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Faithlife

Can a Christian hurt himself

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Can a Christian hurt himself?

In the last article we discussed whether or not someone who was “right with God” could suffer harm.  I defined the term “right with God” as meaning someone who in the Old Testament had a relationship with God, for example: Abel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Adednego, and referenced Paul and Stephen as examples in the New Testament   The conclusion was that a Christian cannot be ultimately harmed in any circumstance.

In this article I am referring to Christians. I will use the term Christians to describe anyone who has placed his or her trust in Christ’s work on the cross to satisfy God’s judgment (Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:23; Acts 16:31).

If you have been a Christian for any length of time you will agree that there are times when you sin.  The fact that you sin should immediately raise the question as to whether or not you are affected by succumbing to temptation and sinning.  Dr. Joel Wilson defines sin as fulfilling a God given desire in an inappropriate (not God glorifying manner) way.  For example the desire for sexual relations is a God given desire.  If you fulfill those desires in a way that is not God glorifying (outside of the marriage relationship) then you are sinning.  Another example would be the desire for a significant relationship with someone.  If you seek that relationship outside of the boundaries of a God glorifying environment (hiring someone to be your “companion”) you would be sinning.  Therefore the question must be asked “If I sin am I hurting myself?”

You may know of someone who began his or her Christian walk by “exploding out of the gate.”  He or she was so motivated to speak with people about their relationship with Christ that they would seek out anyone at any time.  Nothing seemed to stop him.  She was always a witness for Christ.  Then something happened.  The longer they spent time with you or the Christian community she began to slow down.  She still came to the Bible Studies.  He still worked in the Sunday School department.  However, something had changed.  You may know of a Pastor or other Christian worker who became involved in a situation that caused them to have to either leave the church or even leave the pastorate.

Can a Christian hurt himself in his walk with God?  There are three Biblical examples I would like to evaluate in this article.  The first example is Ananias and Saphira (Acts 5:1-11). Ananias and Saphira were Jews who had at least joined the fellowship of believers in Jerusalem.  I will assume that they were believers because Peter says that they lied to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3) and you cannot lie to the Holy Spirit without being a believer.  The story basically has three distinct parts.  The first part is that Ananias and Saphira sold a piece of property and determined to keep back some of the money from the sale.  Note that in Acts 5:3-4 Peter clearly says that they could have kept all or part on the money.  They did not have to give any money to the Church.  However both Ananias and Saphira planned to keep back part of the money and present the rest as the complete amount of the sale of the land.

After both had presented the money Peter approached them individually and asked them to confirm the amount that they had given, in comparison for which they had sold it.  In both cases they immediately died.  The question then is did their actions cause them to be hurt as Christians?  The answer is yes. 

First we need to be reminded that they were part of the fellowship of believers.  Secondly, through their actions they broke their fellowship with God.  Finally, as a result of their sin they died.

What is our purpose as Christians?  In other words, what is the main function which we have while we are here on Earth?

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