10 Sep Why do Christians Still Sin ?
We will get to Sin in the lives of Christians but first it’s important to make sure the foundations of what we believe in are secure and reinforced through scripture, not culture or tradition.
What is Grace ?
The short and sweet way to remember this is : Mercy, not Merit.
“ In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of His grace “ Ephesians 1:7
“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast” Ephesians 2:9-10
So we begin to see a theme. It is a gift from God that we did not earn, and that we do not deserve. But the Good News or Gospel is that God in His Infinite Wisdom and Love, treats us better than we deserve by adopting us as His sons and daughters through Christ.
“But when the kindness of God our Saviour and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, “ Titus 3:4-7
Christianity is not a Self-Improvement Course to make you a better person, because this leads to Pride. God produces all the acts, we are the actors, and His Spirit accomplishes His Will through us, His Willing Vessels. But the focus is never on Self. We are called to Forget Self, Embrace the Cross of Suffering, and Follow Jesus.
Michael Horton writes, “In grace, God gives nothing less than Himself. Grace, then, is not a third thing or substance mediating between God and sinners, but is Jesus Christ in redeeming action.”
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Romans 6:1-2
Paul also gives us a clear understanding that the Grace of God is not a license for Sin, but true repentance and salvation should be marked by a daily dying to our old self and it’s ways, and a rebirth into the New Man, free from Sin and Death.
Here is an another question then:
“ How many sins does it take to be a sinner ?
Zero! You are a sinner by nature because of being In Adam.
Sin has a corrupting and disrupting effect on all creation, and we can see it in ourselves and our choices, but also in the natural world of disasters, famine, and disease.
This was not part of of God’s original plan for creation, but as we will see, He is already at work restoring and reconciling that which was once lost.
Therefore, just as through one man, sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned ” Romans 5:12
Ok, here’s another question then:
How many righteous things do we need to do become Righteous ?
Zero! You are made Righteous by Being In Christ.
“For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5: 17
Hopefully now you can see, it is not about what you do, it is about who you are in.
In Adam = Spiritual Death
In Christ = Spiritual Life
In the world we are told, we do in order to be.
But God is telling us, We Are and What We Do will flow from our identity.
Our works are not a means to salvation, only Faith can do that. The works are evidence of our new identity and the indwelling Spirit Acting through us.
Lets keep going with this little QnA we have here:
Are we justified (declared or made righteous in the sight of God) by Faith or by works?
“ Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ ” Romans 5:1
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death” Romans 8:1-2
No Condemnation In Christ. It does not say there is no Condemnation In Christ … if you don’t Sin. He knew you would struggle with sin, that is why He is our advocate defending us from the Accuser before the Throne of Grace. The key in that sentence is “struggle with sin”. We need to fight against the flesh and put to death the deeds of the flesh one decision and moment at a time.
That brings us to our next point, and it’s an important one. The amazing online apologetics ministry CARM, really helped me come to a better understanding of this, and highly recommend their site as a resource for all sincere believers of Jesus and seekers of Truth.
Does the bible contradict itself when it comes to Whether a True Christian can Sin?
Yes, he can sin
- 1 John 1:8-10
- “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” (NASB)
No, he cannot sin
- 1 John 3:9,
“No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (NASB)
- 1 John 5:18,
“We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him.” (NASB)
Is John contradicting himself when he says in one verse that if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves (1 John 1:8), and yet he also says the one who is a Christian cannot sin (1 John 3:9; 5:18 NKJV)?
There is no contradiction, but to see why we will need to look at the original Greek language.
The present active infinitive ἁμαρτανειν [hamartanein] can only mean “and he cannot go on sinning,” So we see there is no contradiction if we understand the fuller meaning of the greek word.
What is happening is that John is saying that the one who is Born Again does not habitually abide in sin.
He may fall into Sin, but he does not practice it as a lifestyle.
We are not expecting to be Sinless, but to Sin Less, as the Spirit of God sanctifies us and as we Yield more of ourselves to Him.
Ok, back to our original question:
Why do Christians Still Sin if we Are Saved ?
There are 3 reasons why we still sin:
1. Our Flesh ( greek. Sarx) refers to the way we walk, the way we think, and the way we act. Related to our behaviours not our identity.
We are New Creatures in Christ, this is the New Man, with our new heart, mind, and spirit. This is our new Hardware Upgrade we receive when we believe in Jesus and his work on the cross. Flesh is the old software still running on our new hardware. We need to continually ( I’m talking daily) update our software.
A political analogy would be: the Flesh is the old administration, and now that the New Man is in office, he is undoing all of the old policies and ways of acting.
“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.” Romans 7:21-23
When we Walk in The Spirit, we have access to a Power within us that has been designed to subdue the flesh.
2. Sin ( Noun, a thing or Power in Us, not referring to the verb).
Sin in this context is not something we do. It is an active Power or Principality at Work In Us. Like it was for Cain, it is crouching at our door. But we must not let it Reign.
“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin because anyone who has died has been set free from sin”. Romans 6:7
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness” Romans 6:12-13
The Sin living in You is not You. It is like a parasite. These thoughts are not your thoughts. Don’t Make Sin your identity.
You are a child of God. You are in Christ. You do not have to be a slave to Sin anymore! Surrender fully to the Control of the Holy Spirit and resist each temptation as it comes, take captive every thought, and cast out every evil imagination.
But do this without fear of punishment or condemnation for not being perfect. We serve a High Priest, Jesus, who understands our humanity and our flawed nature and He is Active in our Total Restoration and Reconciliation, until we reach the Fullness of Christ when He is All in All.
3. The Devil, Satan, The Adversary, The Accuser, the Old Serpent or Dragon. The enemy of our souls, who’s desire is to kill, steal, and destroy all that is precious to God.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
Don’t be unaware of his schemes. Be mindful of his traps he has set for you. Understand the areas of weakness you have in regards to sin, and don’t be led into temptation, but resist the devil and he will flee from you.
So are Christians perfect ?
Not even close. Christians sin all the time. But when we do sin, we do not then come under condemnation found in Adam, but under the Grace of God In Christ.
We come under the Grace and Forgiveness of God, and the new agreement or Covenant He made with us Through the Blood of Jesus. This precious Blood of Christ cleanses us from all Sin, and making us a new Creation, with Right Standing before God.
THAT is New Covenant Christianity. That is the gospel.
Jesus’ perfect Life fulfills a Law that we never could, and He imparts that Perfect Life to Us, so that we may live in Him, and have His Righteousness counted as our own. That is the perfected work on the cross. That is Grace!