PUTTING OFF SIN; PUTTING ON CHRIST

PUTTING OFF SIN

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.

Two current approaches to the problem of sin in the Christian life are as follows: the Christian is in a state of grace in which God does not see his sin; or, Christ in the Christian will overcome sin, the Christian need not exert effort to accomplish victory over sin. From our point of view, both of these approaches are unscriptural and destructive of the moral character of the believer.

PUTTING OFF SIN; PUTTING ON CHRIST

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

"Put off your old self."

"Put on the new self."

Two current approaches to the problem of sin in the Christian life are as follows: the Christian is in a state of grace in which God does not see his sin; or, Christ in the Christian will overcome sin, the Christian need not exert effort to accomplish victory over sin. From our point of view, both of these approaches are unscriptural and destructive of the moral character of the believer.

There are numerous commandments in the New Testament that we are to obey. The flavor of them is not that God does not care whether we keep them or not because He has saved us by a sovereign grace. Nor is the flavor of them that if we just wait, Christ will overcome the sin that is in us.

The commandments given by Christ and His Apostles are to be obeyed. He has given us the Holy Spirit, His own body and blood, the born-again experience, and the testimony of the Apostles in order that we might keep His commandments. If we love Christ we will keep His commandments and those of His Apostles. To not do so is to avoid the program of salvation.

The truth is, the Christian churches are, perhaps for the most part, teaching error. The result is millions of baby Christians who have no idea that God expects them to be exerting themselves each day to overcome their worldliness, the lusts and passions of their flesh and soul, and their self-will. In America, the churches’ testimony of good works is quite weak. Therefore the government and secular realm are filled with moral depravity. People with integrity are becoming scarce. The fear of God has left the land, and wisdom with it.

Many of the Epistles of the New Testament contain exhortations to righteous living. The Apostles would be aghast if they knew the day would come when Bible scholars would claim the believers are not supposed to heed the exhortations because they are "saved by grace."

The Book of Ephesians speaks of our growth to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:13)

The Book of Colossians mentions our appearing with Christ when He returns.

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)

Each of these promises, in Ephesians and Colossians, is followed by a list of exhortations to righteous, holy behavior. The exhortations are to action on our part, they are not merely suggestions that are not critically related to our salvation. In fact, it is the changes of behavior that themselves are salvation; so to not heed the exhortations is to ignore our salvation and to invite chastening—or worse!

Let us look first at the exhortations to godly living that follow the announcement that through the gifts and ministries of the Spirit we will be brought to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. (Ephesians 4:17)

Paul regards these Gentile converts, to whom he is writing, as members of Israel. We can see this since he refers to other people as "Gentiles." In other words, those whom he is addressing are no longer Gentiles but members of God’s elect, God’s family.

Notice the authoritative "you must"! "I... insist on it in the Lord."

Now compare this powerful exhortation with the contemporary "We do not have to keep the apostolic commandments to be saved." Or, "We are to just let Christ do it."

Was Paul, or was he not, speaking from the mouth of Christ?

Was Paul commanding his readers to cease from the sins of the Gentiles?

Was Paul suggesting that if the believers would just trust in Christ, Christ would produce godly behavior in them?

Of course not. Paul as an apostle of Jesus Christ was commanding these former Gentiles to pursue righteous, holy behavior.

Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. (Ephesians 4:19)

The above verse is a picture of American society at the present time. The people to a great extent have given themselves over to the lusts of their flesh. Why have they done this? Because the Christians in many instances are not setting a good example but are themselves yielding to the lusts and passions of the flesh and soul.

Why are the Christians not setting a good example for the unsaved? Because the Christians have been taught that righteous behavior is not an essential aspect of their salvation.

Perhaps a hundred or so years ago the problem in America was not as acute. There was considerable pressure from the members of one’s community to act in a decent manner.

Now, when the television is in the community with programs that promote lust, covetousness, violence, sexual perversions, and every other evil work, and when the believers are being told that any attempt on their part to live righteously is legalism, the result is what any reasonable person would predict: the Christians are not living godly lives, therefore the unsaved have no moral light to guide them.

The reason America is heading toward a very severe Divine chastening is that Christian pastors and evangelists are preaching unscriptural traditions. They are emphasizing a sovereign grace under which no individual who has taken the four steps of salvation need have any fear of the Judgment Seat of Christ.  They are also emphasizing an any moment "rapture" which does away with serious preparation for the calamities that are approaching America.

On what basis can God’s people humble themselves, pray, and turn from their wicked ways, when they already are perfect in Christ? If God sees our behavior only through Christ, how can we be guilty of wicked ways?

Some are saying if we confess our sins and repent of them we are crucifying Christ afresh. Since America can be healed only by repentance on the part of the Christian people, the outlook is grim indeed.

It is time for God’s ministers to begin to preach the Scriptures instead of the current unscriptural traditions.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

"Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires."

Through His apostle, Christ has commanded us to "put off" our old, corrupt, deceitful self. How do we do this? First, we have to recognize that our original, adamic personality is corrupt and deceitful. None of the Utopian schemes advanced over the past few hundred years, including Communism, has worked out in practice or ever will work out. Why is this? It is because the basic nature of man is not good but corrupt and deceitful.

Having recognized that the most righteous individual, if his or her righteousness is not proceeding from the new creation of Christ in him, is basically corrupt, what do we do?

We walk in open, daily repentance before the Lord. The Holy Spirit is faithful to keep pointing out to us the areas of our life that need to be overcome. We are to confess our sins and turn away from them vigorously. We are to come boldly to the Throne of Grace for help. When we are determined to gain victory over a specific sinful behavior, Christ will help us. It never is the Lord’s will for a Christian to walk in known sin.

"Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

How do we put on the new self? We do so by praying every day, reading our Bible every day, attending church on a regular basis (hopefully with fervent disciples), being ministered to and ministering, giving of our material means, and doing all else associated with wholesome Christian discipleship.

It is of supreme importance that we keep looking to the Lord. We must look to Christ for every decision we make. We must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Christ. We keep putting on the new self, moment by moment, as the Spirit of God guides us.

Let me emphasize that this is what salvation is. Salvation is the program of putting off the sinful nature and putting on Christ. When we are not doing this each day we are not a disciple; not a Christian; we are not being saved.

How could it be true that we are being saved when we are not following Christ moment by moment? Is salvation a ticket that brings us to Heaven no matter how we behave? Search the Scriptures. You will not find any such plan of salvation. What is being preached today is another Gospel, and Paul’s curse is on it.

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. 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 4:25-28)

Put off falsehood and speak truth.

Do not remain angry.

Do not give the devil a foothold.

Do not steal.

Work hard and share your proceeds with the needy.

Can we be saved and keep on lying; harbor anger; yield to the devil; steal; not work; refuse to assist the poor?

Modern teaching says yes, because we are not saved by works.

The Scripture and common sense say 'not so'. When the branch does not bear the fruit of Christ-likeness it is cut from the Vine, from Christ.

We must gain victory over lying, anger, stealing, laziness, selfishness, and all the other temptations of Satan. Through Christ, we can. If we expect to be worthy of the Kingdom of God, we absolutely must!

One problem that affects numerous Christians is that of being offended. The churches are full of offended believers. There is no faster way of destroying an assembling than to have members who are offended by other members.

I like to think of offenses as cockroaches in one’s oatmeal. If you noticed a cockroach in your oatmeal I do not think you would eat the cockroach. In fact, you probably would throw out the entire bowl of oatmeal, unless you were very poor.

In the same manner, when you perceive you are about to be offended, treat your feeling as you would a cockroach in your oatmeal. Throw it from you. Get rid of it. It is ugly and nauseating.

Go to the Lord until your peace returns. Strive for peace and harmony in the assembling. Our corrupt, deceitful old nature is offended easily. It is difficult to offend our new Christ nature, just as it is difficult to offend God. God bears with us all the day long, but until we put off the old nature we are offended over the slightest matter.

If you lie, confess your sin to God and ask His help in getting rid of this demonic behavior. It belongs in the Lake of Fire.

When you become angry, pray until you regain control of yourself. It is not a sin to become angry, but it is a sin to permit anger to control you. Pray until you regain your peace. Then ask God how to respond to the troubling situation.

If we have stolen something we are to confess our sin to the Lord and ask His help that it will never happen again. Once we have peace in prayer we may feel it is the Lord’s will that we return what we have stolen. We have to be careful in prayer about this.

Stealing is a form of lying, and all liars are heading toward the Lake of Fire, whether or not they are Christians. One of the greatest errors in Christian thinking is that the Christian is not subject to Divine judgment because of belief in Christ, because of grace. The truth is, God forgives us with the purpose in mind of delivering us from lying. If we do not avail ourselves of God’s provisions and continue to lie, we finally will go to be with all liars.

The confusion in Christian thinking has to do with what grace replaces. Grace, under the new covenant, does not replace the need to be made in God’s moral image. Grace replaces the Law of Moses. The Law was given by Moses. Grace and truth came by the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Law of Moses always was viewed as temporary. Its purpose was to control sin until the promised Seed arrived. Now that the Seed, Jesus Christ, has been crucified for our sins and raised for our justification, the Law is passing away.

How misleading and destructive, therefore, is the concept that the grace and truth of Jesus Christ replace the need for us to be changed into the image of God. By viewing grace as a ticket to Paradise, an alternative to the need to put off the sinful nature and put on the new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness, we have ruined all God is seeking to accomplish.

When we employ the unscriptural "state of grace" solution to the problem of sin in the Christian life, or adopt the view that whatever Christ wants changed in us He will change without a diligent warfare on our part, without our fighting the good fight of faith, little moral change occurs in our life. This is true especially when we are taught, in conjunction with these two errors, that how a believer conducts his discipleship will not determine what he will experience in the Day of Resurrection.

Because of their belief in these unscriptural doctrines, American Christians are facing a terrible future. In the near term, judgment hangs over America because of their lukewarmness.  America is facing the prospect of war so devastating that the nation will be reduced to a second-class status while another more disciplined nation will assume the leadership of the world. In the more distant future, American Christians are going to receive at the Judgment Seat of Christ both the good and the bad they have practiced during their lifetime on the earth.

While we cannot verify the second terror until we die, the first will be verified in the future. Many of us who are living at the present time will experience war. If I am hearing from the Lord correctly, America will survive the coming war but never again will be in the place of leadership among the nations.

What else does Paul say?

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:29-32)

If we are to speak only those things that build up our hearers in Christ, we are going to have to pray without ceasing. There must never be a time when we have not posted a guard spiritually. Only by living in the Spirit of God at all times can we guard our mouth to this extent.

If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Galatians 5:15,16)

To live in the Spirit we have to pursue each day all expected Christian activities. In addition we have to look to the Lord constantly for every decision we make.

Life actually is a series of desires and fulfillments. There is a hierarchy of desires in our life such that each desire can be defined as a source of lesser desires while itself is governed by a higher source.

For example: we desire food, and that desire is fulfilled when we eat. In order to obtain food, we first may have to desire money. But the desire for food is part of a higher desire, which is to live. The highest of all desires, and the source of all lesser desires, is for joy.

So life actually comprises a series of decisions and a series of desires and fulfillments. To live in and by the Spirit is to be guided by Christ in all decisions and all fulfillments. This is the rest of God.

In short, if we are to put off sin and put on Christ we have to pray without ceasing. Every decision we make, every choice of fulfillment, in fact, every desire we have, must be brought to Christ. This is what it means to walk in the Spirit of God.

"Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."

The day of redemption is in the future. It is the time when the Lord Jesus comes to those who are looking for Him, delivers them from every vestige of sin, and finally clothes their resurrected flesh and bones with a house from Heaven that contains no sin and is militantly righteous.

The expression "you were sealed" means we have a portion of the Holy Spirit in us at this time and thus are recognized as being a candidate for the fullness of redemption.

Such glorious, complete redemption is conditional. We must be living as a victorious saint. We must be putting to death the sinful deeds of our body as the Holy Spirit points them out to us.

This is why the Apostle Paul warned that if we live according to our sinful nature we will die. He means if we do not choose to live as a victorious saint, we will receive back our flesh and bones in the Day of Christ but there will be not be a sin-free house to clothe our resurrected form. We will be found spiritually naked. We will reap corruption.

One can see immediately how deadly current Christian doctrine is.

We grieve God’s Spirit when we behave in an unrighteous, unholy manner, because the Spirit’s commission is to present us to Christ as a chaste virgin.

We have been charged to get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander, and all other forms of malice. "Get rid of these," the Apostle commands. Does this sound to you like salvation operates independently of our behavior? Does it sound as though we are to wait until Christ does it for us?

All these expressions of malice grieve the Spirit, who has been put in charge over us.

We are to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving. It is impossible to be a victorious saint while there is someone we have not forgiven. We know whoever hates his brother has no eternal life in him, no matter how vehement he is about believing in Christ.

When we do not forgive people, God does not forgive us. If God has not forgiven us, there is no way in which we are going to be resurrected when the Lord Jesus appears.

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children And live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1,2)

We have been commanded to imitate the Personality and behavior of God. We in our adamic nature have to do the best we can, meanwhile praying to Christ continually for assistance.

If we do this, if we keep Christ’s commandments to the best of our ability, with the wisdom and strength of the Holy Spirit, the time will come when Christ has grown to such an extent in our personality that the Personality and behavior of God are characteristic of us. First we keep the Word. Then the Word keeps us.

But nothing takes place until we are willing to keep the New Testament commandments to the best of our ability.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. (Ephesians 5:3-7)

Sexual immorality and greed have no place among God’s saints. Because we have been saved by grace and not by works of righteousness we have done does not mean it does not matter if we are immoral or greedy. Here is the great error of today’s Christian teaching.

On several occasions Paul speaks out against adultery and fornication. Such actions produce spiritual death whether or not we name the name of Christ.

The rich man was thrown into Hell because of his selfish greed. He would not render assistance to Lazarus. He who is not generous is not known by the Lord Jesus.

Obscenity, foolish talk, and coarse joking are common among Christians. Whoever speaks in this manner reveals that he or she is not living in the Spirit of God. God will gives us victory over our tongue if we come to Him with enough determination.

The Apostle Paul states that an immoral, impure, or greedy person is an idolater. Furthermore, such have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Paul is writing to Christians. He is warning them clearly that if they continue in immorality, impurity, or greed, they have no inheritance in the Kingdom of God.

How, then, can a Christian leader teach that we are saved by a sovereign grace independently of our conduct?

Either the New Testament as it stands is the Word of God or else it is not.

Either the Apostle Paul wrote by the Spirit of God or he did not.

Are we stating if a Christian continues in immorality or greed he has no inheritance in the Kingdom of God.

Absolutely. He or she has no inheritance in the Kingdom of God.

Why is this?

It is because immorality and greed are not permitted in the Kingdom. Whoever practices such cannot participate in the Kingdom.

But doesn’t grace make it possible for us to participate in the Kingdom even though we practice immorality or greed?

No, it does not. The purpose of grace is not to excuse the sins of Christians. The purpose of Divine grace is to make it possible for us to be delivered from immorality and greed.

When will we be delivered?

Whenever the Holy Spirit points out to us that we are sinning, He is ready to deliver us. We must confess our sin and turn away from it. If we do, the Spirit will give us victory over it.

The thirteenth chapter of the Book of Matthew informs us that in the last days the messengers of God will remove from His Kingdom all that offends God, and then all who offend God. I think the time of such removal has commenced.

I have read of saints who have struggled for years over their sinful nature, and then suddenly received assurance that they were delivered. It doesn’t seem to be like that any longer. Now, when we go to God and confess a specific behavior, we receive the strength to turn away from it. Perhaps we have come to a new era as far as deliverance from sin is concerned.

The point to remember is that we cannot keep sinning and remain in the Kingdom. It is not the purpose of Divine grace to bring us into the Kingdom of God while we keep on repeating acts we know to be sinful.

"But," someone will ask, "how about the thief on the cross?"

Christ brought the thief into Paradise, into the place of the dead. This is not the same as the Kingdom of God. In order to enter the Kingdom of God we have to be born again. Then we have to follow the Spirit of God into victory over sin.

Our goal is not Paradise but the Kingdom of God.

We Christians certainly have been deceived with empty words. God’s wrath falls on the disobedient, so we are not to act as they do.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) And find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, For it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." (Ephesians 5:8-14)

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light."

Before we received Christ we were darkness, morally speaking. Now we are to live as children of light.

What does it mean to live as children of light?

"For the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth."

Goodness, righteousness, and truth. Those who practice such behaviors are children of light. Those who practice evil, unrighteousness, and lying, are children of the darkness whether or not they make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ.

We are not to be deceived. Those who practice unrighteousness are of the devil.

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. (I John 3:7,8)

"Find out what pleases the Lord." We have to look to the Lord Jesus constantly to discover what pleases the Lord. This is why the Scripture commands us to seek the Lord. We have to make a continual effort if we are to enter that rest of God where our will lines up with God’s will.

"For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret."

Certainly the behavior of people today cannot even be mentioned because of the vileness of it. We Christians are to keep ourselves unspotted by the world.

"But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible."

Those who are sinning hide from God. Those who are seeking the Lord run to the light that their deeds may be shown to have been wrought in God.

"This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."

The tenor of the sentence above is not that we are in a state of grace so it does not matter how we behave. Neither does it suggest we are to just wait until Christ perfects us.

We are to wake up! We are to awake to righteous behavior! We are to come before the Lord vigorously and diligently, especially in the present hour when it appears the hordes of Hell are attempting to lure us into the ways of the world.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:15-21)

We are to be careful how we live. We are not to be foolish but to understand the will of Christ. I like to say that we are to post a guard. This means, no matter where we are or what we are doing, we are always to be aware of the will of Christ.

Christians like to go on vacations, and attend parties. It is very easy on such occasions to let down our guard. The moment we do, Satan can trick us into actions or words that ought not to be done or said. We are to be praying even while we are on vacation; even when at a party. If we are not instant in prayer, we can suffer serious spiritual or physical injury.

I find that the American pattern of working for thirty years and then retiring is not beneficial for Christian people.

First of all, the moment we relax and settle back, saying I have enough money laid up so now I can rest and enjoy myself, at that very moment the Lord may come and demand an account of our life.

Old, experienced Christians have a lot to give. It is fine if an individual works for a corporation and then retires from that work. But he or she must never, never, never, then settle back. The truth is, the retired person is in a good position now to build up the Body of Christ.

He will be treated as a lazy, disobedient servant if he does not use all God has given him to build the Kingdom of God.

We are to serve Christ with all of our strength until He calls us home. There is no such thing as retirement from the Kingdom of God.

We absolutely must continue to make the most of every opportunity until the Lord tells us our task has been completed. If we do not, we are not going to meet a smiling Christ when we die.

As far as alcohol is concerned, there are cultural differences from nation to nation, race to race. In America, the individual who wishes to live as a victorious saint is wise if he or she has nothing to do with alcohol. The effect of alcohol and the effect of the Spirit of God on our central nervous system are similar. Therefore the believer with alcohol in his system cannot be sure that what he is saying and doing is of the spirit of alcohol or the Spirit of God.

The person who is determined to be an overcomer, and receive the rewards designated for the overcomer, should have nothing to do with alcohol. What need does he have for alcohol when he can choose to be filled with the Spirit of God?

After stating we are to appear with Christ at His coming, Paul tells us what kind of behavior is expected from us:

When Christ, who is your  life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.  You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. (Colossians 3:4-11)

Paul in Colossians says much the same thing as he did in his epistle to the Ephesians. We are to put to death sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed. We put such behaviors to death by confessing them as sin, denouncing them as evil, declaring they are to have no part in us, and then coming to God to certify and validate our declaration.

Such vehement, diligent renouncing of our sins will take the fire and life out of them. Then we can live in victory over them.

Notice again: "now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips."

We have to rid ourselves of these. Some we can just cease doing, by exerting a little will power. Others require a fervent seeking of God that we may gain total victory.

"Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." Taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self. Where did we hear this before.

Notice that Paul said, "the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator."

Paul told us in Romans that we have been predestined to be conformed to the image of God’s Son, which is, of course, the image of God. Wasn’t this the fiat from the beginning that man is to be in the image of God?

Well, how do we come into the image of God? By putting off the old, sinful nature and putting on the new Christ nature. Simple as that!

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)

"Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience."

"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

Put on love, which binds together all righteous virtues in perfect unity.

We set out in this brief article to show that the two current approaches to sin in the life of the Christian are misleading and destructive. Sin is not excused by "grace." It is true also that we are not to just wait until Christ perfects us. We are to seek God continually and diligently that we may grow in the image of Christ.

Someone may ask, "But what if we don’t do as Paul has commanded? Will we be "saved" anyway?

By this we mean, will we go to Heaven anyway even though we disobey Christ and His Apostles?

The problem with this question is we are thinking in terms of the conventional definition of salvation—that to be saved is to go to Heaven to live forever in a mansion, free from all care and pain.

The truth is, the issue of the New Testament, as can be verified easily, is not to obtain eternal residence in Heaven but to inherit the Kingdom of God.

Salvation is the program of moving us from Satan to God so we can inherit the Kingdom of God.

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 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 5:19-21)

Will we go to Heaven in any case if we profess Christ, even though we do not obey the commandments found in the New Testament?

I don’t believe we will.

Will we inherit the Kingdom of God if we continue to obey the impulses of our sinful nature.

Absolutely not, according to the Scripture.

Then what are we to do?

We are to:

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:15-17)

Can you say Amen to the Apostle Paul?