Week 14 Principles of Intercession – Class Notes – December 18, 2016
Hindrances to answers to prayer, continued.
Sin. “Sin puts earmuffs on God.”
Several words are used to define or describe sin. The most common Greek word (New Testament) is hamartia – meaning missing the mark, making an error, slipping. Others include wickedness, rebellion, and evil; also breaking God’s law.
God’s attitude / word about sin:
- “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:” (Psalm 66:18 KJV) Regard is the Hebrew word ra-a – meaning to see, look, consider, respect or enjoy. Iniquity is the word aven (ah-ven’), meaning wickedness, evil, unjust.
- “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.” (Isaiah 59:1-3)
- “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (II Chron. 7:14) Wicked = ra (rah), meaning evil, bad, malignant.
- “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (II Cor. 7:1) Filthiness is Gk. molysmos (mol – oose’ mos), meaning defilement, made unpure, contaminated, immoral. This is the only verse using that word in the NT. (We must do this cleansing… and not just of the fleshly behaviors, but of the spiritual attitudes that produced the behaviors. See the How To section.)
- “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)
Who is this last verse addressed to?
Some theologians claim it was only meant for lost people, not Christians, since we are covered by the blood of the Lamb. But that would mean that believers never sin.
However, John himself indicates who this is written to: “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” (I John 2:1)
This is not speaking of habitual sin, but slipping, missing the mark, backsliding, (hamartia) all of which can certainly apply to us. We are being made perfect (mature) but we haven’t arrived yet.
So – what does God consider to be sin for believers, who have had their sins forgiven by the blood of Christ?
- Disobedience. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
- Unforgiveness. This is a major hindrance to answers. “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:24-25) Also see verses following the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6.
- “Victim” attitude. Something always goes wrong; you begin to expect that. Self-pity, faith for the wrong things, doubt, unbelief, unhealthy obsession / search for attention may and often do accompany this attitude.