WHAT SIN IS

WHAT SIN IS Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

It appears numerous Christians do not know what sin is, under the new covenant. If you ask them what sin is they will say, "The only commandment is that we love one another." Or, "We are not under the law but under grace." It seems everyone in the world knows what sin is except Christians.

According to the New Testament, sin is the breaking of the moral law as expressed in the Ten Commandments. Yet it is clear from the Scripture that when we take our place with Christ on the cross the Law of Moses has no jurisdiction over us.

What is the answer to this seeming contradiction?

Table of Contents

Introduction The Resolution of the Seeming Contradiction The Ten Commandments What Sin Is According to the New Testament Conclusion

WHAT SIN IS

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. (I John 3:4—NIV)

So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. (Romans 7:4—NIV)

Now we know whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. (Romans 3:19,20—NIV)

Introduction

It appears numerous Christians do not know what sin is, under the new covenant. If you ask them what sin is they will say, "The only commandment is that we love one another." Or, "We are not under the law but under grace." It seems everyone in the world knows what sin is except Christians.

According to the New Testament, sin is the breaking of the moral law as expressed in the Ten Commandments. Yet it is clear from the Scripture that when we take our place with Christ on the cross the Law of Moses has no jurisdiction over us.

What is the answer to this seeming contradiction?

What is sin? According to the New Testament, sin is breaking one or more of the Ten Commandments.

Sin is sin. Adultery is sin under the Law of Moses. Adultery is sin under the new covenant. Sin is always the same because it is a transgression of the eternal moral law of God. The eternal moral law of God reflects God’s Character and so it will never change. The horrible error of contemporary Christian doctrine is its implication that God somehow has changed so sin is no longer sin.

The only reason God is able to exercise such forbearance and kindness toward us today is that Christ suffered the penalty of sin on the cross of Calvary.

Those who teach or imply that the God of the Old Testament was harsher than the God of the New Testament do not comprehend the unchanging Nature of Almighty God.

When we say that righteousness is imputed to us when we place our faith in Jesus Christ, do we understand what that righteousness is? It is the righteousness that would have been ours had we been able to keep the Law of Moses perfectly.

For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature,  God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in sinful man,  in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:3,4—NIV)

The above verse is referring to the righteous requirements of the Law of Moses, that is, the Ten Commandments.

Sin against God is sin against God under both covenants, the Mosaic and the new. The difference is not what sin is, the difference is in the manner in which God deals with sin.

I understand that many of the stipulations of the Law of Moses were of a ceremonial, covenantal nature, such as the dietary regulations and the feast days. In this brief essay I am referring only to the moral law of God, which is eternal and of which the Ten Commandments are an abridged version.

Under the Law of Moses, the Israelite who sinned could bring an animal to the priest and the priest would make an atonement for the sin. The Israelite would return to his home, his fellowship with God restored.

The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary made an eternal atonement for everyone who enters the new covenant by faith. There is, however, a monumental difference between the covenants. The Law of Moses could not deliver the Israelite from the compulsions of sin. Under the new covenant we have the grace of the Holy Spirit and the born-again experience to make it possible for us to be delivered from the compulsions of sin.

We often hear in the churches that all God requires of us is that we love God with all of our heart and our neighbor as ourselves. This is true. But we can’t do it and so our religion becomes powerless to help us.

In First John we notice that when we sin we are to confess our sin to God. Then God is faithful and righteous to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

In order to be delivered from a particular sin we do not go to God and confess that we have not loved God with all of our heart and our neighbor as ourselves. This is too broad a brush and no deliverance is obtained.

In order to be delivered we have to confess that we lied or stole or committed adultery or harbored unforgiveness or slandered or spoke spitefully to someone.

When we confess what we have done, God forgives us. Then He either delivers us instantly from the compulsion to sin or else He leads us in such a manner that finally we are cleansed from all unrighteousness. But He does deliver us if we follow Him obediently. Christ does destroy the works of the devil in us.

The Epistle of First John makes it clear that sin is the breaking of the Ten Commandments. It is likely this epistle was written as a warning against those who were teaching that it is not necessary for Christians to keep God’s commandments.

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know he appeared so he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. (I John 3:4-6—NIV)

Please consider the above passage very carefully. It tells us what sin is. Sin is the breaking of the law. The Apostle John, being raised as a devout Jew, would be thinking of the Law of Moses.

Christ appeared in order to take away our sins, not just forgive our sins but actually remove our sins.

When we are abiding in Christ we do not keep on sinning, we do not keep on breaking the laws of God. The member of the Christian religion who continues to sin has never seen nor known the Lord, and the Lord has never known the believer who continues to break the laws of God.

Then I will tell them plainly, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" (Matthew 7:23—NIV)

Do you know of any part of God’s Word more in need of emphasis today? We American Christians have departed from the Word and this is why we are not having success in persuading our government to practice righteousness.

We know we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. (I John 2:3-6—NIV)

How did Jesus behave? Jesus behaved lawfully, obeying the moral laws of God at all times. John informs us that if we claim to be living in Jesus we must be behaving as Jesus did.

The fruit of abiding in Christ is to behave as Jesus did and always does.

The Resolution of the Seeming Contradiction

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. (I John 3:4—NIV)

For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man. So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. (Romans 7:2-4—NIV)

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. (Romans 3:20—NIV)

And so we have a seeming contradiction. On the one hand we are not under the jurisdiction of the Law of Moses because we have taken our place with the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. On the other hand it is the Law that tells us when we are sinning. Sin is the breaking of the Law.

The resolution is found in the eighth chapter of the Book of Hebrews.

This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. (Hebrews 8:10—NIV)

God has made a new covenant with the house of Israel. Every person who has become part of Jesus Christ is a member of the house of Israel.

Under the old covenant the Ten Commandments were binding on Israel.

Under the new covenant the Ten Commandments are binding on Israel, with two differences. The Ten Commandments are greatly amplified in application to our life. Also, the Ten Commandments are written on our mind and heart rather than on tables of stone. Thus the Ten Commandments have been rendered obsolete, in the form in which they were given under Moses, and then are greatly amplified and applied in fuller force under the new covenant.

It is God who writes the commandments on our mind and heart. He writes them on our mind so we can comprehend them. He writes them on our heart so we delight to do them. This is another way of saying God forms Christ in us.

It was never contemplated that the Ten Commandments would effectively transform the moral nature of the Israelites. Moral transformation must await the coming of the promised Seed, the Lord Jesus Christ.

What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. (Galatians 3:19—NIV)

The Law was added to guide the Israelites and it provided animal sacrifice so they could maintain righteous fellowship with the Lord.

The difference under the new covenant is that Divine provision has been made, now that the Seed has come, to actually take away our sins—not just forgive them but take them away. It is a superior covenant for this reason.

When Christ is formed in us we shall keep perfectly the fullest implications of the Law. That which is in us that is of Christ cannot sin because it has been born of God. This is the new covenant.

But Christ is formed in us only as we keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles.

The Apostles commanded us to refrain from sexual immorality. When we sin sexually we absolutely must come to God and confess our sin. We are to pray mightily, denouncing and renouncing this wickedness. God then is faithful to forgive our sin and to begin the process of cleansing us from all unrighteousness.

We engage in this program of deliverance, of redemption, of salvation from sin, while yet afflicted by our fallen nature. It is our fallen nature that sins and it is our fallen nature that must cooperate with the Spirit of God in the program of deliverance from sin. We are enabled to be successful because of the assistance given us by the Holy Spirit, but we must make the effort. The Lord does not do it all for us.

The cleansing may include suffering. The cleansing always includes adding to our personality a portion of the body and blood of Christ, for this is our eternal life. It is the body and blood of Christ that will raise us in the Day of Resurrection.

On and on the process continues as we labor to enter the rest of God, that is, into the fullness of moral transformation such that we keep all of God’s commandments by nature.

Believe it or not, we are not an endless cavern of sin. There shall come a time when the work of redemption has been completed in our personality. The Lord Jesus is the Finisher as well as the Author of our salvation.

Sin is nothing more than a group of lawless behaviors in our personality. The Lord is well able to furnish us with His Divine Nature until we are totally free from the compulsions to sin. And He—always with our cooperation and in response to our faith—performs the work of transformation in the present world. He sets a table before us in the very presence of our enemies.

I cannot tell you what will happen to us when we get to Heaven. But I do know from the Scripture that deliverance comes through the Lord Jesus Christ, not from going to Heaven.

Any transgression of the Ten Commandments is sin. This is what sin is. The Spirit of God will lead us in battle against all the lawless traits of our personality until we stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

The Ten Commandments

Let us think for a bit about the Ten Commandments, for they provide for us a basic understanding of the eternal moral law of God. The purpose of the Ten Commandments is to tell us exactly what sin is under all covenants.

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. (Romans 3:20—NIV)

Because we have interpreted the Scripture to mean the new covenant has obliterated the Ten Commandments we are not certain what sin is. The truth is, the moral law expressed in the Ten Commandments is eternal because it reflects God’s unchanging Character. To behave in a manner contrary to the law of God is sin.

It is true, as the Lord Jesus pointed out, that the eternal law of God is applied much more comprehensively under the new covenant. But the fundamental concepts are never done away.

I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:2,3—NIV)

The first commandment reminds us that God is the only One who releases us from slavery to the world, to lust, and to self-will. We are not to prefer any person, relationship, thing, or situation above the Lord. He alone is to have first place in our life

One—To put God above all else.

The realm of love and worship.

You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, But showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:4-6—NIV)

We are not to create an object, institution, or relationship and then worship it. The cathedrals of Europe and South America reveal the willingness of man to construct a building that he can see and then to worship it instead of the invisible God. We are overwhelmed with the sight of Yorkminster Cathedral or Westminster Abbey but for many of us the reverence stops with what we can see. It may be true that a Christian is far more apt to see Jesus when praying through a crisis than when gazing at the great vaulted ceiling of a cathedral.

Two—To refrain from worshiping the work of our hands.

The realm of idolatry.

You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. (Exodus 20:7—NIV)

We are never to use the name of Jesus or God unless there is a prayerful intention. How often we hear "Jesus Christ!" or "God damn you" as an emotional outburst when we neither are asking Christ for help or have the authority to bring the curse of God on someone.

We need to be careful even with saying such things as "God, wasn’t that awful!" when we are not really addressing the Father. God and His holy angels hear every such expression and make a judgment concerning it.

Three—To use God’s Name only when we have serious, prayerful intentions.

The realm of reverence.

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11—NIV)

The fourth commandment is an abridged version of the rest of God into which we are to press. No longer do we cease from our own doings during one day of the seven. Our whole life becomes that of always doing God’s will; always seeking God’s pleasure.

Four—To turn away from our own work and attend to God’s desires.

The realm of service.

Honor your father and your mother, so you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12—NIV)

We are to honor not only those who are our natural parents but also all those whom God has placed in authority over us.

Five—To honor and submit to God-given authority.

The realm of respect and obedience.

You shall not murder. (Exodus 20:13—NIV)

Thinking, speaking, or acting in violence against another person is sin

Six—To refrain from violence against another.

The realm of peaceful conduct.

You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14—NIV)

To commit adultery is to enter a relationship with a person, thing, or circumstance, clutching it to ourselves, when such union is not ordained of the Lord.

Seven—To not seek union with that which is not ordained.

The realm of relationships.

You shall not steal. (Exodus 20:15—NIV)

To steal is to take from someone else that which does not rightfully belong to us.

Eight—To not touch that which is not rightfully ours.

The realm of honesty.

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. (Exodus 20:16—NIV)

This is the realm of gossip and slander. Speaking falsely of someone else is the only aspect of lying set forth in the Ten Commandments. This is because transgressing any of the Ten Commandments actually is a form of lying, of falseness, of lack of faithfulness.

Nine—To not speak evil of another person.

The realm of truthfulness and mercy concerning others.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Exodus 20:17—NIV)

We never are to be envious or covetous concerning the things or circumstances of another person. As someone said, God has dealt us our own hand of cards and we have to play them out. We have no way of knowing what another person is experiencing.

To not be content with what we have been given, or with what we can gain by following and obeying Christ, is sin. It is a breaking of the eternal moral law of God.

Ten—To be content with the provisions God has made for us.

The realm of contentment.

What Sin Is According to the New Testament

We have identified the ten realms of moral transgression. As the Lord said, the moral commandments have to do with loving God with all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves. Thus we see that morality has to do with relationships.

Sin is misbehavior in one or more of the following areas:

The love and worship of God.

Idolatry.

Reverence for God’s Name.

Service to God.

Respect and obedience to authority.

Peaceful conduct.

Honesty.

Relationships.

Truthfulness and mercy concerning others.

Contentment.

It does not matter what Divine covenant we are under, improper behavior in terms of these requirements is sin.

The Ten Commandments tell us what sin is. But how does the new covenant deal with sin? I think this is an area of great confusion among us Christians.

First of all, we, while still very imperfect, are told in the New Testament how to behave. Because our adamic nature is opposed to God’s moral law we have to be careful to live in the Spirit of God, and also to pray fervently without ceasing, if we are to be able to keep the commandments given by the Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles. Their commandments cover the areas set forth in the Ten Commandments.

However, such Spirit-enabled obedience to the commandments found in the New Testament is not the new covenant. The new covenant is the forming of Christ in us until we by nature obey the eternal law of God. The point is (a point much neglected in our day it appears) is that we will not gain the new, sin-free nature except as we make every effort in our adamic nature to keep the word of Christ and His Apostles. Our moral transformation depends on our obedience to the numerous exhortations and injunctions found in the New Testament.

As Peter says, we are to attend to the Scripture until the Day Star, which is Christ, arises in our heart.

First: Does the New Testament command us to love and worship God alone? Are we commanded under the new covenant to have no gods other than the Lord, or has this requirement passed away?

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1—NIV)

Under the new covenant God will accept nothing less than the offering of our body as a living sacrifice. This means we are to worship God even though in His wisdom He removes all we hold dear. To love God supremely is the first and greatest of the commandments and to not surrender every aspect of our life to God is sin.

Much of our Christian life consists of God removing the idols that stand between us and Jesus Christ. There must be nothing we are not willing to give to God. Every treasure must be on the altar, whether a thing, relationship, or circumstance.

To hold back anything from the Lord is unthinkable. We are committing sin when we do not love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

We cannot obey this commandment in our adamic nature. But we can finally come to obey it if we will be careful to live in the Spirit of God and to pray always that we may gain victory over the breaking of God’s laws.

Second: Does the New Testament command us to refrain from creating an idol?

Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. (Matthew 19:21,22—NIV)

In many instances, particularly in America perhaps, money is our god. We spend much of our life, some of us, amassing more money than we need. We may not realize it but we believe if we have enough money we shall be safe and happy whether or not God keeps us.

Money is a god, an idol. No person can serve both God and money.

There are other idols among us, such as a relationship, an accomplishment of some sort, our possessions, an artistic talent, fame. Often our drive for achievement is based in our desire to create an idol we can worship.

To create an idol is sin under all covenants..

Third: Does the New Testament command us to revere God’s name, not to use it lightly?

Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, "Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord." But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; Or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your "Yes" be "Yes," and your "No," "No"; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. (Matthew 5:33-37—NIV)

Swearing is of Satan! It comes from the evil one!

Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned. (James 5:12—NIV)

James tells us the tongue is difficult to control. We always should be considering what we are saying, and all we say should have meaning. Jesting and foolishness have no place in the Kingdom of God.

Whenever we speak out in a passionate outburst we may use God’s name to reinforce what we are stating, not because we truly want the Lord’s Presence and advice. This is unacceptable in the Kingdom of God. It is sin.

Control of the tongue is a mark of maturity. We must do what we can, with the help of the Spirit of God, until our carnal nature has been weakened and Christ has grown in us to some extent.

To use God’s name lightly is sin.

Fourth: Does the New Testament command us to cease from our own works and to strive to do only that which Christ desires?

Let us think for a moment about the meaning behind the Sabbath commandment.

"If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, Then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob." The mouth of the LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 58:13,14—NIV)

We understand from the above that the heart of the fourth commandment is not that of not working on Saturday. The heart of it is as follows:

Not doing as you please.

Delighting in God’s way.

Not going your own way.

Not speaking idle words.

The Lord Jesus is our example. He lived and moved in the rest of God, that is, in the center of God’s Person and will. This is the full application of the commandment to keep the Sabbath.

We personally have seen how the Orthodox will not throw a light switch or press an elevator button on Saturday so as not to desecrate the Sabbath. Such behavior is not part of God’s eternal Character. It is God’s will that His creatures live always in His Person and will, delighting themselves in Him; not that they be concerned about pressing the button of an elevator on Saturday.

Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23—NIV)

To enter the Divine Sabbath is to deny ourselves, take up our cross each day, and follow the Lord Jesus.

The Lord Jesus kept the Law of Moses perfectly. If a blemish had been found in Him He could not have served as the Passover Lamb.

Yet Jesus healed on the Sabbath. He worked on the Sabbath and the religious leaders took careful note of this. But Jesus was not breaking the fourth commandment by healing on the Sabbath because He was doing His Father’s will and delighting in it.

Under the Law of Moses we were commanded to cease from our own works on the seventh day of the week. The new covenant is much more demanding than this. We are to cease from our own works altogether and seek the will of Christ at every moment of every day.

The Lord Jesus lived, moved, and had His Being in the perfect will of God. This was true at all times. We also are to dwell in the center of God’s will at all times and in every situation.

Those who set aside the seventh day as particularly holy do so to please the Lord. But I think a better way is to make each succeeding day holier than the preceding. The problem with religious activities of any sort is they tend to remove our gaze from the Lord Jesus and dwell on that which we can conduct apart from the Lord. I would rather be in constant contact with Christ so when I rest I rest in Him and when I work I work in Him.

If Jesus guides us into a religious observance, then we are in the rest of God. If however the Lord does not guide us into a specific religious activity, but leads us in another direction, then we must continue with the Lord in order to remain in the rest of God.

A rigid adherence to the letter of the fourth commandment brought the leading Jews into conflict with the Lord Jesus on several occasions. But the Lord always flowed with the flowings of the Godhead, and this should be our goal also.

When we are walking according to the Spirit of God the righteousness of the Ten Commandments is assigned to us.

In the Book of Hebrews we are commanded to press into the rest of God.

Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. (Hebrews 4:1—NIV)

Some have interpreted this verse to mean we must make every effort not to work on Saturday, the Sabbath day.

However, the text prevents this interpretation. Please notice the following:

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. (Hebrews 4:8—NIV)

In the above verse the rest of God is associated with the land of Canaan. Obviously, it is not saying Joshua enabled the Israelites to not throw a light switch on Saturday. Rather the rest of God is the fullness of the inheritance to which the Lord is bringing us.

The entire context of the Book of Hebrews reveals that the rest of God has to do with being made perfect in the Lord’s will.

God had planned something better for us so only together with us would they be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 11:40-12:1,2—NIV)

In order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:4—NIV)

To follow our own course in any endeavor, whether religious or secular, without taking up our cross and following Christ, will bring us into conflict with His will.

Fifth: Does the New Testament command us to be respectful and obedient to authority?

Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. (Romans 13:5—NIV)

We American have a difficult time accepting authority, perhaps because our nation was born in revolution. We are proud, arrogant, knowing nothing at all really.

The concept of democracy and the exercise of opinion polls have given us the idea that we are running the government. Our schools do not teach students respect for the law, in some instances. Our psychologists talk about "taking control," meaning we are to be subject only to our own desires and whims. This is a destructive social attitude and will lead to our downfall unless the Lord in His goodness pours out His Spirit on our nation.

No, we are not the great ones we think we are. We need generous helpings of humility and a willingness to submit ourselves to authority and to law if we expect God to help us and be with us.

God’s people must humble themselves in our day. We must learn to walk humbly with God.

We will not be obedient to God until we are willing to be obedient to those who have the rule over us.

To not be respectful and obedient to authority is sin.

Sixth: Does the New Testament command us to avoid strife and live peaceably with all people?

Idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions And envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:20,21—NIV)

To not avoid strife, to not live peaceably with all people, is sin.

Seventh: Does the New Testament command us to flee from relationships not ordained by the Lord?

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. (I Corinthians 6:18—NIV)

To embrace relationships not ordained by the Lord is sin.

Eighth: Does the New Testament command us to be honest?

He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. (Ephesians 4:28—NIV)

To be dishonest, to steal, is sin.

Ninth: Does the New Testament command us to cease from gossip and slander and to speak the truth concerning other people in a merciful, compassionate manner?

For I am afraid when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. (II Corinthians 12:20—NIV)

To engage in gossip and slander, even to criticize others, is sin.

Tenth: Does the New Testament command us to be content with the state in which we find ourselves?

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. (Philippians 4:11—NIV)

To not be content with God’s will for our life is sin.

When we sin we are to confess our sin, turning away from it with all our might, denouncing it, renouncing it, fleeing from temptation. When we do this God is faithful and righteous to forgive our sin. Then He sets about to cleanse us from all unrighteousness so the sin is never practiced again.

Conclusion

Salvation is deliverance from all sin and being filled with all the fullness of God. This is what salvation is. It has nothing to do with whether we are in Heaven, on the earth, or somewhere else.

In the beginning man was without sin. He had access to eternal life, that is, to immortality in the body.

Man chose to disobey God, and the result was the removal of access to the tree of immortality. Sin always results in death, both spiritual and physical.

The Lord Jesus Christ came so through Him we can throw off the chains of sin and once again have access to the Tree of Life, which is in the body and blood of Christ Himself.

We have made salvation a movement from Hell to Heaven. It is not. Salvation is a movement from the image of Satan to the image of God. The reason there is so much error in Christian teaching is that salvation is presented as a pass out of Hell and a ticket to Heaven, rather than deliverance from Satan and sin and entrance into the Entity that is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

We always, it seems, are seeking a religion that delivers us from punishment and promises us joy in the future. There is no love for God in this approach, it is self-centered rather than God centered.

Current Christian teaching and preaching include many false paths, such as the pre-tribulation rapture error, the faith and prosperity deceptions, reconstructionism, and lawless grace. The common denominator of all such misunderstandings is a neglect of that which is central to the new covenant: the transformation of the believers into new creations who practice righteousness, holiness, and stern obedience to the Father.

The central message of the Scriptures is righteousness, whether in terms of the Law of Moses or in terms of the grace and truth that have come to us through the Lord Jesus Christ. Under the new covenant we have the imputed righteousness of justification and also the actual righteousness of sanctification and consecration. The Kingdom of God always is in actual righteousness of thought, word, and deed. Today there is far, far too much emphasis on imputed righteousness. The Scriptures, Old and New Testament, do not emphasize imputed righteousness but actual righteousness of personality and behavior.

The purpose of imputed righteousness is to bring us to Christ so we can begin the process of transformation into the moral image of Jesus Christ.

The Law of Moses then and now tells us what God regards as sin. Under the new covenant the commandments of the Law of Moses are enlarged until they include all we are and do. We pass from circumcision of the flesh to circumcision of the heart; from setting aside one day of the week as holy to the Lord to presenting our body a living sacrifice at all times.

For the true Christian there never can be a division between that which is sacred and that which is secular. Our goal, our model is the Lord Jesus Christ. As He is, so are we in this world. We are to live as He lives—in and through Him.

We have listed ten realms of personality and behavior:

The love and worship of God.

Idolatry.

Reverence for God’s Name.

Service to God.

Respect and obedience to authority.

Peaceful conduct.

Honesty.

Relationships.

Truthfulness and mercy concerning others.

Contentment.

God wants us to be perfect in each of these realms. Of course, such perfection is not possible to the fallen nature. But such perfection is required and is made possible through the Divine Nature of Jesus Christ.

One of the great lies with which Satan has filled the churches is that while we are on the earth we are obligated to sin. The idea is that once we get to Heaven we no longer will be obligated to sin.

This is incorrect. Sin began in Heaven. It is not going to Heaven that delivers us from sin. There is no scriptural support for this religious tradition. Salvation from sin comes to us through our association with Jesus Christ. First He assigns His righteousness to us. Then He creates His righteous Nature in us.

Christ came to earth to destroy the works of the devil. He does not accomplish this in Heaven but on the earth.

Weak, abridged faith tells us that Christ cannot possibly deliver us from sin while we are alive on the earth. Strong, full, victorious faith tells us that the power and authority of Christ are sufficient to deliver each one of us from the chains of sin.

We have been given all we need to overcome the spirit of the world, the lusts of our flesh, and our personal ambition and pride. The only question is that of our belief or lack of it. There is no question about the sufficiency of Christ’s power.

It appears that we have come to a new day in the Kingdom of God. Passages of the Scriptures not previously emphasized are suddenly becoming clear to us. These passages have always been in the Bible, we just couldn’t seem to perceive them.

For example, notice the following:

No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. (I John 3:6—NIV)

This verse has been there all along. But it is clear that Christian preachers and teachers do not stress that the believer who continues to sin has neither seen nor known Jesus Christ. Rather we are teaching that salvation is by grace apart from our behavior.

Today it is as though the Book has been rediscovered. We can see more clearly what Paul was talking about in the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans, for example, where he taught us that the believer must choose to be the slave of righteousness or else he will die spiritually. The Book of Hebrews, with its several solemn warnings to those Christians who do not press forward to the fullness of the rest of God, is becoming alive and meaningful.

We have misunderstood the Apostle Paul’s teaching of grace. We thought he was telling us that God no longer requires righteous behavior, when in fact Paul was proclaiming that we no longer receive righteousness by obeying the Law of Moses but by placing our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul was contrasting faith in Christ with the Law of Moses, not faith in Christ with righteous behavior. Paul would never contrast faith in Christ with righteous behavior because righteous behavior is the strongest evidence that we have genuine saving faith in Christ.

It is up to each one of us to gird up the loins of his mind and grasp the promises now being emphasized by the Spirit of God. The choice is ours to move ahead with God or to fall short of His Glory.