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WHAT IS THE BIBLICAL DEFINITION OF WILLFUL SIN?
There is only one verse that I myself am aware of that uses the phrase to sin WILLFULLY that is found in the book of Hebrews 10:26,27 which we will study in depth in a moment.
“For if we sin WILLFULLY after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains NO more sacrifice for sins,
27. But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”
But before we take a close in depth look at this verse to learn its true meaning, when it is left in the context of where it is found and then interpreted in the LIGHT of the WHOLE word of God, I would like to ask you the reader and seeker of the truth the question: “Is not ALL sin that a true born again Christian commits a WILLFUL sin?”, and therefore “Would this not also mean that ALL Christians, who have sinned just ONE time AFTER they became Christians would be forever LOST according to someone's INTERPRETATION of this verse that only SEEMS to be saying something that it is NOT TRULY saying?”
The truth of the matter is that SIN any and ALL sin for a true born again Christian where the Holy Spirit dwells in them, are ALL WILLFULLY committed sins by the believer in Jesus Christ, because the Holy Spirit WITHIN US prompts us NOT to sin WHILE we are yet being tempted to sin. In other words, in the MIDST of BEING tempted the Holy Spirit WARNS and PROMPTS all Christians to NOT listen and obey the temptation to sin. so therefore any and all GIVING IN to the temptation to sin is a WILLFUL choice made by ALL Christians who give into the temptation to SIN.
Now I agree that all Christians who SAY that they are Christians are NOT in truth truly born again Christians, but rather these Christians only SAY that they are Christians, because they have been raised in church and have been taught by man what the Bible teaches as being right from wrong and therefore they truly believe that they are saved, when in truth they are NOT truly born again Christians where the Holy Spirit DWELLS IN them. These Christians do indeed know right from wrong by that which man has TAUGHT them from the word of God,but the Holy Spirit is not truly IN them. So they do not have this immediate PROMPTING of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them guiding and leading them NOT to sin.
The reason that I know that this is true is because I myself was once one of these Christians who professed to be a Christian because I was raised as a Catholic to believe that just because I was baptized as a baby in the Catholic church, then I am a Christian so long as I remained in the Catholic church. Now I only bring out this point to you, because I remember back when I was a Catholic and I was tempted to sin that I did not resist sin because of the REASON that the Holy Spirit PROMPTED me not to sin. But rather I resisted sin because I was TAUGHT that sin was WRONG and I wanted to please my mom, the priest and the nuns. Pleasing God was not why I resisted the temptation to steal or not to do what I was tempted to do. I did not steal, because I was afraid of getting CAUGHT. I did not have the fear of God, but rather I only had the fear of man and being punished by the law of man.
And when I did sin I did not feel any remorse or regret. I only felt shame, AFTER my mother TOLD me that I ought to be ASHAMED. I remember getting caught shop lifting a charcoal art pencil for a school project, because my mom would not buy it for me saying that it was too expensive and that I could use a regular pencil, which was true. But some of the kids had these cool charcoal pencils that really did a great job in sketching things so I wanted one also, so I opened the package and took just one and stuck it in my pocket. I knew it was wrong to steal, only because I was TAUGHT that it was wrong to steal. I felt no guilt or shame at the time that I was stealing the pencil. It was only AFTER I got CAUGHT that I was ashamed of stealing. My mother TOLD me that I ought to be ashamed and that I should have ASKED her to buy the pencil. I told her that I did ask her and that she told me no and to use a regular pencil. She laid the blame right back on me saying I should have told her how much it meant to me to have that pencil and that I should be ashamed for stealing.
I only confessed my sin, because I was MADE to do so by the RULES of the church. Only ONE time in all my years of being a Catholic did I ever confess any of my sins from my HEART doing so because I MYSELF WANTED to confess my sins, because of something inside of me was letting me know that what I did was wrong. And just that ONE time I felt a freedom from the heaviness that I had because of what I had done.
But AFTER I heard the gospel of Jesus and truly BELIEVED the word of truth I KNEW without fail that I was saved. From that point on no one needed to TELL me what was right from wrong. I knew on the inside of me before I was about to do something that was wrong and NOT pleasing to God. But as a Catholic I was more moved to please MAN. However, after I became a born again Christian I had a changed made WITHIN me by the Holy Spirit to please God over pleasing man. So again every true born again Christians KNOWS when they commit sin and when they are about to commit sin BEFORE they give into sin WHILE they are yet BEING tempted.
Even with the sin of anger where a Christians LOSES their CONTROL over their emotions seemingly almost instantaneously there is a brief moment where in an instant we make a CONSCIOUS DECISION to WILLFULLY ALLOW the anger to take control and we LET our FLESH rule over our inner man. In other words, we as true born again Christians WILLFULLY sin each and every time we allow anger or any other sin to CONTROL and rule over us. It is not anger itself that is actually the sin, but rather it is ALLOWING the anger to CONTROL us to do some kind of ACTION that it becomes sin.
It is not the THOUGHT of sinning that is sin, but rather it is allowing the thought or the DWELLING on the temptation to sin to the point where the temptation is ALLOWED to take CONTROL over what our INNER man is PROMPTED by the Holy Spirit NOT to do.
Now with that being said that ANY and ALL sin that is committed by a true born again believer is WILLFUL sin let us take a closed in depth look at the passage of scripture that some very well mean sincere preachers UNKNOWINGLY MISUSE to teach Christians to stop sinning by showing that God is against sin.
Here again is what Hebrew 10:26,27 actually says,
“For if we sin WILLFULLY after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more SACRIFICE for sins,
27. But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”
Now on the surface this verse may SEEM to be saying something that it is NOT TRULY saying when it is LEFT in the CONTEXT of where it is found and it is compared to the rest of God's word.
You see, taking verses out of their CONTEXT and INTERPRETING verses apart from the CONTEXT and the rest of God's word can lead to ERROR and FALSE teaching.
It has come to my attention that some Christians have become extremely FEARFUL that they have crossed a, so called “LINE of NO RETURN”, where they have been led to believe by some well meaning preachers trying to teach them that the wages of sin is death and that they have sinned WILLFULLY, because they keep sinning over and over with the SAME sin, and THEREFORE there is no more FORGIVENESS for them.
And one of the verses that these dear children of God are struggling over is Hebrews 10:26 that we just read. They have shared with me that they HATE sinning and that they do NOT WANT to sin, but the temptation is so great that they seem powerless to resist and overcome the temptation and they keep on giving in over and over again and again to the SAME sin. They have shared with me that they sincerely WANT to stop sinning, but because they have sinned so much they are FEARING that they have crossed some kind of line of no returning to God and now there remain no more FORGIVENESS for them.
If this is YOU dear child of God, then let me assure you that this passage of scripture does NOT mean that you have crossed a so called line of no returning to God.
You see my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, the CONTEXT of these two verses is speaking of Jesus being the ONLY SACRIFICE for sins that Almighty God will accept. Let me explain what this verse truly means when you know to WHOM this passage of scripture was written.
The book of Hebrews is written to the HEBREW Christians or to the JEWS, who became BELIEVERS in Jesus being their MESSIAH or their savior to save them from their sins. Even the CONTEXT of all of the book of Hebrews is about NOT going BACK to JUDAISM to trust in the law of Moses and the offering of animal SACRIFICES for the covering of sins. The whole context of the book of Hebrews is about entering into the rest of JESUS being the ONE and ONLY sacrifice once and for all time as the cleansing from sin that Almighty God will ACCEPT. The whole context of the book of Hebrews is that the OLD COVENANT is NO LONGER accepted by God. In other words, to go BACK to Judaism would be a WILLFUL act of SIN and the writer was teaching these HEBREW Christians that the OLD covenant SACRIFICES no longer REMAINED so therefore UNDER the LAW of the OLD Testament all those, who WILLFULLY SINNED to RETURN to be UNDER the LAW therefore for that reason there remained NO more SACRIFICE for THEIR sin, because they WILLFULLY made the choice to REJECT Jesus as their ONE and ONLY SACRIFICE for their sins.
Please notice that Hebrews 10:26 does NOT say that there is no more FORGIVENESS of sins for Christians, who WILLFULLY sin, but rather the word of TRUTH in the LIGHT of the WHOLE word of God clearly and plainly says that there is no more SACRIFICE for sins for those who REJECT Jesus as their ONE and ONLY SACRIFICE for their sin by WILLFULLY making the choice to RETURN back to be UNDER the LAW of the OLD Testament, which the writer of Hebrews was teaching them is NO LONGER accepted by God.
Even though the animal sacrifices were still being offered at this time, the writer of Hebrews was warning these HEBREW Christians that God no longer ACCEPTED the OLD covenant and that the ONLY SACRIFICE for the forgiveness of sins was their FAITH in the SACRIFICE of Jesus the Son of Almighty God, and if they WILLFULLY committed the sin of rejecting or denying this ONCE and for all SACRIFICE of Jesus, then there was no more SACRIFICE for their sin of WILLFULLY REJECTION of Jesus as their one and ONLY sacrifice for their sin. This writer of Hebrews is simply saying to these HEBREW Christians that going back to offering animal sacrifices will do you NO good, because there is NO MORE SACRIFICE for sin other than JESUS.
So then, to conclude that this verse somehow means that there is some kind of LINE of NO RETURNING back to God, because of sinning WILLFULLY is to blatantly call Almighty God a LIAR for saying in his WORD in 1 John 1:9 that God is FAITHFUL to FORGIVE us of ALL our sins if we CONFESS our sins.
“If we CONFESS our sins, he is FAITHFUL and JUST to FORGIVE us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Now the WORD of Almighty God in and of itself does not ever contradict itself, but the INTERPRETATIONS that man places on certain verses do at times contradict the WHOLE word of God.
Please know and understand that it is IMPOSSIBLE to BELIEVE God's WORD, if so be, that God is NOT ALWAYS FAITHFUL to his WORD. In other words, it would be IMPOSSIBLE to have FAITH in John 1:9 that God is indeed ALWAYS FAITHFUL and JUST to FORGIVE us of our sins by CONFESSING our sins IF SO BE that at TIMES, which we cannot possibly know WHEN God is NOT WILLING to forgive SOME sins, because a Christian has WILLFULLY committed them.
I mean HOW could any one truly know when it is God's WILL to forgive them of their sins IF SO BE that God does NOT ALWAYS forgive us when we ask for forgiveness? Can you not see that it would be IMPOSSIBLE to have FAITH and BELIEVE that we are FORGIVEN, IF SO BE, that there was indeed some kind of line of NO RETURNING to God, because no one could truly KNOW the WILL of Almighty God as to WHEN it would be God's WILL to FORGIVE them for confessing their sin by NOT knowing if they MIGHT have crossed such a line of NO MORE FORGIVENESS for YOU!
NO! A thousand times NO! Dear child of God the whole word of God teaches us that his MERCY ENDURES FOREVER!
You see, one cannot have a saving FAITH apart from God's WORD. It would be IMPOSSIBLE to BELIEVE that Jesus died on the cross for our sins if it was not written in God's WORD. Now hypothetically if there were such an INTERPRETATION of another verse in God's word where this INTERPRETATION of this hypothetical verse would CONTRADICT the TRUTH of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins, then we would have to read all the verses pertaining to this subject being left in their CONTEXT to learn which INTERPRETATION was the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of Almighty God.
In the same way whenever there are ANY verses that SEEM to be in contradiction, then we must COMPARE all the verses in their CONTEXT on the same subject and then compare our conclusion or our INTERPRETATION of what we have concluded from the verses in question to mean with the REST of God's word to see if our INTERPRETATION agrees with the rest of God's word or if our interpretation CONTRADICTS another part of God's word. This is HOW we are to arrive at the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of God by comparing scripture with scripture and letting God word interpret itself
So then, if what we have concluded CONTRADICTS any other part of God's word, then that interpretation which we have concluded is in ERROR and it is NOT the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of Almighty God. Therefore we must keep on seek the CORRECT meaning of that verse in question. It is only when we find NO contradiction to any other part of God's word with the meaning we have concluded that a verse means that we can be sure that we have the true correct meaning of that verse of Scripture.
For a deeper understanding of the FEAR of committing a so called UNPARDONABLE SIN or crossing a so called LINE of NO RETURNING back to God please read the studies called "WHAT IS THE UNPARDONABLE SIN?", and "HOW CAN I KNOW IF I HAVE SINNED A SIN UNTO DEATH?"
ALWAYS KNOW that if you still yet have a DESIRE within you to REPENT of your sins that is is Almighty God IN you who is LEADING you to come back to him so OBEY this leading of the Holy Spirit to REPENT of your sins and ask God to FORGIVE you of all your sins and he will ALWAYS be FAITHFUL to FORGIVE you of any and all your sins not matter how big or how many, because there is NO such line of no returning back to God.
DO NOT be DECEIVED to wrongly believe that God no longer loves you and therefore fall into the snare of the enemy who is LYING to you that God will NO LONGER FORGIVE you of your sins!
This is called the sin of UNBELIEF, that the Devil DECEIVES Christians into no longer BELIEVING that God LOVES them because of their sins. Oh dear Child of God, Almighty God will ALWAYS love you more than you can comprehend. Have you so quickly forgotten that WHILE you were YET a sinner that God gave his only begotten Son to suffer and die for YOUR sins and not only for our sins, but also for the sins of the WHOLE world so that WHOSOEVER BELIEVES shall be saved.
Thanks for reading this short answer to a rather in depth study that is covered in the above mentioned studies.
May God bless you richly as you continue to seek the truth of the whole word of God.
Your brother in our Lord Jesus Christ,
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