By Larry Ray Hafley
Brother Waters thinks my “YO-YO Syndrome” article was all wet. Perhaps, though, a few remarks will put a bridge over troubled waters.
(1) The YO-YO reference was not mine. I borrowed it from brother Cargile who lamented the fact that some preachers make Christians into yo-yos by telling them that sin separates them from God. See the June 7, 1984, issue of Guardian Of Truth.
Before we disparage and discard the yo-yo imagery, brother Waters may wish to examine the examples I used to illustrate and demonstrate the yo-yo concept. (A) Was Simon the sorcerer saved as per Acts 8:12,13? Yes, Mark 16:16. After his sin which put him in the “gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity,” was he still saved? No, Matthew 7:23. After repentance, confession and prayer, would he have been restored to a saved state? Yes, I John 1:9. So, Simon was lost, saved, lost, saved. (B) Was the brother in 1 Corinthians 5 lost because of his sin of fornication? Yes, Galatians 5:19-21. When he repented, was he returned to a saved condition? Yes, 1 John 1:9. So, he was lost; he obeyed the gospel and was saved; he committed sin; he was lost; he was restored. If that is not like a yo-yo, in the figurative sense of brother Cargile’s initial article, than I am unable to make an analogy or manufacture a metaphor. (C) Not to worry, though, for brother Waters himself says,
“I believe children of God can and do fall Fall from what and to where? From the light into darkness? See the Galatians (Gal. 1:6-8; 5:1-7). When he says children of God can and do fall, he is treading on the ups and downs of yo-yo ground, for they, too, rise and fall.
(2) In the Garden of Eden, both Adam and Eve sinned. Eve was deceived. Adam was not (1 Tim.2:14). Eve was not presumptuous; Adam was. Yet, both suffered spiritual death. Both fell from God’s grace and favor. Both were driven from the garden. There was no distinction of penalty, except in certain physical ways, though the nature of the sin differed.
Remember this – 1 John 1:6-9 makes no distinction between sins of ignorance and presumption, between being deceived and highhanded rebellion. Both types of sins must meet the terms of pardon. Old Testament sins of ignorance still had to be atoned by blood before they were forgiven. Nothing states that continued ignorance and sin were blessed if no offering was made (Heb.2:2).
The apostle Peter cursed and denied the Lord, not as an act of high-handed rebellion, but in the weakness of the flesh. Later, he played the hypocrite regarding association with the Gentiles (Gal.2:11-14). As such, he “stood condemned,” and “walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel.” Was Peter forgiven and cleansed of hypocrisy without confession and prayer? Did the blood cleanse him even as he sinned and walked not uprightly? No, it did not, for Peter needed to be “converted” (cf. Lk,22:32; Jas.5:19,20).
The weak brother in Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8 is a classic example of a brother who sins in ignorance. He is misled and caused to error by the strong brother. What is his state? Does the blood of Christ cleanse him of his sin of eating with offence because he is sincerely, conscientiously mistaken in the matter (Rom. 14:15, 21-23; 1 Cor.8:11-13)? Do “destroyed,” “dammed,” and “perish” in these passages indicate salvation?
(3) Perhaps our readers would like to know what sins they can commit that do not lead to death. Brother Waters says there are such sins. I would like to know what standard or guideline that I may use to determine which sins condemn and which sins do not. What sins may we commit without fear of divine judgment and what should be our attitude or disposition when we commit them? Brother Waters, if he is a “veteran Bible student,” had better re-study 1 John 5:17. If he does not, he may become a disabled veteran. The sin “not unto death” is the sin one confesses and forsakes.
(4) That Baptist preacher I debated said that a child of God while walking in the light could commit every sin from adultery to murder and the blood of Christ would automatically cleanse him. He cited 1 John 1:7. He said that if a Christian got drunk through weakness of the flesh and committed adultery and murder and died in that condition he would be saved because “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Well, if brother Waters can convert such men to the truth, without becoming an up and down yo-yo, he is a better man than I am, and I will call him the next time I need help on the apostasy issue.
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 17, p. 519
September 6, 1984