Are We Sinners or Victims?

This short Bible study addresses some misunderstandings that confuse and mislead people.

Before doing this Bible study, please read the one-minute introduction: Using Discernment with Christian Testimonies. It explains how the judge-not movement is creating victims instead of believers. And it specifically examines the testimony of a woman who struggled with gender issues.

If you don't already understand that transgenderism is harmful to a person's heart, soul, and body, please see these devotions before doing this study:

What the Bible Teaches about Transgenderism

A Letter from a Reader Regarding Right and Wrong

A Necessary Explanation  

Now let's look at this woman's explanations and compare them with the teaching of Scripture.

1. This woman was offended when her Christian friends told her she should not pursue a transgender lifestyle. Were they doing the right thing?

Galatians 6:1: “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”  
James 5:19-20: “My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”
2 Thessalonians 3:14-15: “Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.”  
Jude 1:22-23: “You must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.” 

2 Corinthians 5:11, 14-15“Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others.… Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”  

There are zero Scriptures telling us to be accepting of sinful lifestyles.

2. This woman held people and circumstances responsible for her choices. Can we blame our sinful choices on others?

James 1:13-15: “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” 

1 John 1:8-10“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” 
Consider the challenging circumstances, mistreatment, and temptations of Joseph. These one-minute devotions give insights into Joseph's choice not to sin:

3. Can we be Christians and live a sinful lifestyle?

1 John 3:9“No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.” 

1 John 5:18-19“We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. 19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” 

1 John 3:3-4“All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.” 
John 14:21“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

4. Should Christian churches accept transgender members? 

I'm not asking if Christians should allow LGBTQ people to attend their churches. Of course we should. I'm asking if we should accept them as members and remain silent about their decision to pursue sinful lifestyles.

Matthew 18:15-20 and 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 clearly explain the church’s responsibility in regard to members living sinful lifestyles. And the Scriptures below explain that we cannot love Christ and live a lifestyle of disobedience to His commands.

2 Timothy 4:2-5“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 

5. To summarize this woman's testimony, we could say that she saw herself as a victim, not a sinner. Is this scriptural? 

One example: The woman explained that she still harbors lots of resentment. And she claimed that Jesus told her that her resentment wasn't selfish but simply an aspect of her unmet needs. 
There are hundreds of Scriptures that refute this claim. In fact, all of the passages above refute it. So I'll simply add this one about resentment. Can you think of other passages that apply?
Hebrews 12:15: “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” 

Copyright 2023,

This short Bible study addresses some misunderstandings that confuse and mislead people.

Bite Size Bible Study

Learning from a Bad Example—a Short Bible Study

A Short Bible Study addressing the lessons we learn from Cain's life even though he was a bad example.

I encourage you to take some time and work through this study thoughtfully. Because it's longer than most Bite Size Bible Studies, I encourage you to do it with a friend or small group, dividing the questions and resources to fit your schedules. 

Before doing this study, please read Cain Provides a Good Bad Example—an Example to Avoid. It explains that Christians don't have the spirit of Cain because he belonged to Satan (1 John 3:12), but we can exhibit some “Cainish" behavior if we aren't daily examining ourselves. So let's take a deeper look at Genesis 4:
1. Cain's attitudes present in Genesis 4 (Scripture in italics)

► Cain was religious.

2 “Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.

Abel shed blood for his sacrifice, and later in Scripture God revealed that there is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood. (See Leviticus 4 and Hebrews 9:22.) The Old Testament sacrifices didn't actually provide forgiveness, but the New Testament sacrifice of Christ did. (See Hebrews 10:1-18.)

God never punishes without cause, so God must have first communicated what was an appropriate offering and Cain ignored Him. Or Cain brought his offering with the wrong motives. Perhaps he knew Abel was preparing to make an offering, and he hurried to make his first out of jealousy and competition with Abel, not out of love for God.

► Cain got angry with God.

5 “So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. 6 Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.’”

This is a common human problem—we mess up, but we blame God for the consequences of our sins.

Note that God came to Cain and discussed it with him. And God clearly explained that Cain was dealing with sin and Cain could choose to do the right thing. This is true for all of us.

A Short Bible Study addressing the lessons we learn from Cain's life
► Cain ignored God.

8 “Now Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let’s go out to the field.’ While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.”

Adam and Eve parented both Cain and Abel. God gave Cain and Abel the same opportunities. But Cain chose to sin and turn from God. Our direction in life is based more on our personal choices than any factors of environment or heredity. 

► Cain mocked God and lied to God.

9 “Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’  
I don’t know,’ he replied. ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ 10 The Lord said, What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.’”

Do you sense the irony in this conversation? A man who has just killed his brother asks a flippant, rhetorical question meaning I'm not responsible for my brother.

► Cain blamed God.

13 Cain said to the Lord, ‘My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.’ 15 But the Lord said to him, Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.’  Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 16 So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

Cain's only concern is for himself. He feels his punishment is too harsh, but what about the punishment he inflicted on his brother? True repentance always involves sorrow for the sin and for those hurt by the sin. False repentance involves only sorrow for the personal consequences.

A Short Bible Study addressing the lessons we learn from Cain's life even though he was a bad example.
2. New Testament insights on the story of Cain

Hebrews 11:4 – “By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.”

Abel didn't die in vain. His death has been speaking to mankind for thousands of years.

1 John 3:12 – “Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.”

I appreciate when the New Testament offers divine light on portions of the Old Testament. From this verse, we clearly understand Cain's motives and his destiny.

Jude 1:11 – “Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.” 

Hopefully, this study will encourage us to avoid the "way of Cain."

For additional study, I encourage you to read through each of these one-minute devotions. You'll find some repetition, but that's a good way to reinforce Bible principles:

Bite Size Bible Study

Don't Fool Yourself - Deal Biblically With Your Sins

This short Bible study offers biblical advice for dealing with repetitive sins such as anger.

Before doing this study, please read the one-minute introduction Fools, Anger, and Repentance.

Sometimes we get lazy about our walk with the Lord. We excuse, accept, or ignore sins in our lives. Or we compare ourselves with others who are worse and think we don't need to change.

Study the verses below and let them inspire you to work on areas of your life where you need to change:

Philippians 2:12-13: "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose."

This is such an important passage, explaining the balance between God's work and our work in Christian growth. We're commanded to be serious about our sanctification (i.e. "with fear and trembling"), but only God can change us. Our responsibility is to yield to His work in us, repent of our sins, and obey what we know to be true. See also Romans 8, especially verses 12-13.

Ephesians 4:22-24: "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

Becoming a Christian is the beginning of a process, not the end. I encourage you to check out the short Bible Study Defeating Sin with Scripture for a practical idea for overcoming sins.

Copyright 2014, Gail Burton Purath,, edited and updated in 2023

This short Bible study offers biblical advice for dealing with repetitive sins such as anger.