Is sin always sin?

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Is sin always sin?

Postby Wowboy on Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:34 pm

I had an interesting conversation the other day... basically, is a sinful act ALWAYS a sinful act? Are there situations where doing something that would otherwise be sinful be constructive and even good?
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Re: Is sin always sin?

Postby andrwfields on Thu May 02, 2013 10:46 am

Can you give us some context on it? My immediate response is "no," but I would like to know what kind of act you're referring to.
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Re: Is sin always sin?

Postby Wowboy on Thu May 02, 2013 8:36 pm

Ok... this topic came up at a Men's retreat, and here are a couple of examples that were floated out there.

A Christian man is an interrogator for the army during the cold war. He was in a situation where some of the truck mounted nuclear missiles the Soviets had in Czechoslovakia were unaccounted for by the US. To ascertain their location, a raid was performed to gather intel, and a handful of Czech soldiers were taken prisoner (this was all very black ops... with neither side willing to take any of this public.) The Christian interrogator used an "enhanced" technique in which he takes an enlisted man who knows nothing and sits him next to an officer that they suspected may have had some knowledge of the whereabouts of the missiles. The enlisted man was questioned first, he admitted to knowing nothing, and he was shot in the head just a few inches away from the officer. The officer was then extremely forthcoming with the information.

By any definition, this is clearly murder, and is a sinful act. But, in this context, it was done to prevent a war that could have even gone nuclear, killing billions.


Another scenario... We've all had it pounded into our heads that masturbation is a sin. Is it is sinful to masturbate at a fertlity clinic if you are trying alternate methods of having a child with your wife after natural conception has failed? How about if you are providing sperm donations for either a friend or someone anonymous?
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Re: Is sin always sin?

Postby andrwfields on Fri May 03, 2013 7:19 am

The military thing? Yeah, I would say that specific one would still be a sin. There are other ways to interrogate and torture without having to kill. Now if it's something like killing while in the act of war (i.e. kill or be killed), then I would say it's not a sin.

If we want to get down into the nitty gritty on masturbation, technically the act itself isn't considered a sin as much as the lustful thinking that usually accompanies it is. I think that if your thoughts while "in the act" at the clinic are centered around your wife; not a sin.
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Re: Is sin always sin?

Postby Wowboy on Fri May 03, 2013 10:44 am

My gut feeling is that if something is sinful, it is always so.

Killing a man unprovoked, even in a wartime situation, who has lawfully surrendered and is in your custody is murder. Murder is ALWAYS a sin.

I agree with you, I don't think that masturbation is and of itself is sinful. Rather, it is the act of selfish lusting that is sinful, and again, this is ALWAYS sinful.


What caught me off guard was this conversation. Like I said, it was at a Men's retreat and was taking place in a small group (30 or so) with a panel of men confessing some things to demonstrate how we can overcome sin and temptation in our lives.

The two stories I listed here offered the largest disconnect for me. The ex-soldier, when telling his story, was clearly remorseful and under heavy conviction for what he had done. However, he was praised by the men there and told that he did what he had to do and we are all thankful that his actions averted a war and ultimately saved lives (which I personally think is a stretch.) The other guy was unsure about his conviction and said that he was initially hit with a wave of it upon ejaculating into the cup, but was later quite happy about the possibility that he and his wife could have a baby. He was met with rebuking because they believe that it is not good to try and "circumvent" God's plan for our lives by going to such extremes to have a child, and the fact that the process involves something as sinful as masturbation should tell us that this is wrong. The guy was advised to look into adoption if he and his wife wanted a baby.

At this point, my brain was beginning to boil. I did not understand why one guy's heavy conviction was easily dismissed (he was even told that his conviction wasn't from God but was rather the influence of pacifist ideals that are conveyed in media and entertainment) and another guy's light conviction was magnified and identified as being the work of the Holy Spirit.

I felt the opposite was true. I feel like the ex-soldier was dealing with genuine spirit-driven conviction and probably needed a lot of prayer and counsel. I felt like the other guy's conviction was ego-driven, and stemmed from the common guilt associated with masturbation if we also have low self-esteem, i.e. the act of masturbation becomes an admission that we aren't good enough to have a partner, so we feel bad about ourselves. If you get used to feeling this way when you do it as a young man, you can become accustomed to it and continue to feel it even after you are married and have a partner (or there can be deeper issues as well.) I also fully disagreed with the assesment that fertility issues should be taken as a sign from God that we shouldn't procreate... but I'd be writing forever if I got into that.
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Re: Is sin always sin?

Postby andrwfields on Sat May 04, 2013 2:43 am

Wowboy wrote:My gut feeling is that if something is sinful, it is always so.

Killing a man unprovoked, even in a wartime situation, who has lawfully surrendered and is in your custody is murder. Murder is ALWAYS a sin.

I agree with you, I don't think that masturbation is and of itself is sinful. Rather, it is the act of selfish lusting that is sinful, and again, this is ALWAYS sinful.


What caught me off guard was this conversation. Like I said, it was at a Men's retreat and was taking place in a small group (30 or so) with a panel of men confessing some things to demonstrate how we can overcome sin and temptation in our lives.

The two stories I listed here offered the largest disconnect for me. The ex-soldier, when telling his story, was clearly remorseful and under heavy conviction for what he had done. However, he was praised by the men there and told that he did what he had to do and we are all thankful that his actions averted a war and ultimately saved lives (which I personally think is a stretch.) The other guy was unsure about his conviction and said that he was initially hit with a wave of it upon ejaculating into the cup, but was later quite happy about the possibility that he and his wife could have a baby. He was met with rebuking because they believe that it is not good to try and "circumvent" God's plan for our lives by going to such extremes to have a child, and the fact that the process involves something as sinful as masturbation should tell us that this is wrong. The guy was advised to look into adoption if he and his wife wanted a baby.

At this point, my brain was beginning to boil. I did not understand why one guy's heavy conviction was easily dismissed (he was even told that his conviction wasn't from God but was rather the influence of pacifist ideals that are conveyed in media and entertainment) and another guy's light conviction was magnified and identified as being the work of the Holy Spirit.

I felt the opposite was true. I feel like the ex-soldier was dealing with genuine spirit-driven conviction and probably needed a lot of prayer and counsel. I felt like the other guy's conviction was ego-driven, and stemmed from the common guilt associated with masturbation if we also have low self-esteem, i.e. the act of masturbation becomes an admission that we aren't good enough to have a partner, so we feel bad about ourselves. If you get used to feeling this way when you do it as a young man, you can become accustomed to it and continue to feel it even after you are married and have a partner (or there can be deeper issues as well.) I also fully disagreed with the assesment that fertility issues should be taken as a sign from God that we shouldn't procreate... but I'd be writing forever if I got into that.


I think if I had been there, I would have neither encouraged or rebuked his actions. On one hand, you're right, in that murder is murder is murder. Obviously what this guy did was murder. He could have "opted out" and refused to participate in that part of the interrogation. On the other hand, the American military is a beast all of it's own, and the guy could have been brainwashed (the terminology is not in the best taste, but conveys the best meaning) into thinking that it was the best course of action at the time. Also, if he had refused, the consequences for his actions could have been far more severe than just "losing his job."

As far as the couple with the fertility clinic case, if God didn't want them to have a child, it wouldn't have worked even with medical intervention. As long as somebody prays about a decision like that and listens to God before they take action, I don't see how they could be doing wrong.
"...An Apology. If you met me between 1987 and 2005 and I told you, "I'll pray for you," that was a lie. Never happened. I probably didn't pray for you. And that's not cool." - Prodigal Jon from StuffChristiansLike.blogspot.com
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Re: Is sin always sin?

Postby Matthew on Mon May 06, 2013 11:00 am

Our pastor spoke about David in the cave yesterday. David could've killed Saul, and all his pals said that he should have. Instead, he cut his robe and still was convicted by it.

Even with the men saying it was okay to do what he had to do, it still is a sin. I think conviction is a great way to test whether something is a sin, especially if we are seeking the Lord.

But we also see David eating the holy bread and Jesus healing on the Sabbath. Both things could've (and were) called sinful, yet Jesus' response was a good one regarding if sin is always sin.
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Re: Is sin always sin?

Postby chad_ghost on Thu May 09, 2013 10:17 pm

andrwfields wrote:The military thing? Yeah, I would say that specific one would still be a sin. There are other ways to interrogate and torture without having to kill. Now if it's something like killing while in the act of war (i.e. kill or be killed), then I would say it's not a sin.

If we want to get down into the nitty gritty on masturbation, technically the act itself isn't considered a sin as much as the lustful thinking that usually accompanies it is. I think that if your thoughts while "in the act" at the clinic are centered around your wife; not a sin.

Perfectly said.
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