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Pointers along the way #380

Little sins, big sins?
- Jacob Ninan

One of the sad features of modern Christianity is that the average 'born again' Christian is badly lacking in integrity. Satan is very much behind this. There was a time when Christians who knew God shouted out to the people that it was not good enough to be born in a Christian family but that anyone who wanted to become a real Christian had to be born again (Jn.3:3). However the enemy saw a fine way to oppose this message subtly and at the same time appear to be loving and broadminded. He convinced the preachers not to be too narrow minded about the message and encouraged them to broaden the 'narrow way' (Mt.7:13,14), so that they could get more people to respond to their ministry. With a master stroke he made it very 'easy' to be born again, just by repeating a formula, signing a card, raising a hand, etc., and suddenly thousands began to be 'born again' or, to be precise, to imagine that they have been born again!

We can't find a shortcut that bypasses recognising one's sinfulness and the awful punishment waiting for sin, repenting and turning away from sin, and receiving salvation as a free unmerited gift from the Saviour. These are things that happen inside us, and it is only those who genuinely experience them who can come to enjoy the supernatural step of being born again by the Spirit of God. Unfortunately many seem to have taken shortcuts, and now while they consider themselves born again they are suffering from serious lacks in their Christian experience.

One 'litmus test' we can take for ourselves is with regards to our inner attitude towards sin. If we feel quite comfortable with 'little sins' such as lying, unrighteousness with money, pilfering, etc., we fail this test. Either we were never born again in the first place, or have backslidden so much that it is just as if no such thing ever happened to us. The apostle John had a burden to make the distinction between children of God and the devil very clear. He said, "No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother" (1Jn.3:9,10). The one who practises sin has not had a change of heart (He.8:10); he has no qualms about it; he is still a child of the devil.

It is not that the children of God never sin. But isn't there a difference between falling into sin against one's own wishes and carelessly going about sinning? Isn't there also a difference between sins of action such as lying which we can avoid if we really want to and other sins of the emotions?

This kind of careless approach to sins that can be avoided shows that such people have never really experienced the new birth from God's Spirit. Nothing supernatural has happened in their lives when they repeated some words or whatever. But even now it is not too late.


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