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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • « The Source of Humility | Main | Psalm Nine: Yahweh Sits Enthroned Forever »

    Why don’t Christians care, or care enough, that they are sinning?

    In one of the Q&A sessions this week at the Ligonier National Conference, R.C. Sproul asked questions submitted by attendees. On the panel were Michael Horton, Alistair Begg, Albert Mohler and Steven Lawson. An effort was made to capture in brief form the questions and answers but you may wish to track down the audio or video to hear lengthier responses. Here is one such question:

    Why don’t Christians care, or care enough, that they are sinning?

    Begg: Because we don’t truly understand the nature of the atonement and what has happened in Christ bearing our sins. A low view of the atonement goes in line with an easy-going view of sin in the same way that when people take sin seriously they have a solid and clear grasp of what has happened in Christ dying for us. This was not a moot question for Paul in writing Romans where the same question applied to the people he was writing to. The answer lies in the gospel. We need to preach the gospel to ourselves all day every day and one way we will fail is a fast fall into antinomianism (lawlessness). The ultimate reason is that the believer does not understand what it means to be united to Christ. If we don’t, we’ll have legalism on one hand or lawlessness on the other. People simply don’t know who they are in Christ.

    Sproul offered one correction to the question saying that there is no such thing as a true Christian who does not care about his sin. The question should be “why don’t we care to the degree that we ought to care?” And it’s because our hearts are still less than fully sanctified and God has not fully revealed to us the sinfulness of our sin (and thank God for that). If God revealed to me right now the full measure of the continuing sin in my life, it would destroy me. God is gracious and gentle in correcting us gradually.

    Lawson added that some Christians are not as sensitive to their sin because they have a lack of exposure to the Word of God. It is the light of God’s Word that shines the light into our hearts. If we are distant from the Word of God there are sins that are not being exposed by the light of the Word. On the other spectrum there can be exposure to the Word of God but it’s mere intellectualism and not something that stirs the heart or the affections. It is all cognitive, touching the head but not the heart. If a person is not regularly coming to the Lord’s table where you’re coming face-to-face with the death of Christ for us and confessing sin to God, you are ignoring a great means of grace. It is here that you are asking God to bring into the light sin that has not been confessed, acknowledged, repented of. Also, Christians who are out of community with other believers are leaving themselves exposed and weak before Satan’s attacks.

    Posted by John Samson on June 19, 2010 11:57 PM

    Comments

    Great question and answers. I often tell people, "If you want to know how much God hates sin, look at the cross and what took place there. If you want to know how much God loves you, look at the cross and what Jesus did for you there." If Christians would keep the cross first and foremost in their thinking and daily thank Jesus for laying His life down for us, we would love much, knowing we have been forgiven much. And we would cry out with the Psalmist when he says, "O you who love the Lord, hate evil!" Psalm 97:10

    Going along with what Dr. Sproul said, I am thankful that God is gracious in correcting me gradually. He truly does not deal with us as we deserve. His mercy is abundant and it is so comforting to know that He is so patient with us.

    "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin." Romans 4:8

    Thank you Lord Jesus for your blessings,

    Alan

    I think sometimes we just can't get the answers to all these questions. Sometimes we all go through times in our lives where we are a bit less sensitive to sin, and times where we seem to value the cross more in our minds then in our hearts. A Christian has a daily battle. But we are not justified by our works but by faith in Christ. Everything He has done is suffice.

    The law shows us when we sin. Today Christians seem to say "do do do do do". But we are sinners and we can't just "do". We fail. But Jesus didn't fail. And through that great Gospel God sparks great changes in a Christian's heart to be more grateful for everything Christ has done. And simply because we love Christ alone, we will obey. And that attitude is a result of the Gospel.

    Amen to these things and these men!

    Might I observe the obvious?

    We need more men, doubly triply more men than these in every nation on earth bringing forth the Word of the Lord every Lord's Day.

    I dare say, if Jesus Himself were able to make it to each pulpit on Sundays these days with the full text of the Old and New and everyone's spirit bubbling over as the Noble Bereans, sin would not be as much an issue as it is?

    Lawson: "...Also, Christians who are out of community with other believers are leaving themselves exposed and weak before Satan’s attacks.".

    Yes and I would observe even more that we are heading in the direction where we are individually becoming either hot or lukewarm or cold, these three!

    Here would be an area the Corporate Church should find herself in these days in every nation on earth:

    Ecc 5:1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil.

    and

    Eph 3:8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
    Eph 3:9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things,
    Eph 3:10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
    Eph 3:11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,
    Eph 3:12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.

    To enter "boldly" with confidence can only occur with fire preached from the pulpit!

    Thanks John S. and preach it with fire boldly, brother!!

    This was a good read, thank you for your obedience.

    I think it is answered in the word "believe".

    John 3:16 should read something like:
    For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever clings to, relies upon, adheres to, and yields to Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

    God bless brothers and sisters, keep on keepin' on.

    Joseph - A follower of Jesus Christ. :)
    http://www.serious-things.com

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