Q and A: Falling away from grace when we sin….

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Hi Simon! Thanks for the reply. These are a lot of articles, so please allow me to focus only on some of them.

It seems that there are many things we hold in common. To facilitate efficiency of discussion, let me first state what I believe in so we won’t have to further argue on what we already agree in.

I’m a Catholic, so I believe in what the Catholic Church teaches, holding that it is to this Church whom Christ entrusted to safeguard his teachings. Here’s a link to the official Catholic teaching on justification, grace, merit, and Christian holiness:

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P6Y.HTM

So you see, here’s what we hold in common: it’s God grace that saves the Christian, not his works. Even the good works a Christian is able to do or the evil he is able to avoid owes it to God as a work of grace.

But this seems where we disagree: you hold that the 10 commandments does not have a hold on Christian salvation. You seem to suggest that a person can willfully violate these commandments (ex. murder or rape someone) and still not lose the salvation Christ earned for him, even without his repenting of his sins. (please correct me if I misunderstood). I hold that it is possible to “fall away from grace” by willfully committing a grave evil in full knowledge and full consent (for Catholics, this is called ‘mortal sin’). But if someone falls from grace and sincerely repents and goes to the Sacrament of Penance, Christ’s grace restores him in justification.

You hold that a Christian must not strive or struggle to uproot his sinful deeds. That whatever good we do or the sin we avoid are merely the added bonus of the grace that takes effect in us. (again, please correct me if I misunderstood) I hold that a Christian must struggle to avoid evil (observe the commandments and love his neighbor) cooperating with the grace of God. Indeed it is still God’s grace that makes the Christian capable of doing good works. However, a Christian remains to have free will: he is able to reject grace. Since we have a weakened nature and an inclination to evil, sometimes we are tempted to freely commit sin, that is why it entails effort for man to freely cooperate with God’s grace. Indeed, there is a need to “persevere in temptation” (James 1:12) I’ll await your reply to confirm your true stance.

 

Answer: 

Hi Vince,

Thank you for reading some of my notes. Let’s reply to some of your thoughts.

you hold that the 10 commandments does not have a hold on Christian salvation. You seem to suggest that a person can willfully violate these commandments (ex. murder or rape someone) and still not lose the salvation Christ earned for him, even without his repenting of his sins. (please correct me if I misunderstood). I hold that it is possible to “fall away from grace” by willfully committing a grave evil in full knowledge and full consent (for Catholics, this is called ‘mortal sin’). But if someone falls from grace and sincerely repents and goes to the Sacrament of Penance, Christ’s grace restores him in justification.

There are many things which you have stated which are “logically sound”. I am trying to share with you from the authority from God’s word. My first question to you is what does Paul teach in Romans 5? You are saved not by your obedience but Jesus’. Also see what Paul says, when you receive the Spirit when you believe in Jesus you are a new creation. When that happens, you are no longer a sinner but a saint. You receive a righteousness which is not from the Law but from grace. Also read Romans 6:14 “sin has no dominion over you because you are under grace not law”. What give power to sin? See 1 Corinthians 15 (at the very end). The power of sin is the law. So when the law is removed from your life, sin loses its power. The mechanics of how sin works is is that it derives the power from the law. Paul says in Romans 7 when the commandment was introduce sin sprang to life.

Your understanding of “fallen from grace” is again logical but not scriptural. I am not insulting you but merely to point you where this phrase actually comes from. It comes from galatians 5 and must be quoted in its context. It means going back to the law to get righteous with God. That is how you fall from grace. You do not repent from sin. You repent from trying to be righteous by obeying the law. It leads to self righteousness.

I don’t believe you can lose your salvation. You cannot do anything to earn your salvation. Hence you cannot do anything to lose your salvation. A person who understands that he is saved by grace will not murder or rape someone. He is fused with the nature of God and is infilled with the SPIRIT of God. I think He rather trust in the power of His Spirit to keep us rather than us keeping the Law. Note in Galatians 5 after mentioning the fruit of the Spirit Paul says “against these things there is no law”. So the Spirit produce in us “Love, kindness, goodness…” The Spirit produces such things NOT THE LAW!

You hold that a Christian must not strive or struggle to uproot his sinful deeds. That whatever good we do or the sin we avoid are merely the added bonus of the grace that takes effect in us. (again, please correct me if I misunderstood) I hold that a Christian must struggle to avoid evil (observe the commandments and love his neighbor) cooperating with the grace of God. Indeed it is still God’s grace that makes the Christian capable of doing good works. However, a Christian remains to have free will: he is able to reject grace. Since we have a weakened nature and an inclination to evil, sometimes we are tempted to freely commit sin, that is why it entails effort for man to freely cooperate with God’s grace.

Dear Vince,

I did not say that a Christian does not strive or struggle to uproot his sinful deeds. If he does not hate sin, he is not a Christian. Where I differ from you is that I say Paul tells is in Colossians 2 that your sinful nature has already been put away. What I am saying is NOT that we do not struggle not to sin BUT there is a difference between sin (noun) and sin (verb). Sin is not just what we do but a sickness we have. I am saying what Paul says that sin (noun) is dealt with while we still sin (verb). But because sin (noun) is taken care of sin (verb) will eventually disappear from us. BUT your sinful nature is dealt with. You are no longer in a ‘weakened nature and have an inclination towards evil (by the way that is in the Old Testament n Genesis 6)”. You are a new creation and a partaker of the divine nature as Peter says it in 1st Peter. I hope that clarifies things.

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6 thoughts on “Q and A: Falling away from grace when we sin….

  1. nice 1. No sin is strong enough to nullify the blood of Jesus which was shed for our salvation. Salvation is a gift, it cannot be lose through our own merits.

  2. Several concerns in the questions and comments to be tackled.

    1) Biblical repentance..is coming to terms with..once I was dead and new I’m ALIVE, once I was a unbeliever, now I’m a believer, once I had a dead nature, now I have a new nature..if one studies what actually occurred when we first believed..one would see all the certainty and past tenses of many words…to think repentance is what determines our salvation in keeping in step with how well WE do is to nullify the ” work of God through Christ!

    2). Salvation is not about getting, or keeping ourselves forgiven…it’s about infusing new life, His Life within a dee soul..forgiveness was a one time act which brought ETERNAL RESULTS, thus the words of Christ, ” It is finished” ..also the Apostle Paul reminds us, ” Col 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, HAVING FORGIVEN you all trespasses;

    We walk a walk of FAITH in what WAS accomplished as not people who need to be forgiven, but as those who HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN. Again salvation has nothing to do with forgiveness….although it had a role and has a role..

    Rom 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
    Rom 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled,  we shall be saved by his life.

    In the end, it isn’t going to matter if we believe something to be true to make it truth.It will be truth only because Gods Word declares it to be true. This is why the New Covenant commission is not to go preach the gospel of the Kingdom, but rathe the gospel of Grace. For one enforces ACTION for Salvation the other enforces His action that SAVES..

    2Cr 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away;  behold,  all things are become new.
    2Cr 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
    2Cr 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
    2Cr 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
    2Cr 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

    Ets put the GOOD back in the Gospel!

  3. Hi Simon. I always love your posts and understand them to be the truth of the gospel revealed by faith.
    I bless you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and pray you are blessed and continue to share the gospel freely and willingly.

    However, one tiny note: You have said that if we do not hate sin, we are not Christians. I would argue that is not necessarily true. The Prodigal Son is clear on this point. Sometimes we gladly sin and even relish in it for a time. Even after we are saved. For me, I became a man without a church. My pastor had retired (forced out of the church because he believed as we do, only in grace, never the law). And so I kind of retired from seeking a home church for a long time.

    One of the reasons I retired was the pathetic lack of a real gospel being preached. Hence, by my failure to persevere and listen to God’s leading, I instead slacked off on seeking a church, on bible reading, and in many spiritual matters. I never denied God of course, nor could I as I am one of the chosen. However, I did live somewhat as a pig for a while.

    Some of the things I said and did were, looking back, horrific.

    Thanks be to my God who does not remove His Spirit from me because of what I say or do. What I said or did. Praise God. For His mercy abounds when my flesh runs amok.

    As the Prodigal Son, I knew I was eating with the pigs. Unlike the Prodigal Son, my heart was torn in two for the failure (living by the flesh) that I had become.

    Yet, from God’s point of view, I was always a saint. Throughout my dance with the devil, God’s spirit lived in me.

    I’m hear to bring some peace and incredible news to all of you men and women who like me, felt far from God and if not on the verge of losing salvation, already having lost it.

    You haven’t. For the real you is hidden away in Christ. You are seated in Christ. You dwell with him. You are sealed by the Holy Spirit. Your names are written in the Lamb’s book of Life! NO ONE CAN SNATCH YOU OUT OF THE FATHER’S HAND. NO ONE. NOT EVEN YOU IN ALL YOUR DEPRAVITY.

    Are we new creations? Yes. Our spiritual nature is crucified with Christ. But the flesh is still with us. When we stop looking up, we look in. And when that happens, we fall an awful lot. But never are we lost. We have been found.

    God gets all the credit. We get none of it. Praise God. His mercy endures forever.

    • Please understand we are to hate sin not because of any alienation it makes us towards God but what it does to is and our loved ones.

  4. Thank you Simon. And I agree of course. Sin devastates, corrupts, and ruins. Such is its nature. But the flesh loves it. We are new creations in Spirit. And we have the mind of Christ, which we can use to take those sinful thoughts captive.

    Yet, sin is very much a part of our lives. And I truly believe that everyone of us who sin in the flesh, does so very willingly. Willingly then means if we don’t love it, we at least want it.

    My point was and still is, sin does not separate us from God. Regardless if we love it or hate it. For God does not see our sin. Ever!

    This is the marvel of Grace.

    Therefore, we should be careful of what we demand of a Christian. To proclaim that if anyone doesn’t hate sin is then NOT a Christian, to me is dangerous ground to tread upon.

    Of course we SHOULD hate sin. And for the most part, I believe any Christian who understands his identity in Christ, does.

    But let’s not be self-righteous and proclaim what we think a Christian ought to and ought not to feel about sin or the flesh.

    Furthermore, I don’t dwell on sin at this stage in my life ONLY because I know who I am in Christ. Rather, I remember that I am the righteousness of God in Christ. Wow! Therefore, sin is not really that big a part of my vocabulary these days.

    The written code is strong and the flesh is weak. But the Spirit of God, which dwells in us, is great and mighty and has afforded us every weapon to pull down strong holds.

    Another point about loving sin: Homosexuality for example. Does not the homosexual love the sin he indulges in, if only for a time? Is he then condemned because of his sexual preference? If so, then Christ’s remarkable sacrifice was not enough to handle this particular sin.

    But Christ did handle this sin along with every other but unbelief. Water baptism crucified the sinful nature. His belief in Jesus Christ as Lord gave him a new birth or rebirth of the Spirit of God.

    If this homosexual continues in his sin, is he then doomed? Will God once again condemn him?

    No. he will not. Obviously, this lifestyle does not please God. But from God’s point of view, the man himself is exceedingly pleasing to God (the spiritual and true man) for Christ’s blood covers every one of his sins. And therefore, according to the Spirit, this homosexual is not a sinner but a saint.

    This is hard to accept and even hard to write. But it’s the mercy of God in all of it’s marvelous glory. To proclaim anything less, is akin to falling a bit, from grace in my humble opinion.

    Does this then mean that I or any Christian should condone sinful living? Absolutely not. But, I will not march against Homosexuals. I will not march against abortion. i will not march against sin. For sin is the reality we all deal with every single day (in the flesh). Rather,

    I will march for Jesus Christ and His marvelous grace.

    In Christ and in Love,

    Mike

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