Can we love the Lord while living in Sin?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by AllenLim, Nov 12, 2003.

  1. AllenLim

    AllenLim
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2003
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    I was listening to a message tape recently, and the preacher recounted the story of a pastor who had fallen into adultery. In one of their communications, this ex-pastor wrote "you may find this hard to believe, but I still love the Lord."

    The preacher then went on to say that one cannot live in sin and claim to love God... God still loves us, but we don't love him. To quote another line, he said "The proof of God's love for us, is his grace. The proof of our love for God is our obedience"

    I've been thinking on this line for sometime, and while what was said makes sense, a part of me still remains uncertain. As such, I would like to hear what you guys think? Can a person (knowingly) living in sin claim to love God? What does their lifestyle say about their claim to love God?
     
  2. Johnv

    Johnv
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    21,321
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sure we can. Nearly all of us are living in sin in one form or another: We're late with a bill, we're not being honest with our spouses, we're cheating on our taxes, we cheated on a test, we're using a pencil we took from work, etc. etc. etc.

    But the more we sin, the more difficult it is to love, both the Lord and those in our lives. It's possible to love the Lord while in sin, but it's more difficult.

    If the prerequisite to love the Lords was to be completely sinless, there would not be a single person, save Christ himself, who loves the Lord.
     
  3. AllenLim

    AllenLim
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2003
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey John,

    thats a good reply. and I agree we all sin from time to time. Its the grace of God that we are able to repent, ask for forgiveness and draw near to God.

    Yet for someone knowingly living in sin... say an adulterous relationship, there is no repentance. How then can we draw near to God? and when someone in such a situation says "I still love the Lord" I question... does he?

    This verse in James 1:22-24 comes to mind... "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in the mirror and after looking at himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like."

    So when someone looks in the mirror of the gospel, they can see their wretchedness and sin, in the light of this, they can even declare that they love the Lord... but if they don't act on it and repent... what use is it? They go back to their sins...
     
  4. IanM

    IanM
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes we can love the Lord and still live in sin. All fall short of the glory of GOD. In 1998 I divorced my wife of 11 years and got involved in another relationship. I stayed very close to GOD even though I knew I was not in the relationship GOD had for me. The woman I was involved with had four sons. I was a father to the boys. Even though she rarely attended with us, I took the boys to church each Sunday and Wednesday. In 2002 the Lord clearly showed me that I was to at least try and reconcile with my ex wife. I prayed a lot and finally contacted my ex. After much prayer an consieration we reconciled. Things are going great. My son and daughter love having Daddy around. My ex and I are in prayer about remarriage. I still have written contact with the four boys. ot with the woman though. I was in sin but I still deeply loved GOD. He carried me through and showed me the right way. [​IMG]
     
  5. AllenLim

    AllenLim
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2003
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for sharing Ian. I'm very happy for you as it sounds like you've managed to work most things out.

    If you don't mind my asking though, when you got involved with the other woman, how did it affect your walk with God (in contrast with the times before you got involved with her)?

    Also, in 2002 when the Lord prompted you to be reconciled with your wife, were you still with the other woman?

    I know these questions are a bit personal, and if you don't want to share, I understand...
     
  6. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,719
    Likes Received:
    0
    The answer to this question depends on which aspect of "love" we are considering. To "love" can mean to accept and approve of. In this sense, we may "love" the Lord while in sin.

    But in the practical sense of "love" - which is really the most important - we cannot love without obedience. Jesus said, "if a man love me he will keep my words."

    "Love" in the practical sense is obedience. As John said, "This is the love of God that we keep his commandments." The only time we can say that God's love is perfected in us is when we are walking in it. As John also said, "whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected."

    Christ took the application of this principle beyond matters of morality and applied it to every aspect of our Christianity. When His disciples were fearful because He was going away He said,

    "If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said I go to the Father."

    This means that every time we do not rejoice in the truth of God - even if that truth puts us in an uncomfortable situation - it is because we are not loving the Lord as we should.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  7. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    Isn't the answer fairly simple?

    "If you love me, you will obey me."

    Those words are directly from Jesus.

    Ian, while your honesty is to be commended, what about the influence you had on the other woman's four sons? What have they now learned about fidelity and commitment? You too them to church and then left their lives. It's not often I feel sorry for an adulterous woman, but this time I actually do! You played pretend husband and father, and I cannot help but wonder what you left behind you in terms of damage, first in your own family, and then in hers.

    I have a hard time believing that your 'relationship' with God was one of love, for when you love, you care more about the person you love than you do about yourself. What kind of love were you showing towards God to do what you did?

    I'm glad you are reconciled with your wife. I'm glad your family has you back. And I know God loved you the entire time. But what you were doing was messing up His Name/character pretty royally for four innocent young men.

    Gentlemen, sinning is one thing. We all sin. The mark of a born again believer is that his or her own sins are deeply abhorred and the heart's desire is always towards pleasing the Lord and upholding His Name.

    But living in sin is another. That is a way of life which declares to the world that you do NOT love God, but prefer loving yourself instead.

    A picture I used with teens before is this: living in sin is like living in a valley of mud. There is no way to get clean. And people are used to the mud and profess to like it, although they often try to say things like "I'm not as muddy as him!" Or, "I was born in the mud, what do you expect?" or, even, "I'm not really muddy, that's just your perception/judgment! Quit judging me!" But when Christ rescues you, and you submit to Him, He takes you out of the valley, washes you totally, and leads you up the mountain. Now, sometimes on that mountain, you will slip and fall and get dirty. He cleans you up each time. You don't want to fall and get dirty, but sometimes you do. Then you go to Him for cleaning.

    But getting dirty from falling on the mountain is a world apart from living in the valley of mud, even though dirt is involved in both cases.

    Loving Jesus means following Him up that mountain, at whatever cost to oneself.
     
  8. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is a simple answer: No.

    Love is a choice to put someone ahead of yourself. Everytime you sin, you are putting self ahead of God.

    As Helen cited, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." To add, "The one who says he knows and does not keep my commandments is a liar." Therefore, we see very plainly it is not about love, it is about knowing him.

    To live in known unrepentant sin is to fail to love God. We are all sinners and we all fail. But those who love God confess it, forsake it, and move on.
     
  9. Mike McK

    Mike McK
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2001
    Messages:
    6,630
    Likes Received:
    0
    There's a difference between "sinning" and "living in sin".

    A sin is a moral lapse but "living in sin" implies an ongoing, wilful lifestyle of diobedience.

    Now, in the first case, yes, you can sin and still love God. The Bible is speaking to believers when it says, "if we say we have no sin, then the truth is not in us".

    In the second case, we have Jesus' words "If you love Me, then you'll keep my commandments".

    I think that the whole idea behind living in sin is rebellion toward God and I don't see how you can rebel against God and still say you love Him.

    On the other hand, I do believe that it's possible to have otherwise good intentions and live in sin but do so out of being mislead in some area.

    A big problem today is that so many people are so affected by the secular world around them that they may simply be confused about what it means to live for God.
     
  10. Artimaeus

    Artimaeus
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2002
    Messages:
    3,133
    Likes Received:
    0
    Mark Osgatharp, Helen, Pastor Larry, and Mike McK [​IMG] Whew!, that saved me a lot of typing.
     
  11. AllenLim

    AllenLim
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2003
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks guys (and gals)... This is really what I needed... I heard the message, and felt convicted of the truth in it... but couldn't fully accept it.

    I realize now that I failed to draw a distinction between occasional sin and living in sin.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Johnv

    Johnv
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    21,321
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree. The problem is knowing what that means.

    The typical Christian will say that, then "they" sin, they're sinning, but when someone else is sinning, they are "living in sin". You could make the arguement that the difference is knowing your sin and repenting of it. While that sounds great, and is an accurate statement, the truth is, right now, this very moment, nearly everyone on this board has committed a sin which they have as of yet not repented of. So, to some extent, we're all living in sin in somehow.

    We tend to think of those who are living in sin as adulterers and murders and the like. But you'd be surprised how many folks in jail get to know the Lord? Quite a few. Yet they're still murderes, and still need to pay for the crime that they committed. But they're no longer living in sin, at least not the sin of murder. Yet there are a few of us who are still living in the sin of having broken a speed law, left work early, etc etc etc.

    Now I don't mean to belittle sins like murder and adultery (especially given the fact that I'm a victim of adultery), but I also don't wish to belittle my own sins to the point where they're trivial, because even the smallest sin is an affront to my relationship with God.
     
  13. AllenLim

    AllenLim
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2003
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    Actually that doesn't match what I would define as living in sin... I think Pastor Larry got it right when he said

    By this definition, living in sin would imply

    1. That you know you are sinning
    2. That you are unrepentant about it.
    3. That you continue to sin
     
  14. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    I think it is more than that, Allen. To be living in sin is not a simple matter of rebellion; it is the condition of every sentient, adult human being who is not born again in Christ. I know others disagree with me about the 'adult' part, but that is another thread another time. The point I am trying to make is that it is not even a matter of knowing one is sinning. One may feel uncomfortable because of one's conscience about something in one's life, but the truth is, one cannot rescue oneself anyway -- this is why so many people make excuses. Living in sin is a condition which can only be ameliorated by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

    You might not understand you are sinning.
    You might understand that you are and want to stop, feeling repentant.

    But you will still be living in that condition of sin until you are born again in Christ.

    For the person who IS born again in Christ, the Holy Spirit is indwelling that person, leading, prodding, changing the person so that step by step the person becomes more in conformance with Jesus Christ, as Romans 8:28-30 and Philippians 1:6 and so many other verses remind us.

    So a person cannot live in sin and love God. The two are mutually exclusive. You cannot be dead in sin and dead TO sin at the same time, and one cannot love God until one is dead TO sin, for it is the Lord within us as born again believers who allows us to love as He created us to love.

    However, do we still sin? Yes, to our shame, we do. But, as John reminds us in his first letter, we know that we can go to our Lord for forgiveness and He will always forgive and restore. The born again child of God has a heart that wants to please God and have a close relationship with Him. This should become more and more evident in that person's life as the years go by. If it is not evident, are we saying the Holy Spirit is a failure?
     
  15. Matthew 16:24

    Matthew 16:24
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2002
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    0
    No kidding, Amen! [​IMG]

    Yes, that would be my definition too!
     
  16. Johnv

    Johnv
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    21,321
    Likes Received:
    0

    I think those who are born again are still slaves to sin, and capable of living in sin. The difference is that we have the gift of God's grace to assist us in overcoming it.

    I agree with you on that. Actually, I think it's not just "adult" but instead "having reached a state of accountability". Anyhoo, different topic. [​IMG]
     
  17. AllenLim

    AllenLim
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2003
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    Helen,

    How you would categorize the pastor whom I first mentioned in my initial post?

    From what I know, he was a man of God, moving in the power of the spirit, and for many years pastored and lead a thriving church. How he came into an adulterous relationship I do not know. But he later left his wife and church for the woman.

    Would you then say that this man has sinned? or is he living in sin?
     
  18. Matt Black

    Matt Black
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,141
    Likes Received:
    0
    Agreed absolutely with Allen's definition, and also with what Pastor Larry, Mike McK and Mark Osgatharp said. There is a world of difference, say, between a Christian with strong homosexual urges who recognises they are wrong, struggles to remain celibate but from time to time 'lapses', and a certain 'Bishop' from the North-Eastern sector of the US....

    So I would say that the pastor described is in active rebellion against God


    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  19. Jamal5000

    Jamal5000
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2001
    Messages:
    585
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't think so according to 1 John 1-3.

    If we love God, then we walk in the light and lead a life that moralistically and practically compare's to God's viewpoints. If we live a life contrary to God's view, then (whether we agree or not) we do not love God.

    Those who love God obey God's commands and walk as Jesus walks.
     
  20. Trotter

    Trotter
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/6412.jpg>

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2003
    Messages:
    4,815
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sin creates alienation from God by breaking the fellowship we have with Him through Jesus Christ. Anyone who is willfully sinning is choosing to break fellowship with their heavenly Father (I am speaking of believers, because non-believers do not have fellowship).

    I have to agree with Mark, Helen, Pastor Larry, and others. Great Job!!!

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     

Share This Page

Loading...