Lately I have really struggled with sin. And I've also struggled with believing I'm forgiven. I don't believe my sin is to the extent where the church would disfellowship me, though I know that in the past we exercised more discipline. I am curious as to what you think about the practice of disfellowship -- which no longer seems to occur in my church. I guess the issue is repentance. But if you continue to struggle with something, is there true repentance? -- M.L.

If you want to see what the N.T. teaches about church discipline, please read my paper by that title. As for sin after repentance -- no -- this does not necessarily invalidate the decision you made to change. Repentance is a decision. To illustrate from the O.T. see Jeremiah 34 (manumission of slaves). Here we see that it is possible to repent and then slip back. This does not invalidate the repentance.

Also take a look at Jeremiah 8:4. When we get knocked down, we need to get up again! God's grace enables us to bounce back as well as forgiving us for all our sins. (Titus 2:11-14). Yes, grace is that good!