Note: This is Part 2 in a 2-part series. Click here to read Part 1.
Different Types of Sin
I believe most would agree that different types of sin result in a variety of natural repercussions. If we gossip, the result will not be as severe as if we were to murder someone. It makes sense to all of us that some sin, in the natural, will have minor impact while others will put you in jail or on death row.
The point of disagreement comes when we talk about the spiritual repercussions. This is where so many rush to the defense of a homosexual or someone like Lauren Daigle who, as of this writing, is entertaining serious theological error. They argue that their sin is no different than the sin of lying, apathy or fear. They argue that all sin is the same. They are wrong.
There are most definitely different types of sins that have significantly different outcomes:
Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit
Truly I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they speak. But he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal condemnation.
For they said, "He has an unclean spirit" (Mark 3:28-30).
The sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is much more common than many believe. This sin has radically different impact than other sins, as it eliminates any possibility of salvation. When someone resists Jesus to such a degree that they determine that He is demonized, they have ventured very close to the line, if not over it. The Holy Spirit will stop drawing them, and they will grow darker and more hateful toward God. In fact, I've written before that one's eschatology comes into play here as well. Those who don't know God accurately, those who presume He only functions in a positive way, will accuse him of being demonized, or Satan himself, when He begins killing millions in the end times. They would argue that a loving God would never do this. They would be wrong. Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is very much at play in this scenario. This is a topic of discussion for another day, but suffice it to say, we as Christians can't presume we are exempt from committing this sin. We are not.
Homosexuality Practice and Approval
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged the natural function for what is against nature. Likewise the men, leaving the natural function of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another, men with men doing that which is shameful, and receiving in themselves the due penalty of their error.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not proper (Rom. 1:26-28).
The sin of homosexuality is an abomination, and it comes with much more severe judgment than most other sins. There's no way we can say that the sin of worry is anywhere near being the same as homosexuality.
"God abandoned them to the operations of a mind incapable of reflection." —Adam Clarke's Commentary
The result of being turned over to a debased, or a reprobate, mind is that God abandons them, and they no longer reflect on or consider the possibility of truth. This is terrifying. But, it gets even more serious, and this is why the issue with Lauren Daigle and others who are on the fence regarding homosexuality is so urgent.
"Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them" (Rom. 1:32).
Giving approval to this abomination is a severe violation, and the person who does that is in grave danger.
Escape from sexual immorality. Every sin that a man commits is outside the body. But he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. What? Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God, and that you are not your own? (1 Cor. 6:18-19).
Sexual sin has much greater, more devastating effects than most other sins. It violates the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. I understand the graphic nature of what I am about to say, but consider the disgust and filth of committing sexual sin in your church, at the altar. Friends, this is something that occurs in Satanic churches. The defilement goes beyond anything that most of us would ever understand.
Sexual sin is a violation of the church, of the temple, where the Holy Spirit dwells. It violates us, personally in a deep, deep way. Sexual sin overtakes and defiles the temple, inviting the Holy Spirit to leave. That is a major, life-destroying decision.
Further, refusal to repent from sexual sin can result in one of the most terrifying judgments:
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. When you are assembled, along with my spirit, in the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver him to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that the spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 5:4-5).
The person is to be publicly given over to Satan himself so his flesh may be destroyed. This is God's last-ditch effort to, hopefully, convince the violator to confess his sin and turn back to him.
Lying to the Holy Spirit
Now a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property. He kept back part of the proceeds with his wife's knowledge, and brought a part of it and placed it at the apostles' feet.
Then Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to deceive the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, was it not your own? And when it was sold, was it not under your authority? Why have you conceived this deed in your heart? You did not lie to men, but to God."
On hearing these words, Ananias fell down and died. And great fear came on all those who heard these things. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.
About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter said to her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for this amount?"
She said, "Yes, for that much."
Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out."
At once she fell down at his feet and died. Upon entering, the young men found her dead and carried her out and buried her beside her husband (Acts 5:1-10).
I don't think most Christians realize how common the above scenario is today. My belief is that it happens often. We may be part of a church, invested in the vision and ready to give, serve and participate, yet if we lie and put God's name on it, we are at risk of immediate death. The Bible makes it clear that this resulted in great fear coming upon the church. We need that fear to return today!
How often do people say, "God said," or "God told me to ..." when they are simply attempting to give validation to their own fleshly desires? How common is it for people to prophesy out of their soul and finish by saying, "Thus sayeth the Lord?" Common. Very common.
When we do this, we take God's name in vain. We lie to the Holy Spirit. At times, when people do this, they have no time to repent. They are taken, and what they are up against in eternity is something none of us ever want to experience.
Wrongly Receiving the Lord's Supper
Therefore whoever eats this bread and drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this reason many are weak and unhealthy among you, and many die (1 Cor. 11:27-30).
I doubt most people genuinely stop and consider the condition of their heart prior to eating the wafer and drinking the grape juice at church. I've led Communion in such a way where most people in the church were actually hesitant to receive the elements! The repentance was powerful, and the examination of hearts deep. When we approach God casually, with hearts that are not fully surrendered and are tainted by sin, we have to know that our well-being is compromised.
Fear and trembling must return to the church, and sin has to be eradicated. If we aren't in a good place in God, we really shouldn't partake in the extremely holy sacrament of Communion.
Sin That Doesn't Result in Death
If anyone sees his brother commit a sin which does not lead to death, he shall ask, and He shall give him life. This is for those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I do not say that he should pray for it. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is a sin that does not lead to death.
We know that whoever is born of God does not keep on sinning. But whoever has been born of God guards himself, and the wicked one cannot touch him (1 John 5:16-18).
God understand that sanctification is progressive, and if we are living a repentant life, the sins we wrestle with will not cost us our salvation. This is the sin that is not unto death. So, if we slip up the moment before death, there's a chance that God will count the sin as one that doesn't result in death. However, I sure don't want to risk an unnecessary analysis of the last moments of my life. I believe it's much better to leave here with purity in our hearts and praise in our hearts!
Verse 18 is key: Our wrestling match with the same sins should not be open ended. We should not continue in sin. Victory after victory should be the pattern of our lives as we leave old sinful patterns behind forever.
"For if you forgive men for their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men for their sins, neither will your Father forgive your sins" (Matt. 6:14-15).
I believe unforgiveness is a specific sin that has unique penalties. God's forgiveness of us was so precious, so valuable, so driven by love that our refusal to do the same for others is a violation more extreme and vile than most others. If we refuse to forgive someone, we can't presume to be saved. We can't presume to be forgiven. The verses in Matthew are crystal-clear.
Consider Corrie ten Boom. You may have read her story in the book The Hiding Place. She was a general in the faith as she and her family hid Jews during the Holocaust. Eventually they were discovered and were put into a concentration camp. She ministered Jesus in inhuman conditions. She was faithful in a time where all faith was lost. Ultimately, after torture at the hands of one particular guard and countless horrors, her entire family was killed. The war ended, and Corrie was released.
Shortly after, Corrie was walking down the road when a man approached her. He said, "Excuse me, you were in the camp, weren't you?" Corrie affirmed that she was. He continued, "After the war, I gave my life to Jesus. I prayed that he would allow me to find one person that I hurt so badly in the concentration camp." It was the guard—the one who brutally tortured and killed her family. He said, "I told God that I wanted to seek their forgiveness. Would you please forgive me?"
Corrie, in her own words, shared her reaction. She said that she simply could not forgive him. As that thought consumed her soul, God spoke to her. He said, "Corrie, if you don't forgive him, I won't forgive you." She knew, as a general in the faith, if she refused to forgive that man than she herself would die in her sins. Hell was her future. She then looked at the man who brought so much horror to her and took his hand and said, "I do forgive you."
She said the love of God shot through her hand into the former guard's.
Tragically, so many Christians today presume they are exempt from such truths in Scripture.
Watch a powerful, tear-inducing video about Corrie ten Boom and read more about the danger of sin in the lives of Christians in my article, "Unsaved Christians—Thoughts on Sin, Hell and Following Jesus in an Unsaved Condition."
Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt and its fruit corrupt. For the tree is known by its fruit. O generation of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things. And an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word that men speak, they will give an account on the Day of Judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned (Matt. 12:33-37).
The condition of our heart will determine how we live and what we say. If we yield good fruit, we can expect a glorious judgment. If we yield bad fruit, only a terrifying judgment can be expected. The words that come out of our mouths can be a great barometer of the condition of our heart. If we are speaking life, good fruit is sure to be there.
Continual, Deliberate Sin
For if we willfully continue to sin after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation, which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who despised Moses' law died without mercy in the presence of two or three witnesses. How much more severe a punishment do you suppose he deserves, who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded the blood of the covenant that sanctified him to be a common thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Heb. 10:26-29).
I firmly believe the doctrine of eternal security is false. I understand the arguments, and there are many wonderful men and women of God who subscribe to this theology. However, my personal opinion, based on what I see in the Word, is that it's a very dangerous and false belief system. This passage in Hebrews 10 couldn't be more precise. If we continue in sin, the sacrifice of Jesus will no longer have effect for us. We will be counted among God's adversaries.
False-grace teachers would argue that Jesus no longer sees our sin. This verse, however, makes it clear that such a belief actually outrages the Spirit of grace.
Continuing in sin will, without question, result in our names being removed from the book of life.
Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15).
We have sinned and have committed iniquity and have done wickedly and have rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and from Your judgments. We have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our officials, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land (Dan. 9:5-6).
Then the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, "We have sinned against You, for we have abandoned our God and worshipped the Baals."
The Lord said to the children of Israel, "Did I not deliver you from Egypt, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites when they oppressed you? You cried out to Me, and I saved you from their hands. Yet you have abandoned Me and worshipped other gods. Therefore I will not save you again. Go and cry out to the gods that you have chosen. Let them save you in your time of distress (Judg. 10:10-14).
We know what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah. Righteousness didn't prevail, and God's judgment destroyed the cities. There are too many examples to cite of God's judgment coming to a city or a nation. The actions of the whole can bring either blessing or judgment to all. This means that I will feel the impact of the sins of others. Will their sin impact me eternally? No, not if I remain intimately surrendered to Jesus. However, national sin will result in such great pressure that many will reject God, others will turn from him and eternities will most certainly be affected.
We need an on-fire, praying church to rise up in repentance, holiness and with a prophetic call to awaken.
To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
"He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars says these things: I know your works, that you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain but are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfected before God (Rev. 3:1-2).
He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments. I will not blot his name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches (Rev. 3:5-6).
The Bible tells us that the lukewarm will be vomited out of God's mouth. The above verses in Revelation are sobering. Those who are apathetic, dead and dying, are at great risk of having their name blotted out of the book of life and spending eternity in hell. I believe passion for Jesus is one of the most important elements of a Christian's life. We must wake up on fire, live our lives on fire, sleep on fire and enter eternity on fire!
"Our fathers sinned and are no more, but we bear their iniquities" (Lam. 5:7).
I'm keenly aware that my five children and their children are at risk of bondage to any sins I choose to embrace in my life. This keeps me sober and broken before the Lord. The thought of my wonderful, beautiful children feeling the impact of any sin that I would entertain simply wrecks me. There are sons who are destroyed by lust because of their father's secret life of pornography. Daughters who are hooked on drugs because of the pattern of addiction in the family line.
We can break the cycle by living a consecrated life, fully surrendered to Jesus.
Deception and Falling Away
Yes, and all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived" (2 Tim. 3:12-13).
Be attentive, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, and you depart from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin (Heb. 3:12-13).
When we entertain immorality, we are at great risk of falling away. Unbelief can creep into a Christian's life very easily. Sadly, many will fall away. We must actively develop a life of purity and faith as we combat doubt and compromise.
Pleasure in Unrighteousness
Therefore God will send them a strong delusion, that they should believe the lie: that they all might be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thess. 2:11-12).
This passage is brutal. Those who are taking pleasure in unrighteousness and who are rejecting truth can end up spiritually dead long before their names are written in an obituary. This sin can result in God actually sending a strong delusion so they will, as a result, actually believe what is false. God will not ever allow them to receive the truth they so aggressively rejected.
This is why I believe we must promote radical holiness in this hour. So much of the church today is carnal, enjoying the very things that required the slaughter and murder of the one they say they love. They take pleasure in unrighteousness by watching movies and television that are filled with foul language, sexual situations, coarse jesting and other impurities. They pump immoral music into their ears night and day. They are no different than the world. Those who reject truth and enjoy immorality are at risk of being the recipient of delusion, making it impossible to ever turn to Jesus.
Sin is not all the same. We can't treat it identically. Of course, we don't want to commit any sin, but we must also be keenly aware of the greater sins, the impact on our lives and the cost to our nation and millions of people if we don't confront and correct it.
When sin is affirmed or error is proclaimed by people, whether in a local setting or on the public stage, the church cannot stay silent in the name of love. Such an apathetic act will result in millions being offered the fruit of deception. Many will eat that fruit and blood will be on our hands.
Let's love well, confront evil, expose darkness, rebuke when necessary, speak life and be the prophetic voices that God is calling us to be.
And do not have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; instead, expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret (Eph. 5:11-12).
John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 25 years and is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. John has authored ten books, is a regular contributor to Charisma Magazine, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. A large and growing library of audio and video teachings, articles, books and other resources can be found on his website at www.burton.tv. John, his wife Amy and their five children live in Branson, Missouri.
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