How should a believer deal with sin? This is a big question and plagues each of us some time in our lives. To develop a proper perspective of sin, based in scripture, is important to our mental health and relationship with God.
The last several weeks we dealt with guilt and that the New Testament doesn’t provide a provision for this emotion in the believer. Therefore, don’t do it!
However, sin is a different issue and how do we handle it? Teleios just completed a multiple-choice survey on two Instagram sites frequented by teenagers and millennials, one evangelical (godsholyscriptures) and one Catholic (catholic_teen_posts). We asked participants about handling sin in their lives. Over the next two weeks we will examine their responses as a group, and then we will divide them out between Catholic and Protestant evangelicals.
We had 516 participants of whom 61% were less than 18, and 32% were between 19-30 years. Two-thirds indicated they were evangelical and almost 50% Catholic.
Almost half stated they would go to heaven because Christ had forgiven them for their sins through faith, whereas 21% said they would go to heaven based on good works or sacraments from the church. Another 20% were unsure.
Further, 30% believed they were secure in their salvation because of Christ’s sufficient sacrifice on the cross, whereas almost 50% said they had to make Jesus Lord of their life to maintain salvation. In contrast, 20-25% indicated, for each of the following choices, they could lose their salvation by: not following scripture, or committing the unpardonable sin, a heinous sin, or the same sin too many times.
However, 57% stated there was no sin that Christ’s gracious sacrifice on the cross could not cover.
How did respondents handle sin? Most commonly:
- 90% asked for forgiveness
- 45% indicated they would recognize the sin and be obedient
- 37% would ask for absolution from a priest
- 47% would feel guilty
However, 54% recognized that sin did not block their prayers to God although almost 2/3 recognized it could negatively affect how they pray.
The participants properly identified the biblical elements of a Christian life including: prayer, praise, fellowship, Bible study and reachout (approximately 70-80% for each answer). However, important minorities thought that:
- They should follow the rules and sacraments of the church – 67%
- They should obey the pope – 37%
- They should feel guilty – 30%
- They worry about their salvation – 20%
What can we learn from the above information?
The good news is that many young Christians believe that salvation is by grace. They’re secure in their salvation and are attempting to be obedient in their Christian lives. Teleios has shown in past surveys that such a Christian has better wellbeing and serves more in their community and church than those who do not adhere to biblical beliefs.
Nonetheless, the survey also demonstrates some confusion in terms of the knowledge of salvation, eternal security and how to handle sin. Indeed, this data points to the need of capable teachers to instruct the next generation, especially regarding the elements of the gospel, the meaning of Christ’s precious sacrifice, believers’ secure position before God, and dealing with sin following salvation.
We should think in a healthy and true fashion, realizing the benefits of scripture, by knowing accurately what the Bible teaches.
Next week we will look at how to biblically handle sin; seeking more specifics of how to better walk with Christ. Please join us then.
Full results of the survey are here.