own desire for the great riches of God which they have freely received and uphold the value, to the extent that one would sell all that they have for that one field containing that pearl of great price. Three things, the blood of the Lamb, yes that testimony that one holds to by faith and because they loved not their lives unto death. No one can convince others of that which they really are not convinced of themselves.
    Robert Begnaud

    Robert Begnaud

    March 2, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    • Hi Robert,

      I agree with most of what you are saying and undertand the point your making. However, I’m not sure I would say people escape this world by lusting for the things of God. I don’t believe that’s what the verse in 2 Peter is saying.

      4Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:4) KJV

      Seems to me this verse is saying this world is corrupt through (because of) lust. Because men lust after everything but God. We escape the corruption that is in the world through believing faith in Jesus Christ…..through the Spirit of God revealing what God has done for us through the death and resurrection of Christ.

      Sean Scott

      March 3, 2010 at 12:51 am

  3. Well Sean, I have always read it that way, I don’t think that the word “lust” has to always mean lust in a bad and sinful way. Even if I am wrong about the use of this scripture, I am not wrong on the overall concept or wisdom of the issue. Faith comes by hearing and how shall they believe in whom they have not heard? Having faith requires the presented image “The everlasting Word of God”, Jesus, and one places their faith in the true Jesus, God and creator. And one’s desire becomes focused on the riches of God, not loving their lives unto death. I am sorry, it is hard to find words for what I am saying. If the image of a perfectly righteous, holy God of perfect wisdom and love is portrayed as a learned doctrine that we must believe, perhaps we can call that “the gospel” rather than a life, as we seek to be conformed to the image of Jesus, then our faith is a dead faith. To have a faith that saves requires a living image to place our faith in and we know that Jesus is the only worthy image. That faith then is demonstrated and made plain for all to see by desire for God. It is then desire that results from true faith that moves us into action and away from sin. “Love not the world neither the things that are in the world, if any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him.” “Where a man’s treasure is, there will be his heart also” Sin comes from the wicked lust of the heart, so if our heart is after God and are treasures there pertain to the riches of God, then how can both light and darkness rule the same heart simultaneously?
    Robert Begnaud

    Robert Begnaud

    March 3, 2010 at 1:50 am

  4. Sean, I hear what you’re saying brother.

    There is a line that is crossed sometimes, whereby Jesus and His glory is obscured by emphasis on repentance.

    Similarly, many think the ‘repentance preachers’ are so anointed, but i’ve not felt that.

    (edited per Ian)

    ian vincent

    March 3, 2010 at 3:05 am

    • There is a line that is crossed sometimes, whereby Jesus and His glory is obscured by emphasis on repentance.

      Definitely. Even more so what I’m trying to say is that when a “believer” is involved in sin it’s sometimes not enough to just say repent and believe Jesus. Sometimes there needs to be instruction on what we have in Christ…who we are in Christ..and HOW to overcome in Christ. Today it seems like many just want to preach repent of this or repent of that without really helping the believer understand all that we are and have in Christ Jesus (the very substance of things hoped for).

      Sean Scott

      March 3, 2010 at 8:13 pm

      • Amen, Sean.

        It’s interesting you touched on this passage:

        1Co 6:9 Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
        1Co 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
        1Co 6:11 And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

        Bcos the other day i was communicating with a brother i’ve known for 20 years and who is somewhat of a theologian, and he’s backslid over many years and now confesses that he is an alcoholic. I gave him this scripture. He replied that it doesn’t apply to him bcos it says “you were” such, you aren’t anymore. So, even though he admits he is an alcoholic he doesn’t admit that these warnings apply to him, to Christians, as he believes that Christians cant lose salvation.

        ian vincent

        March 4, 2010 at 12:59 am

  5. Another point is that there’s a difference between true conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit, and guilt over sin. That is, some preachers have the ability to make people feel guilty, but it’s not the convicting of the Holy Spirit.

    But thankfully the Word of God will convict, and is the incorruptible seed.

    ian vincent

    March 3, 2010 at 4:16 am

  6. May I add since you brought up the subject Jim, so I blame you. I have had my clashes with Andrew Strom, to him I am angry man. I have been to his house for a prayer meeting when he lived near us and he hung the phone up on me once when he did not like what I was saying. I don’t get the idea that this man knows the love of God at all and I would guess if you were more close to his family that you would see sin that might surprise you. I don’t know anything but the strong impression I got when attending his pray meeting. Andrew Strom is about bring back the good ole days of revival and he wishes to see crying and weeping in “church buildings” so he can be admitted into the hall of famous repentance preachers. You cannot spend to much time around Andrew without hearing about the great revivals of the past, he studies them and wishes to duplicate them. The only problem and I have told him this, God is NOT going to do this, he is calling his people out of the Harlot church system, because he is and is going to judge the Harlot. It seems to me that Andrew wants to save the Harlot by holding “show revivals” rather than forsake her, as the scriptures warn! I don’t believe him when he reports back on his great successes of revival, I think it is an outward show and I think that he needs to repent. Of course before anyone can repent, as Sean said, they need to come to the place where they agree with God or why would anyone repent? Nothing to repent of! I continue to say and it doesn’t appear that anyone, including Andrew, is listening; God is calling Christians to a state of mournfulness rather than rejoicing. That is the true repentance we are so in need of today!

    Isaiah 22:12 And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth:
    13 And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die.
    14 And it was revealed in mine ears by the LORD of hosts, Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.
    Well there you have it, don’t go telling Andrew on me now, just being honest and upfront, I believe that is the way God wants me to be.
    Robert Begnaud

    Robert Begnaud

    March 3, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    • I checked out you website Robert. We have a lot in common. I was also a worship leader in the AOG, 1988,89, and the LORD suddenly plucked me “out of babylon” and i never went back.

      I maybe shouldn’t have mentioned Andrew Strom’s name, as i didnt want to start something about him!

      There clearly is an “industry” and when you meet such a people it’s always evident that they are trying to get their slice of the industry pie, their piece of the action.

      I also agree on the point of John McArthur, that there’s something deeply suspicious about his foundations. Which is another subject. I do wonder how people who’ve never been filled with the Holy Spirit can study, write and preach so much.

      ianvincent.india@gmail.com

      http://ianvincent.wordpress.com/

      ian vincent

      March 4, 2010 at 1:50 am

      • Glad to hear from you Ian, sorry I called you Jim. Yea I just never cease to be amazed at the level of deception present around us. The danger that I am most alert to is not those who are clearly apostate, you know the Benny Hinn’s, Joel Olsteen types; but those who seem to some degree or another, right on, and wish to be seen as the voice of so called “Biblical – historical – Christianity”. Many people who hear of my problem with Mac Arthur, have a hard time with it, this dude is so good at the facade he portrays, it is just hard for most people to see through it. It is just so crystal clear to me, we could sit down and listen to Mac Arthur and I would be pointing out the words coming from the spirit of this man, out of the abundance of his heart. The man is on the harlot’s side, not on the side of scattered Saints. Well that’s all for now. I hope you all understand that I don’t mention names because I hate anyone or hold grudges or have some sort of an axe to grind, I say what I believe I know is true and appreciate when others are as honest about what they believe. I would much rather have others tell me what they think to my face, than force me to second guess why I just can tell that something just quite isn’t right between us.
        God Bless,
        Robert Begnaud

        Robert Begnaud

        March 4, 2010 at 4:30 am

  7. In response to Robert’s post previously contrasting true faith and dead faith.

    This is a phenomenon in evangelicalism, that you can have a man like Billy Graham, who all his life preached the gospel and then only when he was in his seventies did he receive assurance of salvation, he said.

    He knew the doctrine of assurance but did not have assurance.

    Rom 10:10a For with the heart man believes unto righteousness…

    ian vincent

    March 5, 2010 at 12:36 am

  8. My theologian friend, who is an alcoholic, has been emailing me, and here’s my latest reply to him:

    Have faith in God. Don’t be unbelieving. You are where you are now bcos of unbelief.

    I pray the Blood of Jesus will cleanse your conscience from dead works, to serve the living God.
    ————————————

    We are praying for him, pls someone else pray with us. I won’t mention his name, but Jesus knows who he is.

    ian vincent

    March 6, 2010 at 1:30 am

  9. Re: “I’ve been thinking lately about the preaching of Repentance. In many circles “Repentance” has kinda become the new buzz word. In reality this should be a good thing because so much of modern Christianity refuses to preach any kind of repentance. Yet, like any biblical truth if it’s taught, presented, or preached in an unbiblical manner it can do more harm than good. ”
    .
    .
    .
    An “unBiblical manner” : That speaks to me.

    Why is there a preacher’s persona on stage and a different one when talking one to one or with a few in your living room? Why does a preacher become a different person on stage than what he is when he’s in your home discussing the things of the LORD with you over coffee?

    It’s bcos man has created his own paradigm of what church is, which is removed from the reality of speaking and relating eyeball to eyeball respectfully with those you love. This is a systemic problem.

    ian vincent

    March 7, 2010 at 1:03 am

  10. Might as well put the same comment here as I did on your blog.

    Yes Ian,
    I don’t know if you have read Charles Newbold’s book “The Harlot Church System”, I read it recently and enjoyed it very much. Reading this book simply confirmed and reminded me of what the Lord has been showing me for years about proclaiming Christianity. These men love the praise of men, rather than the praise that can only come from God, they love the chief seats in the room. I know some who would recommend the above book to others, yet themselves pal around with and befriend the very people the book exposes as the perpetrators of this Harlot System. I say if one claims they are for you, only to be found conspiring with your enemies, I would say they are really your enemy at heart. Watch out for men who earn an income in their “service” or “ministry”, they can’t be trusted, sad but so true!
    Face to face is where real ministry and love occurs. Don’t trust anyone who separates themselves from the common folks!
    Robert

    Robert Begnaud

    March 7, 2010 at 11:35 am

    • Hey Guys,

      (Sorry for the delayed reply)

      I didn’t really mean this to become a discussion about ministries and certain “ministers”. My main point was that with repentance preaching (to believers) there should also be a preaching of who they are in Christ and helping them see what Christ has already accomplished for them.

      Robert.. there are two statements in your last response that I have to disagree with.

      I know some who would recommend the above book to others, yet themselves pal around with and befriend the very people the book exposes as the perpetrators of this Harlot System. I say if one claims they are for you, only to be found conspiring with your enemies, I would say they are really your enemy at heart.

      I know that not everyone has the same convictions or comes to the same revelation on all things at the same time. I’m certainly not comfortable saying that true brethren who are in what is considered a traditional system are an enemy. Nor do I believe that just because someone fellowships with someone in a traditional (harlot) sytem that are they an enemy even if they believe differently that those in that system. There was a time years ago when I did not understand things as I do now. I’m glad people did not consider me their enemy.

      Watch out for men who earn an income in their “service” or “ministry”, they can’t be trusted, sad but so true!

      Brother…

      While for a lot of people ministry is simply a business for them.. it is not forbidden for one who labors in the gospel to “earn and income” or to be supported in their work. Nor does it mean that they can’t be trusted.

      Sean Scott

      March 12, 2010 at 5:13 am

      • Sean,
        You can disagree with me if you like, but I cannot give you the hands on experience I have had all of my life in a few short sentences. If you haven’t read the Liars Club on my site, maybe you should, I have been around the block a few times and that isn’t arrogant, it is just true. Having said that, let me say that I want ALL of God’s people whether they are in the harlot church system or not to repent and serve the Lord in truth. I don’t want to be anyone’s enemy, but the facts are before me and what I can see is crystal clear to me. If I name names and give you specific reasons for my judgment then I would be considered attacking some one else, I would be defeated in your mind just because. Saul before he became Paul the Apostle was an enemy of the called out ones, he persecuted the Saints. The fact that he would be converted to the truth one day did not change his enemy status. I hope that many people who have persecuted me over the years and have been the enemy of myself and people like me, will repent and turn to the Lord in truth. But don’t give me your sympathy for those who hate their brothers and despise the weak things that God has chosen. I have sympathy for the sheep NOT for those who EAT them! Those who do not repent and leave the harlot system are going to be lost and they will and have persecuted true Saints and anyone who does this is NOT my friend nor is anyone who is a friend to them either. I don’t hate them, I just have come to realize that they are enemies of my soul. And I don’t know one soul who I would trust any further than I could throw them, who makes a living at “God”! If I just stepped on your favorite preacher, sorry.
        Robert Begnaud

        Robert Begnaud

        March 12, 2010 at 10:46 am

  11. I have a few remarks I would like to make about this post.

    First of all, the overall exhortation of this post is excellent. I completely agree with what Sean is saying about repentance and what it is, and how it is intrinsically and essentially linked together with faith. In fact, I personally believe that biblical repentance and biblical faith are two words describing the same act of conversion, or in other words, in the Bible they are basically synonyms which each emphasize a different aspect of conversion. They are not separate things that are in a dichotomy with one another. So we must not see them as a dichotomy; true repentance preaching will exalt Christ and glory in the cross and magnify the Person and work of Christ in salvation (compare Peter’s sermon in Acts 2). And true faith preaching, blessed by the divine illumination of the Spirit of God, will cause hearts and minds to rise up to sit in Heavenly places with Christ, being “in Him” (in Paul’s favorite terminology) and thus having victory over sin and the world. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. (1Jn 5:4)

    Along these lines, sometimes Jesus and His Apostles only mention repentance. At other times, they only mention faith. The two are only a few times mentioned explicitly together (e.g. Mark 1:15, Acts 20:21, Heb. 6:1). But in all cases, they are presenting different aspects of the same act of conversion, and it is assumed by the biblical authors that repentance includes faith, and faith includes repentance, hence the reason that the majority of the time instructions are given for conversion, only one of the two is mentioned (e.g. Luke 13:3, Acts 16:31 to name a couple).

    But though this is the manner of conversion, and “repent and believe” is the instructions that need to be given to a soul in need of conversion, this in itself is not the major theme or message of the Bible, or of the NT. The actual theme is Christ. Philip went to Samaria and preached Christ. Peter throughout Acts preached Christ. Paul did the same. In their epistles the constant theme is Christ. He is exalted in all His glorious attributes and His perfect finished work of redemption is constantly glorified. This causes both sinners to convert, and saints to fall more and more in love with Jesus, working in them a greater sanctification by faith. So certainly there is always a danger of taking the means to the end (repentance) and allowing those means to become the end in itself, and therefore a form of idolatry (exalting the person’s response over and above exalting Christ). And if this happens we end up with a perverted Gospel. The signposts are supposed to point us to the destination, but if the signposts obstruct the road and the vision, they have lost their purpose and become more harmful than helpful.

    I also say a heart “amen” to brother Jim’s comments:

    “It reminds me in a greater sense how the use of the law, judgment, and punishment are all Holy means whereby we can be lead to Christ who is the end of the law (including bondage to the sinful passions it arouses and the judgment that it brings) for everyone that believes. I find that true not just in the initial conversion of a man but as a continuing theme in the Christian walk too. When we slip or find we are short in an attitude or area we should turn in confession and look to Christ, remembering what He has done for us. Not so we can continue in sin, but because this is where the true victory is found, beholding Him. Like you said though, it is a really bad thing when the end (Christ, His mercy, victory, righteousness, deliverance) is never revealed. It is like telling someone who is lost, confused, and in danger that they need to “go somewhere else” without telling them where to go or how to get there!”

    Also, repentance is not just needed for the unconverted, but I firmly believe that a true child of God should live a lifestyle of repentance. And there are constant buffetings and infirmities and yes, even sins, which blast against the sons of God like a cold winter wind blasts against warm flesh, trying to freeze our devotion to God and afflict us with the sting of sin. And at times, a true believer will fall into sin (I need not quote a text here because the whole bible is full of examples of saints who fell into sin). But just as no man in his right man stands out in the freezing cold of the middle of winter unprotected, and takes no enjoyment in spending all his time in the freezing outdoors in unbearable temperatures, since it is not in his nature to enjoy such things, likewise a child of God is outside of his true nature when in sin, and is constantly fighting against it. And just as no man can dwell in such freezing outdoor temperatures but is in need of shelter, so a child of God can not dwell continually and habitually in a state of sin. If he stays there he will be destroyed. And if he’s destroyed, he was no true child of God to begin with.

    So where I want to digress from what brother Sean wrote is where he began to say:

    “I’ve practically seen this play out again and again in believers lives. For example, I’ve know several believers who have been in bondage to the sin of lust. They even hated it while they were in it but felt powerless to overcome…They knew they need to repent but found themselves often powerless to overcome this sin.”

    Now, I don’t know these believers that Sean is mentioning so my comments here are in no way meant to judge them or the state of their soul before God, so I dare not presume to judge another man who will stand or fall before his own Master. But I have a problem with the Bible-contradicting terminology of this statement (and the last two paragraphs). Can I critique it in brotherly love?

    What is Bible-contradictory is saying that these were true believers but “in bondage to sin”. Furthermore, “they were powerless to overcome”. Brother, this is not the teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that Christ remits a man’s sin yet leaves him in bondage to that sin. No, when God justifies the ungodly, He remits the guilt and punishment due to sin through the blood of Christ, but just as repentance and faith are inseperable, so are justification and sanctification. The whole teaching of Romans 6 is that as justified believers in Christ (Romans 3, 4, and 5 details justification) we are no longer under bondage to sin. “How can we who died to sin live any longer in it!” (Rom. 6:2). In other words, those who pass through the justification of Romans 4 and 5 will pass through the sanctification of Romans 6, and if there is no reality of Romans 6 in their lives, then there’s no reality of Romans 4 and 5 in their lives, which means they are not saved. “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.” (Rom 6:6-7) We have died with Christ and risen again with Him, born again, and therefore, we have died and we are set free from sin. There is no “IF” here when it’s talking about what happens to the justified. If you are born of God, you are no longer living under the bondage of sin. Yes as believers we need to be reminded of this and such will cause us to build more faith in our inheritance in Christ. But you cannot say that the one born of God can live in a state of habitual sin and be under its bondage. “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” (Rom 6:22)

    God justifies the wicked, the sinner, the sick, but He doesn’t leave them wicked and sinful. If they continue in such wickedness, it proves they were never justified. Those who are saved will evidence their salvation in holiness and walking in the Spirit (Rom. 8)

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Gal 5:22-24)

    Those who belong to Christ HAVE crucified (past tense) the flesh with its affections and lusts. There is no belonging to Christ without the cross having its deep work in you. Those who practice the works of the flesh will not be saved. These are absolute truths, not relative truths.

    The one who is truly saved will not practice sin, indeed, he CANNOT practice sin. There is an impossibility stated: “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God” (1Jn 3:9) Instead, the truly saved WILL practice righteousness: “Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous” (1Jn 3:7). Notice it doesn’t say: “The one who is highly displeased with himself on behalf of the sin he practices is born of God”. –No, it says simply that he cannot practice sin. Why? Because there is a divine power at work within him, despite his shortcomings, despite his ignorance, despite his many weaknesses, there is a POWER of God Almighty at work within him which keeps him in habitual righteousness. The true believer will “purify himself even as He is pure” (v. 3). This is present, ongoing tense in Greek. The true believer literally “will be purifying himself” constantly, continually, habitually. If he sins, he will go to the great Lawyer in the Heavens (2:1), but he will not live in such sin as a lifestyle. It is impossible.

    This is proven over and over again throughout the whole New Testament.

    Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Mat 5:19-20)… “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. (Mat 5:27-30)

    Obviously, Jesus believes that living in bondage to sexual lust will send a person to Hell. There is no other clear interpretation to His plain, powerful, and fearful words. We just need to bow down and say, “Yes, Lord, your word is truth”.

    “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (Joh 8:31-32)

    Only those who continue in His Word are truly His disciples. And He promises them freedom. Freedom from what? The context is clear that it’s freedom from the bondage of sin. So how can we say that someone is a true believer and living in bondage to sin? It plainly contradicts the clear teachings of the Lord. Jesus did not commit Himself to save all those who professed faith in Him (John 2:23-25). But Jesus told His true disciples, now Judas excluded: “Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.” (Joh 15:3) They were washed already, cleansed by faith in Him.

    “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” (Joh 15:10) If we don’t keep His commandments, we don’t have His redeeming love within us. I mean, there is so much clear Scripture talking in this manner that this is not an issue of debate. Just one read through the New Testament screams out to us that without holiness no man shall see the Lord. The road is narrow. What right do we have to look at experience and use that experience to interpret Scripture for us, saying that these verses don’t mean what they say because we know “real believers” who are in bondage to habitual sin??? All true believers are disciples, and all disciples look to Christ as Lord and Master, Rabbi and Counselor. They will keep His Word, not perfectly, but habitually.

    Sean continued: “Now some, especially in certain theological camps, would say that a true believer would not come into a place of deep sin. They would say that if you’re born of God that you will bear fruit and that fruit will be a lifestyle of Holiness for the believer. They would say that if a believer is overcome with lust or some other sin that they were never converted and need to be born again.”

    Now, maybe it looks like my views are just “some theological camp”, but my conscience is bound to the written Word of God, not some choice brand of man’s petty theological concepts. We have to be very careful here when we “relax” any of the commandments of Christ and say that you can break it and remain a true believer. Now as I said, I believe that a child of God can fall into sin. But he’s not going to swim in it and wallow in it like a pig in the mire! If he falls in it he will get up like a man, ashamed at falling and getting all muddy, and clean himself off. A born again believer will not go back to the vomit and filth of the old life!

    For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” (2Pe 2:21-22)

    Can a true believer fall into a certain sin for a period of time? I believe so. But where do we see that defined in Scripture in such black and white detail? We don’t know to what degree of sin, or to what extent of time is permitted by God in His sovereign dealings with the souls of men. Don’t go there, that belongs to the “secret things of the Lord”. God doesn’t tell us because He doesn’t want to give us anything that would add strength to our frail nature as men. What we must do is stick to the plain text of Scripture, and not read conjectures behind the scenes of what is not written therein.

    Sean objects: “1 Cor 6 (and almost the whole book of 1 Cor) shows that believers can and do sin and do not always produce a life that consistently bears fruit. In Corinthians Paul address these BELIEVERS and confronts them with their sin. He is very clear that these ARE God’s children by his statement in 1 Cor 6:13.”

    While there is certainly a degree of truth in everything brother Sean is saying, it’s not entirely true. He is treating the whole church of the Corinthians as if they were ALL true believers, truly saved. But we know that’s not the case. (I’m not sure what he’s assuming by 6:13, the relation to what he’s saying with that doesn’t make sense to me here). But maybe he had in mind verse 11:

    “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1Co 6:11)

    Now notice the apostle Paul doesn’t say, “such were ALL of you…” but that “such were SOME of you”. Clearly Paul didn’t believe that they were all truly regenerated. Only “some” of them had been truly washed and justified and sanctified. Paul knew that just as the Lord Jesus Himself taught in Matthew 13, that there would always be a mix of good fish and bad fish in the visible local church. He also knew there would be wheat and tares which can look very similar for a season as Jesus also taught, and that he shouldn’t uproot all those he thinks are tares because he might make a mistake and reject a true child of God from the fellowship of the church, so Paul gave a lot of grace. This is called by theologians “the judgment of mercy”, that is, treating professing Christians as if they’re the real deal even though there is great doubt that they are, calling them “brothers” and all. (Also, Paul even called the Jews “brothers” in Acts 23:5) But you cannot say with assurance that some people were real children of God for years while they practiced immorality, under the bondage of sin which is of the devil. It doesn’t matter how emphatically they cry, “Lord, Lord”, if they practice sin they will be rejected (Mat. 7:21-23).

    Paul obviously knew that not all the Corinthians were truly saved. That’s why he threatened them over and over again with destruction (i.e. 1 Cor. 10:1-12). Paul excommunicated the known fornicator in the church handing him over to Satan to be judged (not something someone does to God’s blood-bought children). Paul ended his second epistle by once again casting doubt upon their salvation:

    “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2Co 13:5)

    So be careful about using the Corinthians as an example of how believers can fall into sin. Paul himself questioned their salvation. Again, I say, yes it happens, but it is not true that a Christian can live “in bondage” to sin and “unable to get free no matter how hard he tries”. If he’s in bondage and can’t get victory, he needs to be liberated by the salvation of Christ. There is absolutely no assurance to a “Christian” living in sin in the Word of God, only assurance to those who have the victory in Christ. If the Word of God doesn’t give them assurance of their salvation, then how on earth can we step outside the bounds of Scrpiture and say that “we” know they were saved because of a one-time experience in their past testimony?

    I agree with the overall exhortation of what Sean is saying and thought it was very good, and great, much needed insight, but it’s in the example of saying that believers were saved yet in bondage to the Devil that I strongly disagree with, because of the testimony of Scripture. So “amen” to your article brother Sean! But from me, there can be no amen to your illustration. I just don’t see it in Scripture, and the only way to imply it is by reading behind the scenes into the mixed churches, which we know have both true and false converts.

    There’s so much more I could say, and more points of agreement I could even make with Sean, in fact I think overall there is more we agree on than disagree on, but I have written way more than I originally intended. I love you in Christ brother Sean! Grace and peace.

    -Josef

    puregospeltruth

    March 11, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    • 1Co 6:9 Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
      1Co 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
      1Co 6:11 And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
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      Joseph,

      “And such were some of you…” means that some of them were quite law abiding before they were converted: they weren’t fornicators, idolaters, drunks, homosexuals etc.. It’s the same today. I’ve never heard of your interpretation before.
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      Re: quote: “Paul excommunicated the known fornicator in the church handing him over to Satan to be judged (not something someone does to God’s blood-bought children). Paul ended his second epistle by once again casting doubt upon their salvation: ” unquote
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      Concerning this man Paul wrote:

      1Co 5:5 To deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

      Meaning, Paul believed the man would accept God’s discipline, and he was right, he did accept it, for later Paul wrote:

      2Co 2:4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.
      2Co 2:5 But if any has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overburden you all.
      2Co 2:6 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.
      2Co 2:7 So that instead you ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with too much sorrow.
      2Co 2:8 Therefore I beseech you that you would confirm your love toward him.

      ian vincent

      March 13, 2010 at 9:53 am

    • Hey Brother Josef,

      Thanks for your response. I always value your input. I think we both agree that in the preaching of repentance the “the preaching of repentance” is not the goal or object of the preaching. The object is always Christ. All true repentance preaching (as it’s called) has it’s foundation and meaning in understanding the person of Jesus Christ, the Character of God, and the work that God has done for us through Jesus Christ. This is greatly lacking today in the so called repentance preachers whether they be preaching to the lost or to God’s people.

      I do have to say I disagree with most of what you wrote as a critique. I certainly wasn’t convinced that the heart of the text was addressed. I’ll try to go through some of yours and my statements and hopefully make myself more clear. Let me start off by saying I reject the terminology/understanding by “theologians” called the “judgment of mercy” especially in the application to 1 Cor 6. To me it seems to be nothing more than them trying to fit what they don’t want to see into their systematic theology. Obviously the verses can’t mean what they say or their systematic theology falls apart. So they apply and assume things that the apostle Paul did not assume when he wrote as clear as he did in the text. I have done this in the past and feel you might be doing it as well in regards to this text. Paul seemed to be very clear in the text that he was addressing true believers and not false converts.

      1Co 6:1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
      1Co 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
      1Co 6:3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

      Paul says the world will be judged by the saints and then defines who those saints are. He says the world shall be judged by “you”. It’s not a judgment of mercy. Paul is talking to believers. Paul then goes on to rebuke them and say who will not enter the kingdom of God:

      1Co 6:4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
      1Co 6:5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
      1Co 6:6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.
      1Co 6:7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?
      1Co 6:8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.
      1Co 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
      1Co 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

      So far in this chapter Paul is addressing saints who will judge the world and angles. Yet these saints are taking their own brethren to court and before unbelievers. Paul is rebuking these believers for their wickedness and reminding them that if they continue in these things they will not inherit the kingdom of God. Then Paul reminds these saints that they were (past tense) washed, sanctified, and justified.

      1Co 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

      I’m not really sure of your point when you stress that Paul said “some of you”. It’s a very small point because Paul says to those that he has just rebuked “but YE ARE sanctified..ect”. The plain reading of the text show that the one’s whom Paul has just rebuked ARE the same ones who have received salvation in Jesus Christ. Paul even makes it clear again in verse 15 and 20:

      1Co 6:15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.
      1Co 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

      It doesn’t seem as if Paul believed these were false converts. Nor did Paul do as many preachers do and say “if you are doing these things it proves you are a false convert and need to be born again because we know that no born again person ever does anything like this”. You’ll never find Paul preaching like that. Paul did exhort them, like you said, at the end of 2 Cor 13 to examine themselves. But Paul did not make a judgment about their salvation but preached the dangers of continuing in sin and exhorted them with the reality of what happened to them when they believed. I’m certainly not comfortable presuming that Paul was speaking to false converts in 1 Cor 6 when Paul himself didn’t presume it. It’s much safer to be true to the scriptures and see it as Paul describes it.

      Paul obviously knew that not all the Corinthians were truly saved. That’s why he threatened them over and over again with destruction (i.e. 1 Cor. 10:1-12).

      Brother I think you’re also making an assumption here that Paul doesn’t make. Nowhere does Paul make the assumption that these are false converts. In fact by Paul using the example of the Israelites and their exodus and salvation from Egypt he’s making it quite clear. All the Israelites led by Moses (Christ), delivered from Egypt (the world), baptized in the cloud and sea (baptized), drank from the spiritual rock and ate the same spiritual food (the living Christ giving life)…ect, ect. He’s showing the parallel between who were saved then to those who are saved now. Again, Paul is clear about who this warning it written to:

      1Co 10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

      These things were written for our examples. “Our example” being us who have received not the type and shadow but the real thing. So the actual threatening was for those who had believed not to end up like the Israelites who where ultimately overthrown in the wilderness.

      If the Word of God doesn’t give them assurance of their salvation, then how on earth can we step outside the bounds of Scripture and say that “we” know they were saved because of a one-time experience in their past testimony?

      I would never assure someone of their salvation who is living in sin. But Paul seemed to be ok with rebuking the Corinthians who were in sin AND he was ok with reminding them of their past experience of believing in Christ. If Paul’s ok with it I’m ok with it.

      What about believers coming back into bondage? Let’s look at it in two different ways. If you believe, as you do (and I do as well), that Romans 7 is talking about believers then you will have to agree that believers can come into a place of bondage when they come back under law.

      Rom 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
      Rom 7:15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
      Rom 7:16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
      Rom 7:17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
      Rom 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
      Rom 7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
      Rom 7:20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

      Certainly if a believer is seeking to be justified by the law instead of faith in Christ they will come under bondage (carnal, sold under sin) and find the power of Christ not effective in the life because they are not appropriating/believing the means to be free (but have believed a lie). This obviously is talking about the literal law of God that the Jews would be familiar with. Now you might say that no true believer would come back under the bondage of the law BUT look at the Galatians. Paul tells the Galatian believers that they have 1) believed another gospel, 2) been bewitched and 3) even fallen from grace. These blood bought believers in Jesus Christ had believed a lie (seeking to be justified by the law) and fallen from grace. How do we really know they were true children of God? Because Paul says that he is travailing in birth again until Christ is formed in them.

      Gal 4:19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

      Not only that, they had even received the Spirit of God:

      Gal 3:2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

      and as it says they had fallen from grace. You can’t fall from grace unless you’re in grace.

      These believers had come back under a yoke of bondage which if they persisted in they would be lost. But you might be saying that is different than coming into bondage or struggling with a certain sin. Bondage is bondage brother and sin is sin.

      Let’s look at a statement I made in my first post though:
       

      They even hated it while they were in it but felt powerless to overcome. They had heard the repentance messages over and over again. They knew they need to repent but found themselves often powerless to overcome this sin.

      When I say that these believers “felt powerless” or “found themselves often powerless” I do not mean that Christ had not provided or given them the means by which they could be free and walk in victory. I mean they were not appropriating the means by which they could become free though Christ had already given it to them. In fact, I agree with everything you wrote about Romans 6. But like all things IN CHRIST they do not always become real in your life until you BELIEVE THEM (Heb 4). That is true about every promise of God.

      but it is not true that a Christian can live “in bondage” to sin and “unable to get free no matter how hard he tries”. If he’s in bondage and can’t get victory, he needs to be liberated by the salvation of Christ

      If a believer is trying to get free, in and of themselves, they will find themselves in Romans 7. If they come to the place where they understand by faith that Christ has already set them free then by faith they will have access to the limitless power of God available to make real in them what Christ has already accomplished. In fact, Paul labored so the church would understand these truths and be able to walk in them.

      You said:

      Can a true believer fall into a certain sin for a period of time? I believe so. But where do we see that defined in Scripture in such black and white detail?

      Brother it’s very clear that Paul addresses these issues in the Corinthian Church, the Galatian Church, and Jesus does the same in speaking to the churches in Revelation. Believers are being addressed that are in sin and unless they repent they will not inherit the kingdom of God. I am in no way relaxing any of the commands of Jesus Christ. Nor am I giving assurance to any believer who is living in sin. I have never said that anyone who persist in this type of state will inherit the kingdom of God. All I’ve done is simply state the same things the apostle Paul did in the same way without letting theologians or certain theology define what Paul really meant or who he was really speaking too. Brother we have to be really careful to let the text, in it’s context, say what it’s saying.

      Let me ask you brother, because we’ve briefly talked about it before. What’s the difference between a believer who struggles with greed (which is tied into covetousness which is idolatry) for years and someone who’s in bondage to covetousness? I know you think there’s is some difference struggling for years and bondage but I don’t remember how you defined it. I can’t really see the difference between the two especially if someone has been “struggling” for years. I ask because you seemed to make an allowance for so called struggling.

      But from me, there can be no amen to your illustration. I just don’t see it in Scripture, and the only way to imply it is by reading behind the scenes into the mixed churches, which we know have both true and false converts.

      Actually brother, it’s quite clear. The only way not to see it is to presume to know what Paul has not said…or even more dangerous…is to presume the opposite of what Paul has said. I’m not denying that there are false converts but neither am I denying that Paul was speaking to true believers. To deny it would be to deny the text.

      I hope I’ve made what I was trying to explain a little more clear and addressed some of what you wrote. I know I haven’t addressed it all but I’ve tried to focus on the main points. And brother…I love you in Christ as well and pray that our conversation will be fruitful.

      Sean Scott

      March 13, 2010 at 5:19 pm

      • Sean – what do you think of Johns account in this epsitle and how it fits into the discussion on 1 Cor 6

        Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God ~ 1John 3:6-9 NKJV

        Jim

        March 13, 2010 at 10:31 pm

      • Hey Jim… that’s a great question. I think though, that before delving into various scriptures in other books in the New Testament that could take this disussion in other directions… it would be best to decided what Paul is saying in 1 Cor 6 from that very passage itself. To me it seems there is enough information in that passage to determine what Paul actually believed about those he was speaking to. Don’t you think? Can you give me your analysis using the verses in that chapter and explain what Paul is saying?

        Sean Scott

        March 14, 2010 at 4:50 pm

      • I have been trying to respond for a while but have been so busy let me just make a few quick points, forgive me if they are a bit choppy.

        I do agree with the great majority of what you wrote as I clearly stated earlier, but I also think you should consider the point that brother Josef wrote on. I also have to disagree that we can conclude what Paul is saying here without using the whole council of the word of God since clearly we are at odds over the matter! I think it is better to use solid hermeneutics and approach this from a viewpoint that the word of God does not contradict itself. As we look at line upon line the precepts throughout the whole book are valuable to bring in also in these cases. I also think as much as we want to maintain we are looking at this from a pure exegetical perspective, we ALL are influenced to some degree by our understanding of Gods sovereignty in election or lack thereof. I do not exclude myself from that statement though you know I do not embrace any systematic theology.
        That is why I brought up first John, to help understand what Paul is NOT saying to the Corinthians. I know one thing he is NOT saying to them… that someone can be born again, made a brand new creation, but that brand new creation continues to act like the old creation and ultimately dies and goes to hell for it… this may pass for the new “birth in” this day and age, but it certainly is not taught by the apostles. This is a false conversion; Jesus talked about it in the parable of the sower. These false converts have some influence of the work of God in them for a season and may be called saints as members of the visible Church.
        Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is written to such a group (i.e. a visible Church) made up of
        1) True born again believers (Gods elect) walking in faith and victory
        2) True born again believers (Gods elect) fallen into sin for a season through the weakness of their flesh
        3) Professing converts that believe they are born again but are still under sins dominion even if they appear holy on the outside
        4) A few professing converts manifesting fruits of the flesh to the degree that they are ordered to be excommunicated
        5) People young in the faith who may or may fall into any of these categories, where the Apostles warnings and encouragements will either be the sweet aroma of life as a means of sanctification for them or a smell of death that exposes the hypocrite of not having a God given desire to walk in holiness and righteousness.
        The next point is that there is only proof of two of the sins listed in 6:9/10 actually taking place among them. The first is sexual immorality; the second is taking others to court. So among the visible Corinthian Church there are only a few blatant sinners NOT a large group of “saints” that are living in continued sin (for such people John says have not seen Him or known Him). In fact, I only see two known persons in the Corinthian Church in bondage to sexual sin and they are commanded to be excommunicated. At this point in the blog post (speaking of the comments not just your original post) I am lead to believe there is an entire visible Church of willful drunken whoremongers we are dealing with… this is not the case at all! We are talking about a few people that are called saints as members of the visible Church who are committing these sins.

        We all agree that a saint can fall into sin and struggle for a season. Where I agree with Josef though is in that if we are a slave to sin, still under its dominion and authority, walk in it as a way of life, then we are no saints, even if we receive the broad greeting of one in an epistle. The whole council of the word of God seems to testify to this fact. That is exactly the purpose of these warnings and encouragements as I stated earlier, the God given means where by his elect will be kept from sin or restored from it if they have fallen. The hypocrite will continue on in sin through lack of repentance or lack of faith despite them. So how long can one continue in sin and still be a true convert, I can’t answer that. The Lord knows those who are His and let everyone that names the name of Christ depart from their iniquity. Examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Make your calling and election sure. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. I really don’t even feel like I am disagreeing with you to much here, just that we should be careful not to take that extra step beyond what Paul is saying (as Josef has hinted at) which can lead us into a theological position that the word of God does not teach as a whole.

        I guess if we can’t get an agreement between us we will all have to meet up in Texas or NM (or India) for a few weeks to worship the Lord, fast, pray, fellowship, and study together. :0)

        Love In Christ – Jim

        Jim

        March 20, 2010 at 3:21 pm

      • Also, as I have been corrected – there were a couple other known sins taking place in the visible Church in Corinth… my fault and thanks to the brother who cleared it up.

        My disclaimer was not without merit.

        “have been so busy let me just make a few quick points, forgive me if they are a bit choppy.”

        fleebabylon

        March 20, 2010 at 8:23 pm

      • 1Jn 5:16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death.

        (This is about praying for brothers who are sinning)

        There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

        1Jn 5:17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

        1Jn 5:18 We know that whosoever is born of God sins not; but he that is begotten of God keeps himself, and that wicked one touches him not.
        .
        .
        .
        .

        1Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.
        1Jn 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
        1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
        1Jn 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

        ian vincent

        March 14, 2010 at 1:27 am

      • On the issue of Christians being in bondage to sin:

        What about those who’ve got all the doctrine right, but yet are in bondage to sin and don’t know it? They are miserable, poor, blind and naked, and they don’t know that they are. They may even be proficient enough to prove from the Scriptures that true Christians can’t be in bondage to sin, and yet be in bondage themselves.

        I’m not saying Josef is like this, but many are.

        ian vincent

        March 14, 2010 at 1:53 am

  12. Robert Said:
    I hope that many people who have persecuted me over the years and have been the enemy of myself and people like me, will repent and turn to the Lord in truth.

    brother, after reading some of the things on your site and your comments here I would encourage you to seek if part of your zeal is not from the Lord but from past hurts you have experieinced.

    Robert said:
    I have sympathy for the sheep NOT for those who EAT them! Those who do not repent and leave the harlot system are going to be lost and they will and have persecuted true Saints and anyone who does this is NOT my friend nor is anyone who is a friend to them either.

    The Roman Catholic Church has not always been the Roman Catholic Church. In the days of Constantine, in its earliest inception, there were true believers mixed in (and possibly at other times in history, I’m not sure). They would have whole heartedly rejected papish authority, idolatry, etc, but these things were not manifest yet at that time in history. Any of Gods elect would surely have heeded to the call of coming out from among them upon seeing how the great whore quickly evolved but these things were not yet evolved. We live in a similar day where evengelical Christianity seems to be the new RCC. Take the salvation army who began in the streets as a true and powerful move of God and is now slid into apostacy of all types. The early methodists met house to house before it turned into just another formal cold dead institution. There was a time though when it was not this way. Likewise there are local Churches currently that are in the process of falling, or will end up part of the harlott but they are not “there” yet. There are however true brethren who sit among them not yet aware of what is taking place, though they know “something” is wrong. These are brethren, they are not enemies. There are even elders who all they know are traditional Church settings but they love Christ and seek diligently within their confines to build up His body. Misguided, yes, imperfect, yes, part of hte harlott… not so.

    Robert said:
    If I just stepped on your favorite preacher, sorry.

    I cant answer for Sean, but I know you just stepped on one of my favorite preachers… his name is the apostle paul. He earnestly contended that it was lawful for a man to earn his living from the Gospel, though as a better example chose not to himself. He did not consider someone his enemy simply because they earned their living from the Gospel, but rather his brethren. Again, I think your past pain has caused you to go beyond the word of God in this matter.

    What makes someone your enemy again?

    They attend a Sunday service at a building?

    Their local Church only has one teaching elder?

    The elder(s) earn their living off the Gospel?

    These in and of themselves are neither Biblical nor spiritual ways to discern who is part of the bride of Christ and who is part of the whore of Babylon.

    In Christ – Jim

    Jim

    March 12, 2010 at 5:48 pm

  13. On the matter of support for those who labor in the word and in teaching, as far as i can glean from the NT it was always done freely and willingly, and as we know, Paul exhorts us to sow physically to those who have sown spiritually to us.

    As far as i can see there are only two options:

    a) One who is so busy teaching God’s Word that he doesn’t have time for secular work: he can accept offerings from those he teaches, but he must never expect or demand it, for that would be coveting mens silver and gold. Others should exhort that he be supported, not he himself.

    b) One who enters into a salary contract to teach God’s Word for a certain price, or who sells God’s Word to support himself.

    Which one of these is Godly?

    ian vincent

    March 13, 2010 at 12:29 am

    • Do you think those are the only two options?

      Sean Scott

      March 13, 2010 at 1:24 am

      • Give me more options and i will add them to the list! 🙂

        ian vincent

        March 13, 2010 at 1:58 am

      • Instead of asking, “Which one of these is Godly?” i should have asked, “Which one of these was practiced and considered legitimate in the Apostolic church?” Which, is less judgmental, but more foundational.

        ian vincent

        March 13, 2010 at 2:17 am

      • Well of course the second option is out of the question. 🙂 But, I wouldn’t say the only reason one would be supported is because they are so busy teaching God’s word that they don’t have time to work. If someone is laboring in the word and has a secular job it’s not wrong if others decided to support the individual so they could labor more. Nor is it wrong if that support is the same amount every month (what some would consider a salary – though they are not for hire). I think the real issue would be the heart and circumstances of the one receiving the funds. I understand what you are saying and coming against I just think there may be more than two options. I totally agree with you though that the individual receiving the funds should never demand it from others. In all things they should know the Lord will provide for their needs.

        Sean Scott

        March 14, 2010 at 3:48 am

      • Yeah brother, agreed. I would consider those options as falling within the same option that i suggested, just slightly different.

        Yes, a certain monthly commitment made freely is not a contract.

        The thing about the NT church was there wasn’t even a hint of a contract. Having plural elders also meant that thinking didn’t take hold.

        Imagine Paul negotiating his salary contract and conditions? Waiting for his check to arrive?

        ian vincent

        March 14, 2010 at 9:34 am

      • Brother, THANKS for adding those options. That’s really helpful in this matter to bring a balanced view, and from now on i’ll consider those points.

        ian vincent

        March 14, 2010 at 9:49 am

      • Sorry to go on and on about this, but i had another point to add:

        Many theological-type people i’ve met in the system have this opinion: Yes, they agree that the Apostolic church did not practice or accept men being paid on a contract basis, BUT, they say, that was the wisdom of God FOR THAT TIME ONLY. When circumstances changed, then the practices changed. I/we disagree. The reasons the Apostolic church did what they did are found in the heart of God : it reflects His nature, character, who He is. They never let pragmatism or culture change the truth.

        And if we are going to “follow the Apostolic pattern” today then we need to also understand the heart of God, just as they did : the REASONS why they did what they did, and not copy them legalistically.

        ian vincent

        March 13, 2010 at 4:28 am

  14. Jim wrote:

    quote: “Again, I think your past pain has caused you to go beyond the word of God in this matter.

    What makes someone your enemy again?

    They attend a Sunday service at a building?

    Their local Church only has one teaching elder?

    The elder(s) earn their living off the Gospel?

    These in and of themselves are neither Biblical nor spiritual ways to discern who is part of the bride of Christ and who is part of the whore of Babylon.” unquote

    Agreed, Jim.

    I’ve also done the same thing in the past and it was not conducive to serving the Body of Christ.

    Moses slammed the two tablets of stone onto the ground and they shattered. God was not angry with him for that, but he had to get over it and serve the people of God.

    There’s always an internal conflict inside us when it comes to dealing with sin and apostasy among professing Christians: there’s love and truth, love and judgment, judgment and mercy, which kiss each other. The LORD knows our frame, that we are dust. His grace is sufficient, though.

    ian vincent

    March 13, 2010 at 1:00 am

  15. Sean wrote:

    quote: ” True repentance is not just a changing of behaviour but primarily is a changing of the way one believes. Changing one’s behaviour without the truth needed to change one’s mind can lead to a false repentance and a frustrated life. ” unquote

    Amen, brother.

    ian vincent

    March 13, 2010 at 9:31 am

  16. Jim said:
    brother, after reading some of the things on your site and your comments here I would encourage you to seek if part of your zeal is not from the Lord but from past hurts you have experieinced.

    answer:
    Jim this hurt comment has to stop! Are you a Psychologist or do you want to instruct me in righteousness? By the way, it really hurts me that you think my understanding of truth is worthless because people you approve of have hurt me! Knock it off OK? The idea is not scriptural, it is psychobabble! If you are so great of understanding on this matter, then help the hurt guy, don’t try to discredit him by claiming he is hurt, enough already! What am I suppose to say? No, I have never been hurt? You wouldn’t believe me anyway.

    Jim said:
    The Roman Catholic Church has not always been the Roman Catholic Church. In the days of Constantine, in its earliest inception, there were true believers mixed in (and possibly at other times in history, I’m not sure). They would have whole heartedly rejected papish authority, idolatry, etc, but these things were not manifest yet at that time in history.

    answer:
    The difference between you and I Jim, is the righteous standard that we are willing to uphold. An ever present example of this is found above in the post from Josef and the reply from Sean. I agree with Josef. The simple issue at hand is the wisdom of the approach and how it practically effects the lives of those who are being instructed in righteousness. If I took a good look at Josef’s children, spiritually speaking, I might change my mind or have my suspicions confirmed that he is right, the same is true for Sean; could go either way after I see the fruit of their ministries; Jesus said “Wisdom is justified by her children”. My reading of history tells me that Christianity was apostate far before Constantine. At the council of Nicaea there were “bishops” dressed in gaudy apparel laded with gold rings, bracelets and necklaces. The reason Constantine brought them together was to stop the constant fighting amongst them, Constantine wanted everyone to just get along. Jesus wrote a letter to the churches of Asia far before this time, warning that there candle sticks would be taken away, unless they repented.

    Jim said:
    I cant answer for Sean, but I know you just stepped on one of my favorite preachers… his name is the apostle paul.

    You are showing your misunderstanding of ministry. Paul never preached to you, you never met him, he may have roundly condemned you after being around you. Preaching the Gospel is personal and you don’t get that level of ministry by reading someone’s letters to someone else. Paul claimed that his epistles were the living Saints who he had ministered and preached to, the epistles were written on their hearts. You may be an epistle of John MacArthur but you are no epistle of Paul. Of course you know that I am referring in my comments about “those who make their living off God” to today’s preachers, not about Paul the Apostle or anyone else who in times past have lived off preaching.

    Jim said:
    Again, I think your past pain has caused you to go beyond the word of God in this matter.

    What makes someone your enemy again?

    answer:
    They are my enemy if they are an enemy of my friend that stick closer than a brother, Jesus. If they are a friend of the enemies of Jesus, then they are also an enemy of Jesus. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world, if any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. If your enemy hunger feed him, pray for those who despitefully use you, bless those who curse you, do good to all men as your Father in heaven does good to all men. If any man hates his brother, that man does not know God, nor does he love God. You get the gist Jim? You see, hurt and all, I still know the truth!

    Jim said:
    They attend a Sunday service at a building?

    answer:
    Those who are the companion of thieves and liars, share in the crime. Building big buildings in honor of men is idolatry and calling these buildings “the house of God” or “the Church” is blasphemous. Collecting “tithes” or money from people and claiming that the money is being given to God, then using the money to build of these monuments, is thievery! People who do so innocently and in ignorance may very well obtain mercy and salvation from God, as they have their eyes opened; but those who remain blind will not be saved.

    Jim said:
    Their local Church only has one teaching elder?

    answer:
    If their church only has one elder, doesn’t that speak to the power behind what that elder preaches? Who gets to decide who is an elder and who is not an elder, does that one elder get to decide? That is very suspicious isn’t it?

    Jim said:
    The elder(s) earn their living off the Gospel?

    answer:
    No, it’s not just that Jim, it’s that harlot spirit inside that elder who will not do what is right, who will not speak the truth; he hinders or cast out others who wish to. The harlot leader knows that speaking the truth will hurt his income, he loves it more than God or certainly appears to. I would say if a person who claims they are a man of God, changes his actions ONE slight bit in favor of preserving his income against the truth, that man has committed sin against the truth, this is harlotry.

    Jim said:
    These in and of themselves are neither Biblical nor spiritual ways to discern who is part of the bride of Christ and who is part of the whore of Babylon.

    answer:
    A harlot commits fornication, that is how I know who is a harlot and who is not. If someone would rather preserve their relationships with men rather than pick up their cross and follow Jesus, then they have committed adultery against their God. The key things that I notice is this, a man who loves the praise of men, yet hates his brother, a man who wishes to hide the truth in the relations of brothers to make the outside of the cup look clean. A man who refuses to face the truth of his circumstances, he won’t call wicked, wicked nor will he praise that which is good, should his wicked friends be offended.

    Hasn’t anyone here read Charles Newbold’s Book “The Harlot Church System”? I whole heartedly agree with it, apparently you do not!
    Keep in mind, you don’t know me personally by reading what I write, until you spend some time with me, neither will you know the Apostle Paul personally, nor are you his epistles, unless you were with him personally. The only way that any of us can be like Jesus, is if the Holy Spirit is on the inside, transforming us into his image. No one gets their by reading letters or applying some “system” of theology. It’s only by the mercy and grace of God that the just shall live by a living faith!
    Back off that damaged goods – hurt thing OK? Just instruct me in righteousness if you are spiritual.
    Sincerely, In Christ, In Love,
    Which ever you find most agreeable.
    Robert Begnaud

    Robert Begnaud

    March 13, 2010 at 7:50 pm

  17. Robert,

    The issue was over you considering every person who attends an institutional church as your enemy. Which is nuts. It’s carnal.

    Php 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them who so walk, since you have us for an example.
    Php 3:18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

    Would to God that we would truly follow Paul’s example in dealing with apostasy, laying down our lives for the sheep.

    ian vincent

    March 14, 2010 at 2:41 am

    • Are you intentionally misunderstanding me Ian? Are you calling me nuts? Yea I do think that would be carnal of you. When did I say that everyone who goes to an institutional church is my enemy? If you look more closely at what I said, you would see that my comments are directed towards those who are the LEADERS or ELDERS. Let me give you an example, I know someone who leads a ministry and unlike me, thinks Mac Arthur is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Then he turns around and condemns Focus on the Family. Doesn’t he know that Al Moehler sits on the board of Focus of the Family and is a good friend of John MacArthur and speaks at Grace Community Church? Those LEADER/Elders who promote John MacArthur and know his many apostate friends, they are not ignorant of it they are a part of it! Don’t now let this person claim they believe and value Charles Newbold’s book, I don’t believe it. The old saying, “Bird of a feather flock together”

      2Co. 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
      15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

      16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

      I would appreciate it Ian, if you have something to say, just say it, don’t beat around the bush and insinuate, come right out and say it; that would be the godly thing to do. Calling me nuts is not godly!
      Robert

      Robert Begnaud

      March 14, 2010 at 4:51 pm

      • Hey Guys… this back and forth conversation is really off topic and doesn’t seem very fruitful. I think it would be best if you want to continue it you could do so in private email. Maybe just a word of advise. Remember, everyone may not understand exactly what you’re talking about or where you’re coming from. Knowing that, it would be benifical to have patience and extend grace to each other in the discussion. One can easily be right in truth but wrong in heart.

        Sean Scott

        March 14, 2010 at 6:47 pm

  18. Amen Sean,
    Good word, sorry.
    Email me Jim & Ian if you like.

    Robert Begnaud

    March 14, 2010 at 8:54 pm

  19. Brother Sean,

    I’m shocked that so many names of brothers were being thrown around in the comments without them even being a witness to the objections. Personally, I can’t find that in the Scriptures. That is aside from the point.

    I’m just glad you were being honest with the text, and not imposing a systematic theology upon it. I think if more believers were honest with the Scriptures than we could actually grow in FAITH. Which would help our preaching, regardless of the topic (repentance, faith, eschatology, baptism, etc). I’m not opposed to a systematic theological approach, only as long as we read the text in it’s historical context, be faithful to pure exegesis, and be lead by the Spirit. I just want to say thank you for being true to what the Bible is saying.

    “1 Cor 6 (and almost the whole book of 1 Cor) shows that believers can and do sin and do not always produce a life that consistently bears fruit. In Corinthians Paul address these BELIEVERS and confronts them with their sin. He is very clear that these ARE God’s children by his statement in 1 Cor 6:13. Paul does exactly what we should do when we see a believer in sin…warn them of their sin and the consequence of continuing in it (not inheriting God’s kingdom)..but also reminding them of what they’ve already received in Jesus Christ.”

    I find it funny how many excuses are out there when it comes to sin and Christians. I come from a “theological camp” that makes excuses such as “well…not everyone in the church is a believer in this letter..so Paul is talking to them.” I would have to say this is wrong. Why would Paul give the exhortation not to be greedy, drunkards, swindlers, etc? If this didn’t apply to believers then why did he say it if it isn’t possible? I think Paul is viewing this letter from a 1st century meal context. Which would make sense of why ch 3-14. Which is a “church” context. It was centered around a meal therefore that was concern for feeding the poor, law suits, food, Lord’s Supper, marriage orderly worship, tongues, etc. Therefore Paul can use broad stokes when talking about sin in the fellowship. He can apply it to the whole fellowship because the whole letter is talking about “church” issues. Now, I think we all know that.

    Yet even with that, the flow of the letter climaxes with Ch 15, which is the resurrection. Hope is in the resurrection from the dead. If Christ had not been raised, we would be still in our sin. But issue of sin isn’t that we have two natures and war against each other on the inside..(whatever that means) the problem is we live in the present evil age and try to live by the Spirit of the Age to Come. The flesh is the present age and the Spirit is the Age to Come. These two ages war against each other, and we find ourselves in the midst of the crossfire. Therefore as a result, we will fall into sin. That is why Paul constantly pleads with believers to walk by the Spirit and not the flesh. Even through you are filled with the Spirit, you can still walk in a manner that is of the present evil age. The call to the 7 churches of Revelation is to “overcome/conquer”. Which in context would be the beast (Roman powers) which could be look at as the present evil age. The One like the Son of Man gives the command (repent) then reminds each of the 7 churches of an eschatological promise that seems from the Son of Man. (eat of the tree of life, not be hurt by the second death, hidden manna white stone and new name, receive the morning star, clothed in white garments, pillar int he temple of God, sit on the throne of the Messiah). So as Paul, the Son of Man gives them the command to repent of their sin but also gives them a reminder of what they have received in the Messiah.

    Thanks again for the post, blessings to you and your family.

    Michael Cooper

    Michael Cooper

    March 20, 2010 at 2:27 am

  20. To all,

    The “main” offender in Corinth, this guy:

    1Co 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
    1Co 5:2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that has done this deed might be taken away from among you.
    1Co 5:3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that has so done this deed,
    1Co 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    1Co 5:5 To deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
    1Co 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
    1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
    1Co 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
    1Co 5:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
    1Co 5:10 Yet not entirely with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must you needs go out of the world.
    1Co 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one no not to eat.
    1Co 5:12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are outside? do not you judge them that are within?
    1Co 5:13 But them that are outside God judges. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

    It turns out he repented:

    2Co 2:4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.
    2Co 2:5 But if any has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overburden you all.
    2Co 2:6 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.
    2Co 2:7 So that instead you ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with too much sorrow.
    2Co 2:8 Therefore I beseech you that you would confirm your love toward him.
    2Co 2:9 For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether you be obedient in all things.

    He was put out of fellowship. Paul even called him “wicked”, and then later he is brought back into fellowship, bcos he must have repented, otherwise they wouldn’t have brought him back into fellowship.

    And he was the “main”, most prominent offender Paul is offended with in I Corinthians.

    So, this tells us a lot.

    One thing we can learn from this is that we are to separate from anyone named a brother who is a fornicator, etc.. but there’s no need to try and figure out their salvation status. We are only to judge their actions. If they are fragrantly sinning we are to disfellowship them, whether or not we think they are a true convert, or a false convert. That is irrelevant.

    ian vincent

    March 22, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    • “One thing we can learn from this is that we are to separate from anyone named a brother who is a fornicator, etc.. but there’s no need to try and figure out their salvation status. We are only to judge their actions. If they are fragrantly sinning we are to disfellowship them, whether or not we think they are a true convert, or a false convert. That is irrelevant.”

      Hey Ian, God bless you brother! What you have shared here is a very simple and good word for the local Church. The other thing though is doing street ministry here in the west, a great number of people we meet are professing believers. I see some of the brethren out evangelizing who encourage drunken whoremongers that once repeated a sinners prayer at an alter to “stop sinning” when these people are not even saved and need to be told rather to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ”. This is an area where I see a real need to use basic discernment on blatant false converts rather then warning and encouraging a believer. It changes how you speak to someone.

      In Christ -Jim

      fleebabylon

      March 23, 2010 at 11:50 pm

      • Hey Jim,

        I agree with you brother about street preaching. The vast majority of professing believers you meet on the street are indeed false converts. With most there is definitely “no fear of God before their eyes”. I think the situation that Paul was speaking to was a little different though. For the most part he is speaking to his spiritual children. He’s speaking to a church that’s he’s founded (planted). I’m not sure what the depth of his relationships where with everyone there (though I believe he was there for at least a year and half) but he wasn’t speaking to people he had just met on the street. Ultimately, the bottom line remains the same:

        2Ti 2:19-21 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

        Sean Scott

        March 24, 2010 at 2:14 am

  21. Hi there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this page to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

    Teri

    January 19, 2013 at 8:16 am

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    Gabriela

    February 5, 2013 at 5:26 am


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