Are You a Living In Grace?

Ephesian 2:8

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God

If you are a fellow believer then you too are Living In Grace that is built upon the firm foundation of Christ our Savior. I pray that what is written here will glorify Christ and edify His body, the Church.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2 Can Christians Sin? The Answer

1 John 1:8
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

There is a pernicious doctrine making its rounds over the Internet and through our churches today called sinless perfectionism.  Sinless Perfectionism quickly defined is:
The belief that once saved someone can and does obtain perfection in this life since they are " in Christ " and they are a " new creation ".  It is the belief that one has arrived at the destination of ultimate glorification and believers are completely and wholly free from sin.

One of the most frequently used texts to promote this doctrine is 1 John 3:4-10,

4Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
 5And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
 6Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
 7Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
 8He 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.
 9Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
 10In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
One of the main texts used to promote this doctrine is 1 John 3:4-10,

They seemingly forget that to practice sin, to live in sin, and to willfully ignore the commands of God is not synonymous with to the accumulation of dirt from our journey.  Let me try and be perfectly clear here, all sin is an affront to the Holiness of God and should never be excused, reasoned away, or ignored.  It should, however, be confessed and repented of which brings about the forgiveness of God in the believer's life.

How can we read 1 John 3 without remembering that it is not a stand alone chapter but is preceded by others?  We read in 1 John 1:8-10,
8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Please don't forget 1 John 2:1 either:
1My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

We also must take into consideration Hebrews 12 where the discipline of the believers is expounded upon.  If there was no sin ( missing the mark, transgression ) there would be no need for the Lord to chasten those He loves, but He does chasten us therefore we are not yet perfect.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 3:11-13 that some of those he was writing to had works consisting of wood, hay, and stubble.  These works were not necessarily sinful but they were less than perfect ( as all our efforts are ) before a Holy God and they are to be burned up.  We must also bear in mind that all sin is not a wrong act ( sin is by nature within us ) but the failure to do what is right ( James 4:17 ).  How often have you deliberately not done what you knew to be good?  Please do not answer as this is not a confessional and I already know the answer in general terms.

Remember some of the heroes of the Faith? David, who was called a man after God's own heart, sinned grievously.  Peter, the outspoken Apostle, sinned and the episode is recounted by Paul in Galatians 2:11-12. 

Paul tells of his personal struggle with the sin nature in Romans 7. 
15For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
 16If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
 17Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
 18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
 19For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
 20Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
 21I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
 22For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
 23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
 24O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

We must remember that Paul is writing in the presence tense and that he stated that his inner man delighted in the Law of God.  No where in Scripture that I know of does it say that an unregenerate sinner delights in God's Law.  Paul clearly in Romans 1-3 describes the state of humanity ( both Jew and Gentile ) as being shut up under sin and apart from God.  So in light of that Romans 7 appears to be speaking of Paul in his post conversion state.

Paul was also looking forward to both his and all believers ultimate glorification at the return of Christ.  Read 1 Corinthians 15:20 through the end of the chapter and see where there is still death until HIS return and at His return death and the grave will be finally and completely defeated.  We have not yet attained  what we will ultimately be but by the grace of God will who believe will get there.

Brethren, as King James would say, we are most definitely positionally sanctified and we have been declared righteous by the imputation of Christ's perfection to us.  However, we are practically still in this world and as such we must deal with the dirt and decay that sin has wrought upon all of creation.  We must never underestimate the depths of human depravity and the extent to which sin has affected us.  I, like Paul, thank God through my Savior Jesus Christ that HE has and is still delivering me from this wretched man that I am.


stephen porter said...

Nothing to add but an Amen.

Luther@Living In Grace said...

Thanks Stephen. I pray you have a blessed evening

A Living Stone

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