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I'm sure this topic has come up before. First off I know God does not tolerate sin, however in the Old Testament it seems God acted immediately with punishment against sin. Today it seems mankind is allowed to do many bad things before God will act or perhaps this is just mere perception cause we live in these times and don't have the benefit to see outside of time yet. What do you think?

 

Personally , I feel God was closer to the planet in the old testament days so  it was kind of like a parent reacting to a child sinning right before there eyes. Since that time I think God has slowly been pulling his presence away from the earth and it's more like a parent being a bit further away so perhaps that punishment of sin is not as quick but it still comes.  I think God is showing even more mercy due to Christ dying on the cross as all have been forgiven of sin if they repent and accept Jesus.  God may be simply  allowing time for even the worst sinners of our age to repent before handing down strict punishment since they do not have the benefit of seeing and speaking with God as those in the old testament did.

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Thanks for this post.

Interesting thoughts.

I actually found myself thinking opposite of you. But that's okay. I don't know if there is any right or wrong answer.

But I thought God was more forgiving in the OT. For instance with letting them have multiple wives etc.

Today we apparently have more knowledge and understanding so are expected to abide more by the rules.

 

Just my two cents worth.

That's a very good point N HIm. When you think about it  , they did a lot of things in the old testament that  even some godless people today consider wrong or won't do.  In time's of ignorance God winks at certain behavior.  For an example I think of how people curse God today, but  I'm sure God is being long suffering and he may know that some of those individuals will repent and become saints.  Likewise in the old testament  there were some extremely offensive acts that God did not immediately punish.  I know God has his reasons for all his actions and I believe he is fair, but I know not everyone feels that  way who I have spoken to.

Ross

 

It is my belief that God is more strict today then in the past.  Why do I believe that?

  1. God has recorded the mistakes made in the past for our admonition.  With this record available we have no excuse for repeating those mistakes.
  2. With more information comes greater accountability.  At no time in earth's history has God's people had more information.
  3. Those who will be translated must be perfect, as described in Matthew 5:48 and James 1:2-4.  For God will not allow sin to raise up a second time.  Therefore those who are translated must be totally free of any trace of sin, other then physically. 

So, for these and other reasons, God is more "strict" today then at any time in earth's history, with a possible exception of dealing with Adam and Eve in Eden.

 

Maranatha :)
Ray

Thanks Ray.

MsMS

 

Well, if you can disagree with me, can I not disagree with you?  LOL  Well, this is not a disagreement, just an addition.

 

There are two approaches. 

  1. Love
  2. Force

In the Old Testament, God promised to send a deliverer, a Messiah.  This promise, when accepted, placed a person on the side of God pending the death of Jesus on Calvary.  Since the cross, we can see what God has done and this should evoke love to Jesus for His sacrifice for us. 

 

Love is a much stronger tie then a promise or force.  Force may elicit outward submission and compliance, but it cannot generate love.  On the other hand, love will cause a person to respond on that level and want to obey.

 

Maranatha :)
Ray

Ray - You say that " Those who will be translated must be perfect" 

As for me - I am not perfect. Nor will I become perfect on this earth.

I will just make it to heaven by some other means.

The blood of Jesus Gabe. His life. He lived the perfect life and answered the curse of the Law.

I am not capable of doing that. Some may feel they are. I don't.

I guess one would have to ask Ray if that is what he had in mind when he used the term 'perfect'.

N Him

 

The Bible defines the meaning of the term "Perfect."  We need to use this term in the way the Bible defines it, not as it is used in common parlance. 

Here is the very clear Bible definition of the word "perfect."

     "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  [3] for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  [4] And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:2-4 (ESV) 

When our faith/trust in God, is tested to see if it in fact is a real working trust, and it proves to be just that, i.e. steadfast/endurance, or that we have gotten into the habit of trusting God.  Then Heaven counts us as being: "perfect, complete, lacking in nothing."  If this is God's assessment of my life, that is good enough for me.

 

In his post, Gabriel quoted Romans 3:24(3):

    "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"  Romans 3:23 (ESV) 

If you will note, this is in the past tense.  It does not say that all are now sinning, all it says is that in the past, all have sinned.  To claim that one is still sinning is to make a sad observation.  If I say that I am still sinning, I am saying that I do not trust God.  That I am choosing to rebel against God. 

 

Oh, I realize that many faithful saints make such statements in modesty, not wanting to appear to be "holier then though."  Especially in the setting of some who do not want to submit to what the Bible says.  But, we can choose to stop sinning, i.e. rebelling against God's will.  I.e. to stop doubting God. 

 

While I realize that someone will scoff at and attempt to twist the up coming statement I m about to make and quote certain passages from Ellen White, out of context, in rebuff, it will be from ignorance, not from knowledge. 

Now my statement:

"I am not consciencly sinning against God."

My choices are to follow what God asks me to do, even when it is not popular, when the majority is going a different direction, even when it costs me dearly sometimes.  This is not bragging, I am merely stating the nature of the choice I have made:

  1. to be totally submitted to God's revealed will. 
  2. To turn my life over to God's complete control and
  3. allow Him to make me the kind of a person He wants me to be. 

Not what people want me to be or what people in ignorance believe.  But what God wants me to be.  According to what James wrote, that makes me perfect.

 

But, not perfect as the world understands it.  This is not a state in which I may never ever make a mistake.  Those happen with far too much frequency. 

 

However, when that happens, I turn to God and ask Him to forgive me and ask Him to make my life strong in that area.  It is my choice to constantly reinforce that habit, of choosing God's way so that Heaven can count me as being perfect.  But, that achievement is all becasue of the work the Holy Spirit is doing in my life, not because of any goodness on my part.

 

Since I have choosen to allow the Holy Spirit to control my life, to claim that I am still sinning is to say that the Holy Spirit is not in control of my life.  Which is not true, as I daily reconsecrate my life to Him, more than once a day.

 

If I do not beleive what God says He can and will do in my life, then I have failed the very first step of salvation.  I am not trusting God to do what He claims He can and will do in my life. 

 

Everyone can choose to come to this position.  In fact, I believe that many have, they have just been misinformed as to to what the goal is and how it is reached.   They are exercising a false modesty, which is not warranted.  But, God understands and seeks to help us know the right attitude we should exhibit. 

 

So, let's not insult the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, as His job is to make us "perfect, complete, lacking in nothing."  Instead, let's publically proclaim  that our choice is to submit to Him and to allow Him to have complete control of our life.  We can know if our choice is without reserve, complete, withholding nothing.  Then as we grow in the knowledge of God, as our love for Him grows, our lives will show more consistently the consistency of that choice.

 

This is the concept of perfection that is presented in the Bible.  Ellen White agrees with this concept.

    "It was this singlehearted purpose to win the race for eternal life that Paul longed to see revealed in the lives of the Corinthian believers. He knew that in order to reach Christ's ideal for them, they had before them a life struggle from which there would be no release. He entreated them to strive lawfully, day by day seeking for piety and moral excellence. He pleaded with them to lay aside every weight and to press forward to the goal of perfection in Christ. " {AA 315.1} 

    "God has called His people to glory and virtue, and these will be manifest in the lives of all who are truly connected with Him. Having become partakers of the heavenly gift, they are to go on unto perfection, being "kept by the power of God through faith." 1 Peter 1:5. It is the glory of God to give His virtue to His children. He desires to see men and women reaching the highest standard; and when by faith they lay hold of the power of Christ, when they plead His unfailing promises, and claim them as their own, when with an importunity that will not be denied they seek for the power of the Holy Spirit, they will be made complete in Him."  {AA 530.2} 

"The Lord requires perfection from His redeemed family. He expects from us the perfection which Christ revealed in His humanity. Fathers and mothers especially need to understand the best methods of training children that they may co-operate with God." {CG 477.1} 

"But there are not many of you that really know what is contained in the Testimonies. You are not familiar with the Scriptures. If you had made God's Word your study, with a desire to reach the Bible standard and attain to Christian perfection, you would not have needed the Testimonies. It is because you have neglected to acquaint yourselves with God's inspired Book that He has sought to reach you by simple, direct testimonies, calling your attention to the words of inspiration which you had neglected to obey, and urging you to fashion your lives in accordance with its pure and elevated teachings." 119 {CCh 92.5}

"We shall see mistakes in the lives of others, and defects in their character. Humanity is encompassed with infirmity. But in Christ we shall find perfection. Beholding Him, we shall become transformed."  {DA 816.3} 

Maranatha :)
Ray


 

As for me ... I sin and will continue to sin.

Wow lol a real Christian should never say such 

 

A man went to his doctor and said, "Doctor, it hurts when I do this." The doctor replied, "Well stop doing that!" If you hurt your conscience by doing something bad, then stop doing that. But in fact can you stop doing that? Is it necessarily as "willfull" as you think?

Sinning willfully does call into question one's salvation status. For as I quoted previously, "if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries ... " Heb 10:26+

Furthermore it's also written, "let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God." 1John 3:7-9 Though he's speaking of sinning in a lifestyle sense, but that is essentially willful sinning. So willful sinning calls into question whether one has been born of God. Interesting here, by the way, is the phrase "cannot sin", which in greek literally means one is incapable of "sinning" in this sense, and thus no choice is involved. For those born of God it is not an issue of permission. It is not a grit-your-teeth-and-bear-it type of thing, but rather its an issue of ability, or rather non-ability to sin in such a sense.

On the other hand the Bible also indicates that Christians are not perfect and can fall into sin. For why else would there be such commands as "do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts."Rom 6:12 if it is inevitable that Christians will not sin? Paul described his own struggle with sin as a Christian in

Romans 7: 
18  "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 
19  For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 
20  Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 
21  I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 
22  For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 
23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 
24  O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 
25  I thank God——through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin."

But this doesn't sound like willfull sinning, but rather reluctant yet perhaps conscious sinning. Nonetheless this does describe a war going on within us, as Christians - a war between us and our flesh.

But getting back to your case, there's another issue to bring up. Many times even in the quotes I've mentioned the Bible warns us not to be decieved. Thus indicating that it is possible for Christians to be deceived. How do you know that you are not only deceived into believing that you sin willfully? For it could very well be that you sin consciously, that is, you are aware of yourself sinning, but that you are taking a passive role allowing your flesh to take over your actions, and are in fact reluctantly sinning. Else why would you repent afterwards? In the passage above Paul speaks of his own experience of his flesh "bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." One of the effects of becoming a Christian is that we become more aware, more conscious, of our sinfulness. The law of God is put in our minds, against which we judge every action. Thus every sin may appear "willfull" in that we feel the freedom to chose not to sin. But as Paul says at times, "to will is present with me, how to perform what is good I do not find."

The war against the flesh cannot be won simply through the will. I don't think it can be won in a vacuum. Let me give you a simple example. Let's say you had nothing to do, or in particular nothing occupying your mind. There's an old saying, "Idle hands are the devil's workshop." And so your flesh will start to occupy your mind and eventually you may find yourself carrying out some sin. You may experience a "wilfullness", but it could be the willfullness of the flesh, having taken over. But the choice may actually have been a passive one allowing the flesh to dominate. I think this is particularly true in the case of past habits. It wouldn't surprise me if the sins you struggle with, of which you label "willfull", are not some new kinds of sins, but simply the old sinful habits you practiced previously. It's the nature of the flesh to be habitual. So while we are forgiven, yet we may experience temptations from those old sinful habits the rest of our lives. That's one of the natures of sin. That's why Paul said, "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" Yet we will be delivered. That is one of the inevitable natures of salvation.

Yes, when we sin it calls into question our salvation status. Not because we are trying to save ourselves, but rather because it calls into question first of all whether we have saving faith, for faith without works is a dead faith. And secondly calls into question whether we've been born of God, for whoever has been born of God has lost the ability to live a lifestyle of sin. But nonetheless Christians are still sinners. While the Bible does advocate this doubt, just as it does in 2Cor 13:5 where Paul questions the Corinthians, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you— unless, of course, you fail the test?", yet it also appears that the Bible does not presume that Christians are going to have perfect behavior and thus it has many instructions and exhortations concerning avoiding sin.

"I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish." Galatians 5:16,17

A practical application is to not allow yourself to be idle but to always be active in God's work or at least with something not sinful. When is it that you don't even feel temptations to sin? I bet it's when you're occupied with something else. Need something to occupy your mind? Memorize scripture or such. Of course it's difficult developing spiritual disciples. But then again the flesh can actually help. For disciplines develop into habits, and the flesh being habitual will actually help one to sustain habits. Actually the problem there is that when a spiritual discipline becomes a habit one might develop a legalistic mindset, but that's the other extreme in the battle with  the flesh. Thus we struggle to live between the extremes of legalism and lawlessness. We have freedom in Christ, but not freedom to sin.

Furthermore we don't just occupy ourselves with activities that may be labeled "spiritual", but with many ordinary things, like work. "Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ." Col 3:22,23 Go to school, get a job. Notice I mentioned previously of Paul's advice to those who lack self-control should marry - the effect being that they will then be occupied with married life. Even surrounding yourself with seemingly unncessary responsibilities nonetheless helps to occupy one so as to not give an opportunity for the flesh to take over. Tired? Well may just take a nap, I guess. Just suggestions, but the principles are there. Read the New Testament letters with these issues in mind, because I think it has alot to say, especially the second half of many of Paul's letters tend to be application oriented.

2Peter 1:5-11 
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence,

  • add to your faith virtue,
  • to virtue knowledge,
  • to knowledge self-control,
  • to self-control perseverance,
  • to perseverance godliness,
  • to godliness brotherly kindness,
  • and to brotherly kindness love.
 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;  for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
And one final thing, getting back to your original statement "I have heard the word of the Lord and had previously asked him into my life", asking him into your life does not mean you were born of God at that time. Just to be clear, a person is not saved simply by deciding to follow Christ, though that is a necessary step on the path towards salvation. A person is saved when they put their faith in Christ, which may occur at some point in time after they decided to follow Christ. But prior to that a disciple may fall away as for example in John 6:66 "From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more." The goal of discipleship is the development and application of saving faith. Yes, once saved, always saved. But whether that "once saved" has actually occurred in our own lives will be evident from our behavior, which is an effect of being born of God. Put your confidence in Christ, but not in your decision to follow Christ.

 

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