|We know from reading the Scriptures that Christ was without sin; there was no sin in His life. It was because of this fact that He was able to carry our sin to the cross so that we can have forgiveness. It was through the sinless life of Christ that it became possible that He was the perfect sacrifice. God would accept nothing less than a perfect sacrifice for our sin. Therefore, we can know with assurance that because of Christ's death on the cross we can have forgiveness of sin and look forward to life in eternity with our Heavenly Father.|
In our monograph titled "A Scriptural Look at Sin" I discussed the fact that we cannot overcome sin by ourselves. We can realize a victory over sin through the strength of Jesus Christ. But how should a Christian live in relation to sin?
I think it is clear in the Scriptures that we are expected to live a life apart from sin. Consider what Peter tells us in this passage, "For to this you were called, because Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 'Who committed no sin, Nor was guile found in His mouth'; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten; but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness - by whose stripes you were healed." (1 Peter 2:21-24) It is clear that we are to follow in His steps; we are to live a life free of sin to the best of our ability. When we fail to get rid of the sin in our lives, we are not able to live in harmony with the Word of God. Our relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit suffers because of it.
Let's explore a little further what happens to us when we become a Christian. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior we have a deep regret for the sin we have committed in times past. This regret and sorrow causes us to repent of those sins. "Repenting" is not merely saying that we are sorry for those sins. It is, on the other hand, a deep regret which causes us to change the way we live; to stop sinning!
The Bible speaks of this repenting as being "crucified" or as being "dead to sin." Consider these passages: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me..." (Galatians 2:20); "And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." (Galatians 5:24); "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Romans 6:1,2); "Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:11). Being "dead to sin" or being "crucified with Christ" is the same as saying that we have departed from sin, departed from a life of sinfulness. Paul says if quite well when he asks the question, "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" His response is emphatic; "Certainly not!" We, as Christian, need to recognize that if we are to live the kind of life which is pleasing to God, sin must not be a part of our lives.
Our Christian walk should be one which is apart from sin. The Scriptures refer to us as "new creatures" and says that we are walking in "newness of life." "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17) "Therefore we are buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:4) "Old things have passed away" - these "old things" are the sins which we committed while still outside of salvation. "Behold, all things have become new" - the "newness of life", the opportunity to live apart from sin.
Is this merely an opportunity to live a life of sinlessness. No! It is much more than that. It is also a command that we should live a life apart from sin. Consider these passages: "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:2); "Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." (2 Corinthians 7:1); "Abstain from every form of evil." (1 Thessalonians 5:22). These and other Scriptures clearly tell us that we are expected to live a life of holiness. We are expected to fight against sin in our lives and to win the victory over sin and the consequences that it has in our lives.
It may be a good idea here to revisit our monograph titled "A Scriptural Look at Sin." In that monograph I stated that it is impossible for us to live a life which is completely without sin. As John said, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1 John 1:8) Am I teaching contradictory doctrine here? Or worse yet, is the Bible? Absolutely not! We are called to righteousness and holiness. We are expected to live a life indicative of that righteousness. Were we capable of a sinless life we would be expected to live such. However, the admonitions above are given so that we can take control over sin and not have sin control us. In other words, as I said in the other monograph, we must have the victory over sin.
"Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13,14) We should do as Paul says. Forget the things of the past. This includes those sins of the past which we may look back on and remember the "fun" we had at that time. Let's forget those. It also includes those failures that we have had as Christians trying to overcome sin. I'm sure that each one of us can look back at failures; times when we let sin have the upper hand. WE need to forget those times as well. We should have learned from them, but let us not dwell in the failures.
Let us rather look to the future with boldness, knowing that with the strength of Christ and the Word of God on our side we can "press toward the goal for the prize."
Are we going to sin in the future? In all likelihood, yes. But John tells us this, "My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not ours only but also for the whole world." (1 John 2:1,2) If we are striving to overcome sin, and still sin, then Jesus will be our Advocate for us to the Father. Jesus substituted Himself for our sins.
On the other hand, if we do not strive to overcome sin but sin willfully, then there is no further sacrifice for those sins. "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins." (Hebrews 10:26)
Are we expected to live a life of sinlessness? No! Are we expected to live a life which is constantly fighting against sin in our lives, a life which is striving to overcome sin, a life which is pressing toward the goal? The answer is YES!
Finally, what should our attitude toward sin be? Is it just an irritation which we have to put up with? No, I think it is much more than that. We should have a deep hatred for sin of all sorts.
We are called to be like Christ. Well, He hated sin, and so should we. We should hate sin because our Lord and Savior does. But we should also hate sin because we can see what it does to ourselves, our loved ones and others as well. It destroys families and wrecks marriages. It causes people to become addicted to drugs and alcohol and thus destroy their lives. It causes distrust among people, even fellow Christians. It has caused America to change from a righteous nation to one wallowing in the mire of drug abuse, homosexuality, abortion on demand and a crime wave beyond compare. I do not really understand how the Christians in this nation can stand idly by and watch what is happening and not take a stand against sin, both in our own lives and the nation as well.
We should hate sin because we desire to do the will of God. Sin is in direct opposition to the will of God. Often times it is sin that keeps us from doing the will of God. Let us not give in to the temptations of sin, but rather strive earnestly to do the will of the Father.
Maltbie D. Babcock
August 3, 1858 - May 18, 1901)
We are not here to play, to dream, to drift;
We have hard work to do, and loads to lift;
Shun not the struggle - face it; 'tis God's gift.
Say not, "The days are evil. Who's to blame?"
And fold the hands and acquiesce - oh shame!
Stand up, speak out, and bravely in God's name.
It matters not how deep entrenched the wrong,
How hard the battle goes, the day how long;
Faint not - fight on! To-morrow comes the song.
All Scriptures quoted are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.
About the Author
Stephen Kingery is an author, preacher, teacher and founder of The Home Bible Study Institute.
Visit our site at http://www.james1-22.org
Permission to use is granted if attributed to author and his website.
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