“I can’t do nothing right.”
Yes, that is a double negative. We’re looking at how double negatives are considered “incorrect” and cause confusion in standard English usage—and also in our lives.
I’ve heard someone say, “Because I sinned after I got saved—after the Lord filled me with the Holy Ghost—I feel that I’ve committed a sin that cannot be forgiven by God.” It’s as if the sin committed AFTER salvation constitutes a forbidden “double negative.” But there is no sin that cannot be forgiven by God when the heart is truly repentant. Sinning again after you’re saved does not constitute a “double negative” that cancels out your salvation experience. It merely shows you WHY you needed to be saved in the first place! We will NEVER grow beyond our need for Jesus’ forgiveness … and His GRACE. We are saved by His grace, no matter which side of the Cross we’re on.
It’s never going be our doing, or our good conduct, that saves us. It’s always going to be the work of Jesus Christ in our lives. His blood, His name, His power has the ability to wash our sins away, no matter how many there are or where they fall in our life’s timeline.
We don’t embrace the blanket doctrinal belief of “once saved, always saved.” However, if we think there is a sin that we can commit, which cannot be forgiven once we are saved, even if we repent, then we, in essence, believe “once lost, always lost.” Because even though we are saved from sin, we will never be “safe” from the temptation to sin—until we get to heaven. Thankfully, the precious blood of Jesus repeatedly covers our sins when we repent, as there is little likelihood that we can live our lives 100% sinlessly. Jesus is the only One who “in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15b ESV)
Much of the New Testament was written in Koine Greek, which is one of the languages where double (and more) negatives are permitted and used to underscore a particular point. For example:
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities …” (Heb. 4:15a KJV)
Here, the writer is doubly emphasizing the fact that we DO, in fact, have a God who loved us so much that He came to earth as a human and, therefore, though He never sinned, KNOWS exactly what our pain and suffering feels like. He KNOWS our need!
If you think that’s encouraging, look at Hebrews 13:5, where, in the original Greek, there are no fewer than FIVE negatives (a quintuple negative!) heaped together in one statement to confirm the promise of His constant faithfulness!
“… for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]” (Hebrews 13:5 AMP)
The LORD has emphatically PROMISED every true believer that He will never, ever, no not once, never forsake nor leave us! Not now—not EVER!
Prayer: Dear LORD, I am persuaded that there is no sin that I can commit that falls outside of Your forgiveness, if I truly repent. Your Word assures me that nothing can separate me from Your love, and You will never, ever leave me without support. Great is Your faithfulness to me! Thank You!