Question:

Hello Brother,

Can you explain the difference between a person sinning, stumbling in sin, and being a sinner? How does God separate the three? I know that it's all sin in God's eyes. But is it just a stumble here and there of the same sin or multiple sins?

Also, can you explain the proverb that says "A just man can falleth seven times and riseth up again. But the wicked shall fall into mischief." What type of fall is God describing? Is it the same sin over and over, just sinning in general, or multiple sins?

Thank you.

Answer:

The difference is the person's attitude toward sin, not the number of times a person might sin.

The Bible classifies people into two camps: the righteous and the sinners. "For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous" (Romans 5:19). The two groups coexist but they should not intermingle (Psalms 1).

Those belonging to God make a practice of living righteously. "If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him" (I John 2:29). The Greek grammar of this sentence refers to someone who continually does righteousness. Righteousness is a part of their daily lives. Thus, in order to please God, the righteous work to remove sin from their lives. "Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (I John 3:2-3).

In contrast, sinners make a practice of lawlessness. Sin is a part of their daily lives. "Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness" (I John 3:4). The result is that there is a strong distinction between the righteous and the sinners. "By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother" (I John 3:10).

These passages do not say that a child of God never sins, but that he does not live a sinful life. The righteous do not want to sin. For the most part, the righteous do what is right and correct any wrong they may do. It doesn’t mean that a saint doesn’t slip once in a while and sins. In fact, every saint sins at times. "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us" (I John 1:8). However, his occasional sins do not make him a sinner because he refuses to remain in his sins.

In contrast, the sinner doesn’t care about God’s laws and does what he desires, often violating the commandments of God. The sinner tends to stay in sin because sin doesn't bother him. This does not mean that a sinner never manages to do something right once in a while. A man could be a really good father and stealing money from the company he works for. The good he accomplishes does not change the fact that he remains in his sin.

This is why Solomon said, "For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, but the wicked stumble in time of calamity" (Proverbs 24:16). The righteous keep going despite setbacks and hardships. "Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me" (Micah 7:8). In contrast, the wicked folds when faced with disaster. Consider Judas Iscariot as an example. When he realized that his plan did not go as he thought and the Messiah was killed because of him, he went out and hanged himself.

Proverbs 24:15-16 is actually a warning to the wicked. "Do not lie in wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; do not destroy his resting place; for a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, but the wicked stumble in time of calamity." The righteous, who trust in God, are unstoppable.

Response:

I say with tears, "Thank you, brother, and God bless."

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