can a christian still sin?

9 02 2007

Real Christians Do Not Sin???Some one hit my blog the other day using using the title of this blog as their search. People want to know if Christians can still sin. And I believe this is something that needs to be addressed … and so, I will do my best here.

Before I go another step, the picture to the left is apparently real. Therefore, this lady must really believe she doesn’t sin. I THINK SHE’S WAY WRONG!

YES … Christians can still sin! The best thing I can do to support this is to take you to the scriptures.

Romans 7:14 – 25 (NLT)
So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

This scripture alone should answer the question. Paul – the greatest missionary to ever live (in my opinion) – struggled with sin … AS A CHRISTIAN!

But then … we read scriptures like this one:

1 John 3:4 – 6 (NLT)
Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is.

While we never want to ignore any scripture – even if we don’t fully understand it or it seems to contradict other scriptures – this one seems to stump a lot of Christians. Here is what I have learned over the years from other teachers and readings.

Check out what this excerpt from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says about 1 John 3:4 – 6:

Christ, shows an interest by faith in his obedience and sufferings. But a man cannot act like the devil, and at the same time be a disciple of Christ Jesus. Let us not serve or indulge what the Son of God came to destroy. To be born of God is to be inwardly renewed by the power of the Spirit of God. Renewing grace is an abiding principle. Religion is not an art, a matter of dexterity and skill, but a new nature. And the regenerate person cannot sin as he did before he was born of God, and as others do who are not born again. There is that light in his mind, which shows him the evil and malignity of sin. There is that bias upon his heart, which disposes him to loathe and hate sin. There is the spiritual principle that opposes sinful acts. And there is repentance for sin, if committed. It goes against him to sin with forethought.

While it is true that we should always strive to live without sin, it will just not happen. However, this scripture does tell us that we can make evaluations about a person’s spiritual life based upon their daily life. Are they are person who sins without any apparent remorse or guilt? Or are they a person who struggle with the sins they commit? This can tell us a lot about a person. Please note: this is not to be used as a tool for bringing down the hammer of judgment … but rather, as a tool to make us aware of a person’s spiritual condition so that we can be ready to present the Gospel when the time presents itself. That’s another blog on its own. ;-)

As I close this blog (I’m sure a lot more can be written about this subject), I would like to point out an earlier scripture in 1 John.

1 John 1:9 (NLT)
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

The same author who gave us 1 John 1:9 is the same author who gave us 1 John 3:4 – 6. So, if he’s giving us a way to deal with our sins – GIVING CHRISTIANS A WAY – then we have to know that 1 John 3:4 – 6 is NOT saying that we will never sin again. Instead, it tells us that we will leave the life of sin.

Unfortunately, until Christ returns, sin will always be a struggle that Christians have to deal with. Fortunately, we don’t have to do it alone. Just read the Romans passage above again.

Go with God,
Donald B


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67 responses

9 02 2007
cumby

An encouraging word indeed. The first sentence of your post hit me over the head. The thought came to me that people who might not be Christians or who are back- slidden, could be reading what we write.

I wrestle with sin every day. This is what the Bible refers to as “suffering.” It is the overcomers who shall inherit all that Jesus promised to the seven churches in Revelation.

10 02 2007
inhisgrace

thank you for this post. nobody can claim to be sinless except Jesus. we only have the power through Him to be free from it when we acknowledge sin in its face.

10 02 2007
Donald B

Coconut Princess … I read your blog. And respectfully … I say that you have taken the scriptures way out of context. There are many scriptures calling us to be holy [perfect] and to not sin and to be righteous and so on, but there are just as many that tell us of the struggles of Christians in the Bible. Whether you like it or not, Romans 7:14 – 25 DO INDEED speak of Paul’s struggles with sin. Peter had to be confronted by Paul because he snubbed the gentiles after the Holy Spirit had made it clear to him that gentiles were accepted. Paul & Barnabas split over a heated argument. While good came from this … I would classify being that mad to end up splitting would involve some sin.

I definitely agree that we should not continue in the “practice” of sin. We should strive to avoid sinning. And I also think that with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome that life of sin. But we still have tempers that win at times, we still have to deal with selfishness, and men (and some women) still have to deal with the tempations of the flesh (i.e. lust). These are all real attacks … and sometimes, we fail.

And that’s where 1 John 1:9 and James 5:16 come into play. And what about the scriptures where Jesus tells us to deal with our brothers and sisters who have wronged us or whom we have wronged.

I feel sorry for the person who believes they are without sin completely. I can only imagine the arrogance that comes with that. To be perfect is a pretty amazing thing on this earth.

Go with God,
Donald B

10 02 2007
Coconut Princess

Donald,

I agree completely with what you said. We can overcome the life of sin with the help of the Holy Spirit. I don’t know anyone who believes they are without sin. We are all guilty of sin. We can debate in regards to the interpretation of Paul’s struggle in Romans, but the other scriptures I quoted clearly say to not keep on sinning and that if we do continue to sin, we are not born of God.

I think a clear description of sin makes a difference as well. For example, a thought pops into our mind that is wrong, that is not sinning, but if we continue to dwell on this thought or act on it, then we have sinned, but if we rebuke it and think of something else then we have not sinned.

I agree in regards to not forgetting the scriptures that tell us to forgive our brothers and sisters. There is also scripture that talks about the Lord disciplining us. If we did not sin at all, there would be no need for discipline, but we cannot use this as justification to keep sinning.

The person who claims to be a Christian yet continues in their sin is not truly saved. Even habitual sin… a struggle or just continuing in sin? Continuing in sin is living in sin… habitual sin is living in sin. We are told to go and sin no more, to repent and turn away from our sin. Struggle means to “strive against”… not “give in”… its overcoming, not being defeated. When a person continues to sin or habitually sins, they are choosing to commit that sin, no temptation is too much for us to bare and God always provides a way out, so the Christian who sins chooses to sin, they are not forced to sin and never have to sin. So because sin is a choice, we can through Christ’s strength choose not to sin.

It’s not impossible to stop sinning. Everything through God is possible and He would not ask us to do the impossible. He will continue to discipline us as we grow closer to Him and grow in Him becoming stronger in Him to resist all temptation.

Anyway I think I have rambled on and on here lol! :) So I will end this now.

God bless!

10 02 2007
Donald B

I almost agree with everything you have written above. And I appreciate the input. “Everything through God is possible”. Amen to that. And when we are in Heaven … we will be completely free from sin. But as long as we live on this earth, we will have our flesh to contend with … as well as Satan attacking us.

I agree with what you have to say about the person who continues to sin or habitually sins. But to say that “Real Christians Do Not Sin” is a fallacy. We do sin. We may not want to, and we may continue to grow in our relationship with Christ which will help us sin less … but until we are raptured and made new … sin will continue to haunt us.

I agree that the person who does not work toward a life of no sin is not following God’s plan. We should strive for it. But the reality is we will continually be seeking forgiveness for our sins … whether against God or man … until He comes again and takes us home.

Go with God,
Donald B

10 02 2007
Coconut Princess

Amen brother and thank you for replying.

Her sign would be best read “Real Christians Do Not Practice Sin”

I pray you continue to grow in Him and ask that you pray the same for me.

God bless! :)

27 02 2007
Nick

There is a difference between sinning frequently (failing often, going through a struggle, etc.) and practicing sin (willfully embracing sin and loving it, with no desire to obey God in this area).
Dr. John MacArthur has some good stuff on this.

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
1 John 1

That is present-tense Greek, not past-tense. If a professing Christian says that they are 100% sin-free and perfect like Jesus, they are lying. It is impossible to be sin-free this side of eternity, BUT we are told to strive for that goal, anyway.

14 03 2007
Ken

Brothers and Sisters:

What about smoking?

14 03 2007
Donald B

This may anger some people at first … but I think if read through there may be understanding.

Christians can smoke and still be Christians!

Should Christians smoke? Is a Christian living in obedience if they smoke?

I will say no to those questions.

Let’s make this real. Why do people continue to smoke? Most do because they are addicted. What is an addiction? It is a person allowing something to have mastery over them.

This verse is often used in regards to money … but it applies.

Matthew 6:24 (ESV)
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Anything that has control over us is basically effecting our ability to be fully devoted to God.

But let’s not stop there. Let’s go to the thing I struggle with. It’s more accepted than smoking … for we have temples where we can take part in my problem. Starbucks abound everywhere! ;-) And after this comment … I’m going to try harder to break the addiction.

Smoking is condemned more than other addictions (to coffee, soda, eating, etc.) because of the negativity that comes along with it (the 2nd hand smoke, the butts, the ashes, and the cancer).

However … an addiction is an addiction. We should strive to be free from any addiction that has control of us.

So, yes … a Christian can smoke. However, a Christian should be trying to stop smoking. For some, the Holy Spirit has freed them from it instantly. For others, it’s a “thorn in the flesh” (Paul had one of those) that they struggle with and have to overcome.

Hope that makes sense!
Donald B

22 03 2007
Ken

Brother Donald:

Please pray for me. I have cut my smoking in half and am having withdrawl, but I am determined to get this addiction out of my life, Lord willing. I also suffer from severe depression and insomnia that makes my life unbearable at times. I would appreciate any petitions to the Lord that you can think of that would help me at this difficult time. Thank you and God bless you.

Ken Johnson

22 03 2007
Donald B

Ken,

Thanks for your honesty here. I will definitely pray for you. I will pray for strength to help you with your desire to stop smoking. I will pray for your insomnia. And I will pray for your depression.

I understand depression. I constantly have to deal with depression. And I have found only 1 solution that is effective for me. If I take the time to spend time in God’s Word and to pray to Him, eventually, it helps my focus to be realigned to where God wants it. My problem is usually that I put that off too long.

I often wonder if depression is God’s way of calling us to spend more time with Him. We were designed to be in relationship with Christ. Maybe He just wants more of our time … and by not spending that time, our joy is robbed from us.

Father,
I lift up Ken to You right now. I ask that you give him strength to stop smoking. I also ask that You would provide him with hope and let him know that You love him and are with him. Bring people into his life that can encourage him.
Amen!

Ken …
Are you involved in a local church? If not, I would encourage you to find one that you consider loving … that you can get involved in so that you can surround yourself with other believers who will encourage you in your walk and your struggles.

Go with God,
Donald B

28 03 2007
Ken

Don:

I attend a small independent church here in Hampden, Maine where I live. I have recently asked the pastor to work with me on my smoking addiction, but I have other issues such as assurance of salvation, demonic forces in my life, and fear of hellfire that I also need help with. I have had little peace and I struggle with the essence of reality. Thank you for your prayers and peace be with you.

Ken Johnson

29 03 2007
Donald B

Ken,

Appreciate your honesty here.

First … continue to focus on Ephesians 5:18 when it comes to your smoking addiction. Be filled with God’s Holy Spirit daily as you deal with that. HOWEVER … remember that God wants you to be free even more. And when you fail, He’s not going to stop loving you, nor is He going to give up on you. Just get back up and start again.

Second … I’d like to say a little about your statement that you are struggling with “assurance of salvation, demonic forces in my life, and fear of hellfire”.

Ephesians 6:10 – 13
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Demonic forces are real. We all have to deal with this. It’s part of the package deal of being a Christian. My only advice here would be to focus more on God than on the demonic forces. They can do nothing to you that God does not allow.

Ephesians 1:13 – 14
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

If you believe God’s Word, then you have to accept your salvation as a sure thing. Read the scripture above again. If you have believed, you have been sealed. End of story.

Let me leave you with the scripture below.

There is no reason for you to doubt your salvation or fear losing it. There is no reason for you to fear hellfire. You are God’s child. Read the scripture below and spend some time meditating on it.

Romans 8:31 – 39
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[m] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Go with God,
Donald B

29 03 2007
Ken

Brother Don:

Thanks for your encouragement. I am wrestling with the devil here and not God . I have known that, but it has still been difficult.

Ken

16 05 2007
Ronnie J. Hill

What does the scripture mean John 17:23 and also the scripture that says be ye perfect even as your Heavenly Father which in Heaven is Perfect. please explain that to me because I was under the impression that it meant for me to be perfect before Jesus come back for his bride because the Word of the Lord says that He is coming back for a church without a spot or blemish. And the Romans 6 chap says a lot to me

22 05 2007
Anonymous

I found this very helpful, and thank you. I’ve struggled so much with this one particular sin, I almost feel completely weak and helpless to it. I know that there’s something I can do…But about eight out of ten times I try to do something about it or fight it, I fail. I want to say I can’t help it because I fail so much when I try to turn away from it. Someone else mistakingly set the stage for me to start at a very young age, and the rest I unknowingly did to myself. I hate it! I wish I could stop, but I’m not sure if I can. It’s become an everyday thing, I say I want to be normal like everybody else who doesn’t struggle with this mess. But I know that no matter what, there will still be someone else like me who feels like I do now. I love Christ, and I know that God must have some purpose for this…I want to find others like me so that we can help each other, but it’s so embarrassing, I don’t know what to do. I’m on edge every night, praying and hoping that I’ll wake up in the morning and it’ll all be a bad dream that I’ll never have to look at again… I’ve prayed and prayed, but I just don’t know if I can handle this! I fail so much, I resist sometimes if I get lucky or feel like it, but it just comes back ten times worse. I can only imagine one purpose God could have for letting this leech stay on me, and that’s to reach out and help someone else like me. The thing is, I’m afraid to. But thankyou for the scriptures, they have helped me to realize that everyone has some struggle, if not this one.
I know I haven’t said exactly what it is yet, but if you’ve read this, anyone. Please, just pray for me. Thankyou.

3 09 2010
Joe

I don’t know exactly what your struggle is but if it is like mine I can relate. It is terrible for me as well. I will just be honest so maybe you can relate. If it is a sexual addiction, that is my struggle as well. It goes as far back as 4yrs old for me. And I am now in my thirties. I will pray for you.

Sincerley,

Joe

26 09 2007
exsmoker

Hello All,

I was reading around some of the posts here and I found interesting things that you guys talk about, I just made a blog about quitting smoking resources and ideas that you might want to check out.
If someone is interested in this topic just go to; http://endthehabitnow.blogspot.com and let me know what you think.
Thanks in advance.

10 11 2007
Companion

Dear Brother Don I googled on to your website because we are being taught in our local church that it is impossible for a christian to sin and if they do they are really not saved. I find this very unscriptural but our bible leader uses the very verses that you have stated to prove their point. I find it almost a sin in itself to feel so pious that you have achieved such a state of religiousity . I also find it harmful to new christians (as well as older) who still struggle with the old nature on occasion to be told that they are really not saved. The Lord looks on the heart not on our outward apperance. To those who struggle with this may I remind them that in the old testament there was a sacrifice that had to be made for the “sin of ignorance”. ,also if we are completly free of sin on rebirth why did Jesus give us His prayer which includes “forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” God Bless
Companion

11 11 2007
Donald B

Companion …

I’m sorry to hear that you are having to deal with heretical teaching like you have described. I would like to encourage you to remain strong in what you believe. No the truth, and do not be convinced otherwise.

In the end, if they will not be changed, it may be time for you to find another church.

Go with God,
Donald B

17 12 2007
J.D. Howell

Donald,

Time restrains me, but I hope you will rethink your position, before it is too late.
If we plan to make heaven our home, it is important that we all understand we must each be born again Christians. Jesus spoke this to the religious leader of the Jews, named Nicodemus. 2 Corinthians 5:17 reads: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Jeremiah 2:19 “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts”.
In Proverbs 13:15 we find it written that “the way of the transgressor is
hard”. A lot of people nowadays, say “Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant” (Proverbs 9:17). Every sinner knows that sin
in a hard master, it is certainly an evil thing and bitter. We are not to
remain a servant to sin, but should allow the son of Righteousness to
make us free, for truly he or she that is set free by Christ is free in deed. Once we are made free we don’t have to continue in sin, oh no, God
forbid. How should we that are dead to sin continue there in? He came that we might have abundant life. Wouldn’t it be awful not to be set free in this life from lust and sin, then go on to death, eternal destruction in Hell, where every sin and lust in one’s bosom will burst out like a volcano, and there will be nothing to subdue them? Were there no lake of fire that would be hell enough. The lust of drink, passion etc…. will rage within them for
ever. Oh that sinner will find that the very sin they roll beneath their
tongue now as a sweet morsel will yet be their curse. For the one that
stumbles along the way, Thank God, If we sin we do have an advocate, even Jesus. Praise GOD! I’m FREE, FREE, FREE from the chains that bound me
I am free. Life now has meaning for me I’ve been given liberty through
the blood shed on Calvary I am LIVING I am FREE. PRAISE the living God
I am FREE at last.

Jeremy

17 12 2007
Donald B

Finally … someone has commented on this blog who disagrees with me without condemning me to hell with hateful words and such!!! For those of you wondering where those comments are … deleted. Why? My blog. I don’t tolerate name calling and hatefulness. Disagree with me if you will … but be nice. :-)

Jeremy …
I have read your comment, and I can only tell you that I disagree with you. I believe it is a fallacy to think a Christian can live without every sinning again. I believe the Scriptures support this as well.

For instance … Peter’s treatment of the Gentiles with the Jewish leaders came around has to be considered a sin. That is not the way Jesus would have treated them, and Paul called him out on it. In no way do I think Peter was not a Christian. But he did sin.

1 John 1:9 was written to Christians. To disagree with this is just wrong. And if it was written to Christians telling us to confess our sins … then, there have to be sins that need confessing.

Bottom line – we still sin. If you can’t see this, then you are just lying to yourself and setting yourself up for some major disappointment.

This brings up one more thing I am finding to be true …

Most of those who believe we never sin again also believe we can lose our salvation. They lose their salvation because they committed some sin.

So, in the end … we all believe that it is possible for Christians to sin. Some believe this causes us to lose our salvation (an errant belief) and others just accept 1 John 1:9 for what it is.

Go with God,
Donald B

18 02 2008
Murray Jones

I really don’t understand how any Christian, or anyone taking the responsibility to be a public representative for scripture and our Lord can possibly suggest that a “truly” saved person no longer sins. What about when Christ asked Simon “who do you say I am?”, and the response was “you are the Christ, the son of God”. Jesus then said in him (Simon/Peter) he will build his Church. I think it is quite clear that Christ bestowed on Peter salvation for eternity, never to be lost. Yet there he was, after Christ was arrested, publicly denying him! Again, certainly after Peter had said to our Lord’s face that he believed Christ was who he said he was. Peter clearly sinned after his acknowledgment of Christ, the son of the one and only God, in the flesh. Remember when Jesus washed Peter’s feet? “You have to be clean to sup with me”. Peter responded with “wash all of me then”. Christ said he only needed to wash his feet. Jesus already cleaned him (Peter believed already), but was continuing his daily walk in sin, and his feet were continually dirty, or rather, he was in daily continual contact with all that is NOT holy or “sinful”. But the rest of him was clean.

In the Old Testament, Abraham believed in God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. Yet even he listened to his wife Sarah, who laughed at the Angel of the Lord, and took Hagar to his bed. He also for all intents and purposes did not trust in what the Lord had said concerning his future son Isaac. But righteousness was STILL credited to him. The key word here being “believed”. The Pharisees asked Jesus if it was rightful to pay taxes. He said to them, “bring me a coin”. They did. Christ then asked, “who’s name and inscription are on this?” They said “Caesars”. Christ responded, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” You see, if the all powerful, all knowing, all loving God created us, don’t you think he understands so much more than we our own miserable nature in the flesh? Yes, he wants us to be with him, live in him, love him. He also understands that we ARE on the earth for an appointed time, and we must give to Caesar what is his – Caesar being the representative of the condition we find ourselves in daily on the earth and our earthly obligations, plus our status as sinners. We of course must also give to the Lord’s what is rightfully his – our simple profession of belief in his son. Yes, the Lord says not to seek after worldly things, but he also doesn’t want you to starve to death or fail to clothe your children.

When scripture says “we cannot keep on sinning”, or, “Christ cannot be crucified twice”, it is not referring to our complete abolishment of our personal daily sins while here on the Earth. Of course we should strive not to sin, but these phrases and statements are in light of our future cleansing at the appointed time of Christ’s return in glory, that actual payment of righteousness in cash instead of the previous credit given. Then we will be made perfect, and dressed in white, but not before then. What separates the Christian from everyone else is the “credited” righteousness that comes with our confession of simple belief that Jesus is who he said he is, and that God will count against us our sin no more! If it were not credited, why are we still here on the earth right now instead of heaven after having professed Christ as risen? Not that we will stop sinning, but that God will hold our sin against us NO MORE. It is not by works you are saved but by faith, lest any man should boast.

James says, “you say you believe in God, and you do well, yet I tell you that even Satan and his demons know him, and shudder at his name.” Remember here, Satan was made perfect, and chose without any temptation to rebel against God. Lucifer means “morning star”, a beautiful description of what he was – probably one of the most beautiful creations made. Yet he started sin, after having seen and lived with God. That is hate, and the true blasphemy of the Holy Spirit – the only sin Christ says is unforgivable. We were born of sin naturally. We did not author it. We cannot help by any stretch of the imagination our condition. We will sin every day, all day long. Even so, yes, the wages of sin is still death, exclusive of whether we can help it or not. Think of the sins you commit knowingly everyday. Now, compare yourself further to holiness, if you can fathom that. I know I cannot. Do you really think all the rest of the time you are not “knowingly” sinning you are without sin? WRONG. We sin without knowing it. We sin knowingly too. Do not fool yourself, every single one of us in writhing in sin, and are bodies are continually being self defiled in everything we do. Even your thoughts. Sin is not only an act – it’s the commission of thought as well. “It is said not to covet your neighbor’s wife, but I tell you that if you even look at her with lust you have committed adultery in your heart”, thus said the Lord. Everything we do is sin. Everything. Every thought. Unless it is exclusively of God. Even then, are we capable of honoring him appropriately, as mere frail, unholy humans?

All of you who say you are Christians without sin, you profane the word of God and his sacrifice. You are yourself an apostate. Yes, even you that say you sin “a little”. If you have broken one commandment, you are guilty of breaking them all, says scripture. All through the Old Testament, that’s what continually cut Israel and Judah off from God, their love of Idols, there false teaching and false leading of the generations. That is why Israel suffered the dispersions, an is dealing with their problems now, they rejected Christ as being who he said he was and is.

“Just as there were many who were appalled at him – his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness…..” Isaiah 52:14. This was before Christ was nailed to the cross. He was so unbelievably beaten that he did not look human. You must think about this passage for a moment. “He was marred beyond human likeness”. That’s pretty impressive. He was literally beaten to a pulp, and you could not even tell it was a human being laying bloodied before you. Do you really think God would have sent his son, and that Christ would have gone through all of that, just so we would be condemned and separated from him eternally? If you can really rely on your own sinlessness to save you, why didn’t God postpone the eternal sacrifice and call you to do it? Christ had to do it, because we are so unbelievably sinful, that it is quite ridiculous. Every single one of us, Christian or Pagan. Keep also in mind, there is no one here that sins even a little. We are all continuously in rebellion to the lord. All day, everyday. If you think you don’t sin much, you are so helplessly wrong, and are similar to the Sadducees, Pharisees, and the Sanhedrin. If you view yourself as having been full of sin before your confession to Christ, but are now without sin, you also are terribly wrong. The Christian is made of aware of his sin and does not love it, but rather wishes he did not do it. Reference John in Revelation 5 about the seven sealed scroll. “Who is worthy to break the seal and open the scrolls? But no one in heaven or on earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals. Then I saw a Lamb, looking as though it had been slain. – Notice it says no one in heaven or on earth was worthy to open the scroll. This being Revelation, John is saying that at the completion of man’s time on the earth, after all of human history and everyone included over these many thousands of years, no one on earth or in heaven was found worthy or “without sin”.

In the Old Testament, when you sinned, you had to prepare a blood offering or “sacrifice” for your sin. This is because after Adam and Eve sinned, and were found naked, God for the first time clothed them, and he did it with animal skins. For the first time, blood was shed, and it was because the man and woman sinned, or fell short of God’s glory. On the 6th day, God saw his creation and said it was “good”. There was no fighting or killing, heck, God brought all the beasts before Adam, including the ferocious ones. They didn’t attack him. There was no killing, no shedding of blood. Wolves lied with the sheep, and the Lion ate the grass, not other animals. Just as Bible prophecy says will happen upon Christs return – Everything will again be at peace, and the wolf will lie with the sheep again. But Adam and Eve fell short of his glory, so the Lord slew animals to clothe them from their nakedness. This “blood” was and is now the requirement and only acceptable payment for the guilt of our sin. The Israelites sinned continually, and when they did, they had to prepare a sacrifice to the Lord according to their financial status. If you could afford a bull, then you took a bull. If not that, a goat etc……. The bible never said how many times they were or were not allowed to make a sacrifice or sin, but that when they did sin, they had to atone for it sacrificially. Christ came and became the blood sacrifice required for the atonement of sins forever. That is why the curtain to the “Holy of Holies” in the Temple was torn upon his passing on the cross. We no longer have to make a sacrifice, take it to the high priest, where he then takes a portion for himself, then the remaining to the presence of the Lord in the Holy of Holies. Christ tore the curtain so that all we must do is go directly to him, no one else, and he in turn speaks for us on our behalf to his and our father.

Guys, look, I sin all day long. I’m aware of some of my sin, the rest are committed without my knowledge. But, they are committed nonetheless. Christ came for the sinners. Just as he said, a doctor does not tend to the healthy, but the sick. He came to fulfill the Law of Moses, and he did so on the Cross. Christ, because he suffered, and paid the blood required by God for our sins, looked sin and Satan in the face and said ” I have rightfully defeated you and your dominion over the FUTURE of man”. He also has been given the right by God the father to do as he pleases with sinful man. God said the wages of sin is death, that’s in the scripture. Christ said “Father, I have paid the wages for man, and want (YOUR NAME HERE) by my side for eternity, because he/she is not ashamed of me, and I absolutely love him/her. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one an only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his son to the world to condemn it, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed on the name of the one and only Son of God.” John 3:16-18. Notice the word “have” in “whoever believes shall not perish but have eternal life”. Have is a present tense. Not future tense, not past, but present. The moment you profess with your mouth, and in your heart you know Christ is REAL, congratulations, you have just according to the word of God received your salvation. You don’t get it when you die, you have received already. The scripture does not say for he that believes and STOPS SINNING is not condemned, but simply, “he that believes”. Your completeness in him still awaits though:
“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation, if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the HOPE held out in the gospel. Colossians 1:19-23. Hope here is significant I think. Hope has a future connotation. We hope in the gospel. We are effectively at this point waiting to for everything the gospels says to come to fruition, aside from the already received grace of salvation.

Some of you are writing about addictions to cigarettes, porn, cursing etc. Some are writing about what salvation means. I question and do all of these things. I chew tobacco. I curse all of the time (military), I look at porn. These are the things I know I do wrong. These are the things I struggle with. I’ve had run-ins with demons. That is all part of being human. Christ was also human, and defeated temptation in his 40 days in the wilderness. He suffered as a human, not as God during that time. He defeated temptation, where none of us could have. He was required on the cross, because only he was worthy of paying for our sins. His death and his alone was the only way God the Father could reconcile the people he loved and made to him. Christ’s message to all of us is this: Love one another as I have loved you, for in this, you are doing my father’s will.

Firstly, start off reading scripture for yourself, for it is food for the Holy Spirit, for man does not live off of bread alone, but by the word of God. I suggest reading the Gospels starting with John. Secondly, don’t beat yourself up too much about your sin, Christ was beaten and nailed for it already. I mean yeah, confess it, and fight it. You won’t win though. Thirdly, start in baby steps. Paul describes us as being babes in Christ, first drinking milk, and as we mature in him, we can begin eating solid food. Fourthly, never forget that you ARE and always will be a detestable sinner in view of what is holiness so long as you are living on the earth. Don’t forget to enjoy your time on earth, otherwise God wouldn’t have made it in the first place. Besides, there are plenty of heartbreaks in the future. Finally, for God’s sake, remember true understanding, “the knowledge of truth will set you free”, not the truth itself, but the knowledge of truth, is that understand you receive from the Lord himself. Don’t pray to anyone other than Christ. Not to Mary, not to Saints, not idols, none other than Christ Jesus. Understand that you are a sinner, bottom line, and someone had to save you from your condition. That person was our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Amen, The Alpha and the Omega, from Everlasting to Everlasting, he is Messiah, the Holy one of God, the Word in the Flesh, the All Loving, the All Merciful, The Lamb of God, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the One I love, and my friend. He is my friend, but above all, Lord of my life, though I rebel against him. Luckily he is faithful, where I am not. And I love him for who he is. With all of my heart, with all of my strength, and with all of my mind. May Christ Jesus bless you and all of us, and lift the burden of sin and the weight on your heart right now because of your guilt. Your guilt tells you that you reject sin. So keep it. But walk freely as a slave no longer, for Christ has risen. Spend more time praising and worshiping Christ than dwelling on your sin. Just confess when you do it, Christ already dwelt and dealt with your sin. Amen.

18 02 2008
Donald B

Amen brother!

3 04 2008
Terence

Hi sir
I’m quite disturbed about Christians who justify themselves and promote people to commit sin. God is Holy and has demanded that everyone of us to be holy. The Bible infroms us that there was no sin in Jesus, untill He carryied our sins. Those who are saved must not sin delibalate if they fear God, they must keep His comandments. Jesus warned the woman who was caught commiting uldeltery, and told her to sin no more, same thing He told the man who receive his sight. Let all strive for rightiousness since we are slave of it not of sin.

ok thanks and God may stretch Hois right hand and grant a fully and true repentance to those Christians who still sin.

3 04 2008
Donald B

Terence,

You’ve missed the whole point I believe. First of all, no one is justifying sin. Second, no one is promoting sin.

The point you have missed is that Christians DO sin. To think otherwise is foolish. Although saved, we continue to live in these bodies of flesh. And until we leave these bodies, there will be times when we fall to sin.

When Paul and Barnabas separated, in the long run it was a good thing because 2 missionary journeys resulted. However, the action that brought the split involved sin on one side or the other.

When Paul accosted Peter for the way he was treating Gentiles, Peter’s actions were sin … and Peter was definitely a Christian.

So, sin is a reality. We have to strive to live sin free … but realize we will not be perfect until we are in Heaven.

Go with God,
Donald B

7 04 2008
Terence

Hi Sir thanks for your clarification, But let me share with you some key verses.
2Tim2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.John 8:34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. John8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. 1 John 3:6-9 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. Sir I can quote many verses from both old and new testaments, God does not compromise sin at all, He hates sin with all His heart. The bible is clear that God does not have a relationship with sinners, only love those who truly repent. God chased Adam and his wife away because of noe thing sin. Many people were killed during time of Nouh and Lot, because of sin. Jesus Christ came to earth to save sinners or God bought sinners by the Blood of His Holy Son Jesus. Anyone who agrees with the above verses must stay away from sin, we must sacrifise as God sacrifise about His only begotten Son, to die for our sins. If we acknowledge the significance of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are going to avoid sin wherever we are, especial if we fear God and is our only refuge and shield. Let us love one another and share whatever we have with the poor. Let us all learn from the atitude of the Apostle Paul toward Jesus Christ. No sinner will inherit the Kingdom Of God, only Saints. God bless you Sir.

7 04 2008
Terence

God and His holy prophets, Jesus and his apostles never taught us to sin or alse the whole bible is discouraging us from sinning. So who are we to compromise or justify sin. Let us not learn from other people’s disloyality, of them commiting sin, as if we follow them, we follow Jesus our only saviour and Lord, let su all learn from Him only. Ok God bless you.

7 04 2008
Donald B

It is wonderful that you can quote so many verses. It would just be nice if you could actually interpret them correctly.

Yes … that was a jab … because I’m getting sick and tired of people like yourself who continue to lie to themselves about being perfect.

Here’s a verse for you:
1 John 1:8 – 9
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.

And this verse:
James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

I agree with you that we are to strive to be without sin. But I call anyone a FOOL who claims they live without ever sinning … even after salvation. Salvation does not free you from the temptation to sin … and it definitely does not keep you from ever sinning again.

If you were interpreting those verses correctly, you would know that God is calling us out of a life of sin. Yes, He would like for us to never sin again, but He’s not saying “If you are a Christian, then you will never sin again.” He’s saying, “If you are a Christian, you will stop living a life of sin.”

He gave us 1 John 1:9 to remind us that He will always forgive us. We simply need to confess it.

Stop lying to yourself! Stop spouting your holier-than-thou philosophy! And start living the life God truly called you to. Find some love! The only thing the believe you have leads to is hate and judgment.

Go with God,
Donald B

7 04 2008
Donald B

Terrence,

Just because someone does sin does not mean they promote or justify sin. But if you claim that you never sin, then you are lying to yourself. That’s the bottom line.

Go with God,
Donald B

21 04 2008
Ben Miller

I was reading this today, after speaking with a street preacher proclaiming his sinless perfection, and then found a good page that deals with this in a Biblical, and honest way.

http://www.learnthebible.org/q_a_sinless_perfection.htm

I hope this helps some people.

29 04 2008
sheri

If you are a born again christian and you live with your boyfriend is that a sin? Or what if you live at home but stay at your boyfriends quite a bit? I am married, but have a family member who does this and says its not a sin. And then asked me to prove it from a biblical stand point and I couldn’t. I am still learning to walk with the Lord so I am new with my walk.

thanks for any advise.

29 04 2008
Donald B

Yes. Sex before marriage is a sin. Christian or not. The Bible is very clear that sex is only for marriage.

We first see it in the Old Testament.

Deuteronomy 22:28 – 29
“Suppose a man has intercourse with a young woman who is a virgin but is not engaged to be married. If they are discovered, he must pay her father fifty pieces of silver. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he may never divorce her as long as he lives.

Yes … this is Old Testament, but Jesus did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. If it was sin then, it is still sin today.

In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul is discussing the topic of marriage. In these verses, he says it is better to marry than give in to passion. If sex before marriage were not a sin, why couldn’t he just give in to marriage.

1 Corinthians 7:36 – 38
But if a man thinks that he’s treating his fiancée improperly and will inevitably give in to his passion, let him marry her as he wishes. It is not a sin. But if he has decided firmly not to marry and there is no urgency and he can control his passion, he does well not to marry. So the person who marries his fiancée does well, and the person who doesn’t marry does even better.

But ultimate, the problem with your relative is not her sin. It’s the fact that she’s living in denial. My suggestion for you (understanding that I am totally unattached to what you are dealing with there) is to demonstrate love to this relative consistently. Love her, but never approve of the sin. But that doesn’t mean that consistently harass her about it. Ultimately, it is the role of the Holy Spirit to bring conviction. With that in mind … pray! Pray every day for her that the Lord would show her this life style is wrong.

I am writing this from experience of being that relative. I rationalized this same thing when I was a teen. But God was faithful, and He brought me out.

So, just pray for her. Love her. Be there for her.

Go with God,
Donald B

30 04 2008
sheri

Thanks so much for your input..but let me ask this if they are not having sex…I know I am not stupid, but if what she says is true and she still sleeps over at his house and in his bed for days at a time is that still walking outside of God’s will, i believe she is? She loves the Lord but seems to think that this is still ok and I just think that if we are to represent the Lord we should be different as not to live like the world lives, does this make sense, esp if we are involved in music ministry. Can I get some input on that. I just want to be able to share from my heart, she is fairly new to her walk also, and I know that the Lord has to bring the conviction I just thought for someone in their 20′s they would be able to see that. I don’t want to sound like I am judging, I deeply care about this person and want the best for her. Thanks Donald again for your input.

8 05 2008
Donald B

First, I apologize for taking so long to get to your comment. I’ll try to provide you with some decent answers.

1 – I agree with you that the no sex thing is probably a sham. Maybe not … but probably.

2 – As a Christian – perceptions do matter. And – to avoid being judgmental – maybe you could simply focus on that. Basically, “no matter what you say, people perceive that you are having sex.”

3 – It is possible to love the Lord and be dealing with a sin such as this. However, to remain in that sin too long will eventually lead to a hard and calloused heart toward God.

4 – And if she is a Christian, 1 Corinthians 5 talks about Christians calling other Christians out for sins. Matthew 18 gives us the proper way to deal with another’s sin. This can all be done in love … but to ignore the obvious life-destroying types of sin … I think that is worse. There are ways to speak about these matters in love rather than as a judge.

In the end … it’s hard to believe there isn’t anything happening.

Go with God,
Donald B

29 06 2008
anonymous

Though you have accepted Christ, it doesn’t mean you are perfect. Jesus is the only perfect one. Since you are still human, you will make mistakes from time to time. But the beauty of God’s grace is that even when you do mess up, he will pick you up and still love you, no matter where you’ve been, no matter what you’ve done. As far as God’s grace goes, i’m living proof that it has no end.

5 07 2008
Murray Jones

Wow,

I can’t believe the self righteous individuals out there. There is nothing we can do for our sin. It is not by works you are saved, lest any man should boast, but by faith. And yes, a faith without works is a dead one too. However, I think everyone, to include the most learned of theologians, are completely ignorant of all the sins that are committed by the self. Everything we do is disgusting to the Lord. Everything is the opposite of his requirement. EVERYTHING. Even if we don’t consciously rebel against God at a particular moment, the fact that we aren’t moving mountains or something else that would be as monumentally challenging everyday suggests quite simply that none us period have the faith the size of the mustard seed. For all of you that say you are a saved Christian and without sin now, I challenge you to tell any mountain, tree, or building to uproot itself. Let’s see your perfect measure of righteousness you believe you have. You will quickly understand that there is a reason the one and only perfect son of God had to die – because all of us fall short continuously!! We are all actually in a continuous state of rebellion against holiness. I would like any one reading this to try a science experiment. Do the best you can over the next three hours to be just like Christ. JUST LIKE HIM. Go out and heal the sick, feed the poor, and feed many thousands with just a few fish and loaves of bread. Tell you what, let’s make it a little easier. Just try for three hours to not think of anything other than what is holy. Not even a millisecond of something vulgar. Not a millisecond of something that would be deemed unrighteous in the mind of the holy one – if you can comprehend that. You can’t. No one can.

You can quote scripture, and that’s awesome. So did Satan when he Tempted my risen Lord out in the wilderness. You know who Jesus spent his time with when he was on Earth? The sinners. The sick. “A doctor doesn’t visit the healthy, but the sick”. There’s a quote for you. My name is Murray. I want you to pray for me that 500 bucks goes into my account tonight. The Bible says the prayer of a righteous man is a powerful thing. Let’s see if you’re righteous. You aren’t, because no one is. Only the son.

We are called to repentance. We are called to be born again. We are called to stop sinning. Of course we are. Could Christ, after his sacrifice and message very well tell us to not give a care about what is righteous? Of course not. It’s our goal. It’s our hope. But there is nothing, absolutely nothing we can do about our own salvation except to acknowledge him (Christ) before man. That’s it. That’s the only requirement. If there were anymore requirements, Christ would not have wasted his time in being beaten beyond human recognition, nailed to a cross, and ultimately denied by his Father, the only one he could trust.

Don’t be like the pharisees, and make it impossible for people to enter the gates of heaven. Read your Bible yes, but also take a long, long look in the mirror, and realize you are a very, very sinful human being, just like every single one of us on this earth, saved or not. One day I will not be disgusting, but that day only the father knows – the son says not even he knows the day or the hour.

5 07 2008
Murray Jones

Let me add that, while all of us are so full and saturated with sin, the very fact that we acknowledge in faith that Christ is and was the son of God, came to Earth, was crucified, died, buried, and rose on the third day, washes our sins away completely and separates us from the rest of the world population who denies the name of the only holy one of God. Our nature has changed from a pig that bathes in mud, to a man that walks the earth with only his feet exposed to the soil. That’s why Christ washed only Peter’s feet! Now, instead of our whole bodies being dirty like a pig, Christ came and washes only our feet, because that’s what’s dirty after walking in sin. When we sin, we break our daily fellowship with Christ, but the relationship he paid for with his blood has not changed. We confess our sins to him, the moment we do them, or when we realize we have sinned, and he will always forgive. Otherwise, he’d have to die on the cross many, many more times. We know he won’t, because he doesn’t have to. He said so. Godbless al. And blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

20 07 2008
Companion

First I really don’t know what you mean by website so I have not filled that in.
As to the Young Christian lady who is living or partially livng with her boyfriend may I say that even if she is not lying with him she is leaving herself wide open for temptation. The lusts of the flesh are very powerful and even the strongest of Christians should be on their guard.. Only our Lord Himself was able to stand against the evil one. Possibly this young lady has been listening to a teacher with itching ears. Should we be surprised? I think not. Is this not what the bible says will happen toward the end of the age?Brother Don, Since my first contact with you I have had to leave that church. It seems that this particular denomination has a doctrine of Sinless Perfection which I do not agree with. The pastor claims that Paul was on his way to sinless perfection as we all are and it must be obtained before we leave this earth. My belief is that we will never reach it until we stand before him in heaven. May the Holy Spirit lead us into all truth. Companion

21 07 2008
Donald B

Thanks for the post. I agree with you about reaching sinless perfection once we reach Heaven. Thank you!

Go with God,
Donald B

9 09 2008
allan krisbaher

From everything I’ve read so far, it’s obvious that everyone is aware that sin is prevalent in all of our lives, Christian or not. And being aware of sin this should lead us to just how to handle it. First non believers need to accept Jesus as Savior, then get into a good bible group, and study to show ourselves approved in his word. Then we must admit we are sinners, confess our sins and know that God will forgive them through Christ’s finished work on the cross. Then we must strive, the the help of the Holy Spirit to renew us, mind and heart and show us how to get closer to God the Father by living Christian lives, walking the path of righteousness and Glorifying God in all we do. As Christians striving for renewal and regeneration we can sin and knowing we have, which the indwelling Holy Spirit does, we then go to our prayer closet, confess to God, with humble hearts and know that we are forgiven. With guilt be gone and not dwelling on it we for we have learned a lesson, we go about living in communion with God without feelings of shame or guilt knowing he is our loving Father and we are with sons and daughter onto Christ. Amen and amen. A brother in Christ, Allan

18 11 2008
Ella Sanvictores

Yes, as Christians, we still sin but the difference is we don’t HABITUALLY and DELIBERATELY sin like in the past. :) Thank you, HOLY SPIRIT, my 24/7 companion! :)

29 11 2008
sarah

Donald B, thank you for your post and for your insightful comments. I believe you, and some of the other commentators here (e.g., Murray Jones) have a gift from the Holy Spirit for teaching. I have been told I am a fairly articulate writer myself, but I find routinely that when it comes to Spiritual matters, I struggle with being able to put certain things into more concrete thoughts and words. Your ability/gift to do so, is helpful to me as a fellow believer. In this particular case, you have reassured me on a subject that has caused me some serious anxiety at times. I have worried about it at times to the point of hating myself and believing I should be destroyed, that God hated me, etc. Because I do sin. I don’t think sin is right – but despite that knowledge, I do it anyway. What a bind to be in. I’ve also been caught up sometimes in the notion that I must not truly love God, because I sin – some verses in the BIble seem to say have God/Jesus saying, “If you really love me, then you won’t sin.” Again, what a bind… I sometimes wish the Bible was a lot less confusing. But then again, perhaps part of God’s purpose in making it seem confusing to us sometimes, is to help us rely on each other, as fellow believers – i.e., to work together as a body, sharing our gifts with each other in love. And that, brothers, is what you have done here for me. And what I thank you – and thank our God – for :).

2 03 2009
jinel

acermarie
im a christian and struggle with sin as everyone. this is the fight of humanity and what is a fight without struggle, it makes the victory more sweeter.
as we know that there is no true love without jealousy, god say im a jealous god,why think he said that.
personally i dont think that god punishment for us comes because we have sin in us no but because we acts on th sin and we ask no forgiveness.

too say that a real christian have no sin and will never sin again is just saying that when we die we can die for someone or everyone becuase we are now perfect we have no sin, we are now like jesus, the only person to ever walk the earth without sin.

18 06 2009
M.E. Preece

Recently the question above has deeply disturbed my thinking because at one time I too did not believe we as Christians would sin. The things we did are always called mistakes in our churches and the word sin is not at all permissive by some as a thing a Christian would do. However I believe that a Christian will not want to sin or practice sin daily. If he is sinning and is a true Christian he must feel that he is at war in his members or body. I think this is what the Bible is saying to us as spoken by Paul in Romans in one of the above posts that although we want to do good at all times there are times when we don’t do good.
If we admit our faults and our sins He is just and willing in forgiving us.

Men however will not forgive oftentimes when Jesus will. Where love abounds so does mercy so if Christ loves us and shows us mercy, we also must show mercy to others.

Going through a personal problem within our church we have found that forgiveness from man is very hard to attain.

I find this blog very informative and interesting.

31 07 2009
msg7007

I think we lie to ourselves if we think we don’t have bad habits (ie. habitual sin) or we don’t sin deliberately from time to time. Scriptures do discuss these matters. I’ll admit that I have some bad habits. But I continue to search after God to break these issues. There also is a growing sense of a hunger or yearning in my heart to know God more and more. More and more, I find that I win. There are times however when I fall. This can be crushing in terms of guilt. This is when I remember ‘He that has begun a good work in you will complete it at the day of Jesus Christ’ (I’m paraphrasing). I also remember that Christ is my life and that sin is not my master. I’ll admit that it took a long time to come to this understanding.

msg7007

3 10 2009
Keith Legge

Brothers and Sisters,

It would seem to me that there is not a Christian alive or now glorified who hasn’t struggled with this issue.

We find Romans 7 suggesting that even the great Apostle Paul endured this problem. I have experienced Christians who use Rom 7 as an excuse for sinning, and I have found Christians who are absolutely convinced the first Epistle of John clearly teaches that Christians do not sin. Can light have any fellowship with darkness? Absolutely not. The moment light comes, darkness is banished. Can an orange tree spring from a lemon seed? Absolutely not. So John appears to teach in his Epistle that the one in whom the seed of God is planted cannot sin for the same reason.

And have a look at what Paul actually says in Rom ch 7. Having outlined his apparent struggle he comes to the conclusion that while with his mind he delights in the law of God, his body is imprisoned by the law OF SIN. Paul was fed up with it and went to the depths of his person to cry out: 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body (AC) of death? Paul quickly recovers to give us the answer! I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! This is victory, this is celebration, this is triumphant! Away with the wretchedness, in with the hallelujah chorus. So this is when he comes to the striking conclusion: So then, with my mind I myself am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh, to the law of sin.

But I feel Paul is not simply saying: OK I’ll just have to put up with this until I go to Glory then I’ll be free through what Jesus has done for me. His triumph seems to suggest to me that the experience of freedom from this turmoil is a, or, to be a here and now experience. Why else would he be so triumphant!

Look how he develops this in Ch 8.

First, we have a clue further back in ch 7:: 17 So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. (Y) For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. 19 For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but it is the sin that lives in me. 21 So I discover this principle: (Z) [f] when I want to do good, evil is with me. 22 For in my inner self [g] I joyfully agree with God’s law. (AA) 23 But I see a different law in the parts of my body, (AB) [h] waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body.

Paul seems to be saying that the sin principle in us, our natural self outside of Grace, has taken us prisoner to the law of sin. If I am a prisoner, I am bound, restricted, hemmed in with no view of escape. But Paul continues in 8:1: the Spirit’s law of life (D) in Christ Jesus has set you [b] free from the law of sin and of death. Contrast the two phrases: prisoner to the law of sin and free from the law of sin. In the turmoil of Ch 7, Paul concludes he is a prisoner; however, being in no condemnation, ch 8.1, his is free.

I believe for Paul this was the release from the struggle of Ch 7. If the believer has a Holy Spirit revelation that he is really under no condemnation, and glorifies God in that, and can’t get over the wonder of it, and lives in the reality of it, the struggle will be no more. Not because he lives carelessly and but because the Holy Spirit is working through the word of the Gospel, and the believer’s life is being changed from within.

I believe the passage attests to this in two ways. The first reason is Paul’s answer to his own question in 7:24. We have already mentioned this. Secondly, the reason Paul gives for us being under no condemnation:Therefore, no condemnation (A) now exists for those in (B) Christ Jesus, BECAUSE the Spirit’s law of life (D) in Christ Jesus has set you [b] free from the law of sin and of death. In Christ, we died to the law as grounds for acceptance with the Father, or should I say, Judge of all the earth: 4 Therefore, my brothers, you also were put to death (C) in relation to the law (D) through the [crucified] body of the Messiah, (E) so that you may belong to another—to Him who was raised from the dead—that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, (F) [a] the sinful passions operated through the law in every part of us (G) [b] and bore fruit for death. 6 But now we have been released from the law, since we have died to what held us, so that we may serve in the new way [c] of the Spirit (H) and not in the old letter of the law.

What actually held us “prisoner” to the law of sin and death was the holy law of God: God’s word given by the mouth of Moses. Now that we are dead to the law through the death of our Lord Jesus, sin has no power to condemn, no frame of reference to use against us: For apart from the law sin is dead. Where there is no Law, there is no condemnation. For the person resting only in Christ for acceptance with the Father, the law of God has no relevance. Why do we fear meeting God at times? Why do occasions of doubt arise? Why does the question of whether a Christian can continue in sin even arise? Is it not because in some fashion the law of God comes to mind and we recognize how far short we have fallen. But there is no more standard to judge ourselves against. There is no “handwriting against us.” It was nailed to the cross! Hallelujah!

Paul continues to show how Jesus did what the law couldn’t do because of our flesh, and then comes to a gigantic crescendo: 3 What the law could not do (F) since it was limited [c] by the flesh, (G) God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours (H) under sin’s domain, [d] and as a sin offering, (I) 4 in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished (J) in us who do not walk according to the flesh (K) but according to the Spirit. “In order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us”! What joy to know in the Father’s opinion, we have kept his law completely.

Other versions seem to emphasise this a bit more: AMP: 3For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [[a]the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [[b]subdued, overcame, [c]deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice],(B) 4So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit].NIV: And so he condemned sin in sinful man,[d] 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. ESV: By sending his own Son(G) in the likeness of sinful flesh and(H) for sin,[c] he condemned sin in the flesh, 4in order that(I) the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us,(J) who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
The wording “fully met in us” warms my heart. I remember the scripture that says if I offend in one little bit, I am guilty of breaking the law lock, stock and barrel. So this passage suggests I have kept the law fully, not one little white lie or failing at all. Again, there is no condemnation. But as you study the commentaries and other messages on this passage, you will find people actually saying that this part refers to practical righteousness. In other words they are saying that God’s law will be obeyed completely. They concede that the battle royal still continues, but gradually the Christian manages by the Spirit’s help to avoid all sin. I am afraid I cannot agree with this interpretation. If they are saying when we are at home with Jesus, the law’s requirements will then be fully met in us, I would have to agree. But I don’t think Paul was saying that here.

If they suggest that as we concentrate more on the Spirit’s ways than the sways of the flesh, we will become more like Jesus, I have to agree with them. But “fully met”, and “accomplished” means the complete deal, and this will never happen this side of Glory.

I also believe the context argues against this Let me explain; Look at the LOUD version: Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [[b]subdued, overcame, [c]deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice],(B) 4So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us.

Jesus did a wonderful job of condemning sin. Whereas verse one tells us we are no longer under condemnation, this passage tells us sin IS. It is thoroughly condemned. He did it in two ways: 1. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh. Scripture tells us: 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are((Q) yet without sin. It’s interesting to know that Paul is not saying that Jesus was not truly human. He is saying Jesus was exactly like us, except for the sin factor. And it is by being the same as us yet without sin that he condemned sin. He was the only human that met fully the requirements of God’s law, and in so doing put sin in its place. He beat sin as one of us. The only one who could. The only one who would. And he didn’t do this to be an example to us. He did it so the righteous requirements of the Law could be fully met in us. He did it so his righteousness, his fully meeting the laws righteousness, could be credited to our account.

The joy of knowing not only that our sins are forgiven, but also that we have been credited with Jesus’ righteousness is the really really good news. Remember the story Jesus told of the man who cleaned his house of seven unclean spirits? They went, but he didn’t replace them with anything. So they went off and got their mates and came back and really took over. Not much point having our sins forgiven, if we don’t replace them with something: the real, perfect, all conquering, righteousness of the Lord Jesus Himself.
The second way Jesus condemned sin in the flesh is what we have all known and loved for years: and as an offering for sin, He bore our punishment. He was like the first goat who had all the sins of Israel figuratively placed on its head and led off into the wilderness to never be seen again. The glory of the cross will never be dimmed for the believer.

Personally, I believe a return to an understanding of how Jesus condemned sin in the flesh will empower the church like nothing else. If each of us could have an ongoing revelation deep in our soul that we face no condemnation, that the Father accepts us totally in Jesus and that we are fully qualified for our eternal inheritance, there would be no stopping us from taking the world.

So brothers and sisters, let’s not get caught up in discussions that have plagued Christians for centuries. let’s get caught up with Jesus and what he has done for us, let’s seek him with all our hearts, let’s study the Gospel until the Spirit reveals what it really means for the believer. Then the struggle of chapter 7 will give way to the release of Ch 8, and not because of what you did or didn’t do, but because of what our glorious lord Jesus did for us. Praise Him.

Keith

8 11 2009
Ade

Hi all,
I have been really enlightened and inspired by both the comments hat say christian do and don’t sin. I believe that we cannot be perfect here on earth but our righteous in in the one who paid an incredible price on the cross of Calvary.
Sin is real and seeks to separate us from the love of God…but nothing can do that if we’re in Christ Jesus. The guilt we feel after sin is 1) a result of what we have been told as young Christians, rightly or wrongly that we shoudl do certain this and 2) of our desire to live completely blameless lives for Jesus. God looks at the heart and ‘a broken and contrite spirit’ is what sets us apart from unbelievers and the fact that we have accepted Christ. It is therefore important to be able to have someone to confide in as James 5:16 says, we should confess to other believers this shames the devil, it also says pray for each other so you maybe healed. Yes it’s talking specifically about sickness, but the fervant and effective prayer of the righteous will not be cut short, so when we pray in the name of Jesus – there is power in that name – things happen, maybe not as immediatey as we would like that is where faith and trust come in.
I love the Lord and struggle with sin, and I know that he promised not to leave us comfortless and finding this website has changed my perception and I believe God has a specific plan for my life that I intend to seek out and fulfil as He gives me strength. God bless you all and I pray for the Holy spirit to stay in your heart, because all truth is reveal throught the Holy Spirit as Jesus told the disciples before he taken into heaven. I love to Jesus and bless you for not condemning me, but for saving me and paying such an awesome price for my sin. ‘For ALL (christians and non-christians) have sinned and FALL (continiuosly) short of the glory of God – Rom 3:23

12 08 2010
Harold

The slogan on that lady’s shirt is correct, although we don’t know the context she implies it though. 1John3:6-9 says Christians do not sin. And what sin is it? Verse 4 tells us i.e transgression of the law.
Many Christians don’t use God’s definitions given in the Bible hence many misunderstand it. Here, “sin” is transgression of the law of sin and death. Are Christians under this law or did Jesus fulfill this law on the cross for us? What does God say about the law for Christians? Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law Romans 8:2-4 Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 7:4 you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ
Colossians 2:14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross
Romans 3:19.20 we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law
1Timothy 1:9 the law is not made for a righteous person (I.E Christians), but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners
Romans 4:15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression. (i.e where no law is there is no sin).
So we see Christians do not sin as they are no longer under the law of sin and death. There are other definitions of sin such as unbelief, blasphemy etc and here Christians do not sin either.
I hope this is of help in your understanding why 1John3 says Christians do not sin.

13 08 2010
Donald B

While you are correct that Christians are no longer under the law, but under grace – you are wrong in stating that the lady’s shirt is correct. Simple answer … Christian’s DO sin! The difference is that as a Christian I am no longer judged by the law, but by the grace provided to me through Christ’s sacrifice. When I get angry and yell at my wife or kids, that is sin. When I lust, that is sin. When I procrastinate, that is sin. When I get impatient on the road with other drivers and yell, that is sin. And all the while, I am still a Christian. Why? Because God does not hold these sins against me BECAUSE of the sacrifice that Jesus paid. Just like Paul in Romans 7, “I do the things I don’t want to do, and I don’t do the things I want to do.”

In Romans 5, Paul speaks about how we are no longer bound by the law. And he begins Romans 6 with “What shall we do then? Continue in sin that grace may increase? By no means!” What Paul is teaching us is that although our sins will no longer be held against us, we should strive to live the way Jesus wants us to rather than continue to be slaves to sin. 1 John 3 is telling us that if we are Christians, sin will not be something that characterizes us. Rather, we will be doing all that we can to be faithful to Christ and avoiding sin.

1 John 1:8 says “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” John is writing to CHRISTIANS!!!

Bottom line – Christians still sin.

Summing it all up – Christians still sin, but we will not be judged under the law. Therefore, our sins are not being held against us. But if we continue to sin, we are going to be MISERABLE, and we will never accomplish the wonderful things God has for us, and we will miss out on His blessings.

Further reading – Galatians (discusses how we should live under grace and not the law), Hebrews (discusses how Jesus’ sacrifice paid our debt once and for all removing the need for annual sacrifices), Romans (especially 5 – 7 – discusses how we are no longer condemned as sinners because of Jesus’ sacrifice).

Ultimately, our real struggle is trying to understand how God can love us if we still sin – trying to understand why God would want to use us if we still sin – trying to understand how we can have a relationship with God if we still sin. The person who can come to understand that God loves us no matter what and will never let go of us (even if we sin) is the person who is beginning to understand what it means to be free from sin.

Go with God,
Donald

14 08 2010
Harold

Donald B thanks for your response.
I can see what your saying but we disagree on definitions of sin and in turn our understanding of scriptures. We should only use the definitions of “sin” God gave us in the Bible. When we use the definitions society uses, through tradition, then scriptures will be misunderstood. Using God’s definitions instead will explain why 1John3:6-9 says that Christians do not sin.

Sin = transgression of the law of sin and death 1John3:4. What the law says it says to those under it Rom3:19,20 .
Christians are set free from that law Rom8:2-4.
Where no law is there is no transgression (i.e “no sin”) Rom4:15.
This clearly shows that Christians do not “sin”, as defined by God.

If 1John1:8 allegedly says “Christians still sin” then that would contradict 1John3:6-9 which says they “do not sin”. But if you read 1John from the beginning you will see it is declaring life to those in darkness so that they too can have fellowship with believers in Christ. It is those in darkness (unbelievers) who are in sin and deceive themselves if they deny this.

Rom 6:2 “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” Remember to use God’s definition of sin here. So this verse then says, shall we still continue under the law and be transgressors? But we both know that Christians are no longer under the law. And when we read verse 2 it asks us HOW shall we that are DEAD TO SIN, live any longer in it? Verse 3 tells us that as Christians we were baptised into Jesus’ death. If Christians are dead then we are “FREED FROM SIN” Verse7. If we are “dead to sin” and “freed from sin” then, as God asks above, HOW can Christians sin (i.e transgress the law that Jesus set us free from)?

Rom 7 speaks of the flesh waring against the spirit and Paul thanks God for the deliverance through Christ. But this deliverance is spoken of in Rom7:4 “Ye are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another…” (Christ). And verse 6 “But now we are delivered from the law…” So Christians are “delivered” through Jesus Christ. The flesh is dead, we are now a new creature. It is no longer I that lives but Christ lives in me Gal2:20. So how can Christians “sin” (transgress the law Jesus set us free from) when we are now born of God 1John3:9?

By the way, I am not saying Christians can do no wrong. I aggree that those examples you gave are bad behaviours. But they are not “sin” as defined by God.

Other definitions of “sin” include UNBELIEF (John16:9) and blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Both of which Christians do not do.

Admittedly I also once used “sin” in the same traditional context as is commonly used in society. It also was difficult for me to accept 1John3:6-9 at first until I used God’s definitions of “sin” instead of mans. God gives us definitions in his word and its best we use them to correctly understand scripture. I hope this clears things up regarding 1John3:6-9.
Regards,
Harold

14 08 2010
Donald B

We do not disagree on the definition of sin. I agree that sin equals the transgression of the law. We disagree on whether Christians still sin.

They do. Jesus was very clear when he stated that he had not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill the law. The law still exists. We will simply not be judged by that law because of Christ’s sacrifice. And regardless of that knowledge … the law still exists – therefore, sin still exists. The law was put in to place so that we could know we sin. And thus, we would recognize our need for a Savior.

Paul states – twice – that everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial. This speaks to the fact that we are no longer under the law, therefore, free to do anything we want. But it also tells us that there are things we do that bring destruction. Those things are sin. If I as a Christian decide to have an adulterous affair, I can – and my relationship with Jesus remains unchanged. But the damage I have caused due to that sin will not be good.

If we aren’t careful, we may get to the point where we say “Christians no longer sin, therefore, whatever I do is not a sin, therefore, I can and will do anything I want to do.” This is the line of thinking the Gnostics took during the time of John and Paul.

Sin is real. Christians still sin. But when we stand before God in Heaven, we will not be judged by the law. Therefore, our sins are washed away because of Christ’s sacrifice.

Go with God,
Donald B

14 08 2010
Harold

Thank you Donald B for our time of sharing on God’s word.

I aggree with you that Jesus did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. He fulfilled the law on the cross for us and we are set free from it through his sacrifice. Christians were crucified with Christ and it is “no longer I that lives but Christ lives in me”. Unfortunately it’s at this point we differ in our application of the word “sin”.

I also aggree that Paul said “everything is permissible for me but not everything is beneficial”. You are right about the damage we can cause by doing the wrong things. King David is a good example with his adultery and murder. As we both know, God chastises us because He loves us, so we are not going to profit by doing wrong things.

Again, thanks for your time in sharing.

God bless,

Harold

7 10 2010
Bible Study

The scripture in 1 John that tells us he who is born of God doth not commit sin cannot be misinterpreted. It is plain and simple. Why do so many make it say something else or just ignore it? Well, Peter speaks of them. Peter tells us there are beguiling unstable souls who cannot cease from sin. When one cannot cease from sin, they seek to justify themselves in some way. Or at least I think this is what happens sometimes. However, the scripture in 1 John is clear. There are indeed other scriptures that seem to contradict it, but when understood correctly, they do not. Indeed this is the case and few there be that will cease from sin. The only way this is possible is through receiving the new nature of the son of God which destroys the old nature with it’s affections and lusts.

8 10 2010
Mary E. G. Preece

This is a struggle for me to understand and therefore I go day by day trusting in God that whatever mistakes I make that I will do my utmost to ask His forgiveness.
I used to believe with all my heart that Christians would not sin. Only after having seen my own family make mistakes that I would have called sin and compare them with the mistakes I have made myself and not calling them sin, have I come to realize that whatever is wrong is wrong and calling it mistakes does not make a difference.
Asking God’s forgiveness is the key. No we cannot just keep making the same mistakes over and over, we must learn from them and move up to God’s Word, but I believe if we are sincere in asking He will forgive and teach us.
Isn’t that what it is all about is to strive to get closer to God every day and learn of His Divine love. For His love is unlike no other love and if we yearn to know of His love then we will improve our lives and the way we live.
I love God so much and want only the true love of His life to show through me and learn from the things that I have done wrong in order to help someone else.
Mary

12 10 2010
Donald B

Just a reminder to all reading these posts. Comments deemed to be holier than thou or rude or hateful in any way will be removed. This is not a free for all.

For those of you who are struggling with sin in your life – EVEN AFTER BECOMING A CHRISTIAN – I hope you can find the answers you are looking for here. Christians do sin.

Examples:
- Paul in Romans 7
- Peter who needed to be confronted by Paul for ignoring the Gentiles
- Paul and/or Barnabas sinned somewhere in the break up over John Mark
- Me (and other Christians I know)

I’ve included myself and other Christians in the list not to equate myself with Paul or the other apostles, but just to point out that I still sin … and I am a Christian.

You will always interpret the Bible wrong if you take one verse and camp on it. Any study of the Word needs to include the entire Bible. And even some understanding of Greek and Hebrew at times.

Point is that none of us no anyone who doesn’t sin at one time or another. It happens … we fall. The problem is with those people who choose to continue to live in sin and never attempt to change. The Holy Spirit will convict in order to make us more like him.

Sin happens. That’s why we have 1 John 1:9.

Go with God,
Donald B

12 10 2010
Bible Study

I just disagree. The bible says a tree is known by his fruit. I agree we must not camp on one verse. I do agree that the scriptures must be in harmony. Romans 6 “how can we who are dead to sin continue therein?”. “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid”. “A good tree cannot bring forth corrupt fruit.” Not a good tree can bring forth only a little corrupt fruit. 1 John “he that sinneth is of the devil, he that doeth righteousness is of God”. “Let no man deceive you with vain words,for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience”. One thing is for sure, there is strong warning against sin in the bible regardless of how one may interpret these scriptures, as well as many others. Sin is not something that is to be taken lightly. Sin is serious. We have a duty to warn mankind to flee from wrath. I may not be “free” to speak on this blog, I may be i don’t know, but one thing is for sure, there are many other places that will allow me to express the scriptures and debate if necessary in order for all to see the truth, whether it be me or anyone else. WE all need the truth, whatever it may be. Regardless, scripture is not given for any private interpretation. If the bible says it, that settles it. Also, we cannot get hung up on one single scripture and find truth, but more importantly we cannot ignore any single scripture. They all must be in harmony. Regardless, I refuse to be silenced.

12 10 2010
Nelson

There is a famous story that Thomas Jefferson went through his Bible, cutting out the parts he didn’t like. Most of us find this abhorrent, but it’s easy to do something similar: focus on verses that we “like” and take them as being more important than verses we do “not like.: That is key to interpreting scripture, along with a sibling principle: scripture must be interpreted in context. The classic story on this is the fellow who opened the Bible randomly, stuck his finger down without looking, and hit “Judas went out and hanged himself.” Dissatisfied with the “advice”, the person flipped to another random place, jabbed his finger again, and landed on, “Go thou and do likewise.” I think all of us would agree that’s ridiculous, and further, that it tremendously pains the author of scripture. God, as well as each of us, hates to be quoted out of context, because we can appear to say almost anything when that occurs.

1 John 3 is a difficult passage, and has been argued over throughout Christian history. So I’m not going to be arrogant enough to suggest I have THE answer. But I suggest we look at it in context, and the larger context (below the whole Bible itself) begins with 1 John 1:1. This is a letter, written from beginning to end, with a purpose in mind.

John does make things complex early on because in 5-7 he speaks of the exclusivity of walking in darkness and light. I do think a key to these verses is John speaks of fellowship- our daily ongoing relationship, but not our eternal relationship. Humanly, my child will always be my child- that relationship is secure and cannot be changed. But if my child were to begin behaving badly, throwing tantrums, engaging in bad actions, clearly there would be no *fellowship* in our relationship. I think that’s what John has in mind.

Then in 1:8 he says very clearly, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” The great apostle John includes himself here- he sins, too (just like Paul says in Romans 7). *Some* scholars who have studied this believe that John is here directly addressing some heretical teachers that said it was possible not to sin. Regardless, this statement is pretty plain. I sin. You sin. The apostle John sins. This is the context, the “front end” of 1 John, and you cannot interpret anything that follows without taking it into account. And since we believe in the inerrancy, infallibility, etc., of scripture, we also believe that it cannot contradict itself. We might have trouble figuring it out because it *seems* to contradict itself- but that doesn’t mean it does. And we have no right to ignore or change parts that are hard to interpret.

Some doctrines (teachings) that you may have heard of are positional sanctification, progressive sanctification, and future sanctification. Sanctification is just a fancy word for being holy (BTW, being holy is bigger than just not sinning, it has to do with the character of God.) Positional sanctification has to do with relationship- at the point of salvation I am adopted (legal term) into a relationship with God as His child. That relationship is secure, it is eternal- nothing can separate even apostle Paul the sinner from the love of God; Romans 8:38,39 follows hard after Romans 7. This is sometimes called our standing before God, and a careful reading of Romans is that we stand before Him clothed in Christ’s righteousness.

But there is also progressive sanctification- the present process of growing in holiness now and the state of my “fellowship”, my current relationship with God. A healthy relationship is a growing one, which is why Peter commands us to “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Pt 3:18. One of the great mistakes we make is setting a standard of behavior as our goal- every church or group of Christians seems to have one. And if we can meet that standard (I call it a “facade of perfection”), we’re all right. We tend to ignore small cracks in the facade (like prayerlessness or failure to witness), and only get upset with big cracks (like immorality or getting arrested). What we ignore is that God’s standard is perfections- but He understands that in this life we will not attain it. But He expects us to strive for growth- and hence, the doctrine of progressive sanctification. When I really begin to worry about someone is not if they meet some arbitrary standard of holiness, but when they cease to grow over the long haul, when they cease to fight against sin.

And then there’s our future sanctification and glorification, when after death we are made like Christ. No more sin.

A good understand of this, and figuring out which aspect of sanctification a passage is talking about, will help us greatly in interpreting scripture.

Back to 1 John 3; it’s still a hard passage to interpret. Generally, mainstream Christianity has interpreted this along the lines of progressive sanctification. Is someone sincerely dealing with sin in their lives, striving to follow God in order to purify themselves? Or are they on an ongoing basis giving themselves over to sin. If the latter, they may not have a relationship with God at all. Is this a totally satisfying explanation? No. But it’s consistent with the rest of scripture.

And that brings up my final point. When scripture appears to contradict itself, a good rule of thumb is to a) go back to context b) ask what the preponderance of scripture teachers. We looked at the context, and the beginning of 1 John clearly teaches that we sin. Further, the preponderance of the NT teaches that even believers sin, and very few scriptures even appear to teach otherwise (and most of those, which interpreted in context, don’t teach sinlessness either)

There’s an author I’ve come to appreciate greatly by the name of Steve Brown; some of you may have heard him on the radio on the Key Life Network. One of Steve’s main points is that I’m a sinner, but God loves me anyway. Compared to God’s standard of holiness (just read Job, or think of Moses not being able to look at God), the best of us only get to about .1 on a scale of infinity. We need to get over our pride at the few sins we’ve conquered (only with His help, I might add) and our ignoring the vast sins of omission that besmirch our lives. He still loves us. And it pleases Him that we try to grow to be like His beautiful son, even when we aren’t very good at it.

Here’s something to ponder: only the truly deluded claim perfection in this life. Typically, sins and “mistakes” (or some other term) and treated as something different. But remember that God’s standard of righteousness is Jesus Christ- no less. Did Jesus make any mistakes? If you say yes, then he wasn’t perfect, was He. If you say no, then this standard of holiness that allows mistakes doesn’t measure up.

13 10 2010
Bible Study

He does tell us that if we say we have not sinned, we are liars and the truth is not in us. I always believed this true, we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. He also tells us that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. This is also true. Sin dwells in our flesh, but I believe we are supposed to deny the flesh and the sin in it. We are to walk after the spirit, against which there is no law. Where no law is, there is no transgression. Peter tells us we must suffer with Christ, and those who suffer in the flesh have ceased from sin. He also speaks of those who cannot cease from sin, calling them beguiling unstable souls. It appears to me we are expect to cease from sin. When we cease from something, it means we no longer do it. There are many scriptures that back up this truth, or at least the way I see it to be truth. I just believe the bible is clear that we are not to continue in sin, not great nor small, not few or many.

25 11 2010
Christian

Bible study, I agree, we must follow all scripture. The verse in 1 John that says if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves is talking to those who have not yet found Christ. This book tells us that he who sins is of the devil. How can that be taken out of context? Continue in truth and let others seek him for themselves, but they must cease from sin as you say.

2 12 2010
Bible Study Online

Thank you Christian.

2 12 2010
Nelson

I wish what “Christian” and “Bible Study Online” said was true, but contextually, 1 John is addressed to believers. That is the natural reading, and it is the historic reading by Biblical scholars. Look at the use of the word “we”, beginning in 1:2 and following down through 1:8 and following. Given the natural reading of the language, “we” includes the author. It can be applied to John thus: “If I claim to be without sin, I deceive myself and the truth is not in me.” The apostle John (or the author, if you believe it is someone else) is in effect saying he has/commits sin! So if you say that the “we” in verse 8 is addressed to unbelievers (those who have not yet found Christ), then you are saying the author is an unbeliever. This makes no sense whatsoever!

In fact, those who read the original language and understand the culture better than I do say that this section of scripture is written specifically to counter people of that day who say they did not sin.

This is a classic case of the difficulty of understanding *apparently* conflicting scriptural statements such as 1:8 (all sin, including Christians) and others such as 3:8 “he who sins is of the devil.” There is no doubt this is hard stuff to reconcile. However, one way is to understand the language of the 3:8 section in general as describing one’s “habitual behavior.” (unfortunately, when translating from the underlying Greek to English, this is not always easy or possible to write in English due to differences between the two).

To explain this, as an example, let’s imagine two “Christians” named Sue and Sally who struggle with the sin of stealing. Sue is remorseful afterwards, makes amends, memorizes scripture, and is in an accountability relationship with someone. Further, one can see spiritual growth in her life, including progress against this sin. On the other hand, Sally is remorseful only when caught, but generally not engaged in trying to honor God by dealing with the sin. In Sue’s case, one can see the work of the Holy Spirit in progressive sanctification; in Sally’s, there’s little evidence. Does this totally reconcile two seemingly opposite positions? No. But I think it works, and it is close to the historical understanding by those more competent students who hold to an inerrancy/evangelical position.

I also remind us all that the apostle Paul in Romans 7 and elsewhere confesses his own CURRENT sin. If Paul admits to sinning, who am I to say that I do not? I am so grateful for God’s ongoing forgiveness and grace. Oh, yes, and Peter addressed as “Satan” by Jesus.

2 12 2010
Donald B

Nelson,

Thank you for following up on this post. Your comments are very well written, and much more articulate than I could ever be. And … it just so happens that you and I seem to be in agreement on this concept.

To the others who have posted here … I thank you as well as it has provided a good debate on the subject.

The 2 things I know to be true:
1 – I am a Christian (and have been for 30 years now)
2 – I have sinned during that time.

I completely agree that we should strive to be sinless, but I don’t think we will ever do that perfectly until we are with God in heaven above.

Go with God,
Donald B

2 12 2010
Nelson

Donald,
You remind me that I ought to be clear: accepting that we will sin is not the same as accepting sin. We ought to hate sin in its every form.

One of the ways in our church we refer to ourselves is as the “imperfect church.” A major reason is that Christians in general confuse the desire to “live godly” with the desire to “look godly.” So we pretend, and we judge others. I believe scripture presents the church as a “spiritual medical facility” for Christians where we can come and *appropriately” get spiritual medicine for the sinful ills that beset us. But so often we are afraid to look bad or that we will be judged, so we don’t ask and get the spiritual help that we need. We’re often falling apart inside but put on a facade of perfection.

Two books that I have found very helpful in this regard: John Burke’s “No Perfect People Allowed: Creating a Come as you are culture in the church” covers exactly what it says. And Steve Brown’s, “An Outrageous Freedom” is a breath of fresh air on balancing our sinfulness with God’s grace. I commend it to all, but for those who struggle with guilt, Brown’s book is particularly freeing.

Thank you for providing this forum!

P. Nelson

4 12 2010
Harold

Hi Donald,

Reading the recent posts I thought I would raise some points for your consideration.

To explain away 1John3:6-9 with interpretations like “habitual” sin, causes problems such as the below.

1: Do we then discard Bible versions that say Christians “cannot sin”?

2: Those Christians who allegedly “habitually” sin are often described as NON-Christians due to their habitual/wilful sin.
Heb 10:26 is then often erroneously referred to, to support this view: “if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sin, But a certain fearful looking for of judgement…..that will devour the adversaries”.

3: At what point is a “sin”, “habitual” enough for a person to be excluded from God’s grace? As you know “sin is transgression of the law”. So, for example, do you keep the Sabbath or do you “habitually” and “wilfully” neglect it?

4: As the original Greek is referred to as the ultimate authority to “prove” the interpretation of “habitual” sin in 1John3, where does that leave God’s place in giving Christians understanding through the Spirit?

A reading of 1John Chapter 1, if taken in context, is talking to those in darkness. Note the words it uses. Verse 3 “That which we have seen and heard DECLARE we unto you, that ye also MAY HAVE FELLOWSHIP with us”. Again, verse 5, “DECLARE unto you”. It is DECLARING LIFE so that others MAY HAVE FELLOWSHIP with the Father also.

Verse 6 speaks in general “we” terms to those in darkness. “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in DARKNESS, we LIE and do not the truth”. Clearly not talking to Christians here. To say otherwise is out of context and requires an interpretation of “habitual” sin of 1John3:6-9 to avoid it appearing to be a contradiction. And remember this habitual sin doctrine then brings in other problems as listed above.

There is no doubt that Christians are still capable of doing bad things. Paul speaks of it Rom 7. He also says how it is through Christ that we are “DELIVERED from the body of this death”.
You know the scriptures:
Rom7:6 “NOW we are DELIVERED from the law”
Rom7:4 “you are DEAD to the law”
Rom6:7 “he that is DEAD is FREED from sin”
Rom4:15″Where NO LAW is, there is NO TRANSGRESSION” (sin).

Sin is transgression of the law, AND , “whatsoever things the law says it says to those UNDER THE LAW” Rom3:19. BUT, Christians are SET FREE from the law Rom8:2. We have been crucified with Christ. it is no longer I that lives but Christ lives in me Gal2:20. As Paul says, “henceforth know we no man after the flesh” 2Cor5:16. It is Christ in us that makes us righteous and in Him is NO SIN 1John3:5.

I share this for your consideration of what Jesus has done for us on the cross and how we should see Christ in ourselves and others instead of judging ourselves and other Christians as transgressors of the law.

Thanks for your time.

Harold

7 12 2010
Bible Study Online

We definitely know that those who do willfully sin are not God’s for there remains no sacrifice for them, this much is clear. If we love God, we must keep his commands according to 1 John.

7 12 2010
Donald B

This post has been argued to death … so, I’m cutting off any further comments. You can see everyone’s thoughts above. Maybe a post needs to be submitting defining sin. ;-)

Go with God,
Donald B




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