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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Monday, June 15, 2009
Once More On The Sinfulness Of Sin. (part one)
Not many of us think of ourselves as essentially evil. We typically think of ourselves as good, regardless of where we actually are on the spectrum. Those of us with biblical instruction (whether partial or complete) often know that in times past we committed acts that scripture describes as evil (lying, deceiving, stealing, etc. etc.), but because we try to keep ourselves from lapsing into these again, recognizing that they are evil, we tend to think of ourselves as having once been evil, but now we are on the path to being good, of not essentially good already.

To set this thought proper in our thinking, I am talking about how we honestly think of ourselves deep down. We don't typically think of ourselves as "evil" - we think of ourselves as good people who (sometimes) do bad things. We reserve the category of evil for those people who commit cold-blooded murder, rape, kidnapping, and the like. We think of evil in terms of how upsetting to harmonious balance of our life a thing is. Did a many lie to his wife about how many cookies he ate after lunch? Big deal, right? I mean, that isn't going to upset the cosmic balance, so that's not evil. No, I mean, if the man killed someone for fun, we all understand that that's evil because we weight the consequences. Who cares that the man had a few too many cookies after lunch, but let him deprive a man of his life and we see clearly that something 'evil' has been done.

In fact, we tend to reserve the idea of evil for those things whose consequences are sorely felt, and everything is we consider simply as "bad" - I mean, we quote the ideal, that we should never lie or steal, but even as we do, we only mean we shouldn't lie about anything important, and we shouldn't steal anything that will be missed.

Many of us were brought up to live "good" lives, and by good we simply mean we were brought up having been trained not to harm others in any significant we, as much as we can help it. Thus the average person regards himself or herself, as basically a "good" person because they do what they can to avoid hurting other people.

From this perspective many who regard themselves as basically good people, do not flinch from crimes that don't hurt individuals. They believe it is wrong to steal a starving man's bread, but shoplifting an iPod - hey, no one gets hurt, and really, they are so over priced, maybe stealing one will send a message to the company to stop ripping off people. You would be surprised how many criminals regard their crimes as morally neutral - yes, I stole, or I didn't tell the whole truth, but I wasn't hurting anyone, or I did it for some justifiable reason.

I could walk the whole gambit here and show that from the most seemingly innocent person to the most seemingly wicked person - almost all of these share the notion that whatever they do has nothing to do with their moral core. Because they regard their own moral core as being basically good, if they do something that they would be ashamed of, they then think of it as a moral lapse or some perhaps a justifiable situational choice, even if they can recognize that what they have done is shameful - they may well present it to their own conscience as though they really had no choice in the matter, because they paint themselves as victims or justified, or whatever they have to paint themselves because they [1] presume themselves to be good, [2] these things must therefore be exceptions.

The Lord has blessed me for many years now. I have had a desire to know Him, and to obey Him. Yet even for all the Lord has done for me, I find that sometimes I still operate from the ivory tower, as it were. I forget sometimes that I am not basically good - but entirely evil.

A sow wallows in the mire because it is a sow. It isn't that it becomes a sow by wallowing in the mire, rather no matter how you clean it up, it will always return to the mire to wallow because that is it's nature. In the same way a sinner returns to sin because he is a sinner.

Christ died to save His people from their sin - but a Christian remains a sinner until the day he dies. If he lapses back into sin it is because he is still, and has never ceased to be, a sinner.

It is a weird relationship, I think. You see, the Christian is a sinner whom Christ personally released from sin's bondage.

I don't mean ropes and incarceration, I mean slavery. The man who sins is the slave of sin. The Christian is a sinner who was previously a slave to sin but now has been set free from sin's bondage. That doesn't mean that he isn't a sinner anymore, it doesn't mean that all his sinful desires disappear - it means that the Holy Spirit has come to indwell him, and in doing so has provided a real means out of every single temptation. It means that the Christian now is being influenced by the Holy Spirit, who begins to convict that sinner (Christian though he is) that his sins are sinful, and offensive to God. Conviction means being made to believe a thing truly is wrong. It is more than just being made aware that some rule is being broken - the law can do that much. It is an intellectual exercise to assent to the breaking of a law, but it is the work of the Holy Spirit to [1]convince a sinner that he has sinned against God, and [2] produce a desire in that sinner to please God.

More on this later. This is just part one.


posted by Daniel @ 7:11 AM  
  • At 11:48 PM, June 17, 2009, Blogger Breaking from the Pack said…

    My wife and I were talking about this in a roundabout way when we were frustrated by many Christians coming down so hard on Marc Driscoll for not being perfect. God used David and Abraham to bring about His Glory and they were big sinners. Didn't Jesus say that those who are not against me are for me? Why do we beat up fellow Christians for being what we all are...not perfect? It is easy to believe yourself to be good if you don't believe that thoughts are as bad as actions. I am keenly aware that I am capable of the most unspeakable evils and yet most people who know me consider me to be quite good. They are deceived because they do not see the struggle inside and how I fight with pride, despair, and judgmentalism each day. Praise the Lord for Jesus Christ. Only the blood of the lamb can cover my sin.

  • At 8:01 AM, June 18, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    I don't think it is Driscoll's mouth that offends as much as his heart. Every believer sins, but we ought to be struggling against our sin, and not justifying it. That is where a mature beef with Driscoll has teeth. If he continues to pay lip service to repentance, as an elder, he brings public rebuke upon himself.

    Yet I suspect that most of the people who are coming down on Driscoll are just following the crowd, as it were, and that actually undermines the effectiveness of just rebukes - because now Driscoll can ignore a just rebuke on the grounds that the rebuke is just a bunch of mindless haters hating on him.

    I have heard with my own ears some of the things Driscoll has said in the last year, and I personally agree with the scriptures, that pure water and polluted water ought not to come from the same fountain, and that would be my rebuke to Driscoll - to examine and learn whether or not that is so, and then to take a good hard look at what comes out of his mouth. I respect a guy who says, "I know it's wrong, but sometimes my pride gets the best of me, and I want people to like me, and I find myself saying things I ought not to say, and know I ought not to be saying them, but I same them anyway, and feel aweful as soon as I have, and wish I could take it back, and regret what I have said, but trust that even in this the Lord has forgiven, and I ask your forgiveness, as I continue to struggle with this sinful weakness I find in my character." I say, I respect that, but I do not respect someone who wipes their mouth after saying something filthy and pretends they haven't said anything wrong.

    Driscoll isn't perfect, and we should not expect perfection from him, or anyone else - but as an elder in a church, and as a public representative of Christ, it is quite reasonable to expect his communication to remain uncorrupted by the sort of vulgarity that has marked Driscoll's discourse on occasion, and further to expect that if he does say something off color, he should own up to it and repent, even publically. Pride will likely hinder that.

    Thanks for the comment.

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