Do I Have Hope If I Sin?

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Sin is failure to do what God wants us to do.  There are greater and lesser sins, but it is hard to deny that, to some degree or another, each of us sins every day.  This thought has disturbed Christians for centuries.  Some have feared that if they sin after being baptized, then maybe the baptism didn’t “take” and they will not be saved. Others turn their anxiety outward and tear down figures of the past because, at some time or another, they committed sin. Others rationalize that “it’s not really sin” if we limit ourselves to gossip and a white lie or two.

The Anglican tradition has always taken a realistic view, as reflected in the following excerpts from the Articles of Religion (1571):

Christ in the truth of our nature was made like unto us in all things, sin only except, from which he was clearly void . . . But all we the rest, although baptized, and born again in Christ, yet offend in many things; and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  [From Article XV]

Not every deadly sin willingly committed after Baptism is sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable.  Wherefore the grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after Baptism.  After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and by the grace of God we may arise again, and amend our lives. [From Article XVI]

The Baptism liturgy includes a prayer for the newly baptized persons, as follows, “That they may persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever they fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord.”  Notice that it doesn’t say “if” they fall into sin, but “when.”  

All of this is firmly based on the Bible. Remember that Jesus’ closest followers ran away and hid when he was arrested and executed. Peter even lied to save himself. But Jesus forgave all of them.

So is sin OK with God? No. Should we go ahead and sin some more, so that God has more to forgive? By no means.

Jesus came to save us from our sins so that we can live forever with God.  The Holy Spirit is available to help us. Therefore we have good reason to hope for the future. What would strengthen that hope? We could get together with other Christians to confess our sins, pray for forgiveness, and participate in the sacrament of bread and wine that Jesus instituted for his followers. Now where could we do that?

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About Saint Barnabas Anglican Church of Seattle

Rooted in Scripture & Steeped in Anglican Tradition. A church that worships from the King James Version of the Bible and the 1928 American Book of Common Prayer. A diverse congregation committed to Jesus Christ.
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