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Two Sorts of Sins

Two Sorts of Sins

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“If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask (pray for them), and he will give him life for those who commit sin NOT leading to death. There is a sin leading to death: I do not say that he shall pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is sin not leading to death.” 1 John 5:16, 17

The Apostle here clearly teaches that there are TWO SORTS OF SINS: one that may be repented of and reformed from, and for which forgiveness and reconciliation may be prayed for and expected, the other a sin that “hath never forgiveness” (Mark 3:29), while those who commit it, “it is impossible to renew again unto repentance.” (Heb 6:4, 6; 10:26) It is a sin unto death, and none need pray for or expect its forgiveness. The latter is sometimes called a death-sin, or “MORTAL SIN,” while the former is termed a “VENIAL SIN,” or one, which may be forgiven. These distinct sins are recognized by these names by Roman Catholics. But this should be no reason why we or any others should reject a thought which we see to be Scriptural.

“A sin leading to death” is one which may be committed in a variety of ways. Whenever a wrong course is adopted intentionally, with a full desire to have it so, against a clear knowledge of the right and wrong in the matter, and not from weakness—physical or moral–such, to our understanding, is a sin that is unto death; it is willful, intentional sin against clear knowledge. It is unto death and not subject to forgiveness because not covered by Christ’s ransom-price. The ransom does not cover it, because it is not in any sense traceable to Adam’s transgression and its consequences.

Christ as Mediator stands between men and God’s perfect and exact requirements, to shield them from the exactness of that law to the extent of their weaknesses, ignorance’s and evil besetments, and to instruct them until they shall come to a clear knowledge of the truth. But Christ’s object and God’s object, in this mediation, is not to spare and shield willful sinners from God’s just law and its penalty, but to recover the unwilling captives of sin and to release and restore them out of their weaknesses. The mediation is extended to all, but permanently benefits only those who accept and conform to it.

Willful sinners are condemned to death–second death–by the Mediator’s law as well as by Jehovah’s law, for they are identical except that the Mediator (in the next age, during the Mediatorial reign) applies the merit of his own sacrifice to compensate for the Adamic weaknesses of those seeking to obey him, while they are coming up to perfection, under his instruction and aid during that period.

The Apostle teaches that this sin unto death (the sin against the Holy Spirit, Mark 3:29) can be committed now (ONLY) by the church, (that is the fully consecrated, those in covenant relationship with the Father, Psa 50:5), those begotten of the Holy Spirit.

If after clearly recognizing Christ as their Redeemer and Mediator, and enjoying the blessings of his ransom-sacrifice, they knowingly turn from this, God’s plan, to commend themselves to him in some other manner aside from the sin-offering which Christ presented once for all. Those who have been once enlightened and who have tasted of the heavenly gift [forgiveness of sins through Christ], and have been made partakers of the spirit of holiness (The Holy Spirit), who have tasted of the good word of God and the powers of the coming age, and WHO THEN SIN WILLFULLY, are sinning on their own account, and intelligently, after having enjoyed their full share of the redemption and release from Adamic or “original sin” secured by God for all through Christ’s atoning work.

By such a willful course of opposition they clearly say to God, (not so much in words, but in thought), ‘Your great plan of redemption and reconciliation of the world through Christ appears to be a failure so far as we are concerned; we have no need of Christ’s work as Redeemer, nor do we recognize his blood (death) as the seal of the New Covenant, though we do recognize him as a very good man whose example is worthy of imitation; we see no purchasing power in his blood for us; he died for himself and we die for ourselves; he commended himself to God as worthy of life, and we shall commend ourselves to God as worthy of life by doing the same as he did–following his example (of righteousness, of doing good). They say, our case is in God’s hands; we expect he will bring us through; we need no purchase or ransom-price for our sins, and we recognize none.’

Thus, they do despite to the one and only plan of salvation provided by God—the salvation which is in Christ Jesus alone, through faith in his blood (death)–and fall into the hands of the living God; and by their rejection of the mediation for sin secured in Christ’s death they expose themselves to the full blaze of the perfect law which surely condemns any of the fallen race of Adam not under cover of the one and only RANSOM. And as Paul declares, their position then, without a Mediator, is a fearful one. (Heb. 10:31)

For as in the type all who despised Moses, the typical Mediator, and attempted to offer to God incense for themselves and not through Moses, the Mediator of their typical covenant, and his appointed channel, which recognized the sin-offering as the basis of forgiveness, were dealt with WITHOUT MERCY, so those who despise the blood and the Mediator of the New Covenant and place their case thus in the hands of God directly, and not through his recognized channel, the Mediator, will be dealt with upon lines of strict justice, without mercy (Heb 10:26-31); Whether in this age (The Gospel Age) or in the next age (The Millennial Age), God’s mercy for sinners all being provided in Christ, so that there is none other name than his in heaven or in earth whereby we must be saved. And under that strict justice the verdict would be, Imperfect, unworthy of life; sentence, Death.

 

Sowing and Reaping

Sowing and Reaping

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“The fact that retribution–the reward or the penalty for certain actions or conduct performed in this life are often delayed is frequently presumed upon by the foolish, who vainly think that they can sow their crop of wild oats and never realize their harvest. Both individuals and nations have long presumed to act upon this hazardous and vain hypothesis.”

The operations of this law are most manifest upon classes and nations–first, because their prominence gives them world-wide publicity; and, second, because their harvest must of necessity be in the present life, since beyond the present life they will have no existence. A glance at the pages of history reveals the fact that all the nations of the past have reaped a bitter harvest, and amid harrowing scenes have breathed their last. They had their rising, struggling periods and then their flourishing eras; and then pride and fullness of bread caused them to rest in fancied security, and to sink in the scale of morals, until their decline was followed by their fall:–they reaped what they had sown.

Where presently do you imagine this once great nation of ours to be along these lines? Have we not experience “pride and fullness of bread”, have we not rested in our own imagined security as a super power and aloud the so-called Christian fundamentals upon which this nation was supposedly founded to erode into vanity and depravity?  Are we not now suffering the just consequences of this course?  Are we not now approaching the final outcome of this course, the fall?

Just now all the nations of the world are fast approaching the terrible crises of their national existences. In a great time of unparalleled trouble, which is even now imminent, they are about to reap what they have sown. They have sown to the wind the seeds of selfishness, and now they are about to reap the whirlwind of anarchy and terror and the destruction of all law and order and national and social organization.

“Behold, the whirlwind of the lord goes forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the LORD shall not return, until he hath done it, and until he has performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it.” (Jer 30:23, 24)

Now it is our understanding that when the “Sin Offering” is complete, and has been fully applied on behalf of the world, and when all sins which, were committed against light (truth) have been atoned for (represented by the high priest laying his hands upon the “scapegoat”), then shall the slate be clean, the “books squared”, and noting more (of the past) will be held against mankind.

Before we discuss how the foregoing scriptures apply, let us first consider this “squaring of the books” that is, the accounting for ALL sins committed in this age, whether they come through original sin or are committed somewhat more or less intelligently.

Why should this be, for what purpose? Think about it, if God did not completely clear the books then justice, one of the very foundations of His throne could not be served. It was Gods purpose that through the redemption brought about through the sacrifice of His Son that ALL men should be given the opportunity for a clean slate and placed on trial even as was the case with father Adam from the beginning. In what way could it be said that they were given a fair trial if past sins could be brought against them? How could one love and trust a God who could at any time pull from the closet some past sin (i.e. form this age) to hold against the accused?

Let us let God speak for Himself,

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith Jehovah: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isa 1:18)

“For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his loving-kindness toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, So far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psa 103:11, 12)

“Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom, the Lord will not reckon (impute) sin.” (Rom 4:7, 8)

How now shall we account for our opening text as well as several others which attest to the same facts? (Hosea 8:7; Prov 22:8; 2 Cor 9:6; Prov 15:3; Eccl 12:14; Luke 12:2, 3; Rom 12:19)

“The Scriptures, as well as observation, assure us that our justification before God does not remove at once and without our co-operation all the results of previous transgressions. The harvest comes like the sowing, but the penitent and forgiven one has promise of grace to help him in the battle with his inherited as well as his cultivated weakness; and so we read (1 John 1:9): God “is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

It is in this cleansing process, which follows the legal justification, that the justified believer must, of necessity, experience some of the baneful results of a past course of sin, reap the reward of his former sowing. While the Lord will be very merciful in dealing with him, nevertheless, as a wise physician, he will not spare the necessary discipline to eradicate the deep-seated evil propensities of long cultivation in the past.

If you violate the principles of righteousness you deface the image of God in your being. Impure thoughts write in clearly legible signs upon the countenance the dark lines of a bad character; while pure, just and noble thoughts illuminate the countenance and render the pure character transparent to beholders.

The operations of this law in individual cases, though not so prominent, are nonetheless sure.

Every thought harbored, and every disposition exercised and cultivated, is woven into the fabric of individual character; and this character, which is more or less plastic in early life, becomes fixed and fossilized in the course of years.

If the cultivation has been along the lines of righteousness and truth, according to the light possessed–whether of conscience merely, or of revelation also–the ripened fruit of an established, right-preferring and benevolent character is a blessed harvest in comparison with others, the reverse.

If the cultivation has been along the lines of depravity, self-gratification and degradation, the terrible fruits are a fearful penalty. Even though such a one be freely forgiven upon repentance and faith in the Redeemer– fully absolved from legal condemnation through Christ, who bore its divinely pronounced penalty, death, nevertheless, the fruits of his sowing are manifest in his character, and must all be rooted out and a proper character formed at a considerable cost of painful but valuable experience; for God is just, not only to forgive us our sins, but also to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, i.e. cleanse from our character our fallen and mired disposition.

The eradicating of these evil dispositions, propensities and appetites, deep-rooted and long-cultivated, will cause great disturbances of the soil in which they have grown; and pain as well as joy will attend their removal, and their replacement with the graces of the spirit. The Lord, as a wise physician, will be as merciful and tender with his patient as the necessities of the cure will permit. All will be shown their need of his aid, but no patient will be treated further except with his own consent and co-operation.”

Another feature of retribution upon the world during its millennial trial will be the publicity, which will then be given to the reaping and to the deeds of the past. Our Lord has so intimated, saying, “There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; neither hid that shall not be known,” etc. (Matt 10:26; Luke 12:2, 3) This also will come about in a natural way, when in that day all that are in their graves shall come forth–when the murderer and his victim, the debtor and his creditor, the thief and his dupe, the defamer and the defamed, must face each other and the facts which, with even the secret motives, will be discerned. The terms of their reconciliation to each other and to the judge will be equitable, and will be known to all.

Past history will have proclaimed to the world the character of many a Nero; but in addition to that, there will be the necessity of facing the former victims of their ignoble cruelty; and that in the light of a new and healthy public sentiment that will manifest crime in all its horrid deformity. Truly such “shall awake to shame and (age) lasting [Heb., olan] contempt,” even in their own eyes; for as their renewed manhood begins to assert itself, they will the more fully realize the depth of the pit of degradation whence they were dug; and even the generous forgiveness of formerly injured and outraged fellow-men will be a great humiliation. It will truly be, as the Scriptures suggest, the heaping of coals of fire on their heads (Prov 25:21, 22; Rom 12:20), so great will be their shame and confusion.–Jer 20:11.

The same conditions which will thus expose the evils of the past life and thus, in the natural operations of moral law, bring about a measure of retribution to the evil-doers, will also make manifest the good deeds of the righteous, so that even the slightest favors done for others (which at the time blessed the characters of the doers) will then be recognized and appreciated.

In this view of the matter we can see how, in a perfectly natural way, a man must reap the harvest of his sowing of wild oats, even though he has been freely forgiven, absolved from guilt and its penalty, death, and legally justified through faith in Christ. He will reap it, both in the difficulties he will have piled up for himself in the hardening of his own character, making the steps up to perfection more painful and slow, and requiring severer discipline and also in the just disapproval or indignation of a righteous public sentiment in that millennial Day of Judgment.

Such will be the natural and inevitable results of present wrong doing, though one consolation will be the fact that this humiliation, in some measure at least, will be shared by all; “for there is none righteous [none perfect], no, not one” (Rom 3:10); and all must pray, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others.” It will indeed be a time for melting and mellowing all hearts. Thus the Lord will take away the stony heart and give to all who under the New Covenant shall become his people (typified by Israel) a heart of flesh, according to his promise.” Ezek 36:22-25-28.

Excerpts taken from R1654The Retributive Character of Divine Law

 

The Unpardonable Sin

The Unpardonable Sin

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Whosoever speaks a word against the Son of Man it shall be  forgiven him; but whosoever speaks against the Holy Spirit it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world (age) to come.” (Matt 12:32)

This text teaches first that there is such a thing as forgiveness of sins both in the present Gospel age and in the coming, millennial age. The basis of all forgiveness of sins is in the fact that “Christ died for our sins.”

Secondly, it teaches that some sins are possible, which God will not reckon as a part of the Adamic sin which passed upon all men and which is to be forgiven all men. If men looked at Jesus and ignorantly supposed him an impostor and blasphemed him, it would be excusable and forgivable as a result of the fallen nature. Even should they blaspheme the name of God, and say they believed in no such being, etc., this too might be forgiven for the same reasons. But when God’s power (the Holy Spirit) was manifested in doing them good as it was manifested through Jesus, there certainly was no excuse for even the most depraved of men ascribing those good works to an evil power –Satan. And this is just what Jesus tells them, that such conduct cannot be classed as a part of the general human depravity, and it therefore CANNOT BE FORGIVEN.

Our text follows the conversation our Lord had with the Pharisees just previously (Matt 12:22-30) when on occasion they accused him of being in league with the Adversary, claiming that his ability to cast out demons was of Beelzebub, the ruler of demons. With all the wondrous works the Lord had performed before them even yet they refused to believe.

The light was shining so clearly, that though their eyes were nearly blinded by sin, they could not help realizing some of the light (Truth) as Jesus manifested some of “the powers of the world (age) to come.” As he said to them on another occasion, their “stripes” (punishment) in the next age will be in proportion as they have been able to comprehend and do justly and have not so done.

They whose moral sight and hearing have been totally destroyed by Adam’s sin and its results (if any such there be– the Lord knows) will have no stripes in the future, will be forgiven fully. They who see a little and could obey a little and do not so do shall be forgiven the things they did not see and could not do, but will be beaten (punished) with a few stripes for the few things they saw, and could, but did not do, they who saw more and whose ability to perform was less impaired by the fallen nature, and who fail to do according to their ability, are to be beaten with many stripes. (Luke 12:47, 48) Notice that all who receive “stripes” receive them for unpardoned sins, for if the sins were pardoned they would not be punished for them.

So it is with God’s law; all are sinners and condemned –guilty–on account of Adam’s sin, but the full ransom from that sin has been paid, and so though condemned before the court of heaven, it is announced that all of our imperfections traceable to that cause are freely and fully forgiven. But neither more nor less is pardonable. All sins against light and ability are unpardonable, cannot be forgiven at any time, and hence must be expiated (atoned for) by punishment–“stripes”. The world will have many such sins to be punished in the age to come, and even now in the present life, they receive in some instances much of that chastisement, “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.”(1 Tim 5:4) In a word, all punishment indicates unpardoned sin, for if it were pardoned it would not be punished as well.

Paul tells us of extreme cases of this sort of unpardonable sin. Men of the world who have a little light we have seen can commit it, but when a man becomes a Christian and has the eyes of his understanding opened–when he is brought from the condition of darkness and ignorance, into the light of knowledge of the Lord, to then “sin willfully” is terrible indeed. Due and full allowance is made for all our weaknesses and imperfections which come to us through our fallen nature, and which clog and hinder our doing as we should wish to do—our Father’s will: but no more. If we cease to desire to do God’s will, we cut loose from our Lord and begin to walk according to our own will as natural and no longer spiritual beings. This is the thing pictured by the proverb: “The dog is returned to his vomit, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” (2 Pet 2:22)

In Heb 6:4-6, Paul assures us that any Christian who has reached a full and mature development in the spiritual life, having “been enlightened,” “tasted of the heavenly gift,” “been made partaker of the Holy Spirit,” “tasted of the good (true) word of God” –if such shall fall away, it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance, WHY? Because this is an unpardonable sin.

But one may ask, ‘Can they not be punished for this sin and thus be free from it in time?’ (NO), with the above description of the Apostle, we understand that these had enjoyed all the blessings due them on account of Christ’s ransom: i.e., they were reckoned of God justified from all sin, as New Creatures had been brought to a condition of enlightenment and knowledge of the Lord’s will, and then, had deliberately and willfully acted contrary to it.

We do not here refer to a child of God stumbling or being overcome of the old nature for a time, but as expressed in Heb 10:26

“If WE (those begotten of the Holy Spirit, NOT the mere professing Christian, the nominally professor and certainly not father Adam who fells to have met any of the criteria mentioned above by the Apostle in Heb 6:4-6) sin willfully AFTER that we have RECEIVED THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH, there remains no more (a) sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour (destroy) the adversaries.”

(Extracts taken from R260)

The Permission of Evil

The Permission of Evil

The Permission of Evil

“And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task (the present experience under the dominion of sin, the permission of evil), God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised (that is through experience they might learn the bitter consequences of sin).” Eccl 1:13

The following subject is one which has left many of the Lord’s children both troubled and perplexed, often times leaving them at a total loss for words when questioned by the sincere skeptic or non-believer, and even more so by the poor bereaved soul who has just lost a loved one.

“Why if God is Love, why does he not do something about the evil in this world, why does he continue to allow all the suffering and pain in this world? If it is true that justice is the foundation of his throne, then one would think that a just and loving God would be compelled by justice if not love alone to act, to put an end to the reign of evil infesting this world, evil which befalls both the good and bad alike?

Why does he allow evil in the first place?

Without knowing the true reasons behind God’s purpose, many of his children in reply vainly attempt to justify his actions (or inaction’s) only to add to the general skepticism and discredit of the Holy Scriptures.

Therefore let us seek, that we may known, knock that it might be opened unto us.

On our blog under “Pages” you will find amongst other valuable subjects a very through and positive answer to this question, one which we believe will thoroughly satisfied those who’s hearts are perplexed over this question and who’s desire it is to know the truth.