Understanding Sin: Top Questions Christians Ask About Sin

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Understanding Sin: Top Questions Christians Ask About Sin

Sin is a complete disregard of God's honor, His glory, and His worthiness. It's the lack of reverence for who He is. This makes sin exceedingly hateful. If we think about it from this standpoint, even the smallest of transgressions would be something we don’t want to be guilty of. So why, then, do we go on sinning after being saved? Why can’t we stop sinning if all our sins have been forgiven in Christ? How can we clear our consciences and rid ourselves of the pain and anguish of our sins? What are we to do with sins we remember from our past? These questions and more will be answered in this collected episode of episodes of the Straight Truth Podcast. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot as they aim to ground us in biblical truths and encourage us to live our lives for God’s glory, honor, and utter worthiness.


The very moment a person turns from their sin, by faith, in repentance to Jesus Christ, all sins, past, present, and future, are forgiven. But as Christians, we must know that this is not the end of our sin, for we still live in a body of flesh that is not yet perfected. Yet, as believers, we want to serve Christ and live righteous lives, and we’ve been given the capacity to do that. Those made new by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit will live new lives. New life in Christ will include the ongoing confession of sin. Anything less is a contradiction of who we are in Christ. Where there is no confession of sin, we are not forgiven and we are not a believer (1 John 1:9). But as believers who go on confessing our sins, we aren’t now seeking God’s forgiveness in a judicial sense but in a relational, familial way – like that of a child to their parent. There is a distinction between judicial forgiveness and fatherly forgiveness. In judicial forgiveness, all past, present, and future sins are fully forgiven as we embrace Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. The death of Christ has answered for our all our sins. We are justified, declared right with God, and stand clothed before Him in the perfect righteousness of Jesus. God now views us in this legal standing. It is our position forever. However, with God as Father, there is now an ongoing relationship. In this parent-child relationship, when we’ve done wrong, we must both recognize and acknowledge it. What we suffer when we sin is not the loss of our fellowship but the joy of our salvation, that joy of our fellowship. So we need to go on confessing, putting sin to death by saying no to it and saying yes to Jesus Christ. Putting to death sin will be a continual process that believers must engage in daily because killing sin does not happen all at once. This process of killing sin is often referred to as mortification. Mortifying sin is to regard ourselves as dead to sin. Moment by moment, choice by choice, decision by decision is how we put sin to death. Putting sin to death is part of our sanctification process. Sanctification is learning what is pleasing to the Lord. Christians should want to learn and know what is pleasing to God, and as Christians, we know that sin does not. It is part of what it means to grow in holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Therefore, we need to know what God tells us is sin because to progress in sanctification involves confessing it as sin. 


In Matthew 5, Jesus shows that sin begins in the mind and the heart. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, ‘You have heard that it was said…’, ‘but I say…’. In these things He speaks of, He appears to be saying that these things are far greater than the people previously thought or had been taught. These sins aren’t just simple sins that happen externally. Jesus probes deep and points to the heart level of the commands. Jesus helps us to see that we sin, not just by what we do with our bodies but also by what goes on in our minds. He teaches that at the deepest level, what it means to obey God requires that we take hold of what goes on in our minds. In this same chapter of Matthew, our Lord said that if our hand causes us to sin, cut it off, and if our eye causes us to sin, pluck it out. He is speaking metaphorically. Jesus is not saying for us to literally cut off our hands or pluck out our eyes. He is using radical terminology to help us understand the seriousness of sin. Sin is a heart issue before it’s a physical issue. It is about what goes on in the mind, as well as with the body. It’s about what takes place in the realm of our thoughts, our intentions, ambitions, and motives. So, we must deal radically with the sins of the mind and the body, battling internally and externally. Willing, even to lose a member of our body over having our soul perish in hell. Dr. Caldwell points out that while this specific example used by Jesus (Matthew 5:27-30) is that of men and the sin of adultery, by understanding it in the figurative sense, we can see how it applies to all sin and all kinds of sin issues for all people.


Every sin is worthy of death from the standpoint of God’s holiness (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23). Yet, all sins are not the same in terms of their effect in the human realm. The effects will not be the same in all relational spheres. Though the Bible nowhere specifically states that there are different levels and degrees of sin, it still seems to indicate this. See, for example, Luke 10, where Jesus contrasts the peoples of Tyre and Sidon with those of Sodom and Gomorrah. The implication seems to be that with greater light comes greater responsibility, as also indicated by Hebrews 10:28. Sin is a very serious issue with eternal consequences. We must recognize the seriousness of what’s at stake and be willing to do the battle.


So even though we have been saved and our sins are forgiven, as Christians, we still sin because it has not yet been eradicated from our lives. The day-to-day reality of sin continues to be a struggle. We are no more pleasing to God on our best days than on our worst. God’s pleasure in us is not explained in us but by the perfect life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But even as children of God, we can displease our Father, and we will receive discipline for our sins. God still disciplines and corrects us for our sinning because He loves us. Throughout the rest of our lives, through the work of the Holy Spirit, our sins are brought to bear upon our hearts and minds. Many of these may even be sins from our past, which can sometimes weigh heavily upon our consciences, causing conflict and guilt. What does the Bible instruct us to do about this? While we don't have specific instructions, we have the Scriptures. In the Scriptures, we have principles. It is the principles we must take and apply. But, the application of principles requires wisdom. Dealing with past sin issues becomes a matter of judgment. If we can clear our consciences by going to another to make amends for a wrong we’ve done, where it will make sense to the person we are going to, we should do that. In our pursuit of a clear conscience with others, we want to be as sure as we are able to discern that the results will be positive and helpful, not destructive and hurtful. There will be times when the most appropriate way to handle certain sins of the past is between yourself and the Lord. Times, for example, when you might bring injury upon another person because they weren't aware of the sin. Many of the conscience issues we face can be and are often related to our lives before becoming a Christian. Dr. Caldwell shares that he does not believe that we are tasked with tracking down people from our past, searching them out to make our confession to them. However, we must be willing to make things right wherever the Lord calls us to. When we’ve done that, we can rest in the forgiveness of that which Christ has forgiven us. We can walk in the forgiveness that is really ours.


A sin that concerns many is the sin of blasphemy. Many even wonder if they have committed this sin. In Matthew 12, Jesus has what appears to be a damning discussion with the religious leaders of Israel. He speaks to them about blaspheming the Holy Spirit and states that anyone who commits this will never have forgiveness. What is blasphemy, and how should we understand it? Blasphemy is something that is insulting to an outrageous degree. As it relates to God, this involves our words, thoughts, and attitudes. It involves words that insult Him, dismissive words, and words that mock Him. In this passage, Jesus says there is a kind of speech against the Holy Spirit of God that will not be forgiven. Dr. Caldwell says that due to the nature of these words in their context, he isn’t certain that this particular sin can be committed. He goes on to share the example of the Apostle Paul's life. Before being saved, Paul was a Christian persecuting, Christ-hating, religious zealot. Paul himself shares that he was the chief of sinners, a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a violent aggressor, doing these things in ignorance before being saved. So, says Dr. Caldwell, you can get Jesus wrong in one part of your life story yet be forgiven. But if you hear the truth and receive such light that you know who Christ is and are unwilling to admit it, you close your eyes and reject it; what more can be given to you? Dr. Caldwell says he thinks this is the danger. He also points out that the Lord never gives evidence when someone has committed this sin. Christ gives it as a warning without any attempt to quantify it.

About The Straight Truth Podcast

The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at www.straighttruth.net

The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo.  The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.

The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
answering any and all questions.

The Straight Truth Podcast is the perfect podcast for those seeking to strengthen their faith, to be informed on how to broach difficult topics with a Christian point of view, to share their faith with unbelieving friends, to challenge the status quo of their own beliefs by viewing them under the lens of the Scriptures, to interpret current news events from a Biblical point of view, and more.

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Season 27 Credits

Produced by
Juan Carlos Claveria

Executive Producers
Joshua Philpot
David Anders

Hosted by
Joshua Philpot

Social Media Descriptions by
Michele Watson

Graphic Design
David Navejas



Special Thanks to
El Centro Network

Music by

Motion Graphics
The Media Stock

Set Decorator
Molly Atchison

Walking In Grace Produces The Straight Truth Podcast - The Best Christian Podcast On The Web

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