« Robots and Responsibility (Video) | Main | Hearing from God? »

June 07, 2011

Comments

Regarding different punishments, how about Luke 12:47-48:

47 And that servant who knew his master's will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating.
48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

The Seven Deadly Sins implies that there sins that are not deadly. And thus, we have another reason to believe that all sins are not equal.

And there is a confirmation of this in I John 5:16-17:

"If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death."

So many (Christians) are willing to reflexively assert the "To God, all sins are the same." meme.

But "All sin is evidence of a sinful nature." is more to the point. Sin is a symptom of the disease. There are lesser symptoms and there are greater symptoms, but the disease will kill you if left untreated.

Let us ask, as Jesus is the great physician, what the real disease is?
Is it not idolatry? Specifically idolatry of Self? We put ourselves in G-d's place; we believe our way is the right way, not His.
That is why, when asked what is needed to do the work of G-d, Jesus answers, "to believe on the One whom He has sent." And that eternal life is to know that He is G-d and to know His Son, Jesus Christ.

The idolatry of Self is the disease that leads to all other symptoms: lust (putting what your body wants before what G-d wants), greed, wrath, and of course, pride. They all stem from pride; love of Self. But the other symptoms, like Francis pointed out, may not lead to death.

You may have a cough that needs fixing, or you may need to cure the flu that causes the cough.

This is a great post, and really helps clear up some questions I have been asked before regarding the "degrees" of sin.
Thank you for posting.

The bottom-line is that all sin is the result of our natural state of rebellion or better yet, to quote R.C. Sproul it is purely and simply "cosmic treason" against a Holy God.

The sins of a believer are an unimaginable burden to our Lord and Savior. And though the seriousness or weight of our individual sins may vary, sin in any form is still a great heaviness to Him none the less.

To understand and fully believe in His atoning sacrifice, and still not fervently resist sin, and then deeply regret that which slips past us, is at the very core of the "treason" R.C. is talking about.

Great post!

HOLA HERMANOS. DIOS LES CONTINÙE BENDICIENDO. QUERÌA PREGUNTARLES SI ES POSIBLE QUE UDS OFRECIERAN LA OPCION EN ESPAÑOL, YA QUE ESTOS TRADUCTORES EN LÌNEA REALMENTE NO FACILITAN LA COMPRENSIÒN EXACTA DE LO ESCRITO. GRACIAS POR SU ATENCION.

There is sin described as fault and we're exhorted and admonished to bear with one another's sin(fault) and even pray about it Eph 4:2, James 5:6. Certainly God couldn't be asking us to bear with evil.

But, there is sin depicted as evil/iniquity and we're strongly admonished to resist that nature haven been saved from it 2 Tim 2:19, Gal 5:19-21.

The distinction between the two, being that the later leads to eternal damnation while the former, brings God's fatherly discipline on us and we debar ourselves the rich enjoyment of our earthly bliss in Christ for a season 1 John 5:16-17, Heb 12:8.

Hi LILIAM MARTINEZ,

My sincere apologies to you! I am not sure why my comment came up with your name.

"And the penalty must be paid by someone." (Amy)

Isn't this kind of scapegoating the concept of justice? Shouldn't we pay the penalty for our own actions? Isn't this true responsibility and accountability?

Liliam, esto es todo lo que se han traducido en estos momentos.

(While we used a human translator for those articles, I used an online translator for this comment, so hopefully it makes sense!)

Hello

We know according with the Scriptures that exists degree in the sins, because there are degrees in the punishments. An strong logic correlations of 1 that indicates that no all the sins are equal.

But the Scriture is clear:

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23.

In other words, if your sin is small or big, the wage is spiritual death.

Bendiciones :D


For me the clincher is that Jesus Himself taught that not all sins are equal. Jesus spoke of a "greater sin" in John 19:11.

"Jesus answered him, 'You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.'" -John 19:11

However you interpret this, it cannot mean that Jesus believed that no sins are greater than any other sins.

http://stayontargetstayontarget.blogspot.com/2011/05/christian-urban-legend-all-sins-are.html

SocietyVs, even in our own judicial system, if a person commits a crime and receives a penalty of a fine that's far too great for him to pay, anyone can graciously pay the fine for him, and the government will not object.

If God's holy nature is to show His hatred and wrath towards sin, and Jesus takes that sin on Himself, then all of that evil will be punished.

Since the price is far too great for any person to pay for himself, it's only the result of God's mercy that anyone is saved, and that mercy is only righteous because justice has been met.

If you want to insist on every person paying his own penalty on his own, that's the end of any hope for anyone. But since God is the judge and the government of the universe, don't you think He has the right to choose how He'll accept payment?

But do I remember right that you converted to Judaism? How do you view the sacrificial system of the Old Testament (e.g., the sacrifices for the people's sins)? Why did God have them do this?

"Even in our own judicial system, if a person commits a crime and receives a penalty of a fine that's far too great for him to pay, anyone can graciously pay the fine for him, and the government will not object." (Amy)

True, and in those crimes I can see the use of grace/mercy - namely if the person is trying to make appropriate changes to deal with the problem they created.

However, what if that crime is murder or pedophilia? Does the gov't turn its eye if we decide to be sentenced in that offender's place?

"If God's holy nature is to show His hatred and wrath towards sin, and Jesus takes that sin on Himself, then all of that evil will be punished." (Amy)

If God hates sin so much, why have us born into it? Or is this so much the human condition that we cannot escape 'original sin'? And if this is so, why doesn't God just simply understand that? Is God so mad that the only way to appease Him is someone has to die? This doesn't sound like a God that really loves me as I drive it further down this road.

However, since this is God's court and not mine, lets suppose this is the case - Jesus' death covers all my sin...is this for all time or just for the present and past? Just how powerful is this blood sacrifice?

Reason I ask is because if it pays for the 'future' sins couldn't the system be potentially abused? Couldn't this line of reasoning lead to further bad behavior by someone since they 'got it covered by someone else'?

Again, this is God's court so what right do I have to speak about justice. All I know is that on earth when someone commits a crime they answer before the court for it. yet, in God's court Jesus answers for our 'crimes', even if he did nothing wrong. Isn't that kind of unfair for Jesus?

"Since the price is far too great for any person to pay for himself, it's only the result of God's mercy that anyone is saved, and that mercy is only righteous because justice has been met." (Amy)

Wait, we do pay the price don't we, someone earlier said 'the wages of sin is DEATH'? Is this correct? Well does everyone here think they will die someday or will they live on 'earth' forever never to be harmed? Some portion of that penalty we are still paying - death namely.

In fact, the most a person can pay on this planet is 'death' and we all pay that to God (whom we owe a death I guess for being born into original sin). So how is it we are not paying a 'price'...I think 'death' is a pretty big price myself.

"But since God is the judge and the government of the universe, don't you think He has the right to choose how He'll accept payment?" (Amy)

I agree, its God's call...but didn't He make that call when He cursed Adam and Eve with mortality (ie: they would die)? Jesus did not over-turn that call from what I can tell, humans are still dying day in and day out, good and evil, Christian and non-Christian.

To me the correct comment would be 'God's chooses who He will resurrect or not', since we all will pay with our lives for what we do - good and bad - we die.

"But do I remember right that you converted to Judaism?" (Amy)

I never did convert, I just love and respect Judaism as a faith system.

>SocietyVs. I think the death being referred to is the second death or hell. Physical death is not necessarily a bad thing.

So basically what your saying is that you don't believe in substitution punishment or Christ taking your punishment for you? You have to understand that while we use legal terminology, its not quite that. Our legal system is to ensure the wellbeing of society. So yes, letting a murderer off free is evil in our society (although we do it all the time) but when God saves you He is not just letting you off free but also transforming you. The sin is against God afterall, He can decide what He wants to do in retribution. This is the difference between earthly legal practicals and cosmic good.

I am not quite sure about original sin, to be honest, I have not given it a lot of thought or read too heavily into it (if anyone knows any good resources, though, let me know). What I basically think is that regardless, we all sin and have a nature contrary to God's, created from our own sin. So while in many respects Christ is taking our punishment for us, I think its also important to realize that He's also creating a new nature for us. We have created the problem and God has provided a solution so to speak.

So while Christians may keep on sinning throughout their lives, if they have truly given their lives to Christ their soul, for lack of a better term, has been changed. Faith (or your loyalty to God) should translate into behaviour.

Its not just about justice but also about transformation. Now in theory everyone for all of time could take Christ's sacrifice, either through faith in God before Christ came to Earth or Christian belief afterwards. So we could in theory have 100% salvation of everyone. I believe that Christ died for everyone, although not everyone will take that free gift. There are a lot of unopened gifts.

Just out of curiosity, are you a Christian or an atheist or some other faith?

"Just out of curiosity, are you a Christian or an atheist or some other faith?" (Amy)

Christian. I just have my doubts about things like substitution atonement, the trinity, the role of the messiah, etc. I still love the faith and basically defend it all the time...but some things within Christianity do not exactly square up with their own theology about God. Thus, questions and concerns is all.

For example, the concept of 'justice' in Christianity is skewed with the substitution. To fully follow that belief one has to admit they will not answer for their own transgressions, Jesus actually will answer on your behalf. Now part of that is 'just' - mercy/grace is part of the role of justice. However, even you can see pardoning someone for a serious crime on earth and letting someone innocent take their place does not make a lot of sense in terms of 'just-ness'.

I grasp your idea about transformation and renewal via faith in Jesus - agreed. However, the teaching does allow for the leeway for someone to potentially abuse that system - even if it was adultery or some violent act done in anger (happens all the time in basic Christian homes). Why does that happen? Because they are not eternally accountable for their actions, they can be forgiven ASAP and wipe the slate clean just like that. What about the victims? Can they wipe the slate as clean just as easily?

This is why I do not promote the idea of substitution, since it makes me unaccountable for my actions and somewhat irresponsible. I'd like to think God can see what I do and my motives and call me on it, and require me to change those stupid behaviors...not because Jesus died for me but because I owe Him a life as well.

Just, to clarify, that was Marie, not me. :-) But I may have a chance to respond later today.

But again, I did give you an example of how our own justice system accepts payment of hugely large fines given as punishment for a crime, regardless of who pays the fine. That wouldn't be called a pardon. (When a pardon occurs, the crime isn't paid for.) Our justice system considers that to be a satisfaction of justice.

"Our justice system considers that to be a satisfaction of justice." (Amy)

I agree with the concept - ie: mercy/grace - which is part of the definition of justice.

Where does that line end though? Even with your justice system, as I mentioned, they would not allow me to take the place of a serial killer in jail to satisfy justice.

A big part of that would be that, were the serial killer to go free, he would hurt more people. But if part of the serial killer's punishment were a fine, anybody could pay that fine, and the government would consider that to be a satisfaction of justice.

So in the same way, if God has found a way whereby His son could pay all of the penalty, not just monetary fines, and He (as the government of the universe) is willing to accept that payment because His wrath against sin will be expressed in full, then that seems to be His right to do so.

It's the same principle we see working out in our own justice system. Our government also has payments it's willing to accept from others in order to satisfy justice.

Now back to the serial killer and the going free problem. The payment has been paid for the guilty party, but is it okay to let him go free?

If at the same time that God accepts the payment from Jesus (a payment that not one person could pay on his own), He also changes the heart of the guilty party such that they will not be a danger to anyone in heaven, then it seems that all justice has been satisfied and grace can be offered.

"So in the same way, if God has found a way whereby His son could pay all of the penalty, not just monetary fines..." (Amy)

Lets make this tangible - this whole substitution thing.

What if someone comes to your church and converts to the faith - obviously he will be regenerated I am guessing.

What if he is a pedophile out on probation with a serious list of crimes towards young women and children...do we treat him the same as Joe down the street with a family and 2 kids, working a good job, and wants to be part of the Sunday School ministry?

All things being equal, all of their sins have been forgiven and they basically stand as clean slates before God and humanity. They both should be regenerated and not be thinking anything weird concerning their baser nature. Or do we still have to use some level of common sense?

"He also changes the heart of the guilty party such that they will not be a danger to anyone in heaven, then it seems that all justice has been satisfied and grace can be offered." (Amy)

I think we both know this is not true - concerning conversion and 'change'. I think aspects of it are true - ie: people can change their behaviors and motives - however it's not always true.

Simple logic: we're still humans living on planet earth complete with all the temptations one could ever imagine. Plus, another codified Christian ideal, no one is perfect.

The comments to this entry are closed.