For example, if a Christian is involved in an ongoing sin like fornication or addiction, should they continue to go to Bible study?
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First, I'd like to say that Tim gave excellent advice. I was saved, born again at a young age. I did a lot of wrong things (SIN/SINFUL LIFESTYLE) from my teen years through young adulthood. At 64 I still sin but not as flagrantly as I did at a younger age. Generally speaking, I feel that I sin less but feel worse. I am still a sinner, saved by grace and will remain so until one of the following events take place 1. I drop dead. 2. The Lord returns. Although I had "fleeting" moments of doubt which I'm sure most believers have experienced, I have never questioned the security I have in God's faithfulness and Christ's finished work. My spiritual "rollercoaster" ride has been bumpy at times and totally off track at others but He cannot lie (Numbers 23:29) and changes not. (Malachi 3:6). Having said this there's another aspect to my Christian experience that has not changed which is, my sensitivity to God's Word. While living a SINFUL lifestyle the last thing I wanted to do was study the Bible. If someone quoted a Bible verse even though totally irrelevant to my SINFUL lifestyle at that time, I would begin to squirm, feel conviction, want to get away from that person, change the subject, etc. I'm certainly not meaning to be judgmental because I can only judge myself but as a child of God I personally could not sit in a Bible study while living a persistently sinful lifestyle. I would either have to repent, confess my sin and get right with God or not attend. I would be miserable in that group! From first-hand experience, a true Christian living outside the will of God is one miserable creature! Hebrews 4:12-13 explains: "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." (Hebrews 12:6-8) "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons."
I don't mean to suggest that a person (especially a professing Christian) should engage in behavior that he knows is hypocritical, but, if it is put in terms of an "either/or" choice, I would say that it is preferable for that person to remain in Bible study, rather than cutting himself off from its influence. It seems to me that there would certainly be a greater chance of the person becoming convicted of his sinful actions, repenting of them, and forsaking them, by remaining in contact with God, the Bible, and other Christians, than if he were to stop his participation. (Also, although some people may be viewed as more egregious sinners than others from a human perspective, we are all equally in need of the forgiveness and salvation that can be achieved only through faith in Christ.)
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