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CAN UNKNOWING SIN BE ABSOLVED OR FORGIVEN?

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Member
Hi. A friendly atheist here – I promise, not trolling for a fight.

I drop in here from time to time when I have questions about Christianity for which I have been unable to locate a clear answer in my usual, passive resources.

Lately I’ve been pondering the meanings and price of sin. I’ve encountered conflicting perspectives. I’ve watched Good News Club videos that clearly say, “Sin is anything you think, say or do that does not please God.” Then I’ve read tracts that claim Jesus’s sacrifice has already paid the debt of all human sins, so repenting for any worldly sin is superfluous.

So, my questions today are:

1. Do we need to ask God for forgiveness of our sins.

2. If Jesus has already paid for our sins, is there any such a thing as “sinning” so long as we accept Him?

3. If we ARE required to repent of our sins, do we have to know the nature of our sins in order to do so? If we have sinned unintentionally and never know it, is it possible to be absolved of those sins? Examples: (A) A state governor whose administration presided over the execution of wrongly convicted prisoners. (B) An otherwise pious Christian slave-owning planter from the 1700s who went to his grave convinced that owning slaves was no sin.

(PS – I assume that owning slaves is now considered sin, as opposed to its acceptance in the Old Testament. Is this correct?)

Thanks for any thoughts and, to the extent I am empowered to convey them, blessings. :smile:
 
Loyal
1. Yes. The Bible tells us to in over a dozen verses.
2. Yes, there is some division on this, but most Christians believe they can still sin.
3. How would you know to repent or ask forgiveness if you didn't know it was sin? But sometimes we pray forgiveness for "general" un-named sins.
4. Usually (but not always) the term slave in the old testament, simply meant servant or employee. Most often the Israelites were slaves to other nations.
In any case just because a society accepts something, doesn't mean it isn't sin.

The Bible says "IF" we ask him forgiveness, he will forgive us ( 1 Jn 1:9; )
The majority of Christian also believe repentance is required for forgiveness, ( Luke 3:3; Luke 17:3; Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; Acts 8:22; etc.. ) but not all
people who call themselves Christians agree on this.
The Bible says every-time we sin, more grace is required. ( Rom 6:1; )

Traditional Christianity says we as Christians should try not to sin (no one is ever 100% successful)
but grace is there for when we make mistakes.
There are some people who call themselves Christians who believe that grace covers everything whether you repent or not.
You are forgiven of everything whether you ask for forgiveness or not. So the answer isn't an easy one.

For me personally, sin is the reason I believe in God. You may be an atheist, but you still know things like stealing, lying, murdering and
cheating with someone else's wife is wrong. These things are inherent in all of us whether we are saved or not.
Now if this is true, and we know what basic sin is... and we inherently know it's wrong... why do we still do it?
Atheists can deny God, but they can't deny the fact that they have done these sins (in many cases are still doing them).
To the Christian, the fact that we have sinned (and sometimes still do) is the reason we require God's forgiveness.
 
Member
Thank you for taking the time for such a considered response.

Yes, I wholeheartedly agree that a lot of what we consider sin is integral to human nature, regardless of faith. The major difference among individuals being (in the case of devout Christians) that it is written by God in our hearts, whereas atheists like myself see a natural expression of advantageous behavior among an evolved social creature.

In either case, I would also agree that everyone falls short of those admirable/godly impulses.

Some Christians have told me that I will eventually come to believe, but that this will only happen when I accept Christ into my heart. I’m not clear on whether this is to be a matter of choice on my part or, as in the case of Paul or Constantine, a moment of revelation.

Anyway, if we can stipulate that slavery is indeed a sin, I guess my question is: are there any “innocent” unrepentant slavers in Heaven? Or Hell? Keep in mind, I’m using slavery here as just an example. Another might be anyone who in earlier times righteously persecuted (sometimes even put to death) those who were thought to be in league with the devil or possessed by demons but who now would be understood to suffer a treatable mental illness.

I am not an atheist by accident or upbringing, but by choice. Among my reasons is this apparent vagary of the nature of sin and whether or not (or how much) it would weigh in the scales of my ultimate judgment. Some people have engaged in horrible, horrible atrocities in the firm belief they were in no way committing sin. Are we simply supposed to be guided by our own conscience to discern between that which is and is-not sin?
 
Member
...and, according to Christianity, how much do you suppose we are held accountable for any mistakes, no matter how egregious?
 
Loyal
...and, according to Christianity, how much do you suppose we are held accountable for any mistakes, no matter how egregious?
If we are truly saved. (i.e. believe, repent, ask for forgiveness) we won't be held accountable for any of it, whether it was intentional, accidental, ignorance or otherwise.
If we aren't saved. We will be held accountable for all our sins, no matter how small, how innocent, whether they were done on purpose or in ignorance.
For me, this is a small point... any sin at all (and who hasn't sinned?? except Jesus) .. let me repeat.. any sin at all...
no matter how small. No matter how good we think we are, ... even the smallest, the least of sins.. will keep us out of heaven.
So why worry about a specific sin... (say slavery). Sin is sin, big or small. God doesn't really view sin on different levels. Any sin (that is not covered by Jesus's blood)
is enough to keep you out of heaven.
By the same token... any sin that is covered by Jesus's blood is not held against us. (including slavery). We could debate about whether a specific sin (say slavery)
was done in ignorance or not, is it still sin? I don't know.. this has been debated through the ages. But for me, it doesn't matter that much because who of us can say we've never done anything wrong, that we knew was wrong? Like I said, any sin not covered, will keep us out of heaven. (whether it's slavery or a little "white" lie).
However once you become a Christian, if you feel convicted for doing something (say, having slaves) then you need to make a lifestyle change and get rid of those slaves. (this would be the repentance step).
 
Member
Thank you. This definitely clarifies it and jibes with my understanding of Christian doctrine.

We don’t have to get into it here, but this does, then, make me wonder why so much indoctrination focuses on the dissuasion from sin. Not to paint with too broad a brush, but when Good News Clubs spend (apparently) so much energy drilling gradeschoolers to feel guilt and shame over sin, isn’t that time that could be better spent dwelling on the redemption promised by Christ?
 
Loyal
There are some who stress guilt and shame. But it seems to me this wasn't what Jesus did.
He told the woman caught in adultery ( John 8) "neither do I condemn you", (verse 11) but He added... "go and sin no more".

We shouldn't focus on our past and our mistakes. But on the other hand we shouldn't keep repeating them.
Love for Jesus, rather than guilt, fear, or shame should be the reason we no longer do these things.
If we are still doing these things... maybe we need to take a good look at ourselves and question our love for Him.
(If we love Him we will keep His commandments).
 
Moderator
Staff Member
Ah the wandering Atheist is back! Welcome @Kirby D. P.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9


The Christian is very aware of the sinful nature of their flesh. John identified the part about someone believing that they have no sin in the verse prior to this.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8

The problem Kirby is that you must have faith and believe that He is who He says He is, with the power to do what He says.

But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6

Hope that one day we might call you brother!
Praying for you.
C4E
<><

 
Active
1. Do we need to ask God for forgiveness of our sins.
God is whole and does not lack anything including anything he created.
He is not a victim because he is whole and eternal and therefore cannot suffer loss.
In a sense he forgave because he gave before asked.

2. If Jesus has already paid for our sins, is there any such a thing as “sinning” so long as we accept Him?
That is a question that is relative to what one believes.
Whatever is not of faith is sin.
Sin means missing the mark,if we believe we have missed the mark then we have missed the mark.
If we believe we will keep missing the mark then we are right.
If we believe something is sin we are right.
If we believe something is not sin we are right.
The ten commandments were relative to the Jews.

3. If we ARE required to repent of our sins, do we have to know the nature of our sins in order to do so? If we have sinned unintentionally and never know it, is it possible to be absolved of those sins? Examples: (A) A state governor whose administration presided over the execution of wrongly convicted prisoners. (B) An otherwise pious Christian slave-owning planter from the 1700s who went to his grave convinced that owning slaves was no sin.
The questions come from a misunderstanding of scripture and trying to judge eternal concepts with temporal information,so any answer would lead to further confusion.
Romans 11:32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
John 5:22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,
John 12:47 "If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.
John 8:15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.
John 7:24 Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly."

If God is not judging and Jesus is not judging then who is left.

Maybe you could read the book yourself and see what it really says.
 
Member
Thank you, Thiscrosshurts.

I do read the Bible. These points, all excellent and illuminating, still leave me wondering at a world wherein, if I take these points correctly, one man's sin might be another man's virtue. I get that, if both accept Christ then Christ accepts both. But why then is there so much emphasis in many ministries on which specific acts constitute sin and so much energy devoted to indoctrination against them.

Sorry if your foregoing response already covers this and I'm just being a bit dense. I am re-reading it a few times (and browsing the relevant chapters you cite).
 
Active
But why then is there so much emphasis in many ministries on which specific acts constitute sin and so much energy devoted to indoctrination against them.
There are two relative translations in many languages.
One translation reads scripture through a singular eye of love and the other through eyes of fear which leads to separation and mistrust.
The many have chosen to believe in fear and mistrust and therefore project that onto a deity of their own creation.
As though the temporal could create and uphold the eternal.
So the answer is insanity.
 
Active
Judgement can have more than one outcome but most only think of condemnation which judgement is not.
Condemnation can be one outcome of judgement but there is much more to this word than that.
Many forget that Jesus is a defense not a judge.
God sponsors the defense,not the prosecution.
The observer is the prosecution.
Observation is measuring and judging and keeping a record.

Love keeps no record of wrong,always hopes,always trusts,love does not demand it's own way.
most will admit that God is love but then their idea of love might be based on observations of things they are told is love but are in fact
just people using people.
 
Active
That is a question that is relative to what one believes.
Whatever is not of faith is sin.
I forgot to add supporting scripture on my comment
Romans 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
Titus 1:15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.
 
Member
Hi. A friendly atheist here – I promise, not trolling for a fight.

I drop in here from time to time when I have questions about Christianity for which I have been unable to locate a clear answer in my usual, passive resources.

Lately I’ve been pondering the meanings and price of sin. I’ve encountered conflicting perspectives. I’ve watched Good News Club videos that clearly say, “Sin is anything you think, say or do that does not please God.” Then I’ve read tracts that claim Jesus’s sacrifice has already paid the debt of all human sins, so repenting for any worldly sin is superfluous.

So, my questions today are:

1. Do we need to ask God for forgiveness of our sins.

2. If Jesus has already paid for our sins, is there any such a thing as “sinning” so long as we accept Him?

3. If we ARE required to repent of our sins, do we have to know the nature of our sins in order to do so? If we have sinned unintentionally and never know it, is it possible to be absolved of those sins? Examples: (A) A state governor whose administration presided over the execution of wrongly convicted prisoners. (B) An otherwise pious Christian slave-owning planter from the 1700s who went to his grave convinced that owning slaves was no sin.

(PS – I assume that owning slaves is now considered sin, as opposed to its acceptance in the Old Testament. Is this correct?)

Thanks for any thoughts and, to the extent I am empowered to convey them, blessings. :smile:
Hello Mr Kirby,
To answer your questions to the best of my ability first I would like to thank you for the questions it helps me know why I believe when we are asked it provides us with selfexamination.

1. Do we need to ask God for forgiveness of our sins.
Answer Yes but what constitutes a sin. From my up bringing I was taught and agree. That a true sin is the conscious act of doing something that is wrong either to someone or yourself.
Let me correct with it be someone else and you or Just you. In both cases you sin against God.
For example I am at the store and have an article of clothing and my child runs off into the mall the act of me running out was not conscious or on purpose so no sin. ,but if I go and wait for the clerk to go away and then have my kid run into the mall so I can still the article that is stealing. The third case im sure there is more, but if you don't realize it it wrong then it is truely not a sin. Say I am just out of the jungle from a tribe that has never seen civilization if that civilization I come from does not know the concept of stealing cause they just go and eat and hunt off the land then it is not a sin. Of course if you tribe does know stealing and you do still but try to claim ignorance you may get away with it but its still a sin cause you lying.
Even further in the discussion when you sin you sin against God and yourself. God Loves you and says thou shall not steal not cause it hurtfull to the person you stealing the object from, but you are also stealing your humanity you are hurting yourself you are placing distance between you, God and your fellow man. The You part does mean you when you do something wrong there is part of you that knows this and you begin to resent yourself and yourself worth. God Loves the reason behind his commandments arent to be mean a party pooper he knows you when you sin you harm yourself

2. If Jesus has already paid for our sins, is there any such a thing as “sinning” so long as we accept Him?
Yes and No
You can sin and it says in the bible I don't know where I am more interested in meanings not to belittle those that do, I am just slower so I don't hold all those facts in my head.
back to the answer. "Even a righteous man sins 7 times a day" and "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" Only God is perfect. Progress not Profection till the next life.
God knows this as long as we Confess our sins and try to turn away from sin. Gods forgiveness is always there we just have to accept it is as I stated earlier Recognizing the wrong and asking for forgiveness and to forgive ourselves.

3. If we ARE required to repent of our sins, do we have to know the nature of our sins in order to do so? If we have sinned unintentionally and never know it, is it possible to be absolved of those sins? Examples: (A) A state governor whose administration presided over the execution of wrongly convicted prisoners. (B) An otherwise pious Christian slave-owning planter from the 1700s who went to his grave convinced that owning slaves was no sin.
Answer I believe I answered this in the other answers except for one thing. Slaves are mentioned in the bible it is not just an american thing is has been something in human history up until Saudi Arabia in I believe 1950.
Back again to the answer. The bible mention the treatment of slaves by masters and the conduct of slaves under masters. Col 4.1 "Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven." Peter 2:17&18 "17Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. 18Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable."
 
Member
God is whole and does not lack anything including anything he created.
He is not a victim because he is whole and eternal and therefore cannot suffer loss.
In a sense he forgave because he gave before asked.


That is a question that is relative to what one believes.
Whatever is not of faith is sin.
Sin means missing the mark,if we believe we have missed the mark then we have missed the mark.
If we believe we will keep missing the mark then we are right.
If we believe something is sin we are right.
If we believe something is not sin we are right.
The ten commandments were relative to the Jews.


The questions come from a misunderstanding of scripture and trying to judge eternal concepts with temporal information,so any answer would lead to further confusion.
Romans 11:32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
John 5:22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,
John 12:47 "If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.
John 8:15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.
John 7:24 Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly."

If God is not judging and Jesus is not judging then who is left.

Maybe you could read the book yourself and see what it really says.
I believe this Parable of the Weeds explains Judgement

24Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28“ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29“ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”

The Parable of the Weeds Explained

36Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”

37He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

40“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.

Judgement comes at the end of the age , but if have claimed your forgiveness from Jesus Christ You are forgiven if not you will be Judged.
 
Active
24Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28“ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29“ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ 
What if the field is our mind through which we perceive the world and we are the ones sleeping.What if the weeds are thoughts,imaginations and false beliefs.
How would it look then.
We are told to wake up and cast down false imaginations(weeds in the mind).

37He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
The translation you quoted uses people instead of sons and that makes a big difference because we know that someone can become a son of the kingdom.It also lends the idea that there are good and evil people and that would pretty much defeat the purpose of preaching the "good news".
The angels don't convert the weeds they burn them in fire.We don't convert false imaginations we dispel them with the light.Also the devil cannot create people but does create false images.

My research leads me to believe this is a better translation.
Matthew 13:38 and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one;
Every human has a potential to be a son of God so the concept of evil and good people does not fit well because we can't really change a people or person and that's why son's of God are a new creation and not a better person.
Jesus called Peter Satan because he savored the things of man and not of God.
So it seems to me that a son of something has more to do with beliefs or perception that form a mindset than being stuck born as something.
We are told to pray for our enemies so why would we pray for weeds ya know.
 
Member
What if the field is our mind through which we perceive the world and we are the ones sleeping.What if the weeds are thoughts,imaginations and false beliefs.
How would it look then.
We are told to wake up and cast down false imaginations(weeds in the mind).


The translation you quoted uses people instead of sons and that makes a big difference because we know that someone can become a son of the kingdom.It also lends the idea that there are good and evil people and that would pretty much defeat the purpose of preaching the "good news".
The angels don't convert the weeds they burn them in fire.We don't convert false imaginations we dispel them with the light.Also the devil cannot create people but does create false images.

My research leads me to believe this is a better translation.
Matthew 13:38 and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one;
Every human has a potential to be a son of God so the concept of evil and good people does not fit well because we can't really change a people or person and that's why son's of God are a new creation and not a better person.
Jesus called Peter Satan because he savored the things of man and not of God.
So it seems to me that a son of something has more to do with beliefs or perception that form a mindset than being stuck born as something.
We are told to pray for our enemies so why would we pray for weeds ya know.
I don't know about the peoples sons differance but it does make sense depending on the version of the Bible
9Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 9The peacemakers are blessed, for they will be called sons of God.
As far as Weeds being our enemy not sure I guess because the Good crop with the weeds is mixed with the weeds seperating the wheat from the chaff is Heavens
Job not ours. Our is Love our brothers We all have weeds in our souls from time to time we admin them and allow god to replace them with good crop. If we don't by the end of the Age.
Which is Jesus return or Our death then we still will stand in judgement if we are in the book of Life right. So I pray Brother Please don't let yourself be caught as a weed at the appointed time. First you hurt yourself in this world and you let it go the next which is eternal.
Just my thought not a Bible Scholar.
 
Active
Our is Love our brothers We all have weeds in our souls from time to time we admin them and allow god to replace them with good crop.
Thanks,that explained what I meant.
The world was already condemned and Jesus came to save the world.
Does a Judge go to death row to condemn those on death row?
 
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