hello ralph, i am sitting here with lots of co-codamol and have taken 8 in the last 10 mins, i don't know if i wanna kill myself or if it is a seek for help, i am a christian and pray everyday and night but just small prayers like sorry and please and help etc but I have (had) a lovely girlfriend and she hates me drinking, I don't get violent or angry when I'm drunk, just happy, but she hates it, i have been drinking since i was 14 and now i'm 23 i have taken alot of drugs in my past and really wish i hadn't, i don't think i will take many more pills but i'm scared incase the next time I do i take too many, if i do manage to get trough tonight, I really want to read somemore stuff that you know like from your site cause it nearly made me cry what you have written, i hate the days when I feel like this cause I am normaly a really happy person but tonight I'm not and many other nights I'm not either (days also) i don't even know how I found your site, I think I just typed in, "i want to kill myself" and this was the first one that came up, please reply to me, thanks
My response is in Green:
The very first thing you need to face is that you are not a Christian. I know that sounds harsh but I can show you in Scripture that you are not right with God. I am not trying to put you down, I am trying to help you by showing you where the first step is and that first step is towards God. Let me show you. You said you take drugs, you also said that you are scared that you will take too many and die. Well here is what God says: (1 John 2:3-6 NIV)  We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.  The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him:  Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
You also said you get drunk. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NIV)  Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders  nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
The good news is that you can be right with God right now, as you read this if you will just confess your sins and give you life to Christ. Let Him take control. (1 John 1:9 NIV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Quit fooling yourself and get your life on the right track. People think they can be a Christian and yet do whatever they want, that is a doctrine from hell and it will send you to hell. You can't make a fool out of God. He demands that you try to live a holy life, if you refuse than you are not following Him and are not His child.
He is the help you need. I do think that you are seeking help and that is a good thing, but it is time to go to the One source of help that can really help you and that is God. Confess your sins, turn from them and don't do them again. Live for Him and you will have eternal life.
Below is a response I received from someone who read this page:
I have never been so appalled at a judgmental jerk that I was tonight when I read this story, below! [above] Here this person was begging for your Christian help and all you did was tell him he wasn't a Christian, because he had human flaws, which he wanted to fix???? How can you as a "Christian," sit there and feel comfortable with yourself, when it could have been GODS WILL to have you help that person? But yet, you judged him and gave him no help!??
Maybe in your human written bible that you feel justified in preaching, opposed to actually trying to help someone is comforting to you, but rest assure, THAT is NOT GODS plan! Shame on you!
I'm SURE this won't be on your web site, because GOD forbid, anyone else see that you're not perfect!
Wow you complain that I am judgmental as you judge me. I get a lot of letters like the one you wrote and you know not one has ever, not ever, given me what they would have told the person, all they do is judge me for what I told them. So let me ask you, what would you have told this person? If it had nothing to do with the fact that he was not a believer then you would not have done him any favors because he wasn't a Christian. I didn't say that, God did. Let me show you: (I quoted some of these to him, so you have already seen them)
1 Cor. 6:9-10 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders  nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. [NIV]
Hebrews 10:26-27 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,  but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. [NIV]
Paul tells us to judge those who claim to be believers but who are living in sin:
1 Cor. 5:11-13 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.  What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?  God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you." [NIV]
I guess Paul was a judgmental jerk too. But you miss the point as to why we are to judge those who claim to be brothers.
1 Cor. 5:4-5 When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present,  hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. [NIV]
The idea is that he needs to wake up so that his soul can be saved. That is true mercy, not just kind words that make him feel good but cause him to lose his soul.
So if you had not told him the truth and you managed to make him feel comfortable and loved, but the next night he did kill himself, what would you have accomplished? Oh, I guess you could feel good that the night before he went to hell he felt comfortable and loved, but you would have lost his soul. I could care less if you judge me or think I am a jerk, but be careful about what you think God's will is. It is His will to save souls not make people comfortable. Again let me show you:
"I gave you empty stomachs in every city
and lack of bread in every town,
yet you have not returned to me,"
declares the Lord.
"I also withheld rain from you
when the harvest was still three months away.
I sent rain on one town,
but withheld it from another.
One field had rain;
another had none and dried up. 
People staggered from town to town for water
but did not get enough to drink,
yet you have not returned to me,"
declares the Lord.
"Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards,
I struck them with blight and mildew.
Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees,
yet you have not returned to me,"
declares the Lord.
"I sent plagues among you
as I did to Egypt.
I killed your young men with the sword,
along with your captured horses.
I filled your nostrils with the stench of your camps,
yet you have not returned to me,"
declares the Lord. [NIV]
Wow, how can God be such a judgmental jerk? You claim I gave him no hope, but that would mean that pointing him to Christ is no hope, is that really what you want to say?
I will end by telling you what I tell people who think I am wrong for what I tell people. Put you money and time where your mouth is, make a page and give whatever counsel you you think is best to the people who come to your page. There are plenty of hurting people out there to go around. I will continue to do what I feel God has called me to do. If it is God's will for you to do that then He will send you people just as His has sent many people to my page.
If you want to see your message on my site, just go back to the original page it will be posted under the original. I am not embarrassed to post letters like yours, it might actually help someone else.
E-Mail Ralph (Whose comments are in green)
A response from another reader in Purple below:
I bet I know you. You think you know everything and nothing I say is going to affect you one way or the other. Well, I'm sure you are very proud of who you are, but I must remind you that pride is not a fruit of the spirit.
I am assuming you got several emails containing good sense but only posted the most rediculous, ignorant rant you recieved in an attempt to validate your message.
1st "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." do you mean to tell me that ever since you were "saved" you have not sinned at all? Have you really walked as Jesus did? Did you ever over eat? Glutton!
Paul STRUGGLED with his sin... openly!(Romans 7:14)14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate.
HE said he was a SLAVE to sin! But Romans 6:14 says Sin no longer has dominion over us, because of grace!
King David- a man after God's own heart not only was he an adulterer, but he had her husband killed in order to hide his sin! And yet, because he fell humbly at the throne of God, he was counted worthy to suffer as Jesus did, and to be in the line of Christ!
Last... (1 John 1:9 NIV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. - This person WAS confessing his sins and admitting he struggled with a problem. And that makes (in my opinion) a better Christian than one who thinks that there is ANYTHING they can DO to recieve God's grace. Acts 16:31 " Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved..."
Now, good trees do produce good fruit and so for my part, if I was asked the tough question you were... my answer would have been... "there is a problem with your flesh (and everyone else's flesh gets in the way... but yours is a little more serious) you need phisical help and you need to further pursue your relationship with Christ because if you will FIRST seek God's kingdom, He is faithful to help you in these times of crisis." because (as I stated earlier) Romans 7:14 says that yes, the law says he shouldn't sin by drinking and doing drugs... it IS bad. But the real problem is with his flesh! He has a REAL phisical addiction, and so his flesh needs help too.
Our Christian walk is never complete, but it is a process... PRESS ON! (Philipians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.) Heres hoping you realize you are not yet perfect.
My response is in Green:
No you don't know me. I don't think I know it all, I read your e-mail and find it unbiblical, but I will explain why I say that later. First I wanted to address the idea that I post only the most ridiculous, ignorant rants from all the e-mails I get. You are right, I get hundreds of e-mails and I post only about 1% of those I get, but do I look for the most ridiculous to post? Well if you think that, that must mean you think that the one you responded to was ridiculous and ignorant, and yet you took the person's side and attacked me for my reply. What does that say about you? You decide whether I post only the most ridiculous, ignorant rants, because you made the cut, I will post your response at the bottom of the page you responded to.
I don't care that you judged me and I fell short, that is meaningless to me, however, I am troubled by your response to sin in a so called Christian's life. You seem to think that is a natural state of affairs and I find this both unbiblical and sad. I find it sad, because you go so far as to make Paul out to be this poor sad soul who was still a slave to sin. I must admit this is a very common stance for someone who wants to claim Christians can't be free from sin, but again it isn't biblical. Even though you attacked me and judged me and claimed I am full of myself and would refuse to listen to anyone else, I will still take my time and try to show you in scripture what the truth is. I did read your comments and if they had been biblical I would have agreed with you, but they weren't. You may look at that as arrogant, but I don't mean it to be, I mean it to be what it is, and that is a statement about what God's word actually says, not what you want it to say and not what I want it to say.
Believe it or not, I would be much more comfortable if God's word actually did say that once we were saved sin didn't matter anymore, but it doesn't say that, so we either take heed to what it actually does say or we ignore it at our peril. What I want it to say and what you want it to say, what my opinion is or what your opinion is doesn't matter at all, all that matters is what God's word actually does say. So let's see what it does say in plain words.
You claim that Paul was still a slave to sin, but that because of God's grace it didn't matter. So let's see if Paul was still a slave to sin. Since he never clearly comes out and tells us we have to look for evidence one way or another. So let's look at what Paul tells others about their situation:
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? [NIV]
Sounds like he is telling them and us that we should not continue to sin. Of course if we are still slaves to sin, then it really isn't a choice is it? So we need to keep going:
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.  Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.  For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. [NIV]
"Do not let sin reign in your mortal body..." Again sounds like a choice, but if they/we are still slaves to sin, then there is no choice. "For sin shall not be your master..." How can that be true, if we are slaves then sin certainly IS our master and in your view it was certainly still Paul's master. But let's keep going:
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! [NIV]
Unless I got what you said in your comments wrong, Paul just said what you said wasn't true. See you said that Paul was a slave to sin but that it didn't matter because of grace, yet Paul tells us that we aren't to continue to sin because of grace. So it seems that the very person you hold up as an example disagrees with you. But we aren't done yet:
Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?  But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.  You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. [NIV]
Read that one more than once. "... though you USED to be slaves to sin, .... You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness." Does this sound like a man who is himself still a slave to sin? But that brings us to chapter 7 where Paul seems to say that he doesn't do what he wants to do, and does seem to be saying that he is still a slave to sin. So what is the answer? Actually the answer is very simple and when you see it you will also understand King David a little better. So let me start with chapter 7:
Do you not know, brothers--for I am speaking to men who know the law--that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives?  For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage.  So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man. [NIV]
It isn't too difficult to see what Paul is talking about in chapter 7, he tells us the Law. But what about the law? Well, he talks about how a person is under the law until they die. Hey, didn't Paul talk about dying in chapter 6 too? Let's go back and look:
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?  Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. [NIV]
Yeah, we died to sin, because we were united with Christ in His death, which He died to defeat sin and give us new life! Okay, back to chapter 7, as I said Paul talks about a person being under the law until death and yet he has already told us that we have died in reference to sin. But the larger point here is that he is talking about the law.
So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.  For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.  But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. [NIV]
He goes on to repeat that they/we have died to the law through the body of Christ. He goes on to say that we WERE controlled by the sinful nature... but now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been RELEASED from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit. Now let me quote some more, but look at it carefully:
What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, "Do not covet."  But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead.  Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. [NIV]
Notice that Paul is still talking about the law, but he has switched, he is now talking not only about the law but about himself under the law, but don't forget he has already told us he is no longer under the law and neither are we. If you don't see that he has switched to speaking about his life under the law it is easy to be mislead like you have been, but let's keep going:
I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.  For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.  So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful. [NIV]
He keeps talking about the law and how the law was used to show him and us what sin was and that we are not righteous. The law wasn't bad but it shows how bad we are, but again let's keep going:
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.  I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God's law;  but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.  What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. [NIV]
It is important to remember Paul is talking about his life under the law, and to remember that he has already told us he is no longer under that law, but rather had died to the law and has been set free. If you don't understand that Paul is describing himself struggling to follow the law and being unable to follow through, then you can easily come to the conclusion that Paul is saying that he is still struggling with sin, but if that were true, then chapter 6 and chapter 8 would make no sense. How could Paul tell others that they are free from being slaves to sin and have become slaves to righteousness if he himself were still a slave to sin?
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,  in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. [NIV]
Now does this 'no condemnation' mean that there are no consequences for sin after we are saved? To put it in Paul's word, by no means! What he is saying is that we have been set free from sin and therefore the law holds no condemnation for us. Don't believe me? Well let's keep going:
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;  the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so.  Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. [NIV]
We have a choice, do we live according to the sinful nature, or do we live in accordance with the Spirit? One is death, period, not ignored because of grace, it is death! The other is life and peace! Those controlled by the sinful nature can't please God, but praise be to God we are NOT controlled by the sinful nature. So was Paul controlled by the sinful nature? You think he was, but I can't find ANY evidence in scripture that shows this, but I sure find much evidence that it isn't true.
Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it.  For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,  because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. [NIV]
Paul keeps repeating over and over again that we as Christians should not go on sinning, that we have been freed from the sinful nature, that we should choose to live by the Spirit. This was not written by a man who was still a slave to sin, unless he was a liar. There just can't be any other explanation. But as I always tell everyone, you have to take scripture as a whole, not one chapter or even one book and make a stand on it. So let's see if the rest of scripture agrees with this view or your view that we will continue to sin:
1 John 3:9
No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. [NIV]
1 John 5:18
We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. [NIV]
Well it seems that John agrees with the view that a Christian will not continue to sin, so if Paul was still a slave to sin and continued to sin, then John wouldn't have considered him a Christian! These aren't my words they are God's word.
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,  but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.  Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?  For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people."  It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. [NIV]
The author of Hebrews agrees too.
If we go back near the beginning of Romans we read this:
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.  Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.  So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment?  Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? [NIV]
So when a Christian does those things that he condemns the world for doing, like getting drunk, using drugs, fornicating, adultery, etc... how can that Christian believe they will escape judgment? Because of grace? No, we are saved and FREED from the slavery to sin by grace, but we are expected to then turn from our sins.
1 John 5:1-5
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.  This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.  This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,  for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. [NIV]
Now that brings me to King David whom you held up as an example of a man after God's own heart but yet who was an adulterer and a murderer. I agree with you, but do you see already from my comments why this can be true? Let me repeat the words of Paul:
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.  I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. [NIV]
Now we know that Paul is speaking of his old self who struggled to do what was right under the law but was unable. It is important to remember how Paul says he/we were set free from sin, through our dying with Christ as part of His death. But that didn't happen until Jesus died, did it? So it had not yet happened in King David's day. No King David was in the same situation as Paul was before he came to salvation through Jesus death. King David was a slave to sin, he had not yet died to the law because the law had not yet been fulfilled by Jesus. So David could be a man after God's own heart and yet still be a slave to sin, because God had not yet provided the way to be free from the slavery of sin. Therefore using David as an example of the Christian after Christ's death is off base. We have an opportunity that David didn't have, we can be set free from sin.
In closing I just want to say, none of this means that a Christian won't still have struggles and even occasionally fall, but a Christian's life won't be characterized by sin; they won't still be a slave to sin. I stand by my comments to that man who claimed to be a Christian who gets drunk and uses drugs; he needs freedom from his sin and that ONLY comes by obtaining salvation through belief in Jesus Christ! If he truly was a Christian had truly had been freed from sin, then he was living in willful disobedience to Christ and needed to confess his sins and be cleansed, and stop sinning! To suggest that his sins were covered by grace because of a past conversion is to ignore scripture and to enable a sinner to continue on the road to hell. I won't be a party to condoning sin. I have never claimed to be perfect, or to have all knowledge, but I try my best to be guided by God's word and by His Holy Spirit. I speak what I believe is the truth, no matter what other people think; I will stand before God and answer to Him and Him along for my words and my actions and I take my ministry very seriously.
When I say to a wicked man, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood.  But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself. [NIV]
I take that passage and those like it to heart. I will speak out and warn those I believe need warning, whether they heed my warning or not is up to them.
E-Mail Ralph (Whose comments are in green)
Updated March 2010