Fear over "willful sins"...


[posted Aug/2k]


 

This heart-felt question came in:

 

Peace and Grace to You. 

 I have been for a long while terrified by a few difficult-to-understand verses in the Bible concerning Salvation: Hebrews 10:26, Hebrews 6:4-6, and 2Peter 2:20-22. Here is why I am terrified of these verses:

Although I have been baptized as an infant by my Church and received communion, I fell away during my teenage years into fornication, lasciviousness, a multitude of WILFUL SINS and general rebellion against God, ignoring Him and His commands- And I did so knowingly-I KNEW THAT WHAT I WAS DOING WAS WRONG, CONTRARY TO MY CHRISTIAN UPBRINGING- BUT EITHER DIDN'T CARE OR TRIED TO JUSTIFY WHAT I WAS DOING. I fell to the point where I was thinking that all these sins and pleasures could replace God- and I began not to care or consider God's existence. It was not until my late teens and early 20's that I really began to examine my life and return to God.  I now attend church regularly and, in fact, by His Grace, I have been ordained a deacon by my Church.  I am happy that God has called me back and that I have a personal prayerful relationship with him and am sorry for my past.

But Even now, however, I am still struggling with some sins  of the heart and sinful desires and sometimes my mind  indulges in them Willfully, yet every time I fall in such a way I repent and ask God to perfect me and my love for Him.

Now, In light of Hebrews 10:26-  and Hebrews 6:4-6, and also 2Peter 2:20-22 does there still remain for someone like me "a sacrifice for sins?"

Or have I "SINNED WILLFULLY" beyond return-  My experience with God now tells me that this is not the case-, yet these verses still terrify me and sometimes sting me with some doubt.  I know I am not to despair, but can you shed some light on what these verses mean.  And I am afraid to sin, sometimes I still do sin, even willfully at times of  pressure or great temptation.

 

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I replied...

 

 

hello...

thanks for visiting the Tank and for your God-honoring question...

here is the SHORT answer:

1. the 'willful sin' of Hebrews is the radical and wholesale rejection of God's offer of salvation--in context, it is the rejection of God's provision of Himself by unbelieving Israel (the wilderness wanderings)...it is NOT about "details" such as you describe...

2. The struggle (and occasional 'loss') you experience in your personal life is a part of the Christian experience...Paul describes the inability of the Christian to "do what we really DESIRE to do for God" in Gal 5.17 (For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.) [Notice the last part of the verse--that's what you experience like all believers]

3. Paul actually goes so far as saying that it is not the 'real Paul' that does these things--it is indwelling sin-habits that stop him for being 100% consistent with his inner self--Romans 7.13ff:  18 "I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do -- this I keep on doing.  20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it."

4. and, practically speaking, those that are overcome by sin, NEVER EVER ask the questions you are, nor agonize over obedience! that is one of the surest signs of a life from God--the heartfelt desire to improve and to please God and even the agony over failure (Romans 7 again!)...

5. also, most of the other passages (than Hebrews) refers to false teachers, who engage in much more public sin--without even twinges of conscience (i tim 4.2; Eph 4.19) and are very, very deliberate in their public attempts to distort truth (eph 4.14)--again, not like you...

so...continue to work on the areas (without falling into the trap of defeatism and over-guilt)...accept that eventually you will WIN THAT BATTLE (an implication of the Cross!), and that by small, small 'no's and small, small improvements, your landslide of righteousness will bury the problem!

and always, always, always--there is that fountain filled with blood...

from your letter, your experience sounds like most of us, and your heart seems to be a living witness to you of the reality of His daily forgiveness and acceptance of you...you dont fit any of the 'profiles' of  those folks in the verses you mention (but rather fit those of all  Christians--even apostles!--mentioned in Rom 7 and Gal 5)...

hope this helps,
in His love,
glenn

 


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