Category Archives: Sin

Salvation through ignorance?

The other day I was on a message board reading a thread about the special needs people and sinning. More specifically, it was in regards to people with mental disorders/conditions and if they are sinning because they are unable to help it. I think one of the comments summed up the general consensus of that thread.

“If they don’t know what they’re doing, then it isn’t sin”

Though no scripture was quoted to back this up, I suspect they probably got it from Romans 7.

7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.

I don’t think you can quite get to what that quote was saying from scripture, though. You see, if you follow the reasoning that if something isn’t sin if the person doesn’t understand that it’s sin, then there is no reason to ever for any reason to preach the Gospel to those who haven’t heard it. Why should we ever let anyone hear the gospel if they don’t know what they are doing is sin if they can be saved by lack of knowledge? I think it comes back to that age of accountability thing. If you claim children are saved until a certain age, then you have to explain why. And then if you have people who have mental deficiencies, you have to make allowances for them as well. They don’t know they are sinning so they are in fact sinless.

The road starts branching to many paths and as these paths branch off, Christ is needed less and less. We can ignore the command to preach to Gospel to all the world because now all the world doesn’t need it. They are saved in their dumbness.

This is not what the Gospel teaches. There is only one path to salvation. You’ll lack of understanding doesn’t make your sin any less sin. It’s still there. Roman 7 continues to show us that our sin is still there, even if we don’t know it.

13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.

 

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The Things We Get Away With

The other day as I was reading the Smalcald Articles, I came across a verse that struck me as pure truth. It was from the Third Part, Article II, The Law. Specifically it states:

Here we hold that the Law was given by God, first, to restrain sin by threats and the dread of punishment and by the promise and offer of grace and benefit. All this failed because of the evil that sin has worked in humanity. For by the Law some people were made worse sinners, those who are hostile to the Law because it forbids what they like to do and commands what they do not like to do. Wherever they can escape punishment, they do more against the Law than they did before. Those are the unrestrained and wicked, who do evil wherever they have the opportunity.

Does the bolded portion not hold true for most? One does something they know is sinful. Uncaught, they are more at ease to do it again when the opportunity arises, sometimes going deeper into sin than previous event. I’m sure we’ve all done it in some form or another. Perhaps in minor seemingly insignificant sins or maybe even in sins that pose a danger to others. Nonetheless, it’s a frightening, yet provoking thought. What do we get away with? Do we even always realize that we’re attempting to get away with something we shouldn’t? Matthew 7:3-5 seems appropraite here.

3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

To see past the logs, so to speak, is difficult when one keeps tripping on them.

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Did God create transgender? (2)

First off, let me apologize for the poorness of the this reblog. I accidentally clicked on the wrong blog when I went to reblog this originally and now it won’t allow me to do so on the proper page. Good job, WordPress. Anyhow, to the point at hand, the blog post shared discusses how we are to act in our fallen state vs how we do act in our fallen state. Considering this particular post on Eiler’s Pizza and the recent post on Comprehending Hell from Churchmouse Campanologist, I think Genesis 5:3 sufficiently answers both. To put it simply, when we find that we can’t get up to God’s level, we try to bring him down to ours. By that, I do not mean to our human level but to our own individual personal level. It becomes all about me and everyone else including God himself be damned.

There’s probably a sermon in that somewhere.

Here’s the post.

Part two: Now how shall we live?

In part one, from the Holy Bible I answered the title question with a clear, “No, God did not create transgender people.”

If God were responsible for creating me as transgender—for creating a person to have Down Syndrome, or autism, or twins to be conjoined, or any variation with which a person might enter the world, I will no longer believe in Him; He is not the God of love and mercy as He describes Himself. Rather, He would be nothing more than a mad scientist, one who enjoys zapping us with every difficult and terrible thing in order to watch us run around like chickens with our heads cut off.

He did not create us this way so that we are born with or acquire many and various things which do not meet the definition of “good.” In part one, I showed from the Holy Bible that all variations in humans arose from Adam’s disobedience, causing us to be fallen and fractured and mortal. That question answered, this one follows: “Now how shall we live?” which breaks down into a twofold, “How shall I act?” and, “How shall I treat others?”

As God in Christ is the Lord of all creation, considering no one…

Click to continue reading…

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Did God create transgender?

I’ve re-blogged various posts from Eiler’s Pizza before and this occasion is no different. I’m sure you’ve read some of his posts before if you’ve come to my blog on multiple occasions. If not, then you may be surprised to know that this former LCMS pastor suffers from a condition called gender-dysphoria. Now, even though he has taken steps towards gender reassignment, his  conscience is still bound by scripture. In this post of his, he does not take the side of many on in the LBGT movement in regards to whether God made him that way. In fact, he states just the opposite. God did not make him that way though he was born that way. In a way, you could say his post is a more thought out and more detailed version of my own post titled, Yes, You Were Born That Way. I encourage you to give it a read.

Eilers Pizza

Part one: God’s Word and trans origins

To answer the title question, I will provide a straightforward reading of the Holy Bible. I am a traditional Christian who reads Scripture as it has been read since antiquity. Everything I present is not an interpretation but what the Holy Bible states, and the conclusions I reach are both theologically sound and scientifically responsible. Those who read Scripture with a different lens might see differently, and those who use other texts likely will arrive at different answers. I will gladly discuss any disagreement.

I use descriptors—normal and abnormal—which bother many people. I use these only to differentiate between the very good initial creation of God and the fallen creation after Adam’s disobedience. Never will I use “normal” to advance anyone or “abnormal” to put down anyone. It will be vital to retain this so that my conclusions might be given a fair…

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Hypocrites; All of Us

There’s an old adage that states that the one who preaches the hardest against something is probably the one most likely doing it. If the news is to be believed, than this is more often than not true. It seems all to often one who espouses the evils of drugs is discovered to snort cocaine with alarming regularity. The one who condemns alcohol winds up in the hospital for alcohol abuse. Adultery is called out for being abhorrent by those who they themselves are in adulterous affairs. Famous preacher Ted Haggard preached vehemently against homosexuality while having sex with other men. It seems as though there is no end to the hypocrisy spewed forth from the gullet of men who are supposed to be a paragon of righteousness. How can we trust anyone?

It’s tragic in the way we fall into sin. It’s enticing grasp pulls us further down the hole though we know it is wrong. I pose that perhaps the reason these people preach so hard against the very thing that they do is because they fight an inward battle that they are losing and that perhaps the words they preach are more for themselves then the very audience they give it to.

Romans 2:15 English Standard Version (ESV)
15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them

Because the law is written on their hearts, though they feel they cannot help but do the wrong that they do, they know that what they do is evil and wicked and strive to fight against it, perhaps thinking that by vocally condemning it to the world that they themselves will be able to resist and conquer. I suppose the real tragedy of it is all is that they are all too afraid to confess their sin until they are caught, though I’m sure that could be said to say the same for most of us. It’s so dark and evil that most people desire to hide it and who could blame them. I suspect most people have no desire to expose their shame to the world. So the fight the battle internally.

Before we condemn the hypocrite in front of us, remember we do not know the struggle they suffer. Yes, they need to be called to repentance, but I’m willing to bet that each of us is a hypocrite in our own little way, even if it’s not on such a grand stage.

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Don’t Blame the Fire Truck

I’m not of the band wagon to claim that everything that can have bad side effects are sinful. In fact, I consider many of the so-called sinful things to be a gift from God to be used in enjoyment. Take alcohol and tobacco, two absolutely wonderful gifts that are not sinful in and of themselves but can be used in such a way to bring upon great sin. Let’s look at tobacco. A well crafted cigar or pipe full of fine tobacco in celebration or grand occasion is an absolutely wonderful thing. The flavors and the smells are something of great delight and enjoyment and should be fully appreciated when one partakes in such a moment. If one, however, smokes half a pack of cigarettes daily, then it should be reasonable to believe that the individual is merely smoking to appease his addiction and in the process is actively destroying his body. Since the smoker more than likely know that his smoking is causing detriment to himself and quite possibly others, then one could argue that he is sinning due to the harm that he knowingly inflicts.

Alcohol, is a little more straight forward. While some churches insist that any alcohol is a sin going so far as to serve grape juice at communion and completely ignore the fact that grape juice is a very recent invention, alcohol in and of itself is not sinful. Nay, it is in fact one of the greatest earthly gifts to enjoy. There is nothing quite like having a relaxing evening with a glass of whiskey on the rocks or enjoying some quality beers with friends of dinner and/or discussion. I myself love the taste of a good whiskey or gin and find full flavored beers to be one of the finest pleasures around. It is one of the great socializers that has helped may fine things to happen throughout history. The protestant reformation. The Lord’s Supper. The United States Constitution. Community fellowship. But what about all those bad things that happened with alcohol? Promiscuity. Death. Violence. That one time the United States invaded Britain (it happened, and failed hilariously). Well, you see, that’s where the sin lies. The Bible is very clear that drunkenness is a sin and if you’ve ever seen a drunk, it’s pretty easy to tell why. If you’ve never seen someone drunk, just imagine a person getting overly emotional about the importance of voting and you’ll get the idea. Suddenly, this great and wonderful gift has become sinful because of our abuse. And it doesn’t always happen intentionally. Sometimes, one drinks too much without realizing it. I know I’ve had my share of moments. It’s nothing to be proud of, even if you do have a good laugh about it afterwards.

Like tobacco, like alcohol, like a host of other things, there’s a line where you go from enjoying the wonderful qualities of a gift to abusing that gift to your detriment. And when your usage becomes a detriment, then perhaps it’s no longer a gift because you’re putting it to sin. To use one last illustration, imagine your son has been begging your for a toy fire truck for his birthday for the longest time. So you buy him the fire truck and his eyes just light up. He’s thrilled that he got just what he’d been wanting. He plays with it all the time and creating such joy all around him with it. Then, one day, he picks up his toy fire truck and hits his sister in the side of the head with it and gives her a concussion. You reel back in shock and horror as you realize this wonderful gift has now been misused to the detriment of another. It’s not that the toy was sinful but that person in whose care it was abused the use of the toy. What once brought great enjoyment has now brought great harm.

Don’t blame the fire truck because someone abuses it. The fire truck was meant to be enjoyed.

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The question of sin (4 of 4)

In this final installment of the series, The Question of Sin, Greg cuts to the heart of the matter and lays his cards out on the table.

Eilers Pizza

I remain in full unity with the doctrines of God as we believe, teach, and confess them in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). While I have been advocating some things with which many (not all) in the LCMS do not agree, and I believe the one study on gender dysphoria published by us is greatly lacking, there is no doctrine of the LCMS with which I am in disagreement.

That I have some disagreement with my church body is not unusual. If you can find two LCMS pastors who agree on the practice of every teaching, even as they confess the same doctrine, then I’ll let you buy me a pizza to tell me about it.

In going public with my condition and my arguments, concern was expressed that I might lead some into sin, and that I might announce that transitioning is a fine and dandy thing. I have…

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The question of sin (3 of 4)

Eilers Pizza

God’s Word, which is my preferred term for the Holy Bible, makes clear what is and is not the Lord’s will for our lives. As my very first seminary professor continually reminded us, when we are not clear on something it is due to our weakness and not from God’s being indistinct.

Smoking can get people, um, smoking. Since God’s Word does not speak to it, most of Christianity leaves it in the arena of personal decision. When I would teach religion to middle-schoolers, I would make two columns on the whiteboard and have the kids list the positives and negatives of smoking. The negatives side contained the typical things like cancer, emphysema, addiction, and expense. The positives side? It was blank. When they wanted me to write, “It tastes good,” I would, but then I would make arrows to all of the negatives. Of course, I did not want…

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Law of the Land

Today is a day that no doubt frustrates many Christians. On this day, homosexual marriage became law of the land. I have my own personal views on what constitutes as an actual marriage and the government is not part of it. My opinion, however, is neither hear nor there. What’s is here and there are the new battles we face as Christians. Hopefully, everyone is prepared. I cannot imagine that people didn’t see this coming. As Christians, we shall face persecution of which most of us have never seen in America and we must be able to stand strong in the faith as we will be increasingly labeled as hateful and bigots for having a differing view.

Sin has flaunted herself in public for as long as time can remember and it has always been the parents job to do what is right so that their children may not fall into sin. But sin is a foul temptress who lures us all with precious little sweets and blinds us to the consequences. So we give sin a pass. And then we give her another pass. And suddenly, sin doesn’t seem so bad. In fact,  she’s quite nice to you. She invites you over to dinner, helps you out when you’re in trouble, and brings you up when you feel down. But that’s the thing with sin. She may be very giving, but she’s also very needy. As soon as you do not give her what she wants, she lashes out against you, calls you vile, reminds you of all the “nice things” she did for you. And this is how you repay her?

Sounds an awful lot like an abuse relationship, doesn’t it? Well, like so many people in an abusive relationship, we stay with them for their sake. Because we care for them. Because we love them. Because Christ loved them. We’ll get kicked, stepped on, slapped around, insulted, etc., and we won’t file for divorce. Instead, we’ll stand up and tell them the truth. We won’t lie to placate them. We won’t bury our heads in the sand. We’ll tell them the truth with love and compassion because we care for them. Just like Jesus Christ who is in the most abusive relationship of all: with us.

Sin doesn’t always wear nice leggings and a corset. Sometime she bakes cookies. When she invites you over for cookies and games, go and have fun. But if she asks you to support her ideals, call her out for what she is. For yourself. For your children. For your neighbor. She may hate you for it. But then again, she may thank you.

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Sin is an STD

A friend of mine once said that life is an STD with a 100% mortality rate. Logically, it’s a pretty accurate statement, that is until you remember that we were not made to die.

When God told Adam about the tree of knowledge of good and evil that, “On the day you eat of it you will surely die,” he wasn’t kidding. When they disobeyed the command of the Lord, they became infected with sin. From that point forth, it has been transmitted to every man, woman, and child who has ever lived. Through intercourse we are given both life and the disease that our parents inherited from their parents and so forth all the way back to Adam.

Sin is such a vile disease that it kills everything it touches. It is unlike any other disease in existence. Not only is it spread sexually, but it is also airborne and spread through simple contact. And when your own sin mixes with other sin, you become sicker and sicker and you infect more and more. Such an epidemic of which there is no compare.

Men and women over the centuries have often tried to find a cure or vaccine, even to this day, but it is all to no avail. It is to great a disease. In cases of great epidemic, it is at times crucial to burn anything that could be contaminated to prevent the spread. In the case of sin, it is absolutely necessary burn all that is contaminated. It is that horrible.

So, what are we to do? What can we do? All human efforts have been for naught.

I watched a movie once where a disease caused people to attack and eat other people. There was no cure for this disease. The only solution was death. In the special features section of the DVD, they had discussed a plan to cure one of the characters. There was only one problem: the cure would actually kill him too. See, the disease was in the blood and the writers realized that if they could just replace the blood, then he would be saved. In order to replace the blood, they would have completely drain the man of all blood, then basically bleach his insides clean, and finally put new blood in him. The process would not only kill him but actually sounds worse than the disease. I don’t know about you, but I imagine I’d probably rather go crazy and eat another man’s flesh than have my insides bleached.

And yet, that is exactly the cure for sin. We are infected with a disease and the only way to get rid of it is to wash it out and replace it with clean blood. And that is exactly what Jesus did for us on the cross. He was born without sin and was executed for ours. His shed blood has washed away our sin. Our sin still kills us. It has done its damage. But we are not cast to the fire as those still infected as we will be with Christ, pure and without sin.

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