You Are a Christian Who Sinned; now What?

First, we must differentiate between when a Christian sins and when a non-Christian sins. When a Christian commits a sin, it is by intent by choice. When a non-Christian commits a sin, it is because of his sinful nature. Both may face the same temptation. One selects to do it. The other naturally does it.

The consequences of a Christian committing a sin is grievous against the Holy Spirit. It chills the relationship with God. When your child does something wrong, your child is still your child. But you have disappointment hanging over the relationship. There is a certain type of alienation between you and your child.

God still wants the best for his child even if he has gone astray. As would a human father, God is disappointed in his child. He has blessings in store but may have to put them on hold until this matter is resolved.

Both Christian and non-Christian may have their conscience affected. However, the way each reacts to a guilty conscience could be very different. The non-Christian may demonstrate what appears to be sorrow when in fact their tears are for themselves because they got caught. The Christian response to a guilty conscience may be with tears, but it also is more of a matter that this sinful wedge must be remedied with God the Father.

A Christian living the life of sin suddenly becomes a terrible example to the rest of the world. That Christian brings confusion to a person who might be thinking of becoming a Christian. It is as if the Christian is a traitor to the cause. We all know, and the Bible confirms, that none of us can walk on both sides of the fence. Either we must be committed to serve Christ or not. This also brings into question whether the individual really did become a Christian.

Sin is a terrible thing with terrible consequences for self, others, the community, and possibly even the world. In most cases, the results are incurable and irreversible. It is a choice to supposedly enjoy what the devil has to offer. Such behavior may lead to a downward spiral.

Not only does a Christian have to deal with a guilty conscience, but he has grieved the Holy Spirit. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be a guide, teacher, and a comforter. This is somewhat like a school counselor. To ignore the Holy Spirit is to reject the Holy Spirit acting within one’s mind and spirit. Most of the churches that Jesus listed in the book of Revelation did this and he said that he would take away their candlestick which is their authority to function as a church.

The remedy sounds simple but can become complicated. Pride must be overcome. An attitude of rebellion must be addressed. A redirection of personal goals must be put back in place. The question of spiritual priorities may become a challenge. The coldness in one’s heart will continue to exist until the problem is resolved.

A sincere and deep regret must be expressed with an apology to the Heavenly Father asking for forgiveness. A good example of this is the difference between Peter and Judas. When Peter realized that he had sinned by denying Christ he wept bitterly and with shame. He knew that forgiveness from God had to be his top priority. On the other hand, Judas returned the thirty pieces of silver and hanged himself. Even though he had been a disciple with Christ for three years, his behavior was only with the intent of manipulating Jesus into becoming an earthly king. When he saw his plan was not going to work, in desperation and shame he committed suicide. There was no attempt on his part to ask God for forgiveness. He took matters into his own hand as he originally had done.

With the same attitude for asking God to grant forgiveness as a repentant sinner, so must the erring Christian return to the desire for God’s approval. The apostle Paul said, “As you have therefore received Christ, so walk in him.” This is the reason that we must also take his advice to pray constantly. We must be aware of our frail humanity and the spiritual misbehavior it can bring. We must keep self under control submissive to the Holy Spirit. As soon as we have shamed ourselves before the Heavenly Father, we must go to him and ask for forgiveness. We cannot delay. Every delay would fester. Our forgiveness of others is likened to the forgiveness we have experienced from God. The request for forgiveness must be heartfelt with every intention of doing what God would approve in the future. This is not to say we will not sin again, but it is to say we must have self-awareness to nurture a relationship with God.

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