YOU DON'T HAVE TO SIN

YOU DON’T HAVE TO SIN (Trumpet Ministries,Inc. / Word of Righteousness)

YOU DON’T HAVE TO 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.

It usually is true that before we can receive a blessing from God we have to know the promise is in the Bible. This is true of being saved. It is true of the gifts of the Spirit, including speaking in tongues. It is true of Divine healing. Once we know God has given the promise we can choose to believe and then pray until we receive.

The New Testament promises us victory over sin. Once we see such victory is scriptural we can choose to believe, and then pray until we receive.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO SIN

For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14—NIV)

It usually is true that before we can receive a blessing from God we have to know the promise is in the Bible. This is true of being saved. It is true of the gifts of the Spirit, including speaking in tongues. It is true of Divine healing. Once we know God has given the promise we can choose to believe and pray until we receive.

The same is true of victory over sin. Once we see such victory is scriptural we can choose to believe and pray until we receive.

I’ll tell you what got me started on this essay. Sal Manoguerra called me up and told me something that took place in his Bible study, a mix of Baptist and Pentecostal people.

Sal teaches much the same thing that I do. A man in the group said to the effect, "No one ever told me before that you could get victory over sin. I supposed you just had to live with it. I have had a problem with anger. Every time I lost my temper I felt convicted but did not know I could get victory over it. Now I have faith for victory over anger and it has been weeks since I have given way to this sin."

When Sal relayed this to me, I said "That’s it! That’s just exactly right and so simple and practical!"

You might wonder at my delight over this episode. The story is as follows.

Over thirty years ago I was writing about the Tabernacle of the Congregation, a chapter called "The Holiness of the Tabernacle." I had always been taught the conventional Christian wisdom that all of us are sinners and Christ came to forgive us and bring us to Heaven. We cannot keep the commandments in the New Testament because of our sinful nature. They were written to show us our need of a Savior. We are saved by grace and not by works. This is the difference between the new covenant and preceding covenants. As long as we are in this world we have to sin. No one is perfect, etc.

Something clicked in by brain as I was writing. I began to search the New Testament to see what it actually stated. To my amazement it was plain that the New Testament did not teach what I had been taught, that very little was said about imputed righteousness but a great deal about righteous behavior.

Then the two goats of the Day of Atonement came to my attention. The one goat was slain and its blood sprinkled in the Holy of Holies, typifying the blood atonement made by the Lord Jesus on the cross, the forgiveness of sin.

The second goat, also a goat of atonement, was left alive and led away into the wilderness, typifying the removal of sin.

After that the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans made sense.

Since that time it has been a long, torturous journey, trying to become clear about the role of deliverance from sin in the Christian salvation, trying to understand what is unscriptural about the traditional teaching of a "state of grace."

The call from Sal made it so clear. The reason Christians are not delivered from their sins is they do not know this promise is in the New Testament and is a distinct feature of the new covenant.

I know there have been holiness teachers who have taught instantaneous sanctification root and branch. From what I have seen, this doesn’t work. Others have said sanctification is progressive, and this seems more practical. But, at least in our generation, there does not appear to have been in many places a clear statement that our salvation includes deliverance from sin or a workable program for overcoming sin.

Before we can attempt to overcome our sinful nature we must know for a certainty that the Bible teaches that believers do not have to continue in known sin.

The new covenant does not permit continuing in sinful behavior.

The new covenant includes deliverance from sinful behavior.

The new covenant includes a workable plan for deliverance from sinful behavior.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

We do not receive salvation until we learn it is in the Bible. Then we have faith to obtain it.

We do not receive Divine healing until we learn it is in the Bible. Then we have faith to obtain it.

We do not speak in tongues or exercise other gifts until we learn they are found in the Bible. Then we have faith to pursue them.

The same is true of deliverance from sinful behaviors. We do not gain victory over them until we learn that such victory is in the Bible. Then we have faith to pursue victory over the sins of the flesh until we obtain it.

Do you follow me so far.

We are not speaking of some sudden experience in which the sin nature will be removed from you. The final subjugation of the sin nature is included under the new covenant, but it has to do with a whole life of cross-carrying obedience to the Lord as the sinful nature is slain and Christ comes to maturity within us. Such freedom from the sin nature, transformation into the moral image of Christ, untroubled rest in the Person of the Father through Christ, and a new sin-free body, are all part of the new covenant.

But in this brief essay we are dealing only with victory over specific behaviors, such as lust, anger, lying, gossip, slander, selfishness, hatred, unforgiveness, spite, backbiting, sexual perversion, drunkenness, the use of drugs, and other demonic chains that destroy people including Christians.

Does the new covenant include victory over these? You bet it does. Let’s see what the Bible says about victory over sin.

It may help us to understand that the sin in our personality is not infinite. Each one of us has specific tendencies that are sinful. The list is not endless. It is entirely possible to get victory over this bunch of messy behaviors while we still are in this world. You don’t have to deal with them all at once. The Holy Spirit will lead you city by city.

Also we must keep in mind the blood of the Lamb, Jesus. As long as we are moving along in the conquest of sin, the blood of Jesus keeps making up the difference. We remain righteous and holy in God’s sight.

One of the great errors of current Christian thinking and preaching is that we remain righteous and holy in the sight of God, even though we are not fighting forward in the battle against sin because of our belief that Jesus saves us apart from any effort of our own. This is not at all true. We remain righteous and holy only as long as we are fighting the good fight of faith. If we do not judge ourselves and follow the Spirit in putting to death the deeds of our body, God will judge us. The result may be sickness or even death.

First of all, we must be clear that the new covenant does not permit our continuing in known sin. There are numerous statements of this fact in the New testament. I will cite only two.

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—NIV)

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 3:5,6—NIV)

"Those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."

"No one who lives in him keeps on sinning."

I do not think the addition of another ten passages would add clarity to the above two. They are so clear and unambiguous! No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. If we say we are in Christ we do not keep on sinning. It is as simple as this.

Sometimes I ask people, "Can Jesus Christ deliver someone from lying?" Usually they affirm He can.

"Can Jesus Christ deliver someone from stealing?"

Usually the answer will be, "Yes, He can."

Then I ask, "What sin is too great for Christ to overcome?"

Usually the answer is, "There is no sin too great for Christ to overcome."

We know this is true, yet Satan has convinced us that we have so much sin it is useless to start overcoming our sins one at a time.

One time I was driving to my job. It had been snowing and the roads were full of slush. I was late for work. There was a big truck ahead of me going very slowly.

I thought, "There is really bad traffic this morning. I don’t dare pull around this truck because I may cause an accident. The roads are slippery."

Finally I perceived my opportunity and pulled around the truck. What do you think I saw? There was no car ahead of the truck. The road was clear for a long way.

This is what sin is like. There is this big obstacle ahead of us (Satan would have us believe). We don’t dare pull out and try to get around it. But when we do we find out the situation is quite different from what we supposed.

Christ did not come to forgive the sins of the devil but to destroy the sins of the devil.

All fine and good, we say. But does the New Testament state we do not have to be bound by sin?

Yes, it does. The reason the new covenant is superior to the old is that the old covenant merely forgives sin while the new covenant forgives and removes sin.

For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14—NIV)

The New Testament teaches that sin shall not be our master! Amen!

The above verse is interpreted today as meaning because we are not under the Law of Moses we do not have to worry about sin because Christ has forgiven us.

First of all, the sixth chapter of Romans does not permit this interpretation. This would be to isolate the verse from the remainder of the chapter.

Second, the verse says "sin shall not be your master." It does not say it doesn’t matter whether or not you sin, it states "sin shall not be your master"; "sin shall not have dominion over you"; "sin shall not exercise control over you."

Isn’t this what it says?

This was not the case under the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses made no provision for victory over sin. The Law told people what sin was and then left it up to them to change their behavior. In some instances this was entirely possible. In other instances, as in the case of the Apostle Paul with the sin of covetousness, the evil inclination was spiritual in nature and could not be conquered by human will power.

The grace of the new covenant has given us the blood of the atonement to forgive our sins, and then the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome our sins. This is why the new covenant is a superior covenant. The blood of bulls and goats could never remove our sinful tendencies. But the power of the Spirit of God working on the basis of the blood of the cross has ample power to give us victory over every sinful act that binds us. Hallelujah!

Again:

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. (Romans 8:12—NIV)

We are not obligated to live according to the sinful nature! Amen! This is what the New Testament states.

Why are we not obligated to the sinful nature to live according to it? Because we by faith have placed our sinful nature on the cross with the Lord Jesus Christ. Our body is dead because of sin. Therefore we owe it nothing that we should obey its passions.

Sometimes the reason we do not gain victory over sin is because we have a feeling within ourselves that we owe it to ourselves to not be too strict in the matter of resisting sinful behavior. This feeling is due to the fact that we do not recognize that our adamic nature is on the cross with Jesus. We owe our fallen nature nothing—absolutely nothing—that we should obey its fleshly, soulish desires!

There is not nearly enough preaching and teaching today about the fact that when we were baptized in water we were baptized into the death of Jesus Christ and into His resurrection. We simply do not understand we are one with Christ in His death and one with Him in His resurrection. Therefore when we are considering the prospect of being free from sinful behavior we are worried about losing something worthwhile. We do not understand we are dead! dead! dead! and that to continue sinning is to deny the state of being we have adopted by faith.

Before you pluck feathers from a chicken in preparation for eating the chicken you have to kill the chicken first. Otherwise there is a barnyard commotion.

If the teaching concerning deliverance from sinful behavior causes a commotion in the church it is because the chickens are not dead.

As we have seen, the New Testament teaches with utmost clarity that the new covenant does not tolerate continuance in sinful behavior, and also that freedom from the compulsion to sin is included under the new covenant.

Now, how do we go about being delivered from sinful behavior. What does the Scripture teach?

The general position we are to take concerning victory over sinful behavior is that which is true of any promise of God. We must read it, understand it, accept it by faith, and then pursue it with patience and hope until we have a full grasp on it.

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (I Timothy 6:11,12—NIV)

We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (Hebrews 6:12—NIV)

When we read a promise in the Bible, whether it be for salvation, or the baptism with the Holy Spirit, or Divine healing, we tell God we believe it and thank Him for it. Then we pursue it. We never, never, never quit. So it is with righteous behavior, with victory over sinful behavior. Some victories are gained easily and quickly. Others may require years. But we never cease letting the Lord know we will not accept sin in our life now that He has promised us deliverance.

A great part of the conquest has to do with our determination. Let us say there is someone we cannot forgive. The ability to forgive can come only through the virtue in the blood of Jesus Christ. But we have to do our part.

Our part is to confess to God clearly that we have sin in our heart. Then we are to renounce it with all the strength we have. We do not struggle against it, we confess it and renounce it as sin, fit only for the Lake of Fire. We resolve in the future to draw near to God and to resist this sin, not struggle against it, just not give it any more place in our life then we can help.

Often such clear confessing and renouncing, followed by a determination to resist, is all that is needed.

Notice the following:

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, (Romans 8:13—NIV)

"You put to death the misdeeds of the body."

We are not in an athletic contest against sin, we are in a war against sin.

Whether we are wrestling or boxing or playing soccer we do not attempt to kill our opponent. We strive to outdo him in the competition.

This is not so with sin. Sin is an evil, vicious, subtle, cunning, wicked monster that dwells in our flesh. We are to kill it! crush it! strike it until it is dead! Paul says the God of peace will crush Satan under our feet.

You cannot treat demons gently. You cannot coax them. Demons love to reason and are more than happy to have you talk to them by the hour. Jesus did not let the demons speak. He did not have the time to listen to their endless arguments.

You have to decide once and for all that whatever you are doing that is condemned by the Word of God must leave. You can yell at it if you like—anything that will prove to you and the sin that you mean what you are saying.

If you say to your dog, "Honey, wouldn’t you like to get off Mother’s bed. There’s a darling." What do you think the dog will do? He will lay there and look at you.

If you frown at the dog, advance on him or her in a threatening manner, and say, "Get off the bed now!" the dog will probably do what you say.

It is the same way with sin. You cannot address sin with honeyed phrases. Neither can you say "I know I shouldn’t do this." You have to treat your sin like the dog that it is. It will usually mind you once you decide in your heart you want to get rid of it.

You have to murder it!

Of course, our striving does not drive from us that which is spiritual. Only the Spirit of God can do that. But the spirit realm is waiting for you to make a clear, decisive judgment concerning your behavior.

Oftentimes people do not get delivered from sin because they are justifying their behavior for one reason or another. They say they want to be delivered. They may come up for prayer and ask for deliverance. But they do not receive deliverance because they are double-minded. They do but they don’t want to be delivered. They do because they know it is wrong to continue in sin. They don’t because deep in their heart they are not convinced total deliverance is a requirement. They want to just keep on muddling along.

However, all the rewards we associate with the Christian salvation go to the overcomers.

We can overcome sin through the Lord Jesus Christ! Christ has sufficient power to enable us to turn away from each and every behavior. He possesses enough wisdom and authority to lead us to total victory.

Is total victory necessary?

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 3:8—NIV)

Does the Bible promise us that under the new covenant we can gain victory over sinful behavior?

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Galatians 5:16—NIV)

"Live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature."

But as long as we are in the world we have to sin!

"Live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature."

When I go to Heaven I will not sin.

"Live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature."

Nobody’s perfect.

"Live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature."

God wants me to sin in order to reveal His great love and grace toward me.

"Live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature."

Jesus did it all and so we don’t have to worry about sin.

"Live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature."

God sees me only through Christ and so He doesn’t know whether or not I am sinning.

"Live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature."

We have permitted Satan to persuade us that Christ does not have the power to enable us to overcome sin. All kinds of doctrine have invaded Christian thinking that have as their foundation the concept that the new covenant does not include deliverance from sinful behavior:

We are under a dispensation of grace different from all previous covenants of God, particularly the Law of Moses. Whereas prior to the dispensation of grace people had to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God, now all they have to do is believe in Jesus Christ.

The just shall live by faith means if we believe in Jesus Christ our behavior is of little consequence.

The commandments of Christ and His Apostles apply only to the Jews. The Gentiles go to Heaven by grace.

Jesus finished our salvation on the cross and so all we have to do is believe this and we will go to Heaven when we die.

God sees us through Christ and so how we behave is not of great importance.

We are saved by a sovereign action of God so how we behave is not critically important.

We are not saved by enduring to the end, although this is what the Lord said. We are saved by an unconditional amnesty.

We are saved by grace and not by works so no man can boast.

When we attempt to live righteously we are legalistic, a Pharisee.

There is no commandment in the New Testament except that we love one another.

All of the above is false and misleading. It is a spiritual blindness that rests on Christian people. They cannot see what is written clearly in the New Testament.

There are many fine Christian people among Evangelicals. But they live righteous lives, not because of their doctrine but in spite of it.

For reasons known only to the Lord He is beginning to lift the veil so we can see what is written. We are beginning to understand that salvation itself is the change from sinful behavior to the moral image of Christ and untroubled rest in the Father’s will. It is not that if we live righteously we will go to Heaven. Heaven is not the goal. The goal is to please God and to have fellowship with Him.

Deliverance from sin and growth in the moral image of Christ is salvation. Salvation is deliverance from sin and growth in the moral image of Christ.

Salvation is not a ticket to Heaven. The ticket concept is without a basis in the Scriptures.

God always looks for fruit wherever Christ has been sown. The fruit God desires is righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God. In other words, the moral image of Jesus Christ. When God finds this He sends blessing. God is reclaiming mankind from the disaster of the Garden of Eden.

God will never bless sinful behavior. We may believe we can continue in sin and then God by grace will bring us to a mansion in Heaven, but this is not a scriptural teaching. It is an Evangelical tradition. It is against all the New Testament teaches. It is a delusion, a spiritual blindness.

The new covenant does not accept sinful behavior.

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. (I John 3:9,10—NIV)

The above passage is the Word of God. We cannot pretend it is not in the Bible.

The new covenant includes the grace that will help us overcome sin and become the slave of righteous behavior.

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Romans 6:22—NIV)

The above passage reveals that eternal life is a result of freedom from sin, slavery to God, and holiness of personality and behavior. How different from what is commonly taught today?

The new covenant includes all the commandments of Christ and His Apostles. These are to be obeyed until the eternal moral law of God is inscribed on our mind and heart.

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)

The end result of obeying all of the New Testament commandments is deliverance from sin and the growth of Christ in us

Many Christian churches in America are in a state of apostasy. This is because we do not realize the goal is to overcome sin and grow in the image of Christ.

As always happens, when we do not eat of the right tree we end up eating of the wrong tree.

The Pentecostal-Charismatic people are shooting off into all sorts of unscriptural activities and pursuits, such as the faith and prosperity delusions, imaging, and reconstructionism. We are not pursuing righteousness in the personalities of God’s people and so we are turning to novelties and unprofitable exercises.

Lately there is an emphasis on commandeering the Holy Spirit, attempting to use the Spirit of God to work miracles, to produce meetings with thousands of people in attendance, to "save a lost and dying world." How much of this is of God remains to be seen.

All I know is, the emphasis of the Gospels, the Epistles, and the Book of Revelation is on the behavior of God’s people. This seems to be the one area that is neglected today in favor of the novelties of various kinds—religious pursuits that tend to overlook the patient growth of the believer in righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God.

I think the spirit of the False Prophet is among us. I think we wish to maintain our personality as it is and try to use the Gospel for our own benefit. Such self-willed Christianity is the False Prophet in the religious realm and Antichrist in the political-social realm.

If we would know the Lord we must come to Jesus, lay our life before Him, and ask Him to enter us and make us pleasing to Himself. It is only as we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus in all areas of our life, that we escape being deceived by the spirits that are at work in our day.