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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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The nature of Sin and Forgiveness - March 29th 2012, 12:57 AM

This week my composition class and I were assigned to analyze a short story called "A Good Man is Hard to Find," by Flannery O' Connor. The gist of it is this:

The main character is the grandmother in a very dysfunctional family. The grandmother is a hypocrite: she presents herself as a southern lady when really she is anything but. The family is on a trip to Florida. On the way, she forces them to take a detour down a rural road, thinking she remembers a beautiful old house at the end of it, only to realize too late that it wasn't the right road. The road is dangerous and the car ends up wrecked in a ditch.

The grandmother thinks they are saved when a car comes down the road, only to realize that the car holds an escaped convict known to have been on the run in that area. "The Misfit," as he is called, kills everyone in the family, including the grandmother, but not before he has a conversation with her about crime, punishment, and religion.

He says that "Jesus messed it all up," and this is the watered down version why: Jesus made it so that crimes do not fit the punishment, so they are "misfit". One has faith and all sins are forgiven, but there is never any debt to pay. Theoretically one could do whatever they wanted as long as they believed in Jesus. In his mind, the crimes didn't match the punishment, and that is what he was all about.

Which led to an interesting discussion for my class: how does forgiveness really work? I was raised in church; I can give you the Bible version: Jesus forgives your sins, so your live your life according to the teachings of Him. Basically forgiveness=follow Jesus. Your reward is in Heaven.

But that doesn't answer the question. It is not until the last five seconds of her life that the Grandmother finally understands and is therefore forgiven. She lived a whole life of hypocrisy and selfishness and sin, to be forgiven at the last moment.

So, why? Why believe in Jesus your whole life and live according to him if you can be forgiven in the last few seconds of your life and still go to Heaven? You could have all the fun and THEN repent right before you die and be just as good as the guy who accepted Christ at age five, become a preacher, Was faithful to his wife and had five children, served God's calling his whole life and died a man of God. So why do otherwise?



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Re: The nature of Sin and Forgiveness - March 29th 2012, 02:22 AM

Each one will be judged according to what they've done. Romans 2. I believe G-D will separate the righteous and unrighteous. However He judges that is up to Him. However, fun for me is righteousness, I feel miserable when I live in sin.


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Re: The nature of Sin and Forgiveness - March 29th 2012, 09:25 AM

Why subject yourself to that, though Michael? Why live your life in sin and subsequent self imposed misery? Why not accept that you are a human being- a wonderful and beautifully complex organism that is the result of millenia of gradual changes? That you are a member of a species that shapes the world around you? That you need no one's forgiveness or validation but your own, and those whom you love?


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Re: The nature of Sin and Forgiveness - March 29th 2012, 04:00 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Superstar View Post
But that doesn't answer the question. It is not until the last five seconds of her life that the Grandmother finally understands and is therefore forgiven. She lived a whole life of hypocrisy and selfishness and sin, to be forgiven at the last moment.

So, why? Why believe in Jesus your whole life and live according to him if you can be forgiven in the last few seconds of your life and still go to Heaven? You could have all the fun and THEN repent right before you die and be just as good as the guy who accepted Christ at age five, become a preacher, Was faithful to his wife and had five children, served God's calling his whole life and died a man of God. So why do otherwise?
I didn't completely understand the whole plot of the book you described, but this seems to be the overall question anyways, so I'll just reply to this.

There are several reasons to not wait until the last second to accept Jesus:

1. You could die instantly without even a second of warning or die in your sleep and never get the chance.

2. Salvation involves repentence, which is a "change of mind" about sin. If in your last minutes of life you're just saying that you accept Jesus so you can go to Heaven, but would really live your life with sin all over again if you got the chance, that's not true repentance. Salvation involves being truly sorry that you ever sinned.

3. If you already know about Jesus saving you from sin and just don't want to accept Him yet, that means that you also already know how badly this world needs Jesus to save them. So because you aren't saved, you also can't help to lead other people to salvation. Do you really want to let others go to hell just so you can live a few extra years of sin before you receive Jesus? I don't understand how that could be worth it. That's basically like going out and partying while someone next to you is about to walk off of a cliff and not try to stop it.

4. I don't understand WHY somebody wouldn't want to be reconciled to God as soon as possible if they already believe in Him! When you get saved, you get a new clean spirit inside of you, you get the assurance of Heaven, you have God who will never leave you or forsake you and can be your only real stability and is there to talk whenever you need Him, get guidance in every area of life, and have your future secured in Him. Isn't that worth giving up your old life for? What are you going to be having to give up? Getting drunk? Pre-marital sex (when you can just get married and have sex in a Godly way)? Getting high? Homosexuality? Lying? I think having the God of the universe inside of me is worth so much more than any of that.


There have been people who didn't accept Jesus to save them until the last second, and yes they were still saved and still went to Heaven. However, you never know if you're going to get that chance, so I wouldn't take that chance. I don't know why you'd want to anyways. I got saved the very second that I understood the gospel- I don't understand why someone would want to wait.
   
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Re: The nature of Sin and Forgiveness - March 29th 2012, 05:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Megan1 View Post
I didn't completely understand the whole plot of the book you described, but this seems to be the overall question anyways, so I'll just reply to this.

There are several reasons to not wait until the last second to accept Jesus:

1. You could die instantly without even a second of warning or die in your sleep and never get the chance.

2. Salvation involves repentence, which is a "change of mind" about sin. If in your last minutes of life you're just saying that you accept Jesus so you can go to Heaven, but would really live your life with sin all over again if you got the chance, that's not true repentance. Salvation involves being truly sorry that you ever sinned.

3. If you already know about Jesus saving you from sin and just don't want to accept Him yet, that means that you also already know how badly this world needs Jesus to save them. So because you aren't saved, you also can't help to lead other people to salvation. Do you really want to let others go to hell just so you can live a few extra years of sin before you receive Jesus? I don't understand how that could be worth it. That's basically like going out and partying while someone next to you is about to walk off of a cliff and not try to stop it.

4. I don't understand WHY somebody wouldn't want to be reconciled to God as soon as possible if they already believe in Him! When you get saved, you get a new clean spirit inside of you, you get the assurance of Heaven, you have God who will never leave you or forsake you and can be your only real stability and is there to talk whenever you need Him, get guidance in every area of life, and have your future secured in Him. Isn't that worth giving up your old life for? What are you going to be having to give up? Getting drunk? Pre-marital sex (when you can just get married and have sex in a Godly way)? Getting high? Homosexuality? Lying? I think having the God of the universe inside of me is worth so much more than any of that.


There have been people who didn't accept Jesus to save them until the last second, and yes they were still saved and still went to Heaven. However, you never know if you're going to get that chance, so I wouldn't take that chance. I don't know why you'd want to anyways. I got saved the very second that I understood the gospel- I don't understand why someone would want to wait.
I agree, I don't understand why someone would wait to connect with Jesus if they don't believe in him but if they don't, I don't see why they'd convert out of fear rather than the same reason why they didn't believe in him in the first place. He could still be wrong.

But please, prove your last statement (don't worry you don't, these are just your beliefs)

Oh, I must add, getting into heaven is based on your works also.


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Re: The nature of Sin and Forgiveness - March 29th 2012, 10:25 PM

I'm not in misery unless I live in sin. And I don't just need forgiveness from G-D. I need forgiveness from thoe who my sins hurt. It's a choice to sin. A choice that Christ's death allowed us to make instead of being enslaved to one bad decision after another.


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Re: The nature of Sin and Forgiveness - March 29th 2012, 10:28 PM

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Originally Posted by chickenonsteroids View Post
I agree, I don't understand why someone would wait to connect with Jesus if they don't believe in him but if they don't, I don't see why they'd convert out of fear rather than the same reason why they didn't believe in him in the first place. He could still be wrong.

But please, prove your last statement (don't worry you don't, these are just your beliefs)

Oh, I must add, getting into heaven is based on your works also.
It says clear as day in the Bible that good works don't get you into heaven:

Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not by works, lest any man should boast."

Yes, you can interpret this as you can't get into heaven on good works ALONE, which it is saying, but nowhere in the Bible does it actually say you need brownie points as well as grace to go to heaven. Yes, Jesus did good works, and encouraged his followers to do the same because of how it Honored the Holy Father. And yes, I think people should live their lives in the example of Christ if they have chosen to accept his offer of salvation. But nowhere does it say, "Oh yeah, if you don't give money to the homeless man who hangs by the warehouse district, or if you cut off someone in traffic, you're going to hell."

I do understand his issues with the Philistines, who did proclaim to worship the Lord and acted unGodly when they thought no one was looking, but he also had a huge issue with the fact that they wouldn't accept Him as the son of God and the way, the truth, and the life to the Father.

What I am saying is this: Grace is offered to each and every person on this Earth. It's theirs for the taking. Someone accepts Jesus into their hearts and does fully repent their sins in life. They have done what God himself SAYS will grant you eternal salvation. But you're implying that that's not the end of it. That there is a clause at the bottom of the contract. That if you don't live your life by good deeds, also, then you are still a sinner, and you may still go to hell, even if you do whole-heartedly believe in God's gift of Love.

You might argue someone who hasn't done good deeds in the first place didn't really make themselves right with Christ. My cousin told me this, herself, actually. It blew me out of the water because it was so arrogant and she didn't even realize it. She told me "You know, I see people who claim to be Christians and believe in Jesus in their hearts, but I see how they act, and I know that they aren't really Christians."

The fact any human person could claim to know something about another's relationship with God was so against the very things they preach that it was amusing in a sad way. I was in church. I heard the whole "don't talk the talk, walk the walk thing." But everyone's walk looks different. Not everyone is always on the same path with God. Not everyone sticks to the book.

So if that's in the book, too, then the whole main idea of Grace isn't actually the main idea, is what you are presumably saying.



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Re: The nature of Sin and Forgiveness - March 31st 2012, 08:29 AM

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Originally Posted by Superstar View Post
It says clear as day in the Bible that good works don't get you into heaven:

Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not by works, lest any man should boast."

Yes, you can interpret this as you can't get into heaven on good works ALONE, which it is saying, but nowhere in the Bible does it actually say you need brownie points as well as grace to go to heaven. Yes, Jesus did good works, and encouraged his followers to do the same because of how it Honored the Holy Father. And yes, I think people should live their lives in the example of Christ if they have chosen to accept his offer of salvation. But nowhere does it say, "Oh yeah, if you don't give money to the homeless man who hangs by the warehouse district, or if you cut off someone in traffic, you're going to hell."

I do understand his issues with the Philistines, who did proclaim to worship the Lord and acted unGodly when they thought no one was looking, but he also had a huge issue with the fact that they wouldn't accept Him as the son of God and the way, the truth, and the life to the Father.

What I am saying is this: Grace is offered to each and every person on this Earth. It's theirs for the taking. Someone accepts Jesus into their hearts and does fully repent their sins in life. They have done what God himself SAYS will grant you eternal salvation. But you're implying that that's not the end of it. That there is a clause at the bottom of the contract. That if you don't live your life by good deeds, also, then you are still a sinner, and you may still go to hell, even if you do whole-heartedly believe in God's gift of Love.

You might argue someone who hasn't done good deeds in the first place didn't really make themselves right with Christ. My cousin told me this, herself, actually. It blew me out of the water because it was so arrogant and she didn't even realize it. She told me "You know, I see people who claim to be Christians and believe in Jesus in their hearts, but I see how they act, and I know that they aren't really Christians."

The fact any human person could claim to know something about another's relationship with God was so against the very things they preach that it was amusing in a sad way. I was in church. I heard the whole "don't talk the talk, walk the walk thing." But everyone's walk looks different. Not everyone is always on the same path with God. Not everyone sticks to the book.

So if that's in the book, too, then the whole main idea of Grace isn't actually the main idea, is what you are presumably saying.
Well... James 2:26 says it differently.

" As the body without the spirit is dead,
so faith without deeds is dead."

I think it goes on to say about righteousness and heaven. I just remember something about faith and deeds which led me to look up that.

To be honest, I wouldn't want it any other way ( except for just scrapping the whole 'faith' thing. it isn't commendable.)

Now, I'm not saying you need works to increase your chances of going to heaven as I agree that'd make it a competition but what I don't agree with is the idea that just grace or salvation would. All this means is that evil Christians can get into heaven but good atheists are just separated from god. Do you see the love there, or even justice?

Now this idea of treat and reward angers me. It's pointless, all it does, nearly by defenition, is create an unequal playing field. You could say we were created equal and end up unequal but that's not true. What about those who have heard of Christianity but don't see proof of his existence? Is it their fault for not just dropping everything and going for god? No, it's a justice to themselves. In the only life you know you have. There is little to no convincing evidence or reasons to believe he exists so what's the point of giving a gift to someone if they'll never be able to open it because they can't find it? I wouldn't know, maybe god should send me an email.

Well, all that being said, until there's a reason to believe there is a heaven or hell, I'll enjoy the life I have. Without living in fear that there's something else. (which by the way is the most disgusting way to spread a religion)


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