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Showing Our Vulnerability, Or Not?

  1. [Staff edit]

    If God has gone to all the trouble to remove our sins, with the Second Person of the Trinity leaving His home in heaven, to be born then laid in a feeding trough, live a virtual life of poverty, sweating blood in dread of becoming the world's sin bearer, be ridiculed, spat upon, whipped nearly to death, crucified naked publicly, shedding His blood and being forsaken by the Father for a time, to remove my sins… I ask "How would God feel for His blood bought child, to expose the lurid details of the sins He died to remove, because someone lightly asks it? If one of my daughters were to live a life of shame, and somehow I could remove that shame from them through great sacrifice by myself, I would not be very pleased if they were to publicly share some of the shameful things they did just because someone wanted to know. In God's eyes, every sin is shameful. Every sin. Once dirty laundry has been thoroughly cleaned, we don't need to show anyone pictures of it when it was dirty. Paul put it this way in Ephesians 5:12: "For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret."

    Some Christians that were saved young, or before ever getting into a life of sin or crime, feel uneasiness in sharing that not so tainted testimony as a speaker before a formal audience. Some Christians actually wished they had a more "exciting" testimony; you know, the one where the person was a killer, or a former terrorist/drug dealer, or something terrible; the kind of testimony where one can EASILY see the great, miraculous transformation that took place. Some of those speakers have actually inadvertently glorified Satan, and unknowingly got some in the audience to wrongfully wish they had such an "exciting" life. Others with similar background, have wisely learned to say "I am NOT going to glorify Satan by sharing the lurid details, but let me just say I was in a terrible life of sin." And then instead of talking about the sinful life in detail, they talk about their new, victorious life in Christ, giving glory to Him.

    Some people have difficulty forgetting their sins (forgiven or not), and are painfully plagued by the remembrance of them. God will never bring them up against them, and wants them not only to KNOW they are forgiven by Him, but FEEL they are forgiven by Him. Satan tries to use the memory of our past sins against us. So why would God want us to share any of the lurid details with others, except to confess that we have sinned, as in the case of bringing the healing from infirmities they have brought on in the time of James epistle? Even there it simply says "confess", not go into detail. We are told to confess, repent, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; not entertain the carnal nature of others with the specific ungodly aspects of our past. When sinners came to John the Baptist, they confessed their sins to him in the fact they were submitting to his baptism. If they did declare any specific sins at that time, the Bible doesn't list them for us. The publican, in Luke 18:13, declared he was a sinner, and was justified (v.14), but didn't list any specific sins. The Philippian Jailor was simply told to "Believe (put his trust in) the Lord Jesus Christ, Acts 16:31.

    Who would we glorify in telling people about our past, specific sins, God or Satan? I would say Satan, who tempts us to sin, and relishes are sinning. Our sins are not something to be proud of, or to fellowship over, or to get us to relate to one another better. They do not glorify God. Sin is sin, and we have all done it. What glorifies God is the forgiveness of our sins, and the power over sin, and the living of a righteous life, not focusing on the specifics of the past sinful life. Psalm 103:12 tells us "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he (God) removed our transgressions from us." Why would I want to bring them back to either my mind, or someone else's mind by sharing with them (and everybody else potentially on the Internet) that I have committed them. When we demonstrate that we know how to overcome sin in our life, that should be sufficient for all sins. Hebrews 12:1 speaks of "the sin which doth so easily beset us" but he doesn't say what that is specifically, so those that do it can "relate". No, the key to overcoming sin... is good for overcoming all and any sin.

    I may be overlooking something, but when I think of the great saints of the scriptures, I don't see them listing their past sins with all the details, but simply declaring they were sinners. Daniel confessed to being a sinner, but we don't know what those sins were. Mary spoke of her Savior, but she doesn't say what specific sins He saved her from. When Paul listed his "sins" in Acts 26:9-11, these are "sins" a zealous, unsaved Jew would have admired and wanted to emulate; not MORAL sins they would have looked down on.

    I understand the concept of a "student sinner" wanting to be able to relate to a "teacher/pastor sinner" by wanting to know of some of their sins, but I think what God would have us do is "look up" to our leaders for their righteous way of living, not be able to relate to them (say as an equal) because they sin just like we do. People use to have "heros" to LOOK UP to whom they could admire for their way of living. Superman didn't lie, cheat, drink, steal, or swear. He didn't even kill the bad guys. We didn't complain because we couldn't relate to his sterling character, let alone his super powers. We just admired him. When I was 10 years old, John F. Kennedy was assassinated. We all thought he was a great man. But then as an adult, people were finding out that he was continually cheating on his wife. Now I can't relate to that, and his immoral actions (showing us that he was "human") didn't help me relate to him, but only tarnished the image of him being a "great" man. Job 32:9 says "Great men are not always wise:…" I don't need to know their specific sins to know that they are flawed; to know they are sinners; to know they are "human"; to know they aren't perfect; to know that I don't have to feel inferior to them because of their otherwise greatness.

    So from the Teacher/Preacher position, speaking to any "Learners" that may feel somewhat intimidated by my knowledge and experience in the things of the Lord, suffice it to say that I admit that I am a sinner saved by grace, that still has a sin nature, and sins just like everybody else at times. I am not sinless, but sin less (by God's power and to His glory) when I am busy about the things of God. The Scriptures (from man's first appointment as guardian of the Garden of Eden, until his time of finally seeing Satan banished forever) tell me not to let down my guard and be vulnerable, to admit some of my sins, expose my vulnerability and humanity any more than necessary; but to be on guard and put on the whole armor of God. Genesis 2:15; Proverbs 4:23; Romans 16:20; Ephesians 6:10-20; 2 Timothy 2:1-4; Revelation 20:10.

    I truly hope this will be of practical use to those that read it, and not just fodder for debate. To God be the glory!
    Caron1, Kerensa, Quasiblogo and 2 others like this.


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  1. SpiritofaDove
    Greg, thank you for writing this out and taking the time. I have read it a few times now and I am going to continue to think about it. I know there is a lot of wisdom to be gained here. I will study it and learn. God bless. :)
  2. bettercallpaul
    I think it's good we had this conversation Greg anyway. Its out in the open. And I do want to say my comments were directed at not only you but those who use Bible quotes a lot. It might seem like sour grapes to you, that I mention this but I don't think it is. I respect the fact that if I were in your shoes I might do the same. And I might change my view on this one day, when I become more literate. So I guess the real issue for me is getting more familiar with the Bible. And getting to know God better, by doing so.
    God Bless and I apologize if I've offended you.
      hengesthorsa and MintyCupcake like this.
    1. Greg Merrill
      I wasn't offended at all. I just know that a lot of people have been so disillusioned by the stories of Christians that have appeared to be close to God, or actually were closed to God, and then either were living secretly in sin, or fell into sin. Elmer Gantry, James Baker and Jimmy Swaggert are classics.
      bettercallpaul likes this.
    2. Greg Merrill
      Paul, no apology necessary. If I were you, I would feel exactly the same. Your view and position definitely has merit from where you stand. Don't feel like you have to walk on egg shells around me, thinking you are going to get criticized for your view. You are in the shoes you are in, and I want you to feel comfortable in expressing yourself. Our airing our thoughts like this is a good thing, and I truly appreciate reading your posts. All my best to you.
      bettercallpaul likes this.
  3. HenryM
    Great insight.

    It reminded me about how, if I got it correct, there are only three pharisees named in New Testament: Nicodemus, Gamaliel and Saul. They are all presented in, ultimately, positive light - Nicodemus was learning from Jesus and assisted Joseph of Arimathea to burry Jesus, Gamaliel prevented murder of apostles, and Saul became apostle Paul.

    What about other pharisees? None of the names of the pharisees who argued against Jesus, plot to kill Him, who judged and sentenced Him, is given. It's because their names are not to even be mentioned, let alone remembered. They are satan's, and are destined to nothingness.
      Kerensa likes this.
    1. Greg Merrill
      Interesting observation. I like it.
  4. bettercallpaul
    And I want that list of sins on my desk by 9.00am tomorrow morning. OK Greg? :)
      Chanticleera likes this.
    1. Greg Merrill
      The list is too long to get on your desk that fast, and it wouldn't fit on your desk if I got it on paper.
      bettercallpaul and Quasiblogo like this.
  5. bettercallpaul
    I'm suggesting that bible quoting can be used as a smoke screen. A smoke screen to hide the real person behind the quotes. Some posts I've seen are so full of quotes, I may as well read the Bible as their post. Good that they are directing me to the Bible I guess. But I want to know what they think. I want to know who they are. It occurred to me the other day, that these people might want me to see that they are "totally transformed in Christ". That they don't have their own personality anymore. That they are afraid to say what they really think because it might conflict with scripture. Personally I don't want to ever reach that stage. I'm hoping my opinions reflect some Bible reading but I don't ever want to feel like I am in some kind of straight-jacket. A form of personality strangulation. I see God as allowing us some creativity to be who we are. But I guess that depends how you interpret that.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Greg Merrill
      I am not enslaved by the Scriptures to not be able to say what I really feel or think. I don't have a dual personality, one for religious conversation, another for the things of the world. "Personally" I would never want to LEAVE this stage. I might not fit in with the world, with acquaintances, or even with human family; but my real goal isn't that, but to fit in with Jesus. I won't spend eternity with most of the former. I will with Jesus. Philippians 1:21
      bettercallpaul likes this.
    3. Greg Merrill
      If the Bible is a "straight-jacket", then it is my favorite jacket. Fill my closet with them, and get rid of the rest; I will be finely dressed for all occasions, always in style for the Lord's occasions. I will include it with my wedding garment, Matthew 22:11-14.
      bettercallpaul likes this.
    4. Greg Merrill
      "Freedom to be who we are." I have been adopted into God's family, Roman's 8:15. I no longer am an orphan living in the gutters of the world. I am a child of God, John 1:12-13. I am sooo thankful for this. I love this family, am proud of this family, and would never want to bring shame or disgrace upon the family name as one of it's representatives, one of it's ambassadors; 2 Corinthians 5:20-21; Ephesians 3:14-15.
      bettercallpaul likes this.