“I don’t believe in sin”

I heard that from a woman yesterday.

“I don’t believe in air.”   I might have said.  

“And that whole thing about babies sinning, how ridiculous is that.”

If one would ever see two babies fighting over a rattle (or anything else), one might just get a clue.

She’s not alone. There are many who hold such similar notions that the antiquated views of the Bible are just that.

“I don’t need a Savior!”  “Savior from what?”

Well, if you don’t need a Savior, then you shall not have one. 

The Savior (Oh, Him again) said that He came only for the “sick”. The healthy have no need to get well.

That poor woman was completely healthy. Didn’t need a thing. Doesn’t need a Savior.  A ‘life coach’ would be alright. That wouldn’t wouldn’t hurt. Everyone can use a little tune-up, right?

 

Can you be tuned-up?     Or should God start over again with you?

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57 Responses

  1. I think you’ve been watching way too much ‘Family Guy’…Stewie Rules!

  2. We can believe in love. Some things cannot be seen; we still believe in them. But when it comes to sin, we just don’t want to believe. Belief might reduce our freedom. It might even make us think less of ourselves. Can’t have that!

  3. Fundamentally again, “hath God really said”.

    This just proves the point that sin is not first and foremost “immorality”, though it includes it but the inwardly curved man/woman, and that the Cross is first and foremost an ATTACK on sin before it delivers from it. And that attack is primarily directed to our best works, be it paganism or false sanctification. The old Adam is an incurable “doer” and the Cross is its stench of death, only a “truster” survives as the Cross is to it the odor of life.

    This is how peitism and improvement schemes and morality are connected over time to just the opposite, the grosser sins and immorality. The former is the cause of the later. The fall was a “rise upward” in usurpation.

    Today’s increasingly immoral society can be accredited to pietism. That’s how slow just a little off target doctrine at first ends up. “A little yeast…”. X decades ago pietism grew and grew within the church via false sanctification schemes, third use of the law, etc… Thus, sin is reduced and the Cross is not an attack so much on our “better things”, especially religious and churchy duties. Each generation veers further down this heresies pathway until, one day, in 2009 gross immoral sin by that societies successive generations following that path, begins to excuse even chear gross immorality as normative or non-sinful. False gods and false gospel cropping up everywhere over time. The root was the heresies of pietism and above mentioned “apparently” good looking things and deeds and actions. The Law is reduced, sin is reduced and thus Christ is reduced and the Gospel is reduced. Of course none of these reductions, great or ever so small (a little leaven…) are actually what they label themselves in truth. They are false law, false sin, false christs, false spirits and false gospels.

    If you get sin wrong the inevitable conclusion is false christs and other gospels even distilled from Scripture.

    It would be all too easy to just return to the head of the error and no further and say, “Gross sin, lady, is sin I don’t care what you say.” And they might buy that a bit, actual theft and murder is after all hard stomach even for the most part of people’s thinking. But if you really want to shock her tell her what sin really is and use the good examples of good works and of good things and of false sanctification and of third use of the law. Return to the root of Sin, Sin itself, the inwardly curved man whatever. And then the Law takes on its real shape, Christ His, the Spirit His and the Gospel its. Teeth may still gnash at it but that’s part a parcel if its proclaimed correctly. Or she might label you an antinomian, good you’ve joined the ranks of Paul in pure Gospel proclaimation. But then again if there’s “no sin” one wonders how she might answer this that way?

    I do subscribe to what Lewis and others have captured before that “hell is first a door that is locked from the inside before it is finally locked from the outside.”

    L

  4. “And that whole thing about babies sinning, how ridiculous is that.” (Steve)

    Really? They can’t even remember that stuff as they grow older – so how can one answer for a sin they cannot recall as a baby? I would term sin has to be done by choice and intentional – something we know full well is ‘wrong’…as for babies…what they do isn’t sin per se – but is about the learning of ‘self’…we can call it selfish but it’s the starting point for learning about ‘you’.

    ““I don’t need a Savior!” “Savior from what?”” (Steve)

    From what – that is a good question.

    “Can you be tuned-up? Or should God start over again with you?” (Steve)

    Either/or – anything from God should be appreciated.

  5. I find sinning to be much more fun than believing in sin.

    Really, she doesn’t believe in sin? I mean believing in sin doesn’t really get you anywhere. Believing in Christ will do something for you. Sin, not so much.
    But she doesn’t think it exists? Incredible. There is some debate as to what it is, but seriously doesn’t exist. Has she even seen a documentary on Auschwitz? What does she think happened to the American Indian?

  6. I have family members that believe that none of us are sinners because we believe in Jesus but instead we only have faults that God overlooks because we go to church. The infant as sinner issues can’t even be discussed as it predicated on all of inheriting Adam’s sinful nature. These same family members wouldn’t even sign onto the “tune-up” analogy as it still points back to something not being quite right in the first place.

  7. “There is some debate as to what it is, but seriously doesn’t exist. Has she even seen a documentary on Auschwitz? What does she think happened to the American Indian?”

    It’s amazing how many people look upon humanity as generally an OK species with just a few wrinkles – all we need is to focus on the ‘good’.
    These people seriously need to sit down and watch Schindler’s List or The Killing Fields about OUR times, and do some serious re-evaluating.

  8. Its easy for someone to not believe in sin. If they dont believe in a theology that purports to call shitty behaviour sin then for them it is not, its just shitty behaviour. You guys believe in a theology that has deemed certain actions sinful, so you are a bunch of sinners. Seems to me the woman isnt. lol. ;)

  9. Can a baby sin? Let’s look at Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

    Do babies hold truth and suppress it? No.

    Let’s look at Rom 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.

    Do babies know the law? No.

    How about James 4:17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

    Do babies know the right thing to do? No.

    These are just a few of the reasons that I still haven’t converted to a Calvinistic theology. I understand that some will argue that sin is present in the baby despite the baby’s awareness of sin. But that argument doesn’t hold up against Rom 1:18. I can’t picture God condemning babies to hell.

    It isn’t consistent with what we know of His nature.
    Matthew 19:14 14but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

    Look at what Jesus said in John 9:39-41 39Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.

    They would have no guilt. Aren’t babies blind to their sin or the existence of anything other than a need for milk and nurturing?

    Just my two cents.

  10. Tit for Tat,
    If it isn’t sin, then who the hell are you to call it shitty.

  11. “You guys believe in a theology that has deemed certain actions sinful, so you are a bunch of sinners”.

    When it comes to theology, there are approaches which do no more than to skim stones over the surface, and there are those that seek to engage fully, where you wade in and go deeper.
    This is a real ‘stone skipper’ analysis – when does Jesus or Paul merely equate sin to a formula of dos and donts? Come to think of it, when do the ‘team’ who regularly contribute to this page view it that way?

    Sin wrecks, prostitutes and wastes what should be fresh, bringing barrenness and desolation where the should be a depth of joy. It is far more comprehensive a matter than our deeming that this or that is bad.

  12. Bror

    Its vocabulary, you just use the word sin because its relational to your belief system. Thats it, thats all. Your shitty behaviour to me is just that, Shitty. I dont need G-d to point that out.

  13. Who needs God to point out sin? That isn’t the point at all.

  14. Bror

    Never mind. Seems youre unable to read my language.

  15. My electrical power was off for about 5 hours.

    Talk about sin. What did I do to deserve that?

    All that I’ve done and will yet do would warrant more than just the lights being turned off.

    Someone once mentioned here (on this blog) “what was my problem? (how much time do you have?)

    Sin, sin, sin and more sin. Maybe I do have a problem.

    No bad for someone called Antinomian here more than a few times.

    “Sin wrecks, prostitutes and wastes what should be fresh, bringing barrenness and desolation where the should be a depth of joy. It is far more comprehensive a matter than our deeming that this or that is bad.”

    Sin IS THE PROBLEM.

    Christ Jesus is the only solution, and He doesn’t have a tune-up in mind.

  16. I like do-overs…Here am I!

  17. “The Devil is wildly optimistic if he thinks he can make human beings worse than they are.”

    Karl Kraus, quoted in Henri Blocher, Original Sin, page 11.

  18. Bror…Was there an American Indian in Auschwitz? Really? Maybe I’m reading more into your statement than you really meant…

  19. “The Devil is wildly optimistic if he thinks he can make human beings worse than they are.”

    Good one, Ike (Karl)!

    I think the Devil’s specialty is making human beings think that they really aren’t so bad after all.

  20. Nancy,

    That was ‘An American in Paris’!

  21. Jonathan…”I can’t picture God condemning babies to hell.”

    I can picture the evil Mr. D searching through out the warmer regions: “Now, just where did I leave those keys anyway…”

  22. Jonathan,

    That our God is a merciful God is surely the picture that the Scriptures paint of Him.

    Would He send a baby to hell? That is His business and we pray that He would extend that mercy to babies that die.

    But we don’t know that. He hated Esau in the womb.

    “In sin did my mother conceive me.”

    Babies have the same fundamental problem that we do. They are sinners in need of a Savior.

    That’s why we (Lutherans) baptize babies.

    God wants ALL to be baptized and “recieve the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of their sins.” (Acts 2:38)

    Thanks for your comments, Jonathan!

    – Steve

  23. Frank Gillespie,

    I think we might share some of the same family members. :D

    Denial of our sinfulness seems to be quite a popular notion these days, Frank.

    If it weren’t for strong Law/Gospel preaching, I’m sure I’d be right there with them.

    Even so, I guess I wouldn’t be honest if I said there weren’t times when I engage in that same denial as well.

    Thanks, Frank!

    – Steve

  24. Nancy,

    In Christ, you are allowed “do-overs”!

    Like…every day!

  25. Nancy,

    “I can picture the evil Mr. D searching through out the warmer regions: “Now, just where did I leave those keys anyway…” ”

    You’re not referring to Tom ‘D’aschle…are you?

  26. If we are not much a sinner…then we don’t need much of a Savior.

    What did Luther say to Melancthon?

    Be strong in your sins Philip…”sin boldly”

    (something like that)

    (that ought to open up another can of worms)

  27. Nancy,
    You lost me.

  28. Steve,
    You can’t attribute the sin of the mother to the son in that statement. What about these: if a wife were to say, “In drunkenness my husband beat me,” or a child says that “in anger my father whipped me.”

    The wife is not drunk and the child is not angry.

    Scripture also teaches that sin is not inherited.
    Ezek. 18:20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

    When God “hated” Esau, you need to look at context. God was choosing the future lineage for Jesus. God had to choose one of the brothers. The wording shows his love for mankind by choosing and “hating” one over the other for a lineage for Jesus. God made a choice that a mother couldn’t make.

    I’m not saying we’re not born into a sinful nature. We are, but sin is not inherited. Sinful acts must be performed for sin to happen.

    Good stuff, good discussion.

  29. Jonathan,

    I think where I am having a problem with the theology that you are espousing, is that it would make works righteousness possible.

    Where St. Paul says “there are none that are righteous, no not one”, now we can say, maybe there are some (babies).

    For me, none means none, no matter the age, or the track record.

    Thanks, Jonathan.

  30. “I’m not saying we’re not born into a sinful nature. We are, but sin is not inherited. Sinful acts must be performed for sin to happen.”

    Sinful acts “will” happen because you have a sinful nature. When my “little angel” was born….I never had to teach him to be bad…..never. I had to teach him to be good. Why? Because that little angel was born with a sinful nature.

  31. Sorry Jonathan…Here’s the ref.:

    Revelation 1:18 (New International Version)

    18I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

  32. Steve…That particular Mr. D has been hanging around these here parts for quite a while…not sure I would go so far as to characterize him as evil…but, maybe as my Nana would say..”.Honey I don’t think that boy’s right bright…”

  33. Sinful acts must be performed for sin to happen. (Or possibly merely thought…) I’m really not trying to be the “thought police” here…but the “law” does that…

    Matthew 5:28 (New International Version)

    28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

    A tiny person that is scratching kicking and biting…is NOT thinking…”Oh how I love my Mommy” At least that is my guess…

  34. Ok, so I misspeak and everyone jumps on that, but no one is addressing everything else I said. Sin is, generally, something you do, whether through action or thought.

    Steve,
    I’m not speaking of works, but I am speaking of an age of accountability.

  35. “I think we might share some of the same family members. :D”

    I’m sorry, I thought you WERE talking about my family….

    “Even so, I guess I wouldn’t be honest if I said there weren’t times when I engage in that same denial as well.”

    Preaching to the choir brother!

  36. Yeah Frank,

    Are you sure they are not RCs?

    Do they use the term concupiscence rather than sin? ;-)

    LPC

  37. LPC,

    There are times when the Roman system of works and what passes itself off for American Evangelicalism’s deeds not creeds is indistinguishable. No, my family, they are not Roman.

    “Do they use the term concupiscence rather than sin?” No, concupiscence isn’t in the NIV, the TNIV, or the Message so it can’t be a real word and not something to be believed or understood.

  38. {““I’m not saying we’re not born into a sinful nature. We are, but sin is not inherited. Sinful acts must be performed for sin to happen.”
    Sinful acts “will” happen because you have a sinful nature. When my “little angel” was born….I never had to teach him to be bad…..never. I had to teach him to be good. Why? Because that little angel was born with a sinful nature.}

    Ike has picked up on the crucial issue, a HUGE issue, THE ISSUE. If one sees sin as primarily or EVEN more or less “acts of sin” rather than a nature, one misses what sin really is and the real problem.
    It gets all the way back to what is a thing or the essence of a thing that makes it THAT thing. The fish example: The fish is a fish because it’s a fish not because it tries by way of “fish law” to be a fish. It’s nature not its actions make it a fish. Thus, a fish “trying to be a or ACT as a fish” is just as absurd as a bird trying to be or act as a fish. All the fish does is “fishness”, the essence of the fish.

    To make the point and thus show what sin is, we carry this further: Hypothetically, even if the fish, which is so by nature a fish, tries to fly or swim its still a fish (here lay the bondage of the will and the sinner as sinner by nature, nature of the fall, the deed was already done and the nature already changed, the will already acted and the decision made). Thus, even if the sinner, which is so by nature a sinner, tries to do good (pre-conversion or post-conversion) or “clean up his/her act” (false sanctification) he/she is still a sinner. Thus, Luther could say, “never forget when the Bible commands you to do something, it forbids you to do it by yourself” and “the only sin that is venial is that sin which is assessed to be mortal, and the only sin that is mortal is that sin which is assessed to be venial” (paraphrased – l). More so, Jesus said good trees only produce good fruit and evil trees only produce evil fruit. Trees are made good by unconditional declaration which creates what it declares, and not by “me trying” either to “enter into” (other religions) or “as a process of sanctification” (false Christianity of all sorts).

    Thus, in salvation, at the Cross, death and resurrection, God reveals Himself AGAIN to be true creator by simply saying so, “Let there be, light, water, birds, ground, trees…etc…forgiveness, reconciliation, peace with God, it is finished.” The same Divine creative speech that BREATHES forth where the Holy Spirit broods over the deep nothingness and void and through the same Son all that IS He has made, Creation the first time out of nothing, ex nihilo; or the RE-Creation the second time out of nothing, unbelief, ex nihilo. Baptismal waters with Word; there’s nothing in the waters of the deep (the first time), or in the naked pre-baptismal waters (the second time), both are deep and void of anything created (the first time) or re-created (the second time). And the Spirit attends or broods over the deep waters of nothingness (the first time), and in the naked pre-baptismal waters (the second time) the pastor as instrument is about to speak the Word’s of God to. Then the Word, the Son, Jesus, goes into the deep through which all things that are – are created and nothing IS that did not come by Him (John 1) (the first time). And the Word, the Son, Jesus goes into the baptismal waters (the Word added to the pre-baptismal waters making them a baptism), His baptism (the Gospels), through which all things RE-created are made and nothing RE-IS-ed that did not come by Him (the second time). And what comes INTO being are light, water, earth, birds, FISH, animals, pre-fallen man, etc…(the first time) out of nothing. And what comes INTO being are believers/trusters/faith beings (the second time) out of unbelief (nothingness).

    Thus, you nor I cannot MAKE ourselves “non-sinners” by doing ANYTHING, ANY good, any more than a fish can make himself a bird by trying to fly or a elephant by trying to walk on dry land. When the fish tries to fly or walk, it’s still a fish a very foolish fish in utter denial. Likewise when we sinners by nature try to do good, even VERY good, we are still sinners deserving death, very foolish sinners in utter denial. As absurd as the fish analogy sounds to our ears (a fish trying to walk/fly, you respond, “is ridiculous”), so much infinitely more absurd is the sinner before conversion OR after conversion under false sanctification schemes (a sinner trying to do good/bear fruit) to the ears of God.

    We REALLY cannot save ourselves. And that is not just a confession whereby our affirmation of it, even with great fervor and sweat, makes it so or puts us into the category of “saved”, but a dead immovable unchangeable reality we can do nothing, absolutely nothing about. The sinner is bound by the Law so HE CANNOT DO the Law (third use or otherwise), so he can really be crucified with Christ and then raised to new life. And any attempt to DO is to flee from that which is saving. The old Adam must die, and that means REALLY die, not confess himself that “I need to die” or try to die, and it makes it so.

    Scripture exegetes us, not vice versa.

    Larry

  39. “Scripture exegetes us, not vice versa.”

    Hmmm…just might add this to my top five fave quote list…That will bump a few down the line…but, I think I like that!

  40. Larry,
    Thanks for the long and thoughtful response. Let me ask you though…can you go the next 5 min without sinning? If that 5 min was all of your existence, from birth to death, would you still be guilty of sin? Or would you have to commit sin in that 5 min to be found guilty of sin? You have to commit sin to be found guilty of it. That is my point. That is why I argue that babies will not go to hell, because they are incapable of committing sin. I’ve given the verses above to make the point that they are incapable, until a certain age, when God decides that they have reached an age of accountability.

    • “I’ve given the verses above to make the point that they are incapable, until a certain age, when God decides that they have reached an age of accountability.”

      Is it the same age for each child? Does the child know when they have…shall we say…Crossed the line? At that time…do they become totally depraved? Or, just a bit badder than before? I’m not trying to pick on you…just want to know your answers…..

    • Jonathan,

      Thank you for your comment and kind reply.

      “Let me ask you though…can you go the next 5 min without sinning?”

      No not any seconds or sub-increments thereof! That’s the point, its a state of being. Let’s break it down incrementally to see the synthesis. Hypothetically, I have “a next five minutes”. I can do a few things, sit still, nod off, try to think of nothing (which is not thinking of nothing), say nothing. Or I can hit somebody, curse somebody, dream of a lurid sexual thing. Or I can help somebody out, praise someone, and think of how I can help someone out. None of that matters, it’s all sin. Not all the external actions, but the internal heart of the matter. You see sin is not the bad things, its the inward turning.

      That’s why the Law points out Love God with everything and neighbor as self, that is altruistically. Serve God by selflessly serving the neighbor. But because of the fall I cannot. I’m inwardly curved. Thus, I either attempt to serve God directly (theocentric religiosity) or I serve the neighbor hating God (atheocentric religiosity). One is serving one’s self. And even the “neutral things” are sinful because they come from a sinner by nature, the action has already happened, the will has already acted. Sin is not first or foremost action but a state of being which begets all the actions. And all the actions sin does, outwardly evil or outwardly good or outwardly neutral are sin. You see its impossible for a sinner by nature to NOT commit sin, all he does good, bad, neutral is sin – the catastrophe has already occurred, the infection permeated. If you say you have not sinned the truth is not in you, or as Luther stated the only sin that is mortal, deadly, separates from God is the sin that is viewed “venial”, that is to say to view it other than deadly. Good works or bad works or neutral works. All apart from faith is sin, says Paul. Reason won’t see this, it’s the devil’s mistress, faith does.

      So your question is like this, “can a fish not be a fish for the next 5 minutes?” He may try to fly or try to walk on land, but that doesn’t change his nature. Nor can we change our sin permeated nature for man takes the Law and uses for evil. Luther: “The Law of God (what you mean when you say ‘can you not sin’, that is do this and live) is the most salutary doctrine of life, but it not only cannot help a man toward righteousness, it hinders him.” Not only cannot not HELP toward this end, it in fact HINDERS him. Thus, man uses the Law of God to withhold from Himself the Grace of God. The old Adam, the flesh, uses the most salutary doctrine of life as a stick to stave off the grace of God from himself. He uses it most evil by prying himself off of the cross with Christ. He uses it in the most malignant way by re-crucifying Christ as a lying criminal thus staving off the Grace of God.

      That also answers the rest of your question since no such five minutes ever exists, except for those who believe they commit deadly sin in that five minutes and thus they rest on grace alone. Therefore not only do they NOT sin, even though they confess they do do deadly sin in that five minutes (whether outward good, evil or neutral), they NEVER sin for they are dressed in the Bride Grooms clothes, their baptism, the Word of God, that is the revealed Word of uttered unconditional grace literally drapes them in their baptism, the name of God savingly on them. So that whatever THEY do, good works are good. Sitting, eating, drinking, the neutral are good works. And if they do outward evil, they are quickly forgiven. These come from the good tree made good by the Good Word on them, to them, for them.

      This is the offense of the Cross of Jesus Christ that is foolishness to Greeks and a stone of stumbling to the Jew. Foolishness to the Atheist and a stone of stumbling to the Theist.

      Larry

    • Jonathan,
      How would you explain Romans 5? Particularly verses 12-21 and specifically 12-14:

      12Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— 13for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

      According to Paul, even those who did not sin by breaking a command are guilty before God. The age of accountability argument is what people who rejected infant baptism as a means to “forgive original sin” came up with to salve their consciences that God is still good. I say this as one who was taught and believed it for many years. I guess I was a lot smarter back then when I had God all figured out. Now I just trust that He is merciful to whoever He wants to be merciful to.

  41. Hey the reply feature…It’s a GOOD THING! I always hav’ta click everything…

  42. Jonathan:

    I’ll address this…

    “…no one is addressing everything else I said. Sin is, generally, something you do, whether through action or thought.”

    Not true. It is sin that separates us from a Holy God. We sin by NOT doing things as well as by actually doing things. We cannot do what we need to do to be perfect–and that is also sin. The standard is perfection–it’s written in God’s law and was fulfilled only by Christ.

  43. If all our righteous deeds are as filty rags.

    We are hopelessly caught in SIN. We don’t stop sinning because we like to sin. Otherwise we wouldn’t do it.

    When we look at sin’s’ (individual acts or non acts) as a gage of our faithfulness or righteousness, we are playing a deadly game.

  44. I confess myself one of those fishy sinners Larry describes.

    The wages of sin is death. We all die. From the moment of conception the only certainty is death. I am sinner down to the recombined DNA in the zygote. Everything I do is tainted or easily could be. But I do have great hope and joy in the Lord.

    I don’t know how people cannot know that they are inherently selfish, prideful, hurtful, and so on. It must be that they are comparing themselves to others all the time and thinking they are not as bad as they are. Don’t compare. Just know yourself and know God.

  45. Jonathan,

    It’s hard to really “know” where someone is actually coming from.

    It seemed to me, however, that you weren’t “getting it”.

    In my opinion, they really are addressing your points. It’s just not the answer that you want. You want them to either say “There is no age of accountability”, or “there is, in fact, an age of accountability”.

    To be fair, you didn’t answer any of Nancy’s questions that she proposed:

    : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :

    Nancy, on April 23rd, 2009 at 6:09 pm Said:

    “‘I’ve given the verses above to make the point that they are incapable, until a certain age, when God decides that they have reached an age of accountability.’
    Is it the same age for each child? Does the child know when they have…shall we say…Crossed the line? At that time…do they become totally depraved? Or, just a bit badder than before? I’m not trying to pick on you…just want to know your answers…..”

    : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :

    I believe that Larry made it clear that we are “born sinners”. He met you where you are, admitting that “God may save babies from this”, saying that “that is up to Him”. But as far as the Gospel is concerned, it’s ORIGINAL SIN all the way. Without this, or with some skewed variation of this, we will end up with some serious theological implications which – yes – would include a very subtle “works righteousness”.

    Babies are, by nature, sinners. They deserve hell. If God sends them to hell, he is not evil, but good (just), because a “good” God must judge evil. Humans are, by nature, totally depraved. There is no magical age where you become depraved, lol. That sounds ridiculous to me, and in light of what I know scripture to say about sin.

    Maybe you are having some difficulty drawing a line between “Sin”, and “sins”.

    Jesus did not merely die to take away our “sins”. He died to fix a “Sin” problem that alienated humanity from the union of God [in three persons]. To reduce the Gospel to something that merely takes away “sins” is to cheapen it, making it really small. God entered into human history because every baby is born with a one-way ticket to hell. If not regenerated, that baby will grow up to be a sinful adult. Do you understand this? The ticket is a ONE-WAY ticket straight to hell. Every baby has one in their hand, no exceptions. This is a proper understanding of original sin. Babies, kids, tweens, adults… they’re all equally depraved. It’s a nature thing. They don’t become a “sinner” once they’ve committed their first sin. That is simply not true. Everyone is born a sinner.

    You have said repeatedly that we are all sinners, no worse that the worst kind.

    Well, what about Charles Manson – when he was a baby. God, being the Sovereign, Transcendent One that He is, sees Manson as “Manson”. Baby, adult, it makes no difference. God exists outside the bounds of earthly time. There is no clock ticking in Heaven. He is not waiting for a baby to commit an evil act before he deems them deserving of hell. But that is where such a belief will lead you, without a proper understanding of original sin.

    Original sin is a huge one, man. Make sure you get this one right.

    (To continue with this example) Manson didn’t suddenly become evil when he told his first lie, first hit his sister, etc. He was evil from the womb, because he is Adam’s son. That is OUR story as well. If it wasn’t for God rescuing us, we would have that same one-way ticket that we had when we were babies.

    God doesn’t look down and see a baby, or an adult.

    He looks down and sees the WHOLE PERSON. As far as “Sin” is concerned, he doesn’t look down and see some people “better” or “less sinful” than others. He looks down and sees a broken, fallen human race. Each one must come to a saving knowledge/relationship with Jesus, otherwise they are no better than when they were born.

    Here’s one way to say it:
    “Babies don’t burn in hell. SOULS DO. Souls do not have an age.”

    However, I would say it differently:
    “Hell is not a place effected by time, since it exists in eternity. Therefore, no one can be a certain “age” in hell. It’s inhabitants are merely human spirits that remain alienated from God.”

    So, you’re right: babies are not necessarily fuel for hell’s fires. [Spirits don't burn, so it's probably safe to assume that the flames are figurative - but hell is real, nonetheless.] Think of hell as a place for dead spirits. Humans (babies) are born with dead spirits. They’re only hope is Jesus. There is no clause about babies, lol. Jesus really is “the way” (exclusive). All of your scripture references about children do not change this.

    Notice, they’re not any different than they were when they were born. They’re still just as spiritually dead as they were as babies. The only difference is now it’s too late. The Holy Spirit is no longer wooing them to Christ (who, in turn, sets them right with the Father). In hell, it is impossible to experience conviction of sin, since they are now completely separated from the love of God.

    They couldn’t “feel bad” for sinning even if they tried. Still, i am quite sure that hell will be a very “religious” place full of moralists who are STILL trying to convince people that, if their good behavior outweighs their bad, they might get released in a few thousand years!

    -JS

    • “Babies don’t burn in hell. SOULS DO. Souls do not have an age.”

      That’s a real eye-opener! The implications are monumental in more ways than one! It’s very relevant to abortion…such as sending a soul to meet it’s Maker before they ever have a chance to hear the gospel…making the perpetrator complicit in eternal death not merely physical death…I trust in the sovereignty of God to mediate these types of conundrums, but I have to admit when thinking about abortion…this thought of God “sparing babies” makes the deed seem maybe NOT so bad…

  46. Sorry I haven’t replied, I’ve been gone for a while. Thanks for everyone’s replies. Here’s an article by John MacArthur (I believe) that explains my thoughts on the age of accountability:
    http://streetfishing.blogspot.com/2009/04/age-of-accountability.html

    For those interested in that part of the discussion (Nancy), please read the short article. No, I don’ think there is an age that is the same for everyone.

    So Larry, if I understand you right, you are saying we are as a glass of water with ink poured into it. We are born contaminated and we cannot remove the ink. Our state of existence, the nature of our being is dark like the inky water. I would argue that we are not born dark and stained with sin, because we cannot inherit sin, but rather we are born as a glass of clear water with an attraction to ink (sin). I gave verses above in an earlier comment showing we cannot inherit sin. I also shared multiple verses in my first comment explaining how babies can’t sin.

    Would anyone like to address the stronger statements I made rather than the one or two weaker statements? My comments here are from the hip and not well prepared. Can we recognize that I have made statements and given verses concerning this post that no one has addressed yet? Look at my first comment and the subject of this post. I spoke about Rom 1:18. How about Rom 1:20…it doesn’t say that man is without excuse because he was born dark and stained with sin. He is without excuse because God has made himself known to mankind. Verse 21 says that man’s heart was darkened when they knew God but did not honor him. Every man is born with a chance to honor God, but no man, other than Jesus, makes it past puberty sin free. Hence, Jesus came and died for us.

    Larry, I’ve tried hard before to discuss altruism with those who believe it can’t exist. I won’t do that here. Your whole argument rests on that point (but I will say I agree that the lost cannot make an altruistic choice, because they are bent as you say, though the saved can, because the chains are gone, the old man is gone). I still disagree with your fish example because when you ask, “can a fish not be a fish for the next 5 minutes?” you are, in effect, saying that we are sin, and then implying the question, “can we stop being sin for the next five minutes?” Even the Bible describes sin as things people do (or not do). Do I really have to pull up all the verses that say such? We are told to go and sin no more, because we can. People commit sins, and only Jesus became sin. During Jesus’ time on the cross, he became sin. We are not sin, we are people who commit sin. For all have sinned, not all are sin.

    I agree with all of you that a works-based faith is wrong. I have not said that any work will save us. Only God’s grace through Christ’s substitutionary atonement can do that. I’m not saying that any work will make us or keep us righteous.

    Steve, I agree with your last comment on faith, sin, and works. I am not trying to discuss salvation, but sin as it relates to babies, according to your post.

    Everyone, I really do appreciate these conversations. I’m in no way saying I have it all right, and I say that knowing that you don’t either. Thanks for responding in faith according to the sharpening I need.

    • Jonathan,
      I left a comment regarding your question about Romans 1:18, 20 up the thread as a reply and will put it here as well. In Romans 5:14, Paul writes, “Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.”
      According to this, the penalty of death (i.e. the wages of sin) comes even to those who did not sin by breaking a command. How do you explain this apparent contradiction with your reading of 1:18, 20?

  47. This from the article you linked:

    “God mercifully treats them as “innocent” in spite of that, and He has to exercise grace to do that, just as He exercises grace to save those who believe.”

    We do know God is merciful and will handle each and every case with His mercy and total LOVE! Does that mean ALL babies go to heaven…I don’t think so…the choice is God’s alone…What we can know is that He will always do the right thing! His ways are higher than our ways…His thoughts higher than our thoughts!

    For all the mothers who have lost a loved child…named or unnamed…they have not passed unnoticed…their moments…days…or years… have all been counted by God…

  48. Both Martin Luther and Martin Chemitz held out that the unbaptized infant in the Christian home who dies is saved and that NO ONE ought to provide anything but comfort for such parents. I don’t have their quotes with me but will attempt to dig them up (I’ve been have cpu trouble). The second, but related question is what to think about unbaptized dying infants of unbelieving households? The third is what is original sin and what did Jesus die for. Of the last we can expose Calvin’s successor’s heresy, for even John Calvin would not agree with them (see Calvin’s commentary on John 3:16 among others). In short, John Calvin himself would not be a Calvinist, especially of the puritan or Baptist sects and aligns much more closely with Luther.

    Oh there are tons here to consider not the least goes to not only infants but us adults. We adults like the “NON-reprentatives” of the kingdom of God (Jesus Christ) like to excuse ourselves from the conversation when we speculate like this.

    First, I think we all have to recognize that we are tempted to speculate about God in this. When we do, 99% of the time we’ve left the revealed God and are doing exactly by our fallen nature what we do, speculate about God, grasp around for straws in the pitch black dark. And 100% of the time these speculations, reveal the old Adam, that some hidden synergism is being held out at the last moment. However, if we MUST speculate about God’s mercy and the dying infants or dying unborn unbaptized in a non-christian home we must of necessity stay with the revealed God to avoid naked speculation. For all things outside of Christ, even biblically distilled become necessarily shear idolatry (the Pharisees for example distilled everything with great care from the Scriptures, yet were false). Loose the revealed God and loose the hidden God, it always happens without fail. So if I MUST consider these things, then I’ll do so via the Revealed God and that of Jesus Christ and mercy and grace upon such dying infants. I can do no more or no less, for there is no other solid Rock upon which to stand. And that’s really the end of it. Now that does not one wit diminish the power of baptism nor give license for believing parents to NOT baptize or withhold the grace of God from their children. No rather they are informed and accountable. To deny the grace of God in ignorance is one thing, to stand recalcitrant of heart to it and resist it is another.

    Second, original sin is just that inherited and the nature we have via Adam by the fall. It’s pointless and asinine to think of sin as just “sin acts”. Sin “acts” reveals synergism, they go hand in hand every time. Thus, one reveals a dogma of synergism. When Jesus died for the sin of the world it was FOR THE SIN OF THE WORLD. That means original sin. Even, to the chagrin of modern so called “Calvinist”, John Calvin himself states that numerous times. In his commentary on John 3:16 Calvin says that means the sins of the world have been expatiated entirely (all space and time without distinction) and for someone to not have their sins expatiated would mean that they would have to be removed out of the world. Modern so called Calvinist would not find a friend in John Calvin. So sin is died for already, NOTHING is left to be done, except for the superstition of the synergist in their fantasy island world – they can do all they want to do. Let them do until their hearts content, we will reject their religion utterly and unto the point of death itself. However, this grace may be resisted or thrown away – the unforgivable sin (by its nature refuses that which forgives sins and is such unforgivable due to the refusing that which forgives itself). But make no mistake about it, the Father has singularly revealed Himself through the Son – and the Holy Spirit, to the chagrin of the charismatics, ONLY shines His light on and speaks to that same Son so that the revelation is revealed. Thus, speculating about the Father other than via Christ is both against Christ and the Holy Spirit and looking where some other “light” or spirit is shining “a” light.

    L

  49. Just checking back in from a time away.

    Missed you all!

    http://spadinofamily.wordpress.com/2009/04/27/the-gospel-a-discontented-but-yet-absolute-joy/

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