Continuance in

Unless one repents of one's sin before God and undergoes a radical 'upheaval' (Omvaltning) and 'about-face' (Omvendelse) so as to begin moving toward faith rather than further away from it in the consciousness of sin, one remains in the state of sin, which increases of its own accord so as to establish a consistency of sin (SUD 61 n., 65, translation modified; cf. SV1, xi. 173 n., 177). As a rule, Anti-Climacus observes, people are so completely under the power of sin that it has become second nature in them, making them blind to the continuity of sin in their lives (105). They associate sin with the committing of particular sins, which are merely expressions for a continuance in the state of sin. In the deepest sense, then, it is continuance in the state of sin, not the committing of new acts of sin as such, that constitutes new sin in a person's life. As Anti-Climacus sees it, 'every unrepented sin is a new sin and every moment that it remains unrepented is also new sin' (105). In this way the state of sin not only grows but undergoes an internal intensification so as to become the new sin of despair over sin. Whereas sin itself constitutes a break with the good, despair over sin signifies a break with repentance and grace, inasmuch as at this level of despair one wants nothing to do with the good and shuts oneself off from it in an even more inaccessible, demonic form of inclosing reserve that is totally absorbed in sin. Anti-Climacus notes, however, that 'despair over sin is not averse to giving itself the appearance ofbeing something good' by claiming that one can never forgive oneself for sinning or that God can never forgive one for it (111). But in his view this is 'just a subterfuge' that at a still higher level of intensification becomes the sin of despair of the forgiveness of sin or offence (112).

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