The Sinless Life?
How to read 1 John 3:6
When the Holy Spirit came into your life the change in you was like night and day.
It’s like you were given a heart transplant.
Your old heart, which was captive to desires of the flesh and enslaved to sin, was replaced with a new heart with new desires and appetites. Your new heart beats with new passions and they are the passions of the Holy Spirit.
Which is why John can say things like this:
No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. (1 John 3:6)
Before I understood what was new about me, I used to look at verses like this sideways.
“No one keeps on sinning?! John, have you lost touch with reality?”
In a manner of speaking I think this is exactly what happened. John understood that there is no comparison between the old life we had in Adam and the new life we have in Christ.
Sinning is characteristic of Adam’s nature, not Christ’s. For us, sinning is a part of that old reality that died with Christ on the cross.
“Paul, are you saying we won’t ever sin? Now you’re starting to sound like you’ve lost touch with reality.”
Maybe I have. Maybe I have traded the flawed and false reality of my old life for the better and truer reality of his.
A promise, not a threat
So what is John talking about when he says no one who lives in him keeps on sinning? There are two ways to read this.
Those schooled in the sticks and carrots of the old covenant interpret these words as a threat. “If you want to remain in him and stay saved, you had better stop sinning. Don’t be deceived. God is holy and intolerant of sin. Slip up and you’re outta here!”
What an awful distortion of God’s unconditional love.
Can you imagine being married to someone who threatened to kick you out every time you made a mistake? You would be an emotional wreck. You would walk on eggshells for fear of upsetting your hyper-sensitive and ungracious partner.
Come to think of it, this is exactly how many Christians live. Since they don’t know what makes the new covenant new, they are filled with performance anxiety. They are ever fearful of enraging a temperamental God.
Look to the cross. If God loved you enough to die for you when you were a sinner, he surely loves you now.
He didn’t stop loving you after you got saved and he will never kick you out. Your union with the Lord is not conditional on your behavior. In case we had forgotten this, John gives us a reminder:
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. (1 John 4:15)
God abides, he dwells, he stays.
The moment you acknowledged Jesus as Lord, he moved into your life and he will never leave.
John’s remarks about not sinning should not be read as a threat but promise. He is describing the new life that we have in Christ.
Jesus never sinned and he never will. If you let him live his life through you, then without any conscious effort on your part you’re going to start talking and walking just like sinless Jesus.
It’s inevitable. Live with someone long enough and you begin to resemble that person in manner and thought.
Sonful, not sinful
I am not saying your behavior will attain a level of sinless perfection this side of eternity. I am saying that living in fellowship with the sinless Son produces desires in us that are informed by his righteous nature.
You are Sonful, not sinful. This is how John explains it:
No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. (1 John 3:9)
This is not about your performance but your pedigree.
Look at that verse again. Three times John refers to your parentage; born of God, God’s seed, born of God. John is trying to tell us that while Adam breeds sinners, God does not. This comes out clearly in the Message Bible:
People conceived and brought into life by God don’t make a practice of sin. How could they? God’s seed is deep within them, making them who they are. It’s not in the nature of the God-begotten to practice and parade sin. (1 John 3:9, MSG)
Origin determines destination. In your old life you followed in the faithless footsteps of your father Adam. You walked after the desires of the flesh because they were the only desires you had.
But you have been taken out of Adam and placed into Christ. You have become a partaker of his divine nature.
The evidence of this is the new desires and new ambitions you now have. As far as sinning goes, you are just not that interested anymore.
Sure, you still have the capacity to sin. But you don’t enjoy it like you used to. Sinning makes you miserable because you know who your Father is, and when you know who your Father is (not a sinner), then you know who you are (not a sinner).
In the next verse John adds,
This is how we know who the children of God are. (1 John 3:10)
Who are the children of God?
It is those who practice righteousness, not because they have to, but because they carry the righteous DNA of their righteous Father. You don’t practice righteousness to become righteous but because you are righteous.
You are a righteous branch on a righteous vine doing what comes naturally.
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good one… I need to hear this everyday!!!
Paul, love it! “Who are the children of God?
It is those who practice righteousness, not because they have to, but because they carry the righteous DNA of their righteous Father.”
Occasionally, I will hear someone say believers are “positionally righteous”. What that often means is that God sees us as righteous even though we are not. Therefore, we will basically keep sinning and God will keep on forgiving, all the while pretending we are righteous.
Thank you for clarifying that those born of God have a righteous nature! It is not that we have a mere legal right standing with God, but that our nature is to be like our Father, who always does what is right.
I hate that phrase, positionally righteous. One with the Lord, we are as righteous as he is. He is the root and we are the branches. “If the root is holy (and righteous), so are the branches” (Rom 11:16).
Indeed our righteousness is not just IMPUTED but also IMPARTED
If we sin. What? We have an advocate.Right. We have access to God. Right. If we confess our sin He is faithful to forgive us.Right. I remember getting saved & going home to read Gospel of John. So excited to know more of Jesus. I grabbed a beer & cigarette and started reading. My life did not change over night. I still fornicated but as I learned I stopped and met the womano my life of 35 yrs. At a bible study. Our engagement was short. Thank God.
Amen Paul! I gotta tell you. I have been challenged lately on this very thing. When you tell people that they have a new heart and a new nature and no longer have a sin nature, it seems all you-know-what breaks loose. I’ve been told that I can not just look and read and behold Jesus alone because that’s not practical….that I have both the nature of sin and the nature of God in my body (which the capacity to choose sinful acts is in our body, but not our spirit), that I can’t go around talking about being righteous because that means I don’t believe I sin anymore etc. Even pastors say these things, but I am comforted to know that our covenant says God will teach each of His children to know Him. He will unveil the truth. People seem to equate Jesus coming in grace and truth as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They are saying the truth is the bad things about you and the good things about you. I am so grateful to hear my husband’s voice say, “I am the truth that will be unveiled to you……I am the truth that you will be found in……I am the truth. Reminds me of Pilate saying “What is truth?” The truth is a WHO!!!! So grateful for the Spirit making these posts by your hand so that we all with unveiled faces can be transformed in His image from glory to glory! Thank you Lord Jesus for my brother Paul and all the saints!!! Beware of the dogs of the law…. a little leaven, leavens the whole lump.
Quick question….what comes to your heart and mind when someone tells you that we have to be balanced with grace and we have “our” part to do and God does His part? Throwing it out to all the hyper gracers out there!
We definitely have a part to play. Our part is to trust in the Lord, to live from the confident persuasion that he who began the good work will carry it on until completion. That’s actually in the Bible (Php 1:6) but all those who prefer dead works will scoff at such “laziness.” They have yet to learn that there is no greater labor or striving than entering and remaining in the place of rest. Abiding in the vine does not come easily to the natural man. When all is going wrong, the great temptation is to slide back into dead works, to take Biblical principles and apply them with all the vigor of a Pharisee. “I will fix this. I will make it right.” Except you won’t. Sometimes it’s hard to stay in the place of trust.
I love it when J Prince says, “Our part is to know we have no part!” We aren’t doing the work….He is and will continue to manifest His life in our mortal bodies. And Jesus told the crowds following him in John 6:29, Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
Our work is to believe…..to trust…..to be fully persuaded and do not allow yourself to be put under a yoke of bondage. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. I am re-hearing all of this in a wonderful book by Dan Stone/David Gregory called “The Rest of the Gospel: When the partial gospel has worn you out”. If you haven’t read it, pick it up.
Question Alert: Paul, I keep running into discussion as it relates to the believer’s identity of “Now, but not yet” theology. Many of the scriptures used to bring “balance” to grace are ones like John 1:14 describing Jesus coming full of grace and truth. The reference here to truth concerns both the right and wrong things we do or that are in the world. Much like Jesus spoke to the woman at the well when he mentioned that she had 5 husbands and lived with another man now.
What do you believe about balancing the gospel of grace and the “Now, but not yet” principle of the believer’s identity?
I am studying this out as well and spending time with the Spirit on it, so I’ll let you know what comes up as well.
Grace and peace, brother!
Do you mean those discussions that say we are “positionally holy” as opposed to actually holy and that sanctification is progressive? Those discussions diminish the cross, rob the believer of their true identity, and are usually used to promote dead works. So to answer your question, “not much”.
“As He is, so also are we in this world.” (1 Jn 4:17)
“You don’t practice righteousness to become righteous but because you are righteous.”
What an awesome statement of truth that makes life so much more enjoyable. FREEDOM!
It took me over 40 years but it sure is good to be eating from the Tree of Life instead of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
It took me about that long too, Keith. Glad to get there in the end, though.
It has taken me shorter time to grasp this truth because of you Paul and Andrew Wommack. Thank you for remaining consistent in the message of grace. It’s so hidden. But once someone helps you see it, you can see it in every verse of the Bible.
Thanks James. I don’t think the message of grace is hidden as much as we tend to read the Bible through decades of carnal conditioning. The flesh craves rules and principles so that it can get to work fixing us. We have to unlearn those habits, renew our minds, and learn to walk in the new way of the spirit. But yes, it can take time.
I literally just got into a huge debate at the church my bible study is being held at because I held fast to the fact that in Christ we are not sinners last week. They thought I was crazy, even though I quoted 1 John to them. Basically, I was saying this over and over, In Christ, you sin no more. He really took care of all your sins on the cross. You are a new person. Wow! They did NOT like that! It made me grieve for the church, but then articles like this confirming what I said, keep popping up everywhere to me this week. The old person has died, the new person has come!
About that Church Bible study reply: I’ve often found that Bible study is only allowed insofar as the ‘students’ agree with the line of the ‘teacher’. Any ideas deviating from the intended learning objective is pushed out and ignored. Trouble is, most of the group are often so indoctrinated that they go along with this suppression of hte Truth.
I don’t go to Bible studies like that. 😉
I was a once asked to co-present a bible study on discipleship and suggested material aimed at growing in grace. The group leader’s suggestion, which was accepted, was Grudem’s Systematic Theology. Needless to say I was out of there in a flash as I could see where that was heading.
Ya righteousness will flow out of us since we are made righteous by faith in Christ—- not that we are doing right things to become righteous. Wonderful. Thank you so much brother for sharing.
hmm… and even if he doesn’t “clean up my life” as I might like him to… that’s ok. that’s his choice, too… I’m going to keep submitting all things to him and keep obeying him, whatever he says… whatever he does will be victorious! maybe he’ll lead me to crucifixion! but that leads to resurrection… we can’t lose! we get HIM!
To live is CHRIST
But he has “cleaned you up”. as you keep focussing on that alone, you will see the fruit of unrighteousness beliefs falling off you by themselves!
Grace can only be understood completely when grace has entered our heart. Have you ever listened to a historian talk about Jesus? He/She can only do so from a historical point of view. For someone who knows Jesus it is a very superficial understanding of Him. It’s the same thing with a law based person trying to talk about grace or criticize those who have a relationship with grace.
In my reflection no one has ever been kinder to share, to emphasize the gospel of God’s grace as effectively as I have felt in your ministry. You have spent quality time at the very life line to help humanity pause along our busy lives going nowhere, if, without a firm and vital grasp on the grace of God, which brings the nourishment of that heavenly bread to the very heart of needy humanity.
Pray for me that I will abound in God’s marvelous grace exactly as I should. I see covert as well as overt manifestations of disgrace around me, which is one sad reality; for it can affect the spirit of the person who is getting free from that old misunderstanding.
I read about what you stated when signing up to be a supporter of this ministry of grace: to see or not to see grace among the faces of disgrace and legalistic wretchedness. When we see and understand God’s grace it makes a difference in everything. When we don’t see GRACE, life could be disastrous.
I see the need therefore, to add a vital aspect to this ministry, PRAYER, for everyone to see for himself/herself the true meaning and understanding of grace; to be spiritually enlightened that the light of this gracious truth may shine from one person’s life to the next. I need that prayer myself. And I need to pray for others. Pray for me.
This is great thank you!
This is a fantastic post and a timely reminder. Thank you Paul. This articulates so well with thoughts I’ve been wrestling with.
Amen! And another insight into this is that john 16 tells us what sin is, simply the refusal to believe in Jesus. This helped me understand what John was saying here, since it’s impolitely for you to not believe, once you’ve believed!
Thank you, Paul, for such a great post. I have recently been studying this very subject especially in connection with the spirit, soul & body concept (I Thes 5:23). My best understanding is that when a person gets born again God creates a brand new spirit (II Cor 5:17), a perfect spirit, for the (perfect) Holy Spirit to reside in. That spirit is about the same shape as the physical body and is as perfect as Jesus, including every inch of His love, joy, peace, etc., and many other attributes. Even if I sin (miss the mark) my spirit, which is my new identity or new nature, remains totally righteous & united with the Lord (I Cor 6:17, I John 4:17). At the new birth my soul is unchanged but over time should get renewed (Romans 12:2) as I (hopefully) live out of my new spiritual nature rather than out of my senses (Romans 8:6). It took me many years even to arrive at this basic understanding. One of my frustrations in reading Christian literature is the failure to distinguish the sin of missing the mark from the sin of separation from God which affects the whole human race until one by one we get born again.
I like what was written here. I always like your take on things Paul as it is always grace-based and with New Covenant thinking..
I would like to add that the 1 John 3:6 and verse 9 as well as 1 John 5:18 is in the present tense in Greek which means that a sin that is done now is in the present tense. Whenever we sin it is always in the present. I think some translations didn’t know what to do with these verses and added “continually or habitually” sin because they knew that every Christian has sinned after coming to Christ and will sin in some form in the future.
I believe these scriptures are talking about the new creation in Christ that is joined to Christ as one spirit cannot sin. It is the deeds of the body that we give in to when we yield ourselves to the flesh to do “it’s” desires.
The more we see who we are in Christ – the more His life is manifested outwardly to reflect our true selves in Christ. We are the walking letters to those who are saved and unsaved. That’s why we are to put o Christ so that He will be glorified in us and seen by people in the world for who He really is.
Paul, you ask, “Can you imagine being married to someone who threatened to kick you out every time you made a mistake?” No, but I have worked for someone who threatened to fire me every time I made a mistake. And you are right. I was “an emotional wreck,” “walk[ing] on eggshells,” “filled with performance anxiety,” and “ever fearful of enraging a temperamental” boss. So glad my gracious God is in no way like that!
This teaching us so full of the life if God and live of the Father. Thank you for the words of life!
Thanks Mr Paul may God bless u
This is such a hard thing for us to get into our heads. We have been taught so long through the religious church system that we need to do something, we need to have a bahavior modification based on our actions to be pleasing to God. We forget that through Jesus we have been made righteous and holy. It is not by our strength or our doing but by what Christ has done and provided for us. Thanks for this article pointing out this fact.
I Currently believe that the understanding of “born again” is questionable, based on the double meaning of the Greek word “born”= to bring forth OR “to beget” ie the mother’s role vs the father”s role
The Jewish understanding of “knew ” is that of begetting…”and Adam knew his wife, and she conceived and brought forth a son….” Later Jesus says. ” Depart from me you wicked, I never knew you…” Nicodemus heard Jesus say “born again” and he took it to mean the mother’s role based on his response…BUT EVERY SEED REPRODUCES AFTER ITS OWN KIND….NEED I SAY MORE?
Neil, in Canada
Hey Paul. I have a hard time understanding things. I’m a little worried about stuff with God and things. Please bear with me.
Those things about not practicing sin stuff kinda scares me. Remember, I have a hard time understanding things.
I believe that Jesus is God’s Son. What I’m struggling is that I think i am refusing to change, to not let God do what he wants. Refusing to stop sinning I think. And that refusing to let God do stuff for me, I don’t believe. I believe God is good and has the best for me, it’s that I don’t think I am willing to accept it or willfully receive it.
anlther thing that bugs me. That if I refuse God in certain parts of my life, I may be blasphemy the Holy Spirit. Also that I am looking for an excuse to continue to sin. That with intentions of wanting to do wrong is evidence that I am not saved, or have a new heart or desires.
Remember I have a hard time understanding things. What are your thoughts, Paul?
Ryan, which Jesus are you trusting? Baby Jesus who was born to die. That’s good news but not good enough. Is it Teacher Jesus who was kind and friendly to sinners. That’s good news but it’s not good enough. Is it crucified Jesus. That’s certainly good news but a dead savior saves no one. Is it the Risen Jesus. That’s good news! And that’s good enough.
You may reject Jesus, but Jesus has accepted you. He’s on the thrown and he’s through with sin. He’s coming back for those who trust him, not for sinless self-righteous (but he hugged them on the cross.) Look up the post “Which Jesus are you Trusting?” in the search box. Know also that saints before you have struggled with blasphemy. Did you know that Jesus is forever defending you in heaven? You have no need to worry about the Father’s love for you. Your righteousness is always before him. Sin has consequences, and it grieves the Holy Spirit, but He will never break your heart. It’s YOU he cares about.
Thank you. By the way, I accidently typed the wrong name. I was thinking about something else when I was typing this and put in Ryan instead of my middle name.
“They should call it sin-day, not sun-day.” There are so many great tools here that you can use. but in the end whether you sin like a sinner or flee like a pharisee, you’re not enjoying yourself. Jesus loves you. Period.
I love that.
Jesus loves you!
Ryan, Paul E. quoted 1 John 3:6, regarding the sin issue and rightly so, as this is “trade mark” of a Christian. But the most important part of that verse is; “… who lives in him”. If you sin, its not the sin that’s the problem (the wages of sin is still death) but the real problem is that of “faith”. See, its by grace, Through faith, that we then can, “live in him”! So, don’t pick and chose these, as you say; “…certain parts of my life,… “! Believing in Christ is an all or nothing proposition! So, stand on the sure “foundation of God” for if you name the name of Christ, then depart from sin, 2 Tim. 2:19. Ware this “trade mark” on your sleeves, as this shows one a Child of God and not a child of the sinful one, 1 John 3:10. Any other life would be deceitful, 1 John 3:7. Bottom line, your either a Christian or your not
Roshan layed it out pretty good, huh! Sure. So, the best place to start is change your confession of having hard time understanding to just, I believe. For whosoever believes will be saved! That’s you Ryan. “,,,Stand fast in the faith, be bold like men, and be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13.
If you look at sin mathematically then sin is an equation , Sin is the transgression of the law , so (Law + Transgretiin of law = Sin) The law is only for those under the law ( unsaved ) . Galatians 3:24-25 KJV
 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
The law is the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ after which we are no longer under it (law) Therefore removing the law voids the sin equation in the same way removing a 30mph speed limit sign , the Transgretiin exists , 50mph, but does not produce sin , for where there is no law there is no sin, Rom 5-13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.)
Therefore “we cannot sin” because the law is removed , our transgretions simply do not produce sin ! But we don’t drive at 50mph Simply because the 30mph sign is removed , we drive at 30 mph because we know it pleases out father !
Thank you Paul.Â Tonight at Bible, being that it is Halloween.Â Â This isÂ “All Hallowed Eve,” Â a time to celebrate being God’s saints, who ain’t zombies! our grace take and what we’ll share about tonight – We all holy in our Jesus as you say so well!Â Â I copied out your article on Are there levels of judgment article, which includesÂ your Â comment that there are no zombies in the Kingdom.Â I put together that article with another about the servant beatings in the Scriptures-NOT, article with this.Â Â And we’ll sing a song that my sister Jackie wrote about the feelings of being haunted by the old “dead man” we each sometimes deal with, and how Jesus settles that lie for us, and has given us His direction to send him back to the grave where he belongs, as in the Ro 6:11 glory truth we can stand in!Â Â Just wanted to share with you about the night we’ll be having tonight and how you’ll be there by His Wisdom shinings through you!Â Â I wrote up a article I forgot about and in it had mentioned zombies too, I just discovered when I went to find the little sound wave I did on this song.Â It is attach in that article I just found in the email I attach with both in here for you.Â And the song updates.Â Â I pray this will be some of Bread cast upon the waters come back to be some blessing to you today!Â Â Â Love in our Graced Life and Love Jesus, Lynn
Listening to Andrew Wommack just now for the past few days. Realize sometimes we struggle because we focus on the fear or the anger or whatever instead of the Word. It’s true we are healed here. and then we are inspired or compelled to share. but just because we are seeming foolish or sick in that endeavor, we are still clean because of the word. When you decide to believe by faith through grace, you can get going Christward without fear of man! Specifically the word of His grace, as Joseph Prince explains. Stay positive in Christ, and give cheerfully without necessity!
Choosing pure grace, LIFE, … Jesus who is the life.
I don’t have new desires or appetites. The very first paragraph in this article tells me that I’m not saved. For whatever reason, no matter how much I try to believe and ask God to save me, it doesn’t take.
Do you think an unsaved person would worry about this sort of stuff?
I don’t know. I can’t rest on that because I just don’t know.
All I have is the halting conviction that God’s justice is satisfied by Christ, that He’s propitiated. That’s all the faith I have is to know that.
Rob, I think you are just a victim of bad teaching as I was and as most of us have been. Our Father, who is full of grace and love; who is the source of all grace and love. The most loving and graceful Father we could ever imagine and even more than that. He would not turn you away on a technicality. You have expressed your will to accept His gift and that’s all He needs. His has a burning desire for all people to accept His gift. The only thing that could stop it is the free will He has given us. Just rest in His goodness, His faithfulness, His completed work, and His life in you. That’s all there is. When you rest in these things, the fruit you are fretting over will manifest without effort. Grace and peace to you.
In the first paragraph of this post it says, “Your old heart, which was captive to desires of the flesh and enslaved to sin, was replaced with a new heart with new desires and appetites.”
That is not true of me. That has never been true of me no matter how much I seek, implore, etc.
Rob I agree with LJP, do yourself a huge favour and get God’s Astounding Opinion of You by Ralph Harris
Rob, if you have the latest, greatest iPad and try to run it on iOS 1, you’re not going to enjoy the benefits it is capable of. Our old operating system was willpower and our new OS is Life. Jesus said, “he who abides in Me bears much fruit”. Abiding in the Vine involves putting self effort to rest and allowing His life to operate. That “allowing” is based on belief or trust. So if you are unsure of His goodness, His faithfulness, or His completed work ask Him to teach you. Wherever we seem to lack, He doesn’t seek to condemn, He seeks to provide.
Rob, I just wanted to clarify that I’m not saying fruit has anything to do with determining whether you are saved. I’m actually hoping you will agree that the two are separate. I believe you are saved and I was hoping l could encourage you to enjoy the benefits that you said you haven’t experienced yet. Blessings
Rob I have learned that if we go by sensations and feelings we stay stuck in the web satan wants us in. It might be that you are not saved but the remedy for that and reassurance that you are saved are found out using the same method. (Please forgive me if this ends up exceeding the comment word limit)
Test yourself. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says that we will know that Jesus is in us unless we discover we are not saved after all. Happily by our testing we can get saved. It is a win-win no matter what you end up discovering. But how will testing help if we are not saved? Won’t we just get depressed all over again? No because we are not going to test ourselves by our feelings, lifestyle/behaviors or even if we have Christian looking “fruit”. We are going straight the truths of God’s word.
First Romans 10:9-10. What does it say there saves a person? Believing and saying that Jesus is God and that He was raised from the dead. Nothing more nothing less. John 3:18 adds that if you believe in Jesus you are no longer under condemnation. Yeah but what is faith? A conviction that what you have heard/read is the truth. It is not a feeling or a behavior. You don’t ask beg or try to get saved. You either are convicted by the truth or you are not. This is salvation unto eternal life. Even when you do not feel like it or look like it this truth is true for you. The next step is to fill your mind with the other bible truths regarding salvation, sin, life changes and have faith that they too are true even thought they do not feel-look like it yet. You can choose to stand on the truth despite feelings and appearances or you can choose what you see and feel.
Rob, my heart goes out to you. I like what you said: “All I have is the halting conviction that God’s justice is satisfied by Christ, that He’s propitiated. That’s all the faith I have is to know that.” I think the key word here is faith. You have faith that Christ is the satisfactory sacrifice (propitiation). That is great. He did that because He loves you (John 3:16). The faith that you have came by hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17).
The faith for anything else, like assurance for salvation comes the same way. Faith is our connection to the truth. If we are feeding our souls on bad teaching or lies (like we are not saved or not good enough), then it will contradict the work of faith in us. I recommend speaking God’s word out loud and listening to grace filled gospel messages so that faith will come.
I am speaking from years of experience as I have gone through many trials where I could not rely on feelings or what I saw in the natural world. Declaring God’s word helped to bring faith and combat the resistance to God’s life giving truths (whether that resistance be from the enemy or the flesh). The more the truth saturates us, the more the lies have to leave.
I pray that God would give you revelation of who He is and who you are in Him, according to Ephesians 1:17-20.
Thank you all for the helpful comments. I will go over them a few times to grok your thoughts. Still, when I read things like Paul said in his post, about how faith in Christ will bring “new desires and appetites;” I can’t help but to be discouraged, since my walk is so unlike what a christian’s should be. I realize that the New Testament indicates that real virtue comes not from self-will but from the experience of grace, but mine is a brutal conscience, probably with OCD figuring in. I don’t do well in life, I can’t handle stress without lashing out at people and at God.
I am grateful to God for you. I too once battled OCD tendencies and perfectionism and performance anxiety. It is apart of my flesh pattern and I deal with the temptations toward it from time to time. A counselor once told me that:
Appearance + Performance = Acceptance
This is the equation of the world system. And we all have to detox from that equation in this life continually. The Lord tells us to renew our minds daily. This is the wisdom from the Spirit for Jesus to tell his children that we are not of this world. We are in it but not of it. So I have divorced myself from this system and this equation.
The new way….new equation is:
Jesus’ appearance + Jesus’ performance = Acceptance in the Beloved
You are accepted, deeply loved, abundantly favored and given new mercies every morning on account of the One who died to give you His abundant life. We get the blessing of looking away from ourselves and away from all the other voices both in our heads and outside of ourselves to Jesus. He is the author of the faith you spoke of as a “halting recognition that He is the propitiation of your sins”. And He is also the finisher of that faith. That’s His promise to you. He will finish in you what he started. Outside of time, He already has. The more you hear this (faith comes by hearing), the more you will experience it and see what He’s already done in you.
You are a precious son of God. Receive that your Father sings over you and says, “Rob is my beloved son and I am well pleased with him.” Just as you are. Right in this moment.
“As Jesus is so are we in this world.”
Glad we are on the journey together friend and I am thankful to call you brother.
Grace and Peace to you in our Lord Jesus.
Sozo is a Greek word meaning salvation, which is many faceted. Peter brought forth this in one verse, by unction of the Spirit when he wrote :”Who (Jesus) his own self bare our sin’s on his own body, on the tree that we being dead to sin’s should live unto righteousness by whose strips you were healed”. That’s saving of our souls and healing together, as Sozo implies. So, believe the full range of this work of God on the cross (Psalm 103:3), as his blood has no limit to one that believes all things 1 Corinthians 13:7. God came for, I don’t do well in life, kind of folks. Just up yours, mine and the rest of us, ally.
Just as brother Long said; “faith is our connection to the truth”. and the truth shall make you free!
But I just can’t get past what Paul said in this post: “Your old heart, which was captive to desires of the flesh and enslaved to sin, was replaced with a new heart with new desires and appetites. Your new heart beats with new passions and they are the passions of the Holy Spirit.” That’s not true of me. That’s never been true of me. I have read the above responses, but I know that nothing will change for me; it just doesn’t take. The best I can do is hope that I don’t go to hell. The gospel promises “peace and joy;” “rest for your souls;” “abundant life;” etc. I have experienced none of those. Ever.
I won’t push this further because I’ve already run it into the ground, but I wanted to have my say about it. The Good News has been more a torment to me.
Check out this book Undoing Depression by Richard O’Connor. It is not a Christian book but it will help you see why your mental processes seem stuck, un-renewed and without new passions. It has nothing to do with a faulty gospel but with harmful patterns our brains have developed to protect ourselves from emotional trauma and stresses and how to heal your brain and it’s responses. The only reason I dare to suggest something so different is that your pain sounds a lot like mine a few years ago. What the bible and gospel said did not match my reality. God seemed mythical and out of touch despite my years of trying to learn and live the correct things.
“it just doesn’t take”, maybe because you have not took, Jesus as your savior. 2 Corinthians 5:17 speaks of this “new heart” Paul referred too. It’s the work of Gods Holy Spirit.
You said it, “nothing will change for me”. This does not line up with scripture and all salvation is is confession, Romans 10”9,10. Confessing that in fact, Jesus is Lord. So, what you need to do is, a Romans 10:9,10 and a John 3:16 . If you truly believe, this is the question. Even Paul admonished 2 Corinthians 13:5, to both examine and prove to our selves that Jesus is in our hearts.
Philip said to the eunuch when he asked to be baptized, “If you believe with all your heart you may.” And he replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Acts 8:37. We are justified and made “peaceful”,children of God, by faith, Romans 5:1. So, come to faith by this confession and hold on to it through, giving attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 1 Timothy 4:13.
The only scripture that speaks of this torment you have is Matthew 18:34,35. It’s a result of forgiving not every one of their trespasses ! I only mention this because you did. But hay, just release these trespasses that ‘you may’ be holding on to. It is not hard to do when you think of the trespasses we have already been forgiven! Thanks
Thanks Rob, I was hoping something I said would resonate in your heart, but I realize you don’t really know me or anyone on this site. Please realize that nothing anyone says and nothing you read will have any effect unless you believe it. So just go to the great teacher, Himself. If you look to Him to persuade your heart of His truth, He will surely do it. The actual, undiluted Good News will not involve any torment.
Thank you all for your replies. I’ll leave this alone now.
Enjoyed this post and hope Rob will be helped,though I don’t think convincing one that they have no sin nature will prove helpful (concerning believers).I believe that believers do still have the sin nature. To me, much that is written to believers would be non-sensical or completely unnecessary,if we no longer had a sin nature,but only the new nature.Why would we be told to not be conformed to this world,to live by the Spirit,keep in step with the Spirit,to put on the armor of God,to let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus,love one another deeply,not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good,etc.,etc.,?All that would not be needed if there was no longer a sin nature and only the new nature.We would automatically be doing those things. Also if we no longer have a sin nature once we receive Christ,and then we sin….wouldn’t we be re-aquiring one,falling just as Adam did? Not trying to be argumentative and appreciate others view that is different than mine. John commented on” positional righteous”,and how that basically is just us sinning,God forgiving over and over,all the while pretending to be righteous.I do not view it in that negative light at all. I believe christians understanding their positions in Christ is the key to spiritual living,not playing a game of make believe where we fail over and over.I think law-living,works/flesh energized ministry is due to lack of understanding of the believers positions in Christ.The more we comprehend who we are in Him,the less we will sin,but I don’t feel our sin nature was eradicated and that it helps anyone to think that.
Very good lay out of truth, as we are to take the whole council of God. But You missed one of the, “why would we be told”, when speaking of, ”…if we no longer had a sin nature, but only the new nature”. This being important as, both Paul and John “told” us we are; “to sin not”, 1 Corinthians 15:34 and 1 John 2:1.
We that name the name of Christ, are certainty to have this, that we are dead to sin, Romans 6:2 and 1 peter 2:24, but alive to righteousness, if one is to comprehend who we are in Him. We are dead with him, crucified with Christ, nevertheless we live (in this sin nature flesh) yet it is not us but Christ who lives, and that by faith. Colossians 2:20. And “as Christ is so are we in this world”, it makes since, Peter saying, follow in Christ steps, “who did no sin” 1 Peter 2:21,22, we too are to do, no sin.
Interestingly, why are we told to do all these (following His step), if indeed we cannot achieve them? I contend that God knows, that we are more than able to, through His Spirit!
But, we must, like clothing, put off the old, and put on Christ, Romans 13:11-14.
“Put him on as Lord to rule us, as him to save us, and in both as Christ, anointed and appointed by the Father to this, “ruling saving” work.
“Wherefore, beloved, seeing that you look for such things, ‘be diligent’ that you may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” 2 Peter 3:14.
I understand you said you were going to leave it but if you do return I feel I have something helpful to contribute.
I just want you to know that I and I am sure many have faced what you are facing – you are not alone.
The temptation with some of us is to look within for some sort of inner feeling as evidence that God has loved us, accepted us and indeed saved us.
Now the Word of God is true, irespective of feelings / emotions / or voices in our minds. It is Eternally true, spoken by God who cannot lie. Now if our mind / emotions and feelings don’t line up with the Word, that just means that they are deceiving us and trying to keep us from the knowledge of our Wonderful, Glorious, Loving, Forever Merciful Father, God Almighty.
So when the Son of God Yeshua (Jesus) says that :
“Whomever believes in me has Everlasting life” – TRUTH
“No-one can come to me, unless the Father (God) enables them.” -TRUTH
“I will never turn away anyone who comes to me” – TRUTH
“Whomever believes in me, believes in the one who sent me (GOD – the Father) and I will raise them up on the last day (eternal life)” – TRUTH
“I am the ressurection and the Life – Whomever believes in me, even though he dies, he will still have life.” -TRUTH
Thoughts, Feelings, emotions, fears, anxieties, guilt can all decieve us and make us feel condemned and fearful. Well, I want to tell you that nothing in all of Creation can keep you from the love of the Father through Jesus Christ. NOTHING!!! – not even you.
None of these negative things actually tell one where their relationship with God is at. If you believe in Jesus Words and believe in Him as your Saviour – You are saved my friend!!! you can take that to the bank.
Thats not all, The Holy Spirit will come into you and will witness to Your spirit that you are His child and are Saved for eternity. You are in Christ from that moment on and are forever joined to Him! Hallelujah!!
Paul, I am struggling with the idea that being declared holy by grace and consciously keeping God’s law are necessarily opposed to one another. There can be debate about the idea of positional righteousness (from my point of view), but even if a Christian is fully holy right here and now, having been declared so by faith / grace, doesn’t that mean the same thing as he keeps God’s law right now? Isn’t holiness essentially the keeping of God’s law, whether it is kept on the basis of grace or something else?
When a believer gets a new heart, doesn’t that mean he has a heart that wants to keep God’s law? When a believer is given new desires, what are those desires for? Would he desire to commit adultery or dishonor his parents? Wouldn’t his new desire rather be to keep God’s law, since God’s law is so intrinsic to God’s very being and character, and since the purpose of salvation is to make a person holy for the glory of God?
Your wrote: “If you let him live his life through you, then without any conscious effort on your part you’re going to start talking and walking just like sinless Jesus. It’s inevitable. Live with someone long enough and you begin to resemble that person in manner and thought.” I strongly agree with this statement. However, is it necessary to refrain from “conscious effort”? Why would it be wrong on the basis of absolute free and full grace to consciously keep the law? Resembling Jesus means keeping the law (the law is eternally intertwined with his character and being). Why, then, would it be anti-grace to strive to keep the law? Remember, this would not be an effort to be saved. We agree that justification happens only by grace. But this conscious keeping of God’s law would be on the basis of already-obtained grace.
For example, why is wrong on the basis of grace for me to consciously avoid committing adultery? Why should I not remember that God has law against adultery? Why would striving to obey that command post-salvation somehow nullify full and free grace?
Though so much of what you say resonates with me (God’s grace is absolutely overwhelming and wondrous and it does alone function to save and change the human soul), it seems that the pitting of law against grace makes God out to be almost schizophrenic. In a courageous effort to combat religiosity and legalism, which I highly commend, is it possible that you’ve thrown out the baby with the bathwater?
Hi Jason, thanks for your comment. As Paul says repeatedly in his epistles, the law is good but we are not to live under it. The law serves an important purpose in inflaming and empowering sin, which is why he calls it a ministry of death. Grace and law are like hot and cold – both good, but mix them and you’ll get the benefits of neither.
An illustration will help. Do you love your wife? Of course you do. On what basis do you live the life of a loving husband? Do you spend conscious time each week consulting a book of marriage rules? Do you spend 30 minutes a day saying “I must not commit adultery?” Do you write this law on your forehead and gatepost? I hope not!
A healthy relationship is born in love-giving not law-keeping. Love your wife and you will keep the law effortlessly, indeed, without even knowing what the law may be. But put yourself under law and you will stir up sin. You will make promises to yourself, strive to obey (ie: walk in the flesh) and the result will be total failure (Rom 7:22-24). You will minister death instead of life to your marriage.
Define obedience or holiness in terms of law-keeping and you’ll set yourself up for failure and inferior life. The abundant life Christ offers is so much more than this. Be blessed!
All true about the law, but then why do we encounter these sign’s from Paul, John and Peter, “do this, don’t do that, cant you read the sign?” Did they miss something?
For instance, on loving the wife Paul say’s “Husbands love your wife” Ephesians 5:25 and Colossians 3:19, then on sin Paul say’s “sin not and depart from it” 1 Corinthians 15:34 and 1 Timothy 2:19.
We may not be Defining obedience or holiness in terms of law-keeping, but certainly in instruction in righteousness Titus 2:11,12. Any resemblance between them is strictly only coincidental, as we surely do not “work” our own righteousness. But when one comes to faith, one must work (do) righteousness, 1 John 3:7. Really cant see how it can, somehow, “nullify full and free grace”! Thanks
Exhortations, not laws-that-must-be-obeyed.
Sin not refers to unbelief , ie believing you have sinned when you have not ! Sin under the old covenant was acting in a way contrary to what God wanted you to do. God removed the law therefore the act does not produce sin as law + transgretions of law = sin , driving at 40 mph where there is a 30mph sign = sin. However do the same thing but take away the 30 mph sign and it’s no longer sin , we are freed from the law of sin and death . Now we are in a new covenant were faith is required instead of law , so believing your act has produced sin when we are no longer under law is unbelief and is doubting what Jesus has done . That which is not of faith is sin ! Doubt is sin to the new covenant in the same way breaking the law is sin to the old covenant ! He that is born of God ( faith ) sinneth not because his seed remain etc in him . (Seed of faith by which we are born again , were saved by faith ) it’s not telling us not to sin , it’s telling us we can’t produce sin with our actions as the 30mph sign is gone , we cannot sin . That’s why the sin of unbelief is the only one the father can’t forgive ! Therefore sin not !
Harry; If we “can not produce sin with our actions”, then what is 2 Timothy 2:19 saying? Sin is unrighteousness, as unrighteousness is just doing actions (deeds) which are not right.
Its revealing that one can be having faith in Christ (naming his name) and be departing from sin, both at the same time! Well, He can not be calling sin here, just, doubt! Paul here is making a point, If you are a believer (having faith), you must, while believing (in faith), depart from sin! As does John, in the same manor (1 John 2:1), speaking to believers (in faith), to “sin not”.. Showing what he said in 1 John 3:9 NIV, (as u mentioned in another translation) that “No one who is born of God will “continue to sin,..” Meaning they wont “practice sin” and that , “if any man sin…: “, showing, again, there can be “if” moments of weakness.
There are “consequences” for such acts, or more accurately, for “not departing” from such actions, as this obscure short scripture notes, “be sure your sin will find you out”. Numbers 32:23.
True, it may not be spiritual death, but is for sure physical death, 1 Corinthians 5:5, for, as Paul called it, “this deed” (this action?), verse 3. This, “deed”, sure sounds a lot like, “adultery”!
And there is also faults, which are to be confessed, why?, “so as to be healed” James 5:16, warding off, “consequences”, that have devastated many a Christian, “physical life”.
I sure am glad for Paul E. and for his gracious allowing for dialog,
Thanks for responding Paul, and for your thoughtful response. Nice illustration from marriage. I guess I’m still confused because when Jesus summarizes the greatest law, he does it in terms of love. To love God and to love neighbor IS what it means to keep the law. My point is that it seems loving my wife effortless is really nothing more or less than keeping marriage rules in a relational way, heart-felt way.
We agree on much (I reiterate). Scripture is clear that flesh-fueled effort (dead works) to keep the law leads nowhere except condemnation. But the point I want to make is that loving and trusting Christ shouldn’t be pitted against a desire to keep his law. I just don’t see the necessary (hot/cold) conflict….
The more I ponder, the more I appreciate the “hyper-grace” movement for its strong and positive correction against legalism. But also the more I think the baby is being tossed out with the backwater (sorry to cliche again). Correcting an abusive use of God’s law does not require the belief that God’s law (i.e., the Ten Commandments) has no positive role to play in a believers life. I may not have to be conscious of keeping “marriage rules” in relation to my wife, however, I still need to keep those rules. They are still in effect.
“The Law is good, if one uses it lawfully” and its lawful use is for the “those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners,” etc (1 Tim 1:8-9). To apply the law to those who have died to the law is to resurrect your old man and commit spiritual adultery (Romans 7). We died to the law so that we might live for Christ (Gal 2:19). You simply cannot trust Jesus’s law-keeping performance and your own law-keeping performance – it’s one or the other.
Is the law holy, righteous, and good? Absolutely. Does it serve an important purpose? It does. Does it play a positive role in the believer’s life? Absolutely not.
Just what is the difference between the heart and the spirit? How are they separated? How can you support with verses that we are given a new heart plus a new spirit? Are we 1. soul, our emotions, feelings & will 2.Heart 3. Spirit. 4.Body.
Just where is the heart? Where is our spirit?
When we die, what exactly lives on?
In the beginning God created mans body out of the ground, (possibly red clay) as Adam, it seems, mean’s red. And adamah means, red clay. But, then God breathed into this body and man “became a living soul”. So, we are a spirit, and we live in a body, and those two are called a soul. That’s why an air plane Captain counts his passenger’s as, “souls” and rightly so. The soul consists of the mind (which includes the conscience), the will and the emotions. The soul and the spirit are mysteriously tied together and make up what the Scriptures call the “heart.” The spirit is what becomes new instantly 1 Corinthians 5:17, but the soul is renewed day by day, 3 John 1:2. Thus depicting the dividing of soul and spirit in Hebrews 4:12. So, when we die our spirit and soul return, in a new glorified body. Hope this helps,
I came across the following in an amazon book review, which I was struck by, as I’d never thought of this kind of distinction before: “In Jesus we have forgiveness of sins. We receive the mercy, love and compassion of God. We might call this Justification, or imputed righteousness. It’s real and it’s biblical. And this is the Grace the author knows and talks about.
But God’s Grace comes in another form. We might call this Regeneration, or imparted righteousness. God does not only forgive us for our sin, he stops the sin. He changes us so that we no longer sin. And here is the kicker. YOU NEVER GET ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER. if the person hasn’t been changed, they haven’t been forgiven either. No regeneration means no justification.” Be interested to hear people’s thoughts on this!
Well, true, without a corresponding “change”, there may not be a “regeneration”. Such as happened in the Welsh revival, 1900. There was such a change that the “pit pony’s” (Coal mining town) could not understand the workers, as they were no longer harsh and cursing, but now gentle and curseless. 2 Corinthian 5:17.
John said there is a manifest (observable) difference between the Child of God and a child of the devil, as the Child of God does righteousness to show the righteous position taken “through faith” (Ephesians 2:8) in Christ and even as Christ, 1 John 3:7.
As “justified” merely means, “Just as if I’d” never sinned, so if you are truly in this position, you would not continue in sin to sully or disgrace this position.
Now, on the other, it does not mean we cant ever sin, as John said “If a man sin, we have an advocate….” 1 John 2:1. Note he said, “if”, not “when”. Great difference and bears the truth’s in 1 John 3:6- 10.
Hello Paul, could you please explain to me 1 john 3:14-15 ? It is really about that christian cant hate never..? i think it is impossible..
Check out this article for my response.
Thanks so much Pastor Paul. Your work is such a tremendous blessing. Someone quoted Acts 24:15-16 as a testament against eternal security. As a believer in eternal security, please what is the true meaning of this verse sir? Thank you sir
The Acts 24:15 and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.
The Acts 24:16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.
Who are “these men”? Paul is referring to his Jewish accusers in his trial before Felix (see Acts 24:1). The Jews had falsely accused Paul of being a lawbreaker and desecrating the temple (verses 5-13). Paul challenges their accusations and says he and they worship the same God (vv.14-15). Then he says he strives to keep his conscience clean. What did he mean?
It meant he was not a law-breaker. This is the only interpretation that would’ve made sense to a religious Jew. And Paul wasn’t a law-breaker. But nor was he a law-keeper in any religious sense. We know Paul as the apostle of grace, the one who said “You are not under law” (Rom 6:14-15).
So what’s really going on here? Has Paul flip-flopped under pressure? Is he saying we must work hard to keep the law and avoid sin in order to be counted righteous on the day of resurrection? No, he’s being as shrewd as a serpent (Matt 10:16). He doesn’t wish to antagonize his Jewish brothers so he looks for common ground. “We worship the same God and believe in the same resurrection.”
But as for keeping his conscience clean, only the blood of Jesus can do that (Heb 10:22). If we want to know exactly how Paul held onto a good conscience, we need to read what he says elsewhere, starting with this.
I luv the msg version there Paul..,People conceived & brought into life by God dont practice sin. how cd they? 2 Me this brings out a picture that now that we have new hearts beating after new desires, we no longer focus on attaining mastery in sinning…, ive heard this saying alot that”practice makes perfect” so we no longer seek 2 attain perfection in sinning, bt each time we do sin we r left in wonder at how we cd do such a thing bse our hearts desires r now changed & we cant continue sinning since we dnt practice sin… thanks alot paul & i love u so much.
Many Christians do not even realize what happened to them when they truly believed and received the eternal gospel. How many times have you heard a Christian call themselves a sinner? By saying this, they don’t understand that they have been born of holy seed. God’s offspring are holy. Peter said, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides forever.” (1 Pet 1:23) Can God’s seed be corrupted? Peter says it is incorruptible. If God’s word says you are a new creation then why do we still say we are sinners? Even Theologians change God’s word in First John because they dare not accept that we have been made righteous beings. John said, “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.” Theologians use the words “do not practice” instead of simply “does not”. However, they can’t even see that that would contradict the verse. The verse continues to say that whoever is born of God cannot sin period! God’s seed remains in us! We don’t lose the Holy seed and then have to become new again. We don’t turn into sinners and then need to become new creatures again every time a sin is committed. They say it means we sin but we don’t sin as a practice…
Good word, but John said (to believers); “”…if any man sin we have an advocate, Christ Jesus.” 1 John 2:1 and Paul said (to believers) “Awake to righteousness and sin not.” 1 Corinthians 15:34. True, we are saints, as Paul used that term over 55 times to describe us. We were sinners, as “While we were yet (still) sinners Christ died for us” Romans 5:8, but thankfully no more, as he also said; “How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer there in.” Romans 6:1. No, new creatures can sin, as we still have the old nature ready to rear its headship, but Peter said we are now “…partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:4. But, we must take the “escape” route, as it is very available! But thank God, “we have an advocate”!
Remember; “…God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape…” 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Paul, it’s hard to believe this is true. I check my thoughts. No way. I see what everyone is saying here, but I check my mind and then see my actions. It’s dreadful. Every positive comment you make or any grace preacher makes I believe. Then when everything goes bad, I feel like blaming you for being overly “inspired” and trying to infect me. Stop peaking beneath the surface and seeing our sins. It’s like you don’t care and your putting us under law.
There is a problem I don’t understand. If we could have been informed by a righteous nature and not paraded sin, then why did we feel compeled do it? Actually never mind. Don’t tell me. I am walling when I should be wondering at the greatness of our Father. I adore your manner of speaking. And I just again read Who’s Your Daddy after about year. God is that good? I didn’t know. Thank you.
Hello Paul, Or anyone else that can help me,
I am “new” to this whole grace gospel which is kind of sad because I have been a Christian for 6 years and the separation of grace and law has not clicked until a couple days ago. I was thanking God thinking I finally had it down only to get slightly confused again. Can you please explain what is meant by the fact that a Christian might not be a real Christian if they are willfully continuing in sin? I am confused because to see if we are sinning we must compare it to the law and under that we are all continuing in sin. Pride, selfishness, greediness…. I know things get better with Jesus but still I don’t get the distinction between some sinning “once in awhile” but not really wanting to vs someone who is willfully in sin. I am sllowwwlllyyy coming out from under the law, but then by these guidelines if I go 1 mph over the speed limit I am willfully continuing in sin and may not be a true Christian yet I know I am. Also the fact that we need to point out sins or even throw someone out of church if they are willfully sinning. I know it uses examples like a man sleeping with his dads wife but truly what is the difference between that and someone who keeps lying? Shouldn’t we all be kicked out of church by this thinking. Anyone have a definition for sin because if it is falling short of God we are all consistently in it? What is the difference between someone continuing in homosexuality vs someone who is thinking of themselves a little too much? Where are we getting what is a sin and what is not? We shouldn’t accept sin you say. Yet we eat pork so I am just confused where our list of sins that we shouldn’t condone are coming from. I hope this is clear for anyone to help me.
The more I know about Jesus and how much he loves me, the less I think about sin. If you are sin conscious – and it appears you are – the remedy is not to discuss sin but to look to Jesus. The rules cannot help us overcome sin. Indeed, the law helps sin overcome us. If you would be free from this confusion, change the channel. Make Jesus your occupation. Find out what he did for you and what you can now do because of that. May grace and peace be yours in abundance.
Thank you for these replies. Yes clearly I am trying to “fix” the problem with more of the problem. It’s funny how “risky” grace is. Dang it I’m just going to take the leap. Now I understand what it means to trust Jesus.
And should you end up in the worst place of all, a work-based situation or church. You need primarily remember this: God loves you with an unfailing love. With Him on your side (he is on your side) you cannot fail. Almighty God is for you.
Jenny; “can one be a real Christian if they are willfully continuing in sin?” John answered this 1 John 3:6-8, saying; if one continues in sin, such a one never knew him (never a real Christian). Basically; Jesus came to destroy the devils work, and sin is the “by product” of following this entity. Conversely, keeping ones self unspotted from this world (James 1:27) and sin, is “by product” of following Jesus, (making Him your occupation, as per Paul E.)
“For this you know with certainty (or at least you should), that no immoral or impure person or covetous (greedy) man, who is an idolater (worshiper of something or someone other than God), has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” Ephesians 5:5. That is why there is ; 1 John 3:3, 5:18, James 1:27, and Titus 2:12.
What is definition of sin?, sin is anything that’s not of faith (Romans 14:23), speaking of eating, but still a truth, across the board, since the H.S. work is to convince (convict) of sin, trust He will do it! Jesus had no need of being convinced (John 8:46) Which of you convinces me of sin? As he had none (Hebrews 4:15, 1 Peter 2:22), and so, if we follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21), in reality, neither should we. Yet “if” we do, we have an advocate, 1 John 2:1.
(there is a difference between the Holy Spirit convincing us and the enemy condemning us.)
Bottom line, Ephesians 5:8.
Hello and happy new year! I too am like Jenny and am new here. Thank you for all of the great posts. I had the same sorts of questions as her. I don’t think you answered ( or I didn’t understand) the answer to the question” what do you do with verses about putting people out for sin etc. if nobody really is in ” habitual sin” because they are declared righteous, then who are these people the Bible talks about? To me, the guy who continually lies to his wife or cheats on her all the time would be a willful sinner. Habitual. Not trying to be better. Or ” fake trying” for appearances sake. Is he not saved or is he righteous but sinning? This is very confusing to me. Like if everybody is not a sinner then nobody is a sinner.
Thanks in advance for any help!
Hi Angie. Happy New Year and welcome to E2R. I’m glad you’re here. I generally don’t “put anybody out for sin” because I am not a pastor. I am a father and when my kids sin I’m certainly tempted to put them out, but I usually resist that temptation. And when I sin I’m glad they resist the temptation to put me out too.
Seriously, my usual response to sin is to preach the gospel – I remind people of their identity in Christ. Those who habitually sin are walking after the old way of the flesh. They are not living in their true identity. The guy who habitually lies to his wife is destroying himself and his marriage. How do we change that? We don’t! Only the Holy Spirit can change a man’s heart. So what is our part? Should we shun him? Perhaps stone him? Fourteen centuries of the old covenant proves that punishment never works. Rules and coercion may restrain the behavior but they leave the sin root untouched. Only the grace of God can empower us to say no to ungodliness.
Jesus commissioned us to preach the good news. That’s it. I would rather be Son-focused than sin-focused. I’ve been sin-focused and that way lies no freedom at all.
Thank you. I too believe only the spirit can change someone. So what do you do with 1 Cor. 5 and Paul’s direction to the believers there? Sorry I didn’t reference that before.
You can find my take on that passage in the Archives > Scripture Index. Thanks.
Thank you. That is a great way to organize things. And thank you for the other resources. 🙂 Here’s where I’m at after reading through some of it. I agree only God changes someone. It seems that the person habitually sinning and harming someone else is saying no to Godliness and the loving thing to do is is give him the law (your ref. 1 cor. 5:5) When there is harm against another, this also protects and shows love to the one he is harming/abusing by protecting them. And protecting the body from the “yeast”. Am I on the right track here?
Thank you so much sir… Appreciate your labor in the word…
“Born” in Greek means1)the father’s role, planting the seed into a willing partner
2)the mother’s role, receiving the seed willingly, and bringing it to term, when conceived
3) the midwife’s role(OT Hebrew),coming alongside the parent-to-be,counselling and caring TIL the delivery, and beyond(THE HOLY SPIRIT ‘S ROLE?)
This is the “born again “ process
Note that when the seed is planted,every seed reproduces after its own kind….impossible to plant beans and get peas…meditate on this!
This is the gospel. More grace be multiplied to you
Hi Paul, I’m a bit confused on the point being made in this article (as well as the descriptions for this verse and 1 John 3:9 on your Grace Commentary website). To clear things up, are you saying that a Christian will no longer continue in/habitually sin because they now have God’s new nature? And with that, when you said
“You don’t practice righteousness to become righteous but because you are righteous”,
do you mean that a true Christian will be practicing righteousness and not sin because that is proof they are born again? The same thing I am confused with in the commentary on 1 John 3:9, is it meant that sinning is not in God’s nature, and that when we do act like our old natures we just aren’t acting in line like how we should? Or is it something deeper, that a person who practices sin isn’t actually a Christian? What about people who don’t have new desires? Is their lack of new desires proof they are not saved?
To put the question much more simpler, is it possible for a genuine believer to habitually continue in sin after they have been saved?
Apologies for the jumbled questions, I’m afraid I don’t understand your position on this verse(s).
The more you get to know Jesus, the less attractive sin becomes.
Would it be safe to say then that when someone neglects Him the opposite would be true?
Remember there is a difference between stumbling and practicing. People can practice righteousness and stumble from time to time. That’s why it’s called practice. People who practice sin are not simply stumbling. It is their way of life. I no longer desire to live the way I used to, but I am tempted from time to time. It doesn’t have the same power over me that it once did. The more I grow in my relationship with Jesus (knowing Him and knowing my identity), the less I desire to do things I shouldn’t. Romans 2:4 in action..
Correct, but what about the people who want to fully practice sin and use God’s grace like that? Is such a person saved?
It’s not up to us to decide who is saved and who isn’t – that’s the Lord’s business. But someone who chooses to walk in darkness and remain in the prison of sin is probably unacquainted with the freedom that Jesus brings.
Right, there is difference between a practice and a stubble, of sin. As the words speaks to this very clearly in 1 John 3:6; “Whosoever abides in him sins not: whosoever sins has not seen him, neither known him.” For it is for this very reason, “you know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” 1 John 3:5. So, without the abiding part, it would be a practice, more than a stumble! “For without me (Jesus said) you can do nothing” John 15:5. Should also answer Thomas’s question; “is it possible for a genuine believer to habitually continue in sin after they have been saved?” As only those who are abiding (growing in relationship with Jesus) would be considered genuine, . Thanks
Ah, you mean as in most likely unsaved, or not spiritually mature? Sorry for the misunderstanding.