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Author: Ron Graham


Three Kinds of Sinners
—Hardened, drifting, struggling

The Bible is not soft on sin, nor should those of us who teach the Bible be soft on sin. However not all sinners are the same, and not all need to be treated in the same way. This lesson distinguishes three kinds of sinners, God's attitude toward each of these, and how we should regard and deal with each of these.

The tax collector prayed, "God, be merciful to me a sinner" and he was heard (Luke 18:13). Yet, because he was a sinner, how could his prayer be heard? "We know that God does not hear sinners" (John 9:31).

Well, obviously there a different kinds of sinners —sinners with different attitudes. The tax collector was a penitent sinner seeking forgiveness, and that is not the kind of sinner whom God does not hear. The other man, the Pharisee who prayed, is one example of the kind of sinner God does not hear (Luke 18:9-14).

In this lesson we distinguish three kinds of sinners...

1 Hardened Sinners

The first kind of sinner is the one dedicated to evil, the one who knowingly rejects God. We must be wary of sinners like that, and avoid them.

2 Drifting Sinners

The second kind of sinner does not really intend to do evil. Nor, however, are sinners like this intent on doing God's will. They are in a spiritual stupor, just drifting unawares. We must awaken and warn sinners like that, and try to stop their drift to destruction.

3 Struggling Sinners

Those of us who don't fall into the first two types, are sinners of the third kind. We are like the tax collector. We want to do God's will and be righteous, and we are always struggling to overcome our sins. Christ intercedes for us and gently helps us, as we help one another.

❖ Preached at Ochanomizu Church of Christ Tokyo (English Room) Sep 2008

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