You can't or you won't?
I appreciated a lot of what this fellow had to say, and my mind latched on to one particular point he made. Then, as I cogitated over it, it expanded.
He was talking about how Christian people are sometimes caught in a sin. They keep on doing it while they tell their couselor that they can't help themselves. They seem given over to it. The counselor is to remind them that they have all they need for life and godliness. He counters their claims of I can't live godly. He puts the responsibility squarely on their shoulders and asks them You can't or you won't? As the speaker said these words, the question seemed pertinent to anyone in the congregation who has been telling themselves I can't."
You can't or you won't?
I kept thinking about this question. I thought that it could be turned around and asked about the opposite ... living in sin. "You can't or you won't?" Some say that a true Christian can't live in sin. It is impossible for a true believer to go on continually in sin, they say. If one has given themsleves over to abandoning the things of God and living for Him, then they aren't really saved because a Christian CAN'T do that. That is a really a dogmatic thing to say and it seems to take the idea of living for self etc.. out of the realm of choice. Maybe this works psychologically for some, but it is not realistic.
It is a conscious choice we make to fellowship with the saints, read our Bibles, pray to our God, meditate on His Word and yield to His Holy Spirit, IS IT NOT? If we neglect these things (which we CAN) we CAN fall into terrible places. This is not what God would have for us. That is why we should say, We won't! when it comes to going the wrong way. We mustn't use We can't as a crutch.
To say I can't (live godly) can be used as a license to sin and this is terribly false! We are blessed with every Spiritual blessing in Christ and we have the armour of God to wear! We have Christ Himself that we are to clothe ourselves in. We can live godly lives and strengthen the inner man who is born of the Spirit.
However, if I can't (continue in sin) is used as a dogmatic statement, I believe it can set Christians up for big falls and terrible indecisiveness. If this statement is tested and a Christian sees that HE CAN go on sinning and sear his conscience, what is he then to conclude? Couldn't the teaching of "True Christians can't go on sinning" push him further away from repenting and from the hope that he has in Christ? He should rather have been taught personal responsibilty for his Christian walk. Perhaps then the I won't (live godly) would turn to I won't (go on sinning). This is repentance!! How does repentance work out in a Christian if he has "I can't have done this..." in his paradigm? How does that look?
Telling oneself I can't (be overtaken by sin) seems like it would either lead to a false sense of security, lack of preparedness for temptation, insecurity if one does get caught up in something, confusion as to one's justification before God, and, if sin besets him, an unsure pathway home. Wouldn't it also promote pride and judgement of others who have fallen?
1 Corinthians 10
12Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 13There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.