Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

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Continual Sin

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I've been struggling with one particular sin, and I do my best to not indulge in it, but I keep slipping up. I'm asking for forgiveness almost every day for it (it might sound stupid, but I feel like if I don't ask for it and Jesus comes, I'm going to go to hell), and I ask God to help me be stronger, so I don't do it again, but I feel like I know I'm going to do it again, so I feel bad asking for forgiveness over and over. Should I not ask for forgiveness until I think I won’t do it anymore? Or should I keep asking for forgiveness?

Sincerely, Repeat Offender

Dear Repeat Offender,

There are two parts to your question:

  1. How many times can I ask for forgiveness for the same sin?
  2. How do I remove this sin from my life?

The answer to the first question is simple. You can ask for forgiveness an innumerable amount of times. Christ told Peter that we should forgive ‘seventy times seven’ (Matt 18:21-22). Paul was forgiven of his sins even after killing christians and actively persecuting the church (1 Tim 1:16). As often as we truly repent, God is ready to forgive (Lk 17:4). It is quite possible to truly repent of something and then find yourself doing that same thing not minutes later. It happens in arguments all the time! You say something mean, apologize, then find yourself upset again, and again use rash words. The repeating of the cycle is not necessarily an indication of false sorrow.

However, the second part of your question deals with stopping this cycle. God will forgive you for stumbling again into the same sin, but only if you are truly attempting to change your mind. Paul reminds us that we are to do everything we can to flee from the slavery to sin (Rom 6:1-2, Rom 6:12-13). Without knowing what sin you are caught up in, I can’t give specific advice, but I recommend getting help if it is as consuming as you say. Many sins can become addictions that are very hard to break. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Are you trying to change all on your own? God says two are stronger than one (Eccl 4:9-10). In the case of sin like pornography, many people try and struggle through it alone without seeking help because of the shame involved in it becoming known. This rarely, if ever, works. Telling someone, even just one trusted friend, and using things like Covenant Eyes accountability software can make all the difference in such circumstances.
  2. Are you putting yourself in compromising situations? People with drug and alcohol addictions are often tempted back into their old habits by drinking buddies or parties where drugs are made available. You may need to cut off certain people and habits from your life in order to escape that sort of sin. Remember, Christ said it would be better to remove even your own hand if it would free you from a sin (Matt 5:30).

Removing sin from our lives is a constant struggle. God is ready to forgive you ‘seventy times seven’ as you fight to defeat this sin, but you must look yourself in the mirror and make sure you are taking the steps necessary to change your life.

Day 127 - Ephesians 4

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year

Begging For Bread

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I believe the Bible does not contradict itself in any way, as it is inspired of God.  Yet, I have pondered two scriptures and wonder about them.

In Psalms 37:25, King David writes: "I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his seed begging bread."

But what about Luke 16:19-20?

As the story goes, the beggar died and was carried away by the angels into Abraham's bosom while the rich man also died, but found himself in Hades in torment.

I am curious about your thoughts on Lazarus and the fact that he was a beggar before he died.

Sincerely, Begging For Answers

Dear Begging For Answers,

The most likely reason for this seeming inconsistent is the nature of how the Psalms are written. The Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes are written in a generic way. They are intended to highlight what happens in 99.9% of the cases. Even David admits that he was stating what ‘he had never seen’ – the Psalm is an observation of what happens most of the time. It could even be argued that David begged for bread from Nabal during his time in the wilderness (1 Sam 25:5-8), so that even David knew he was making a generality. The fact that there have been some righteous people who have suffered such economic loss that they had to beg does not negate the fact that the vast majority of the faithful do not ever have to.

There are other examples of this generality of speech in the wisdom books (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon):

  1. Pr 22:6 – not all children that are raised well remain faithful later in life… but the majority do.
  2. Pr 28:11 – not all rich people are conceited, but many are.
  3. Ps 112:3 – not all righteous people are wealthy, yet prosperity does come to God’s faithful more often then not.

In fact, Solomon addresses that there are exceptions to these rules (Eccl 8:14), and that those exceptions are sad and grievous things. Lazarus is an exception that proves the rule of Ps 37:25. But even though Lazarus suffered in this life, great is his reward in heaven (Lk 16:25).

Day 126 - Ephesians 3

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year

Day 125 - Ephesians 2

Monday, June 22, 2015

5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year

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