Sin Boldly!

Sin Boldly! October 12, 2022

Sin Boldly!

Resources: Books, Articles, Posts, Videos

with Ted Peters

If you would like to learn more about this book, just click.

Sin Boldly!

Sin boldly! Really? Yes. To sin boldly means two things. First, relish and enjoy the freedom given you by God’s grace. Second, make moral decisions based on your best judgment. Then, proceed to act. None of your moral judgments will be pure and undefiled. So, proceed to sin boldly!

Grace is the key. If we are justified by God’s grace in our faith, then we do not need to justify ourselves. We do not need to purify ourselves by scapegoating others. We do not need to claim innocence on the grounds that we did nothing rather than risk making a mistake. Why? Because God has already rightwised us–justified us–by grace. Peter Marty’s Reformation sermon on 10.31.2021 helps us grasp this.

Where does “Sin Boldly!” come from?

Where do we get the maxim to sin boldly! It comes from a letter written by Martin Luther (1483-1546) to his younger colleague at Wittenberg University, Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560).

“If you are a preacher of grace, then preach a true and not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for he is victorious over sin, death, and the world. As long as we are here [in this world] we have to sin. This life is not the dwelling place of righteousness, but, as [Saint] Peter says, we look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. It is enough that by the riches of God’s glory we have come to know the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day. Do you think that the purchase price that was paid for the redemption of our sins by so great a Lamb is too small? Pray boldly—you too are a mighty sinner.” (Luther 1961-1986, 48: 281-282)

Only sinners in this life make moral decisions and take compassionate actions. That describes you and me. That describes every conscientious Christian who is simul justus et peccator, at once both saint and sinner.

Here is my ethical advice. If sinful action is unavoidable, be honest and follow the best path your judgment can set out. Make moral decisions carefully but courageously!

Below I’ve listed a number of videos and articles as resources for loci such as sin, evil, scapegoating, self-justification, justification-by-faith, grace, and such.

Painting by Anna Rybat

If you’d like to watch a video presentation, try one of these.

Sin 5: Self-Justification and Scapegoating

What do Lutherans think about self-justification?

If you’d like to read a post or an article, just click.

SHORT PRAYERS 34: Sin Boldly!

SIN 1 Sin? Really?

SIN 2 Self-Justification

SIN 3 The Visible Scapegoat

SIN 4 The Invisible Scapegoat

SIN 5 Sin Boldly! 

SIN 6 Sin and Grace

SIN 7 The true story of Satanic Panic

SIN 8 How can Satan cast out Satan?

SIN 9 Ted’s Tips on Satan and Demons

How does Jesus save? Part Seven: Final Scapegoat

The Spirituality of Justification

The Resistance of Self-Justification to God’s Grace (Inaugural Mannermaa Lecture)

Justice, Justification, and Self-Justification

Covenant, Blood, and Violence: America at War with Itself and Others

Entheocaric Freedom: Clarifying Confusions

Grace, Doubt, and Evil: The Constructive Task of Reformation Theology

Six Ways of Salvation: How Does Jesus Save?

How does Jesus save? Part Seven: Final Scapegoat


About Ted Peters
Ted Peters is a Lutheran pastor and emeritus seminary professor, teaching theology and ethics. He is author of Short Prayers and The Cosmic Self. His one volume systematic theology is now in its 3rd edition, God—The World’s Future (Fortress 2015). His book, God in Cosmic History, traces the rise of the Axial religions 2500 years ago. He has undertaken a thorough examination of the sin-and-grace dialectic in two works, Sin: Radical Evil in Soul and Society (Eerdmans 1994) and Sin Boldly! (Fortress 2015). Watch for his forthcoming, The Voice of Christian Public Theology (ATF 2022). See his website: Ted Peters’ fictional series of espionage thrillers features Leona Foxx, a hybrid woman who is both a spy and a parish pastor. You can read more about the author here.

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