I have met some Christians who seemed to put a lot of emphasis on their realization of how sinful they were. Others, however, didn't seem to be stressing this point that much.

Honestly, in my personal experience, the joy of knowing the Lord, the joy of the very first prayer to Christ, and the joy of having fellowship with Christians came first. The first true realization of how sinful I am came much later. In fact, this realization is still progressing.

By looking briefly through the New Testament I can think of some examples of individuals' coming to the Lord with a considerable level of contriteness over their sinfulness, for example, the robber on the cross asking Jesus to remember him in His kingdom. On the other hand, there are also some examples of people coming to the Lord for the first time, in which this contriteness is not clearly stated, for example, the eunuch of Ethiopia in Acts 8.

So, my question is how much realization of one's own sinfulness is needed for a person to be saved?

  • It would be interesting to know why someone down-voted your question without giving a comment as to what they felt was wrong with your question and suggestions on how it could be improved... – jwwishart Jan 8 '12 at 12:27
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    I'm going to have to agree with the flag on this: this question isn't really answerable on this site in its current form. This isn't the place to definitely answers about soteriology so much as it is a good place to get answers to what beliefs Christianity holds about soteriology. In order to do that constructively questions need to be targeted at a specific Christian tradition or otherwise framed in a way that can be definitely answered and checked against documented beliefs (doctrines, creeds, statement of faiths, etc). – Caleb Jan 8 '12 at 16:04
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    Were the question still open, I'd answer along the lines of "As much realization as is necessary to drive them to repentance and to ask for salvation". – David Stratton Jan 9 '12 at 4:14
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    @Caleb - I never said and never meant to say that I am a young Christian. I became a Christian in 1993 - almost 20 years so I think it's already not young. However, I know for sure that if I came to this site in 1994 and started asking my numerous questions that I had at that time, I would be scared away by its policies, particularly, by the need to specify the tradition of which I am intending to get the answer from. Back in 1994 I even had no knowledge of all the numerous Christian traditions, however, I really wanted to know the truth, regardless of traditions. – brilliant Jan 9 '12 at 16:32
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    @Caleb - And yes, you are absolutely wrong about me "mashing my questions into beginner friendly format". I am very sincere here in all my questions and if I am asking them I am not pretending. Sure, I do possess the knowledge of some possible answers, but if I am still asking a question that means that I am not quite satisfied by them. I don;t know why you git that impression about me. Perhaps, is has to do with me not being a native English speaker and, therefore, not being to formulate them properly. Thus, they often sound either too childish or too straightforward. – brilliant Jan 9 '12 at 16:37

All the realization of sin in the world can't save someone, they may go and meditate, take up some philanthropic work to make them feel better, kill themselves or find some other way to get away from that realization of the sinfulness of their heart; to try and numb that realization.

Think of Judas betraying Christ and Peter denying Christ. Judas said "I have betrayed the innocent" (Matthew 27.4) and then you know what he did to himself even though he realized his sin in this circumstance. We know that he was lost (The Lord said before his Crucifixion that he would loose non except Judas - John 17:12) Peter was not lost though! The Lord called him back. Realization of sinfulness doesn't lead us in and of itself to Christ in whom we can be saved, it is God that does that:

John 6.44 - No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him (call): and I will raise him up at the last day.

I therefore don't think the question is of all that value to think upon in this sense. Maybe a more instructive question would be not "how much" but "whether" realization of sin is a necessary part of the Lord's call and drawing of a person to salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ.

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