John R. Houk
August 15, 2012
I found an old Pastor Bob Yandian essay on dealing with sin. Most of the essay I agree with; e.g. he brings clarification about the command if the hand sins – cut it off or if the eye sins – pluck it out.
I do question the part that is also promulgated with Scripture to back up the assertion by many ministers that sin is sin. When one commits a sin God views all sin equally; i.e. as wrong and worthy of judgment for sin.
Repented sin is forgiven by the washing of the Blood of Jesus when repentance is an actual heart change. I say “actual” because God knows when a person deludes their self into believing they can be a habitual sinner relishing in sinning and fool God by calling on the Blood of Jesus. An All-Knowing God is not a fool to be deceived by the lies of the heart.
In my reading of Scripture I agree somewhat that unrepented sin will be judged on the Day of Judgment. But even that judgment is executed according to the sin and the prayers of others.
14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
16 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death. (Bold Emphasis Mine 1 john 5: 14-17 NKJV)
For me this is an indication there are different degrees of sin of which the highest degree is a sin that leads to death and no amount of prayer will release a person for the sin that leads to death. By the way the “death” spoken of here is not physical death. God is not going to throw lightning bolts from Heaven for the sin that leads to death. Rather the “death” spoken of here is the Second Death. The Second Death is eternal separation from the Presence of God. In other words the Second Death is eternal imprisonment in Hell after the Day of Judgment. The mystery to me is what is that sin that leads to death? I John does not address as if the readers the Epistle was sent to were aware of that sin. I suspect that sin that leads to death is the rejection of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, Lord and Savior after the Good News was shared. AND that this rejection is perpetual in this life in the sense of ultimately blaspheming against the Holy Spirit.
28 “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; 29 but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation”— 30 because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.” (Mark 3: 28 – 30 NKJV)
31 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.
33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart[a] brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Bold Emphasis Mine Matt: 12: 31-37 NKJV)
The implication here is that blaspheming the Holy Spirit is equating Him to Satan or a demon servant of Satan. I’ll leave it to your study the many ways one might be demonizing the Holy Spirit. Tread in the fear of God and the Love of Jesus.
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Inward and Outward Sins
By Bob Yandian
Bob Yandian Ministries
The heart consists of the spirit and the soul (the mind, will, and emotions). The spirit cannot sin, but we can have sin in the soulish part of our inner man.
If asked to list sins, most people would begin with obvious sins such as murder, adultery, and stealing; and as the lists went on, they would vary from denomination to denomination depending upon beliefs and doctrine. But, the question we need to ask is, “What does God consider to be a sin?” Since we all agree murder is a sin, let’s take it up first. Jesus speaks of killing in Matthew 5:21 when He says to His disciples, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment.”
Later, in Matthew 19:18, Jesus is speaking to the rich young ruler about keeping the commandments and the first one He mentions is the sixth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.” (Exodus 20:13) But notice the way Jesus phrases it, “Thou shalt do no murder.” (Matthew 19:18) This verse is the only place where the word is correctly translated as murder in the King James Bible. However, the Amplified Bible translates the Hebrew word used in the commandment of Exodus 20:13 as murder rather than as kill.
Also, the Bible tells us there are bonafide times for killings. According to Ecclesiastes 3:3, there is a time to kill, and a time to heal. We know the Word does not contradict itself, so the key to this seeming disparity must lie in the definitions of kill and murder. Murder, is always condemned and refers to the shedding of innocent blood; whereas, killing happens during a time of war or as in capital punishment.
I’m sure most would agree with the statement in Matthew 5:21 that if a person murders, the murder will be held against him when he stands before God on Judgment Day. In Matthew 5:22 Jesus says, “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with this brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.”
We tend to accept the premise that murder is an outward act, but Jesus further defines murder in verse 22. He expalains that someone who is angry (actually the Greek says “lightly angry”) with his brother without cause shall be in the same danger of judgment as the person who physically murders another. In other words, mental murder is the same as outward murder. It is not “as bad as,” but “the same as.” In other words, to think it, is to commit it.
How could mental murder be outward murder? After all, no one dies. To find the answer, let’s look at this from the point of view of forgiveness. If you were to actually kill someone, chances are you would hit your knees immediately and ask the Lord for forgiveness. However, if you were “lightly angry with someone without cause,” how long would it take you to ask for forgiveness? A day? A week? Perhaps two weeks? Perhaps you would neglect it so long you would never ask for forgiveness and this is the crux of the matter.
The need to ask for forgiveness for mental murder is as great as it is for physical murder because to God they are the same. Remember, even though man sees only the outward acts, the Lord sees the heart. Furthermore, murder doesn’t truly begin with the outward act. It starts on the inside as a thought. Therefore, if you can stop the thought of the inner man, you can stop the act of the outward man.
This idea takes us to the next sin on most lists – adultery. Jesus quotes Exodus 20:14, the seventh commandment, in Matthew 5:27, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
When we think of the sin of adultery we think of the outward act, but according to what He says in Matthew 5:28, Jesus considers thinking about the act to be the same as committing the outward act. “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
I want to make something clear. There is nothing wrong about looking at someone of the opposite sex, but looking to lust is wrong. The motivation behind the looking is what is important. If your motivation is to lust, then in God’s eyes you have already committed adultery even though you never committed the outward act.
If a Christian were to commit the act of adultery, he would probably be on his knees in no time asking the Lord for forgiveness. Conversely, if a Christian were looking in lust, it would be easy to postpone asking for forgiveness because the sin doesn’t seem as bad as the outward act. However, God doesn’t judge one sin as being worse than another. To God, looking to lust is the same as adultery. This basic idea that the thoughts of the inner man are the germination of what is manifested on the outside is emphasized in Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
Jesus further equates the inner and outer acts in Matthew 5:29-30. The subject has not changed. He spoke of adultery in verse 28 and He is still speaking of it when he says, “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body be cast into hell.”
These verses are often misunderstood unless they are looked at within the context of the sin of adultery and the theme of forgiveness.
Jesus is not speaking of literally cutting off one’s hand or plucking out one’s eye. Instead, He is referring to self-judgment. Notice, the person is to cut off his hand himself. He is not to go to his neighbor and ask him to do it for him. He is to do it himself. In other words, he is to judge himself.
Also, the hand refers to the outward act of adultery and the cutting off of the hand is a reference to forgiveness. Likewise, in the previous verse, the eye refers to the mental sin of adultery and the plucking it out alludes to asking for forgiveness. If we judge ourselves and ask for forgiveness, we won’t be judged. In both verses Jesus also says to “cast it from thee.” This means, once you have purged yourself of the sin through God’s forgiveness, stop sinning.
It is interesting to note that while God considers murder and adultery as sins, He actually spends more time exhorting us about inner sins. In fact, in Proverbs 6:16-19, seven sins are named and only one is what most people would recognize as one of the really bad sins because the other sins are either sins of the tongue or thoughts.
“These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood. An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethern.”
The one sin mentioned here already discussed is murder, the shedding of innocent blood. As we mentioned, there is a time when killing is allowed, but never murder. In fact, Genesis 9:6 says, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” This is why the Bible condones capital punishment. This same idea is found in the New Testament in the thirteenth chapter of Romans. This chapter deals with governments and the law of the land and the fact that offices are ordained by God.
In Romans 13:4 we are told “He [the government] is the minister of God to do good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he [the government] beareth not the sword in vain.” The government has the right to take the life of a murderer.
As we have already said, the sins mentioned in Proverbs 6 are all the less obvious sins of the inner man except murder. Nevertheless, these sins are abominations to the Lord and we should quickly ask forgiveness for them just as we would if we committed murder.
In Matthew 5:23-24 Jesus says, “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”
You may be wondering how a person could possibly be so guilty that he shouldn’t even give an offering until the grievance has been cleared up and the other person is no longer angry. Chances are if someone has ought against another person, it is because the person did something to offend the one who is now angry.
Therefore, we need to repent of that sin before we give an offering to the Lord. While putting an offering in the plate may sooth our consciences for awhile, it will be meaningless because we can’t buy God! After all, it is not the amount we give, it is our attitude in giving. We cannot put away these inner sins by putting money in an offering just as we can’t put away outward sins by giving money. Both types of sin require asking for forgiveness.
Matthew 5:25 deals with someone who has wronged us. “Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou are in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.”
This verse admonishes us to instantly forgive someone who wrongs us. If we don’t forgive, the grievance will fester inside us and then where will we be? In sin and in need of God’s forgiveness. It’s wrong to harbor unforgiveness. It’s better to forgive, forget, and go about your task of spreading the gospel.
Let me add this, nobody makes you mad. You allow yourself to become angry. For example, if someone “makes you angry” because they told a lie about you, this anger could cause you to retaliate. The power of a lie is in the retaliation because it fuels it and keeps it alive.
Instead of becoming angry, try facing such situations with a smile and praising the Lord. There are times when Jesus did not turn the other cheek and did retaliate. His throwing the money changers out of the temple is a common example. However, when you are being persecuted for the Word’s sake, you are never to retaliate!
Matthew 5:11-12 tells us, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
Being able to rejoice and be exceeding glad in the face of persecution and obstinate circumstances indicates maturity.
Lastly, Jesus exhorts us not to “forswear” ourselves. He refers to the Old Testament in Matthew 5:33. However, in verses 34-37, He gets even more specific, “Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.”
Jesus tells us not to forswear at all. Forswearing is calling upon someone or something else to give support to your statement. Some people say, “As God is my witness” thinking if God co-signs their statements, they will be accepted.
Jesus indicates doing this shows a weak character. He goes continues by saying we need to let our “yes” mean yes and our “no” mean no. In fact, He says anything more comes from evil.
Looking to lust, a lying tongue, and a proud look are but a few of the sins mentioned in the Bible and although they are not blatant outward sins men can see, they are sins, nonetheless, and God sees them. Thus, we need to ask for forgiveness for these inner sins just as we would for an obvious sin. Just as importantly, we cannot put off asking for forgiveness because these inner sins can and do lead to outward sins.
However, the good news is, if we repent, God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins.
If you like this article, check out Pastor Bob’s series Sin: Known and Unknown and Forgiveness: Just Do It at the BYM Store.
The Sin that Leads to Death
John R. Houk
August 15, 2012
Inward and Outward Sins
Meet Bob Yandian
Since 1980, Bob Yandian has been pastor of Grace Church, with a vibrant and growing congregation in his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is also host of the popular Real Answers television broadcast and has a weekly teaching radio broadcast called Precepts with Bob Yandian.
Bob is widely acknowledged as one of the most knowledgeable Bible teachers of this generation. His practical insight and wisdom into the Word of God has helped countless people around the world to live successfully in every arena of the daily Christian life.
In addition to the sale of over 200,000 books, CDs, and tapes world-wide, more than 22,000 books, tapes, and CDs have been donated to Bible schools, missionaries, prisoners, and people in need throughout the United States and around the world through Bob Yandian Ministries.
Bob attended Southwestern College and is also a graduate of Trinity Bible College. He has served as both instructor and Dean of Instructors at Rhema Bible Training Center in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
Bob has traveled extensively throughout the United States and internationally, taking his powerful and easy to apply teachings that bring stability and hope to hungry hearts everywhere. He has authored over thirty books and has been called “a pastor to pastors.”
Bob and his wife, Loretta, have been married for over forty years, are the parents of two grown married children, and have five grandchildren. Bob and Loretta Yandian reside in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Copyright 2009 by Bob Yandian Ministries.
Reproduction of this material in whole or part in any format without written permission is prohibited. All Rights Reserved.
[Editor: I did not actually get permission as required so if Pastor Yandian asks me to remove this I will.]