LEAVING SIN BEHIND

LEAVING SIN BEHIND

A STUDY GUIDE SERIES: BOOK ONE

Five essays on the victorious Christian life by Robert B. Thompson

Compiled and Edited by

Edward J. Reiter

Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Preface

You Don't Have To Sin

   Summary

  Questions

The Necessary Orientation

    Summary

   Questions

What Sin Is

   Summary

    Questions

How We Are Set Free

    Summary

    Questions

The Wall Against Sin

   Summary

   Questions

Answer Guide

Bibliography

About The Author

Preface

What part is the believer to play in being delivered from sin?

What reason can there be for such a problem with sin in the Christian churches of our day?

What is the purpose of imputed righteousness?

What does the parable of the talents, the sower, and the ten virgins teach us about Christians who continue in sin?

How does God deal with the self-will in our lives? What are our choices of response to this dealing?

The answers to the questions above may reveal much about the current state of Christianity as a whole and the condition of our individual hearts.

This book is not only an effort to provide scriptural answers to these questions but also aims to provide the guidance necessary to make the daily decisions which can enable Christians to live victoriously over sin.

Each essay is followed by a summary review and five questions drawn from the reading. An answer guide is provided at the end of the book.

May God enable us to increasingly progress in  leaving sin behind and grow into His fullest measure of righteousness, holiness and obedience.

Edward J. Reiter

Escondido, California

June 1999

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 the case that before we can receive a blessing from God we have to know that 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 can be said 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 my 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 that he appeared so that 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 that 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 willpower.

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 that 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 that 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 than 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 do 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 that 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 a Christian. 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.

Summary

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.

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.

First of all, we must be clear that the new covenant does not permit our continuing in known sin.

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.

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.

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 that 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.

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.

Questions

1. Identify three characteristics of the new covenant:

 2.Cite two Bible verses that indicate the new covenant does not permit our continuing in known sin:

 3.True or False: "the New Testament teaches that sin shall not be our master."

 4.Summarize the part the believer is to play in being delivered from sin:

 5. Identify two Bible verses that teach that the new covenant does not accept sinful behavior:

The Necessary Orientation

Introduction

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3—NIV)

We know from the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans that upon being baptized in water we have become one with Jesus Christ in His crucifixion and one with Him in His resurrection.

Now we are told, in the above passage, that we have become one with Jesus Christ in His ascension to the right hand of God.

This is the necessary orientation to the Christian life if we are to be delivered from sin, and if we are to inherit the Kingdom of God.

We know our sins have been forgiven. There is no way we can prove this. We know it is true because God's Word says so. We may not feel that our sins have been forgiven. But we have faith that this is so and our faith affects the way in which we view our life.

We know the Lord Jesus is coming again. There is no way we can prove this. We know it is true because God's Word says so. We may not feel like He is coming again. But we have faith that this is so and our faith affects the way in which we view our life.

The same must be true of our crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension with the Lord Jesus. There is no way we can prove these facts are true. But we know they are true because God's Word says so. We may not feel that we have been crucified and resurrected with the Lord and have risen with Him to the right hand of God. But we are to have faith that this is so. If we continually reckon that we have been crucified with Christ, that we have been resurrected with Christ, and now we are with Christ at the right hand of God in Heaven, our life on earth will be profoundly affected. We will be able to gain victory over sin. We will inherit the Kingdom of God.

The reason believers find the rigors of discipleship difficult is that they are not correctly oriented to the Christian life. They think God is saving their first personality and they are finding it difficult to reform their old nature. They are told they have to give up the world, quit their sinning, and relinquish their will to Christ. Their first personality very much objects to this and they are saddened.

The current Christian solution to the problem of worldliness, sin, and self-will is to cover it all with grace and tell the believer he is on his way to Heaven by mercy and grace.

This is not the Divine solution to worldliness, sin, and self-will. The Divine solution is for us to count the old nature crucified with Jesus. Then there is no problem giving up the world, or sin, or our self-will. Once we consent to go to the cross we already have given up everything. The war is over and there remains only the mopping-up procedures.

This is not to say the mopping-up procedures are always easy. Sometimes it seems our soul is being torn out of us. But the victory already is assured because we are crucified with Jesus.

Counting ourselves dead with Christ and raised with Christ does not mean we no longer have a desire to sin. Neither does it mean it does not matter if we sin. Counting ourselves dead with Christ is our orientation to the experiences through which the Holy Spirit continually is leading us. We know now how to regard worldliness, lust, and self-will. We have already given the victory to Jesus. Now it is a case of praying without ceasing as we keep dumping out the garbage of our old nature. We owe the old nature nothing that we should fulfill its desires! It already is dead because of sin and it will never be saved, never be brought back to life, never inherit the Kingdom of God.

As Jesus said on the cross, "It is finished!"

Our Dual Life

We understand, therefore, that we are living a dual life. We have a very real life here on the earth. Our physical body and brain are here. Our soul is operating through our body and continually deciding whether to give in to the flesh and carnal mind or to obey the Word of God.

We have another very real life. Our new life is Christ. Our new life will not appear on earth until Christ appears. Our new life is hidden with Christ in God.

Our new, born-again spiritual life is a firstfruits of our personality. Because the firstfruits is holy the remainder of our personality is holy. This does not mean our personality on earth does not sin or can never be lost. It means it has been set aside for God's purposes because the firstfruits has been accepted.

Many times during each day we choose to set our mind on the things above where our new life resides, or we choose to occupy ourselves with our flesh-and-blood life on the earth. This is the Christian's fight of faith.

If we, at any given point of decision, pray and seek the will of God, we add strength to our position in Heaven.

When we choose to live in the passions and appetites of our flesh and soul we sow corruption and death.

When we occupy ourselves with the things of the world, finding our pleasure, security, and survival in material things, not praying and seeking the mind of Christ continually, we are dead though we yet are alive in the flesh. We are not building up our new life in Heaven. We are not laying up treasures in Heaven.

When we yield to the appetites and passions of our flesh, whether adultery, fornication, pornography, profanity, rage, gossip, slander, witchcraft, drunkenness, covetousness, worldly entertainment, we are living in spiritual death.

When we decide to pursue our own career, not placing our body on the altar of God in order to prove God's will for our life, we are living in spiritual death. To not find and do the will of God while we are alive in the world is to miss the whole purpose for our existence.

Each day we are strengthening our life in Christ at the right hand of God, laying up rich rewards that will be given to us when the Lord appears, or we are sowing corruption and death, the corruption and death we shall receive when the Lord appears.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, (Ephesians 3:16—NIV)

Make no mistake! We indeed shall reap what we are sowing. Grace and mercy operate now as we are fighting to keep our mind in the heavenlies with Christ. They will not operate in the Day of Resurrection so as to minimize or negate the perfect functioning of the immutable Kingdom law of sowing and reaping.

Deliverance From Sin

Removing sin from people is a major aspect of the Divine salvation. It is God's will that His Church be a moral light in the world, that people may behold the righteous works of the Christians and glorify God.

Because Christian teaching is confusing concerning the Divine plan of removing sin from God's Church, the believers in numerous instances exhibit most or all of the sins found in the world. The Christian churches in America are filled with the works of the flesh the Apostle Paul spoke against.

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders Nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 6:9,10—NIV)

For I am afraid that 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)

It appears the Christian church in Corinth was similar to the churches in America in our day.

Because the moral light has gone out of the churches in America the unsaved people are descending into a cesspool.

Because of the alleged behavior of the President, Americans are taking a new look at moral issues. The country is divided, some saying that it is a person's own business how he behaves morally while others are quite upset that perverse sexual behavior should be regarded as acceptable.

In my opinion, the condition of the secular realm in America these days is due in great part to the ignorance of Christian churches concerning God's salvation. Salvation is being viewed as a ticket to Heaven, an escape from the world, instead of the power of God to not only forgive but also destroy the sinful nature from us.

The Son of God was not revealed in order to forgive the sins of the world. What good would that do? Jesus Christ was revealed for the purpose of destroying Satan and all his works from the earth. When the Lord returns He will establish His Kingdom on the earth and then God's will shall be done here.

Those whose life He is shall appear with Him and help set up the Kingdom.

Because the Christians are not performing the good works they have been chosen to do, the world has no moral light.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10—NIV)

We have been saved and raised to the right hand of God that we may be delivered from sin and able to live righteous lives in the sight of the people around us. This is the true witness of God—that which proceeds from the saving power of Christ in us.

America has had much Gospel preaching. Multitudes have made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. But the testimony of righteous behavior, the true testimony of the Person, will, way, and eternal purpose of God in Christ, is sadly, sadly lacking. The believers are jumping up and down in a childish manner next to their pews in the hope of being removed from the earth. God would rather have them enter His program of deliverance from sin that they may serve as His witness to the nations.

One of the main reasons there is so little deliverance from sin in the Christian churches of our day is that the believers are not oriented correctly to their position in Christ. They have been told over and over again that their sins are forgiven. They believe this. They have been told over and over again that the Lord will return to the earth. They believe this.

But they have not been told over and over that they have been crucified with Christ, resurrected with Christ, and have been raised to the right hand of God. They do not realize this is true. Therefore they find Bible teaching too hard.

They should have been told when they were baptized in water that they were entering the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. They should have been told when they came up out of the water that they now have been resurrected with Christ and raised to the right hand of God in Heaven. This is what it means to be born again.

Usually they are not told this. Even if they are, they are not told it again and again and again, Sunday after Sunday, until they accept their position by faith.

What they are told again and again and again, Sunday after Sunday, is their sins are all covered by grace and soon they are going to leave this wicked world and go home to be with Jesus. This is what they believe but it is not scriptural.

Consequently the American Christians of today, in numerous instances, do not grow in the strength and power of Christ. They see no need to do so. Why should they trouble themselves to mature to the stature of the fullness of Christ when they are just about to fly home where everything will be taken care of? The current unscriptural traditions have destroyed the moral strength of the believers.

Every time the congregation is told their sins have been forgiven and the Lord is coming again they should be told that they have been crucified with Christ, resurrected with Christ, and now are at the right hand of God in Heaven. They are to set their minds in Heaven constantly.

When they do this, what is the next step? Let's see what Paul says is the expected and necessary behavior that must result from putting our attention where Christ and we are at the right hand of God in Heaven.

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. (Colossians 3:4-10—NIV)

What are we to do when we realize that our new born-again spiritual life is hidden with Christ in God? We are to put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature. We are to put to death sexual immorality. We are to put to death impurity. We are to put to death lust. We are to put to death evil desires. We are to put to death greed, which is idolatry. We are to rid ourselves of anger. We are to rid ourselves of rage. We are to rid ourselves of malice. We are to rid ourselves of slander. We are to rid ourselves of filthy language from our lips. We are to cease lying to each other, since we have taken off our old self with its practices. We are to put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

We are to put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature. We are to rid ourselves of them. We are to put off the old self and put on the new self. We are to stop lying.

Do you see any indication whatever, in the above passage, that Christ will do this for us without any effort on our part? Do you see any indication whatever that God sees us through Christ so it does not matter whether we do these things or not?

Do you see any indication whatever in the above passage or its context that we will be saved and go to Heaven by grace even though we ignore the Apostle?

Do you see any indication whatever that it is impossible for us to obey these commands?

If you do not, then please realize that Christian teaching is way off base. If we Christians throughout the present century had obeyed these commandments I do not believe we would have the present moral chaos in our government.

But God's people are not going to get busy and obey Christ and His Apostles until the preachers flee from the present unprofitable traditions and return to God's Word.

How do we put these sins to death, get rid of them, put off the old self and put on the new?

The first step is to embrace the one correct orientation to the Christian life: that we have been crucified with Christ, that we have been resurrected with Christ, and that we now are at God's right hand in Heaven. Our eternal life is hidden with Christ in God.

Having gotten down on our knees and stayed long enough to really accept this orientation, we now are ready to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He deals with the worldliness, sin, and self-will in our life.

Are we willing to turn our back on the things of the world and spend time with God each day, now that we realize we are crucified with Christ and risen with Christ? It is easy to do when we keep our attention on things above.

Are we willing to turn our back on that adulterous affair, our desire to burn with lust, to rage, swear, slander, gossip? Much easier when we realize we have already placed all of these on the cross with Jesus Christ.

Are we willing to cease planning our future apart from God? Will the young person go to God first before committing to marriage, and then obey God no matter how it hurts? Entirely possible if we see our earthly life hanging on the cross and our new, born-again life in Heaven with Jesus Christ.

God is ready to clean up His churches today. Only those believers who correctly orient themselves to their position in Christ will be able to obey the Spirit of God as He deals with our worldliness, lust, and self-will. The remainder may hop up and down next to their pews like the priests of Baal, but they may lose their salvation in the days to come because of the moral horrors that will abound on every hand.

The Inheritance

I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (I Corinthians 15:50—NIV)

Do you see what the above verse is saying? It is telling us that our present flesh-and-blood personality is not going to inherit the Kingdom of God.

Before we can understand Paul we must look carefully at the expression "cannot inherit the kingdom of God."

One reason we have difficulty understanding the New Testament is our tradition that our goal is to go to Heaven. The truth is, as we have pointed out, we already are in Heaven at the right hand of God. We start our Christian discipleship in Heaven as high as we ever can go. We already have our crown. The issue is to lay hold on that which we already have, to maintain and strengthen it.

No, our goal is not to go to Heaven. Our goal is to inherit eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

This goal appears several times in the Scripture.

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. (Matthew 19:29—NIV)

Then the King will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." (Matthew 25:34—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)

And into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, (I Peter 1:4—NIV)

Heaven is not the inheritance. Rather the inheritance is kept in Heaven for us.

Inherit. Inherit. Inheritance. Inheritance.

By the same token, when Paul speaks of the consequence of sowing to our earthly life rather than our heavenly life he refers to not inheriting the Kingdom of God.

Nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 6:10)

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 5:21—NIV)

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.(Ephesians 5:5—NIV)

Now we could say that inheriting the Kingdom of God and going to Heaven are the same thing. I don't believe they are. If Paul meant that if we lived according to our fleshly desires we would not go to Heaven, then I believe this is what he would have said—at least one time! But Paul never at any time said if we sinned we would not go to Heaven. Neither did the Lord Jesus or any of the other Apostles of the Lamb. We made up this expression.

So why are we preaching what the Bible does not say?

There is a big difference mentally when thinking of going to Heaven or inheriting the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God is our new life which is hidden in Christ in God. This is what the Kingdom is. It is within us, so to speak, and yet already raised to the right hand of God.

None of this is true of Heaven. None of the parables of the Lord Jesus are about Heaven or going to Heaven. The parables are about the Kingdom of God.

If we preached what the Bible states maybe the Christian people would be delivered from sin, and maybe our country would not be in the tragic condition of today.

I think the Lord has told me He is going to restore righteous government in America in answer to our prayers. But He added that our nation will be punished severely because of the sin that is so widespread, such as the murder of babies that have come to birth only to be butchered. Believe me, their blood is crying to God from the ground—every one of them! And God is hearing!

I think we are going to be hit hard—very hard! It is time to repent. Can you say Amen?

Perhaps a hint of the Kingdom, of what we are going to inherit, is found in the following verse.

He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:7—NIV)

"Will inherit all this." All what? Probably all that has been described, starting in the first verse of Chapter Twenty-one.

So the overcomers, the sons of God, those who choose their life in Heaven rather than their life on earth, will inherit a new sky, a new earth, the new Jerusalem, nations of people to govern and bless. How marvelous! How utterly, stupendously marvelous!

You know what the best part is? It is that God is not making all new things but all things new.

This means that everything we have known and loved on the earth that is worthy of being preserved for eternity, that will bring untroubled joy, will die and be raised again in Jesus Christ.

What a world, what an inheritance we have to look forward to!

Now why will we lose all this if we choose to live in the flesh?

It is because all of this inheritance would be totally ruined if one member of the sons of God, of the governing priesthood, were to be worldly, or lustful, or self-willed. One sinner found among the elect, as in the case of Achan, would introduce chaos into Paradise.

No, those who inherit the Kingdom will be those, and only those, who have overcome the old fleshly nature and have chosen to build their life in Heaven in Jesus Christ. Only these can be trusted to maintain Paradise once it has been regained.

Make sense to you?

Conclusion

Each of us Christians is choosing today, and each following day, what we will inherit in the Day of Resurrection. If we prove ourselves worthy of the Kingdom by refusing to yield to our old nature and by embracing our new life in the Lord Jesus Christ, we will inherit indescribable glory in the Day of Jesus Christ.

If we put our trust in the current grace-Heaven-rapture error, not giving diligence to putting away the sins of the flesh, getting rid of the old life, we will inherit corruption and death in the Day of Christ. We certainly shall inherit corruption and death.

It is not a case of our being punished by not being permitted to experience the glory of the new world, it is rather that we have destroyed our inheritance by not obeying the Apostle. We chose to live in the flesh and we have gained corruption and death as a result—not as a punishment but as a result. We have reaped what we have sown, not as a punishment but as the natural consequence of sowing the seeds of corruption and death.

This is why mercy and grace will have nothing to do with what we inherit. If you sow weeds you are going to reap weeds. The gardener may love you but you are going to reap weeds rather than flowers. Do you see the point?

It is true that on top of this there will be punishments, as we see in the parable of the foolish virgins and the parable of the talents. There will be some whom the Lord will drive from His Presence even though they have wrought miracles in His name.

But even in these instances they are consequences of how we have behaved, aren't they? It isn't that God hates us, it is that we have judged ourselves unworthy of His Kingdom and have acted accordingly.

God opens His great hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing, the Bible tells us. And so it is. If we love the holy ways of Jesus Christ, then this is what we will inherit. If we love the filth and uproar of Satan and his ways, then this is what we have chosen. This is what we will inherit.

The greatest lie ever told is the current Christian teaching that Jesus Christ came to bring those who choose to revel in the ways of Satan into the pure Paradise of God, on the basis of "accepting Christ." Not only would Paradise be destroyed, but those Satan-lovers would be in agony as the blazing light of God, His saints and His angels, laid bare the deceit and corruption in their hearts. They would be in terrible agony as the holy fire of God's Person began to incinerate the core of their personalities.

No, this is the basic lie of Christianity today.

Paul advised us that we all shall be revealed before the Judgment Seat of Christ that we may receive what we have practiced in the world. This is the Word of God. It shall never be changed though it is challenged thousands of times each Sunday in Christian churches.

We have been crucified with Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.

We have been raised from the dead with Him that we might walk in newness of life.

We have ascended with Him to the right hand of God.

Now He is our life. When He appears we shall appear with Him to bring justice and deliverance to those of the nations whom God judges worthy of eternal life in His Kingdom.

Let us joyously embrace this necessary orientation that we may follow the Holy Spirit as He leads us to total deliverance from our sins and self-will. Let us press, press, press, toward the mark, which is the inheriting of all that our loving Father in Heaven has promised us through Jesus Christ.

Summary

Removing sin from people is a major aspect of the Divine salvation. It is God's will that His Church be a moral light in the world, that people may behold the righteous works of the Christians and glorify God.

Because our Christian teaching is confusing concerning the Divine plan of removing sin from God's Church, the believers in numerous instances exhibit most or all of the sins found in the world. The Christian churches in America are filled with the works of the flesh the Apostle Paul spoke against.

The current Christian solution to the problem of worldliness, sin, and self-will is to cover it all with grace and tell the believer he is on his way to Heaven by mercy and grace.

The reason believers find the rigors of discipleship difficult is that they are not correctly oriented to the Christian life. They think God is saving their first personality and they are finding it difficult to reform their old nature.

This is not the Divine solution to worldliness, sin, and self-will. The Divine solution is for us to count the old nature crucified with Jesus. Then there is no problem giving up the world, or sin, or our self-will. Once we consent to go to the cross we already have given up everything.

Counting ourselves dead with Christ and raised with Christ does not mean we no longer have a desire to sin. Neither does it mean it does not matter if we sin. Counting ourselves dead with Christ is our orientation to the experiences through which the Holy Spirit continually is leading us. We know now how to regard worldliness, lust, and self-will. We have already given the victory to Jesus. Now it is a case of praying without ceasing as we keep dumping out the garbage of our old nature. We owe the old nature nothing that we should fulfill its desires! It already is dead because of sin and it will never be saved, never be brought back to life, never inherit the Kingdom of God.

Each day we are strengthening our life in Christ at the right hand of God, laying up rich rewards that will be given to us when the Lord appears, or we are sowing corruption and death, the corruption and death we shall receive when the Lord appears.

Questions

1.What verses from Colossians Chapter Three help orient us to the Christian life?

 2.Describe our dual life:

 3.What are the consequences of our choices concerning our dual life?

 4.What reason can there be for such a problem with sin in the Christian churches of our day?

 5. Read Colossians 3:4-10 and summarize what the next step is once we are seated with Christ in Heaven.

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 that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that 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 that 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 that 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 that 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 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 is 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 <MI>does<D> 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 that he appeared so that 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 that 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 walk? Jesus walked 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 that 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 that 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 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 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) 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 that 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 doing as you please or 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 that 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 that 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 that 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, is sin and 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 Americans 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 that 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 that 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 only 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.

Summary

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 is up to each one of us to gird up the loins of our mind and grasp the promises found in the Bible. The choice is ours.

Questions

1. Define sin:

 2. Identify one major difference between the two covenants:

 3. List ten realms of moral transgression:

 4. Define salvation:

 5. What is the purpose of imputed righteousness?

How We Are Set Free

Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2—NIV)

Much of the Book of Romans is addressed to Jewish believers or Jews who were contemplating becoming believers. It helps us Gentiles understand Romans when we keep this in mind.

We might think of Chapters Seven and Eight as being one whole. Paul is reasoning with Jews concerning the superiority of the new covenant and how the new covenant works out in practice.

In Chapter Seven Paul points the Jew to the fact that the Law of Moses brings guilt and death to the seeker. There is nothing wrong with the Law. It is just that the law of sin operating in the sinful nature of the worshiper contradicts the Law of Moses, defying it and acting against it.

So the devout Jew serves God in his mind, agreeing with God that the Law of Moses is righteous, but his sinful nature keeps insisting that he disobey the Law.

Paul asks, "Who will deliver me from the spiritual death caused by my sinful body?"

The eighth chapter proceeds to offer the solution.

If the devout Jew is intrigued by the thought of abandoning Moses in favor of looking to Christ for righteousness, he still is torn by the problem of guilt. All his life he has been taught that to disobey the Law of Moses is to sin against God, and the result of sin against God is death to the soul.

"What if I start mingling with Gentiles, not observing the kosher dietary laws, not keeping the feast days, not attempting to obey all the principles set forth in the Talmud? I would love to forget about all these details, they are a yoke around my neck. But I don't dare forsake Moses."

Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? (Acts 15:10—NIV)

So Paul commences his explanation of the solution to the dilemma of the devout Jew by saying: "There is no condemnation resting on those who are in Christ Jesus. Since Christ kept the Law perfectly He is able to transfer the righteousness of the Law to those who obey His Spirit."

You can come to Christ without a defiled conscience because God through Christ has assigned the righteousness of the Law to you.

The writer of Hebrews says the same thing:

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! (Hebrews 9:14—NIV)

Because the One who kept the Law of Moses perfectly was offered as a sin-offering, He has the authority to ascribe to us the righteousness He gained by obeying the Law of Moses perfectly.

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)

The righteous requirements of the Law of Moses are met fully in us if we choose to live according to the Spirit of God rather than according to our sinful nature.

Now the Jew can come to Christ with a cleansed conscience. The blood of God's Sin-offering has paid the debt incurred by transgressing the Law of Moses.

What comes next? The Jew has no condemnation resting on him. With his mind he loves the righteous ways of God. But he has a sinful nature. Can the new covenant do anything about his sinful nature?

Paul answers, "Yes!"

The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ can set us free from the law of sin and death, from the death produced by the interaction of the Law of Moses and our sinful nature.

Since the law of sin and death has two parts, the Law of Moses and the sin operating in our sinful nature, if the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ is to set us free from the law of sin and death it must set us free from both the Law of Moses and the sin operating in our sinful nature.

First, how does the law of the Spirit of Life set us free from the Law of Moses?

The law of the Spirit of Life sets us free from the Law of Moses by counting us dead on the cross with Christ. Our death on the cross with Christ, which we dramatize in water baptism, is a real death from God's point of view—more real by far than physical death.

God tends to view our physical death as the sleep of the body in the ground while the spirit and soul are elsewhere. "Why are you so concerned? The girl is only sleeping," Jesus said. Those who "sleep in Jesus" the Lord will bring with Him when He appears.

But once we count ourselves dead on the cross with Christ, two realities occur. First, we become legally free from the Law of Moses. The Law has jurisdiction only over the living. Second, the work of Divine judgment begins in our personality. It is appointed to men once to die and after this the judgment.

The law of the Spirit of Life sets us free from the Law of Moses by regarding us as dead on the cross with Jesus Christ.

But what about our sinful nature, how does the law of the Spirit of Life set us free from this?

When dealing with our sinful nature, two aspects must be considered: the guilt of our sin, and the compulsion to sin resident in our sinful nature.

The law of the Spirit of Life takes care of the guilt of our sinful nature, plus the guilt we inherited from Adam, by forgiving us on the basis of the sin offering made by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.

The soul that sins shall die. Thus we are in debt to God. The blood of Christ pays that debt; it cancels the debt. The blood of Christ forgives the sin, appeasing the wrath of God. The blood of Christ sprinkled on us through our faith purifies us, making us holy in the sight of God.

In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Hebrews 9:22—NIV)

Forgiveness on the basis of the blood atonement has been preached well by the Christian ministry. In some instances it has been overdone, leaving the impression that forgiveness is all that the blood accomplishes, and also that no matter how we behave God "sees us through the blood" so no real moral transformation is necessary.

The expressions, "God sees us through the blood," "we are under the blood," "we are covered by the blood," are not found in the Scriptures. They are harmful in that they leave the impression that the blood covers us rather than cleanses us. The idea that the blood "covers" us leaves the impression that our sin is still there but is concealed. The biblical concept that the blood "cleanses" us means that we face the reality of our sins and then through the blood overcome them.

The blood of Christ cleanses us from sin. The blood of Christ may be compared to soap. We do not use soap to cover the dirt on our skin. We use soap to cleanse the soap from our skin. There is a great difference between soap covering us and soap cleansing us. So it is with the blood of Christ. Could you agree with this? Search the Bible, and then ask Jesus about this.

Christians, thanks to good teaching and preaching, understand that God cannot forgive us just because we are sorry. The cancellation of the debt we owe can come only through our faith in the blood atonement made by the Lord on the cross of Calvary.

However, if the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ is to set us free completely from our sinful nature, it must deliver us not only from the guilt of sin but also from the compulsion to sin.

Deliverance from the compulsion to sin has not, to our knowledge, been preached clearly and biblically in Christian churches. There are preachers who do an excellent job of pointing out, from the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans, that Christians are not to sin, and if they do there are severe consequences. However such preachers and teachers do not appear to be in the majority.

It is our point of view that even the preachers who do a good job of exhorting us not to sin do not emphasize strongly enough the disastrous consequences of continuing in sin after we have received Christ. They often conclude that if a Christian continues to sin there will be distressing results during his or her lifetime. They do not always stress, however, that by continuing to sin we are affecting the nature of our resurrection from the dead—in fact, we may be placing in jeopardy our very salvation. There can be eternal consequences resulting from living according to our sinful nature, even though we make a profession of Christ.

It is not always stated emphatically that if we do not bear the fruit of righteousness we are in scriptural danger of being removed from the Vine, from Christ.

Whether we think of the parable of the talents, or the sower, or the ten virgins, the message is clear: there is a fearful future awaiting Christians who do not obey Christ and His Apostles by taking up their cross and following the Lord.

It is against this backdrop of the consequences of not gaining the victory over our sinful nature that we will continue with our discussion of how the Spirit of Life in Christ sets us free, not only from the guilt of our sins but also from the compulsion to sin found in our sinful nature.

To begin with, let us think about the sinful nature itself. Where is it found in us? What is the substance and nature of it?

Paul says the sin resides in the members of our body.

But I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. (Romans 7:23—NIV)

We might conclude from Paul's statement that sin is a physical force. However, we realize that sin began in the spirit realm and that even today we wrestle against fallen angels who once held positions of great authority in Heaven.

Also, we are aware of the presence of demons of rage, lust, lying, violence, jealousy and so forth. Now consider: such spirits seek to find fulfillment in our flesh. Yet even when they cannot they still have within themselves the compulsions of rage, lust, lying, violence, and jealousy. We speak, for example, of a spirit of rage or a spirit of lust.

We understand, therefore, that these compulsions are actually spiritual in nature. They inhabit our flesh but are separate from the chemical constituents of our body. They are not fashioned from our skin or nerves or tendons or bones or muscles. They are spirits of rage, violence, jealousy, etc.

The fact that the various sins that drive our flesh can exist in the spirit realm independently of residence in a human body tells us that we will not gain deliverance from our sinful nature merely by dying. Our sinful behavior can exist in the spirit realm apart from our body! I say this because many Christians are hoping that when they die they will be set free from sin. There is no basis in Scripture or in logic for this to be true. We are not changed by dying, only by our interaction with the Lord Jesus Christ.

It appears that each human being has areas of weakness in his or her personality that makes him or her vulnerable to specific spirits. For example, an individual may be especially vulnerable to lust or rage or violence. Whether we think of these spirits as dwelling in the person, or having access to a door in his or her personality, probably is not really important to our discussion. What is important is the provision God has made under the new covenant to give us victory in our behavior.

It is our behavior, the way we think, speak, and act that is at issue. God demands iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to His will. Although He leads us along gently, He will settle for nothing less in His children.

Now, how does the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ set us free from the compulsion to sin operating in our sinful nature? Our answer is, the authority of the blood of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, working together with our faith and determination, result in the subduing or casting out of the evil inclinations of our sinful personality.

This is how the evil is removed. But then the "house" must be occupied. The house of our personality is occupied as we, as the Spirit of God assists us, keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles. As we keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles (all of which really are the commandments of Christ), Christ is formed in us.

There is no sinful nature in the Christ who is formed in us. The climax of our redemption occurs when the Father and the Son come and dwell for eternity in Christ who has been formed in us. This is the ultimate covenant. There shall be no higher covenant presented after this.

This is the response of the Apostle Paul to the Jew who does not find through the Law of Moses the salvation from sin he is hoping for.

Can you see how infinitely greater the new covenant is compared with the Law of Moses? The new covenant, the law of the Spirit of Life, sets us free from the compulsions of our sinful nature by first subduing or casting out the spiritual evil that is driving us to sin, then creates Christ in our mind and heart, and finally fills us with the Persons of the Father and Christ. The work of salvation attains its fullness when our body is raised from the dead and swallowed up by our body from Heaven, which has been created as we continually have been crucified and resurrected in Christ.

Here is full redemption. The evil has been driven from us. Christ has been formed in us. The Father and the Son have occupied our new born-again nature. The whole is clothed in a body composed of our resurrected flesh and bones plus the robe from Heaven, made radiantly white as it has been washed in the blood of the Lord Jesus.

Now we have been conformed to the image of Christ and are dwelling in untroubled rest in the Father through Christ. We are ready to fulfill our role in the Kingdom of God, the role for which we have been predestined from the beginning of the world.

But exactly how do the blood and the Spirit work together to subdue and finally drive from us the compulsion to sin?

The authority of the blood is absolute. The blood of Jesus is the centerpiece of redemption. It is the foundation, the basis for all forgiveness and all removal of sin.

The Spirit of God is all powerful. There is no evil spirit or tendency that can resist the Spirit of God. The blood grants the authority. The Spirit possesses the power.

But the judge, the arbiter, is the individual. The blood and the Spirit will act only as we make a judgment.

Satan deceived man in the beginning, and man permitted Satan to enter the new race and world God had created. God has made Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, to be Judge of all angels and people and Lord of the entire creation.

Christ is sharing the authority of judgment with His Church.

Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, (John 5:22—NIV)

If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven. (John 20:23—NIV)

Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! (I Corinthians 6:2,3—NIV)

No deliverance takes place in the believer's personality until he or she makes a judgment. Let us say you are harboring unforgiveness. You have to decide whether or not you want to be delivered. You have to make a judgment.

If you hold on to the unforgiveness, justifying your sin on one basis or another, you will not be delivered. You have to come before God and declare that your unforgiveness is a sin and belongs in the Lake of Fire, not in you. You have to judge your attitude.

Once you confess this sin, firmly denouncing it as a wicked attitude that does not belong in the Kingdom of God, and ask God to forgive you and remove it from you, He will. There is authority and virtue in the blood of Jesus to forgive unforgiveness. There is power in the Spirit of God to remove unforgiveness from you.

We do not have to analyze further than this. If you remain firm in your judgment the day will come when this attitude is completely subdued if not removed altogether. God is faithful and righteous to forgive your sin and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

The main consideration is, God does not want you to continue in a state of unforgiveness. If you do, He will not forgive your sin. There shall be catastrophic consequences for retaining this attitude. You absolutely must be set free from unforgiveness. You absolutely shall be set free if you confess, renounce, and denounce the unforgiveness with all vigor and determination.

You have made a judgment. You are a member of the Body of Christ with the authority through Christ of judgment. The blood has the authority to cleanse you from unforgiveness. The Spirit of God has the power to deliver you from this unrighteousness. Everything depends on your resolve to be rid of this wickedness.

In the future, draw near to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. You have done what God has said. God will do His part. There is unlimited authority and power in the blood of the cross and the power of the Spirit of God working together. But apart from you as the judge, nothing happens.

In the sixteenth chapter of the Book of Leviticus the Jewish Day of Atonement is described. The ceremony focused on two goats. One goat was slain and its blood sprinkled in the Most Holy place. The other goat was not slain. Rather, the high priest confessed the sins of Israel, placing them on the living goat, and this goat was led away into the desert.

He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat's head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert. (Leviticus 16:21,22—NIV)

The significant fact, in my point of view, is that both goats were considered to be a sin offering and atonement was made with both goats, even though the one goat was not slain.

From the Israelite community he is to take two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. (Leviticus 16:5—NIV)

But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat. (Leviticus 16:10—NIV)

Since a sin offering and atonement must be made with blood, and since both the slain goat and the living goat were referred to as a sin offering and an atonement, we conclude that the action was one whole. Forgiveness of sin, gained by the blood of the slain goat, and removal of sin, gained by the removal of the living goat, constituted one sin offering, one atonement.

This being the case, we see that the atonement made by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary includes both forgiveness and removal.

There are passages that suggest the removal of our sins will occur in the last days.

For example:

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30—NIV)

Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27,28—NIV)

Who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:5—NIV)

It is clear that there is coming a day of redemption, a day of salvation, for those who are waiting for Jesus. We do not consider this to be the second coming of Christ, because in that day every eye shall see Him, not just those who are waiting for Him.

I would like to venture an opinion based on my limited understanding of the Scriptures plus fifty years of thinking about, experiencing, and ministering moral deliverance.

The New Testament, in numerous passages warns Christian people about the peril of continuing in sin—sin being disobedience to the commandments of Christ and His Apostles. The entire Book of First John, for example, warns Christians concerning continuing in sin.

The Book of Hebrews contains several severe warnings addressed to believers who continue to sin. The Apostle Paul in his Epistles warns us that if we do not put to death the actions of our body we will die spiritually, we will not inherit the Kingdom of God, we will reap corruption.

The true Christian is being led by the Spirit of God to put to death the behaviors of his sinful nature.

God has given us great grace, under the new covenant, to live the life of victory over sin. We have the born-again experience, the Holy Spirit, the Epistles of the Apostles, the body and blood of Christ, the gifts and ministries of the Spirit, to help us overcome sin. Also we can come boldly to the throne of grace to receive help as we strive against sin.

To not be engaging in the warfare against the worldliness, bodily passions, and self-will of our personality is to be neglecting our salvation. The Apostle Paul beat his body and made it his slave. To not deny ourselves, not take up our cross, not follow Jesus, not remain patiently in the prisons in which we find ourselves, is to neglect our salvation. We shall not escape Divine punishment if we neglect our salvation.

To sow to the flesh is to reap corruption. To not put to death the deeds of our body is to slay our own resurrection unto life, in the Day of the Lord. There are very severe consequences, sometimes eternal consequences, when we as a Christian do not take up our cross each day, do not present our body a living sacrifice to God, do not follow the Holy Spirit in putting to death the sinful appetites and passions of our flesh.

It seems to me that as we confess our sins, renouncing them, denouncing them, we gain the upper hand over them. I think, based on experience, that in some instances there are evil spirits residing in our flesh that are removed as we judge them and then resist them. I myself have had a few dramatic deliverances, deliverances that I could feel take place. Usually, however, the deliverance comes, sooner or later, as I continue to walk in faith, doing what God has commanded. This has been my experience.

I would venture further that the second part of the Day of Atonement, that having to do with the living goat, has begun and will continue throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age that will follow the appearing of the Lord.

I think the Lord is ready to remove sin from His Church in preparation for His coming. When He comes, and we are resurrected and then caught up to meet Him in the air, we must be ready to appear with Him, helping to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth.

It seems reasonable to me that the removal of sin from His Church, the redemption or salvation predicted for the last days, should take place prior to our being caught up to meet the Lord in the air, prior to our receiving a glorified body. And I see no reason for the same removal not to be taking place among the saints in the spirit realm who are waiting to return with Jesus in the Day of the Lord. Do you see any scriptural reason why this should not be so?

I am suggesting that we have come to a giant step forward in the development of the Kingdom of God. Such giant steps do occur, you know, such as in the change from Moses to Joshua or in the case of the birth of Messiah in the manger. It appears that God's people are not always aware when some of these awesome events occurs. Maybe one is taking place in our day! Think of that!

Your next move should be to go to Jesus in prayer and see what He says to you. If God is dealing with you about some area of sin in your life, why don't you do as we have suggested? Confess it to God. Openly and vigorously declare it to be sin and unfit to be in a member of the Body of Christ. Ask God to forgive you and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. Then see if He does. The Bible says He shall forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

This does not mean you now are perfect. But it does mean you have taken a step forward toward victory over sin, and that is always desirable.

I think that if you are faithful in gaining the victory over sin, as the Holy Spirit guides you, then, when the Lord returns, He will remove the last vestiges of sin and clothe you with the robe of righteous behavior that has been woven in Heaven while you have been obeying God in the earth.

Thus the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus can do for us what the Law of Moses can never do. It frees us totally from the guilt of sin by means of the blood atonement made on the cross. It will free us totally from the compulsion to sin as we follow the program that the Scripture outlines, the process of judgment and deliverance that is conducted by the Spirit of God. As we follow the Spirit of God the righteousness of the One who kept the Law of Moses perfectly is ascribed to us.

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)

Summary

The Book of Hebrews contains several severe warnings addressed to believers who continue to sin. The Apostle Paul in his Epistles warns us that if we do not put to death the actions of our body we will die spiritually, we will not inherit the Kingdom of God, we will reap corruption.

When dealing with our sinful nature, two aspects must be considered: the guilt of our sin, and the compulsion to sin resident in our sinful nature. The law of the Spirit of Life takes care of the guilt of our sinful nature, plus the guilt we inherited from Adam, by forgiving us on the basis of the sin offering made by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.

However, if the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ is to set us free completely from our sinful nature, it must deliver us not only from the guilt of sin but also from the compulsion to sin.

Now, how does the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ set us free from the compulsion to sin operating in our sinful nature? Our answer is, the authority of the blood of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, working together with our faith and determination, result in the subduing or casting out of the evil inclinations of our sinful personality.

The righteous requirements of the Law of Moses are met fully in us if we choose to live according to the Spirit of God rather than according to our sinful nature.

The true Christian is being led by the Spirit of God to put to death the behaviors of his sinful nature.

To not be engaging in the warfare against the worldliness, bodily passions, and self-will of our personality is to be neglecting our salvation. The Apostle Paul beat his body and made it his slave. To not deny ourselves, not take up our cross, not follow Jesus, not remain patiently in the prisons in which we find ourselves, is to neglect our salvation. We shall not escape Divine punishment if we neglect our salvation.

Questions

1. How can the righteous requirements of the law of Moses be met?

 2.What message do the parable of the talents, the sower, and the ten virgins teach us about Christians who continue in sin?

 3.Summarize what is required to subdue and finally drive from us the compulsion to sin:

 4.What is significant about the sin offering on the Day of Atonement as described in the Book of Leviticus?

 5.Under the new covenant what assistance has God given us to live with victory over sin?

The Wall Against Sin

The Problem of Sin in the Christian Churches

The Book of Ezra describes the rebuilding of the Temple of God, the Temple having been destroyed seventy years previously by the Babylonians. The rebuilding of the Temple of God symbolizes the building of the Body of Christ, the concept of the maturing of the Body of Christ having been lost since the first century.

The Book of Nehemiah tells of the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem, the wall that had been broken down by the Babylonians at the time the Temple was destroyed.

The rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem symbolizes the constructing of the defense against sin. The definition of sin and the manner in which sin is to be dealt with under the new covenant have also been lost to the Christian churches since the first century.

It is evident, however, to all Christians that God wants no worldliness, lust, or self will of any kind whatever in His people.

Now, the following is important to understand. We know that sin will not be practiced in the Kingdom of God. The understanding of the churches at the present time is that God forever will see us through Christ so whatever we do will not be regarded by Him as sin; or all sin is removed from us when we die and go to Heaven; or sin will be removed from us when the Lord returns. God forever will see us through Christ so even though our behavior has not changed, we still are filled with lust, hatred, and drunkenness, it does not matter to God. He cannot really see what we are doing. Can you believe this is preached today? When we die and go to Heaven all sin will be removed from us. Physical death and Heaven are our redeemers. When the Lord comes He will remove all sin from us and we will be spiritual giants.

Let us note, to begin with, that there is no scriptural basis for any of these three versions of deliverance from sin. The first idea, that God sees us through Christ, is not scriptural. Although commonly believed, you would search your Bible in vain if you tried to find it. The opposite is true, as Paul pointed out so many times. If we keep on sinning God judges us and chastises us in one manner or another. Also, we place in jeopardy our resurrection to life.

For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. (I Corinthians 11:29—NIV)

The concept that when we die and go to Heaven all sin will be removed from us has no basis in the Scriptures. In fact, sin began in Heaven around the Throne of God. If indeed sin began in Heaven around the Throne of God, how then would we be delivered from sin merely by dying and entering the spirit realm?

The popular version that when the Lord comes He will remove all sin from us and we will become spiritual giants has no foundation in the Scriptures. It is true that we shall be changed externally at His return, but such change depends on our having been changed internally in advance. God has no intention of placing a body like that of Jesus Christ on an immature, worldly, lustful, self-willed personality. The very thought is unscriptural and, in fact, illogical if not ridiculous.

But what does the Scripture say about getting sin out of the camp?

The Lord has told us that at the end of the age, probably independently of whether we are alive on the earth or in the spirit realm, His messengers will remove from His Kingdom everything that causes sin, and then all who do evil, and cast it and them into the fire.

We think Christ has begun today to remove sin from those who are seeking Him. The believers who cooperate with the Holy Spirit will be as the wheat that will be gathered into the Lord's barn. The believers who do not cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the removal of sin from their personality will themselves be cast into the fire that is never quenched.

Are you one of those disciples who is living close to God today? Then the Holy Spirit already is speaking to you about your love of the world, the appetites and passions of your flesh, and especially your self-will and self-seeking.

As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:40-43—NIV)

We can notice several ideas in the above passage. The removal of sin from the Kingdom of God will take place at the end of the age. I think that the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement has begun already. Why don't you go to Jesus and ask Him if I am correct?

Sometimes the great moves of God are missed even by God's people because they are not in prayer. This reminds us of Simeon and Anna who saw Christ because they were people of prayer. The rest of the Jews went about their business not aware that their Messiah had been born in a stable. Are you living so close to God in prayer that you will know when God moves forward in His plan for establishing His Kingdom on the earth?

Jesus did not say where the removal of the weeds would take place, only that it would be at the end of the age. Since Peter says God is ready to judge the living and the dead, I would venture that the removal going on now in the earth has also begun in the spirit realm among the departed believers.

We notice that the Son of Man will send out His messengers. These may be spirit-angels or human-angels. The term "angel" means messenger, nothing more.

The messengers will remove the weeds out of "his kingdom." We are not speaking of removing sin from the world but from the Kingdom of God, the kingdom that is in Heaven at the present time and is destined to be located on the earth.

We are so accustomed to think in terms of "going to Heaven" that we cannot perceive the things Jesus said. The Lord Jesus never talked about going to Heaven but about the Kingdom of Heaven. The Gospel has to do with the coming of all the glory of Heaven to the earth, not the removal of human beings to the home of the angels.

Sin began in Heaven. There is no sin in the Kingdom of God, the rule of God. God's will is being done today in Heaven because the rule of God, the Kingdom of God, is in control there. Soon the rule of God is to come to the earth.

Our goal as Christians is not to go to Heaven but to enter the Kingdom of God. As in the parable we are discussing, the reference has nothing to do with going to Heaven as to a place but is directed toward the Kingdom of God, the rule of God. This is why "everything that causes sin" must be removed. It may require another generation before the believers are able to change their thinking from going to Heaven as a place to the coming of the government of God to the earth.

But don't we want to go to Heaven where all is love, beauty, freedom from dread, sickness, and death, where we can renew relationships with deceased loved ones? Yes in the present hour. But no in the future, because <MI>all<D> that we desire is destined to come to the earth along with God, Jesus, and the holy angels.

We are being prepared for the Kingdom of Heaven, the rule of God. We are not being made ready to go to the realm of angels to live forever! This is why it is so totally important that we are delivered from all sin. Does this make sense to you?

First all that causes sin is removed from the Kingdom. Then all who do evil. If we do not allow the Holy Spirit to remove sin from us, then we will be one of those who do evil.

In order to be saved we must receive the Lord Jesus Christ, believing in Him when He is presented to us. But you will find in the Gospel accounts that the division that will come at the end of the age will not be between those who believe and those who do not but between those who do evil and those who do not.

In the case of the five virgins who could not go to the Bridegroom the issue was foolishness and carelessness, not belief in the Gospel. In the case of the man who lost his talent and was cast into outer darkness the problem was wickedness and laziness.

Because of a misunderstanding of the Apostle Paul we believe that Christ will come and reject those who do not believe and accept those who do believe even though their behavior is sinful. This is an enormous error in thinking.

The purpose of our believing in Christ is that we may have our sins forgiven and then be delivered from foolish, careless, wicked, lazy behavior. When our belief in Christ is not bringing forth a new righteous creation then our belief is useless to God and to His Kingdom.

The Scripture cannot be broken. When the Lord comes He will remove the weeds from the wheat. The weeds are those in whom Satan has sown his death. The wheat are those in whom Christ has sown His Life. There are numerous believers today in whom Satan has sown his death. If they do not work with the Holy Spirit in the removal of this spiritual death, then, at the Lord's coming, they will be removed from those who have been delivered from sin.

The Scripture cannot be changed to conform to our traditions. Those who do evil, Christian or not, will be thrown into the fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

We have the authority to enter the Kingdom when we put our faith in the atoning blood of the Lamb. We have the power and wisdom to enter the Kingdom when we receive the Spirit of God. After this we must learn to live and behave in the Spirit of God. By so doing we become part of the Kingdom of God.

It is not at all true, although believed universally today, that we can become part of the Kingdom of God while we continue to sin. No sin is permitted in the Kingdom of God.

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)

The teaching of today that Christians are doomed to continue to sin but they are covered by an unconditional amnesty is definitely against the Scripture. It is error and has destroyed the moral strength of the Christian churches in the United States.

Referring back to Matthew (above), everything that causes sin and all who do evil will be thrown into the fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. This includes Christians. There is no such thing as a "state of grace" that makes the Word of Jesus Christ of no effect.

God is ready and able to deliver from worldliness, lust, and self-will all who call upon Him for freedom from these evil chains. The time is now. Every believer can be delivered in preparation for the return of Christ to the earth. But those churchgoers who insist on maintaining their own way, trusting in the current grace-rapture-Heaven error, may find themselves one day thrown into the fiery furnace. I prefer to believe the Word of God. How about you? I do not trust the current traditions for they are denied by the Scriptures.

"Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father." Did you notice the sequence? First the weeds were pulled up and burned in the fire. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of God. Does that sound to you like the believers are going to be "raptured" into Heaven while the wicked are free to inherit the earth?

I think we see, then, that God has a plan for removing sin from His Church. The removal will take place at the end of the Church Age. Where the deliverance will take place is not clearly described. I prefer to follow the Apostle Peter in the idea that God will judge the living and the dead at the same time. Even so it is difficult to imagine the messengers of God going to those who are dead and yet in the Kingdom of God, pulling them from their placement in the spirit realm and throwing them into the fire. But this seems to me the most likely scenario.

If this is not true, then the judgment and deliverance will take place on the earth.

You know, salvation takes place at three times, you might say. First, there is some point in our life when we specifically receive Christ into our life. We are saved.

Next, we have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling throughout our lifetime. It always is possible to fall away, according to the New Testament, and we are warned about this. The believer who does not bear the fruit of righteousness is cut out of the Vine, out of Christ. Our teaching today often is abysmal when dealing with the passages of the New Testament that warn Christians about falling back into sin.

Finally, there are several passages that tell us our salvation is in the future. For example, "he who endures to the end shall be saved."

Our passage in Matthew that we are studying is another one of these that points to a future determination of our salvation. At the end of the age some of those in the Kingdom are removed and cast into the fires of Divine judgment.

Salvation is never static. The day of salvation always is today. There is no such thing as being saved yesterday. Either we are abiding in Christ right now or we are dying spiritually. Salvation is never a ticket that we hold waiting until we die. Salvation is a narrow, compressed way that leads to life. Salvation is a process that removes us from the death of Satan and brings us into the Life of Jesus Christ. Our redemption has not been completed until we are in the image of Christ and dwelling in untroubled rest through Christ in the Person of our Father in Heaven.

God continually is challenging us to take a step forward, to abide in Christ in a greater way than ever before. Is this true in your life? The step is a step forward in your salvation. To not take that step is to draw back to destruction. You cannot go around any step that God places before you.

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. (Hebrews 10:39—NIV)

Today the Church of Jesus Christ is faced with a major step forward in the Kingdom of God. We have been forgiven through the blood atonement. We have been given God's Spirit. Now it is time to build the wall against sin.

The Wall Against Sin

As we said previously, the concept of the wall is prominent in the Scriptures: first in the Book of Nehemiah, and then in the description of the new Jerusalem.

Let me begin by making some comments about righteousness and sin.

I believe that the new Jerusalem is a real city and the wall that surrounds it is a real wall made of jasper, a colorful variety of quartz. Yet, there are many aspects of the city and its wall that clearly are symbolic.

For example, the wall represents our will to choose not to sin, our will to do God's will. It is in the human will buttressed by the Divine Nature of Christ that resistance to sin finally is built.

The height and thickness of the wall are measured in terms of man's unit of measurement because the wall against sin is constructed from man's effort as well as God's effort. One of the great problems of the Christian teaching of today is it does not emphasize the numerous passages of the New Testament that refer to the things we must do to drive sin from our personality. We often are looking for God to do perform acts of deliverance that He will not do because we are not doing our part. It always must be both the sword of the Lord and of Gideon if we are to gain complete victory over sin.

When our desires run ahead of our strength to choose to do God's will, this signals a breach in our wall against sin. Then we are to prepare a bed of mortar in the breach and set our stone in it. We get the mortar and the stone by praying. It never is God's will that His people continue in known sin.

Righteousness is obedience to God's will. Righteousness is not inherent in a particular action. For example, bearing false witness is a sin. But when the midwives lied to Pharaoh about the birth of male children God made homes for the midwives. What is sin in one instance is righteousness in another.

Sin is disobedience to God's will, the will to choose to disobey God's will.

God does not force His will on people. He could force us to do His will, you know, but He desires to relate to us in love. God wants us to choose to do His will.

Any dictator can force people to do his will, but he does not have their heart and so he possesses nothing of value.

If we wish to have a wall against sin constructed in our personality we first must believe that God wants to deliver us from all sin, that God has the power to deliver us from all sin, and that God wants to do this now. If we are not convinced of these three elements of deliverance we will never have the wall against sin built in us.

Satan has run a tremendous bluff on the Christian community. Satan has injected the idea that as long as we are in the world we are required to sin. Satan has injected the idea that God cannot or will not deliver us completely from sin. Satan has injected the idea we are so filled with sin that total deliverance is impossible. Satan has injected the idea that God's will is so difficult of attainment that no one could possibly do it. Satan has injected the idea that if we do God's will we shall be miserable and lack good things and the joy we could have if we would just follow our own desires. This was the means by which Satan deceived Eve and to this day deceives the human race.

But the Bible says we owe the flesh nothing that we should live according to its appetites. The Bible says if we confess our sins God is faithful to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The Bible says the portion of Christ that is in us does not sin and cannot sin because it has been born of God. The Bible says if we as a Christian continue in slavery to sin we will die spiritually.

Whom are we to believe, Satan or God? Whom would you like to believe (a very revealing question)?

If one is to understand the history of man from the time of Adam he or she must consider it in terms of the rebellion of the angels.

At some point in eons past the angels rebelled against God's will. God did not immediately cast all of them into the Lake of Fire (which is prepared for the devil and his angels) but conceived of a far-reaching plan. God's plan includes removing the authority of the angels from them, creating a new realm, the physical universe, creating a new race of creatures termed "man," and giving to man the authority to govern all the works of God's hands.

If you do not understand the previous paragraph I do not believe you will be able to place the events of history in proper perspective, particularly the events of Church history.

God began the program of developing human rulers by forgiving our sins through the blood atonement made on the cross of Calvary by Jesus Christ.

But our being forgiven, while it benefits us, does not solve the problem of rebellion in the universe.

God proceeded to give those who have been forgiven His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us wisdom and power to live a moral life and to bear witness of the atoning death and triumphant resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, but it does not solve the problem of rebellion in the universe.

Once we have been forgiven by the blood of the Lamb and filled with the Spirit of God we now are in a position to begin to solve the problem of rebellion in the universe. We solve the problem of rebellion by choosing to do God's will in every detail of life.

There are three areas of sin in our personality: love for the world, the passions of the flesh, and self-will. The source of all sin is our self-will, just as the self-will of Satan is the source of every sin.

We solve the problem of worldliness, with the Lord's assistance, by coming out of the world and choosing to find our survival and security in God. We spend time in prayer and reading the Bible instead of using every minute to make sure we have enough food and material goods. We choose not to love the world or to be a part of it any more than is necessary for us to discharge our responsibilities in a reasonable manner. We are in the world but not of the world. We must remember this always, especially in the age of moral horrors we are facing.

We solve the problem of the lusts and passions of our flesh and soul by confessing our sins to God and receiving His forgiveness and His cleansing. We do this continually. We walk in the Light of God's Presence with an open heart and conscience, always being ready to perceive and deal with the spiritual death that is brought to the surface of our personality as we go through various ordeals, problems, and trials. If we keep abiding in Christ, walking in the Spirit of God, we will not fulfill the lusts of our flesh.

However, the biggest problem is our self-will. The biggest problem of the Christian churches of our day is self-will—often self-will in religious matters. God wants us to cease our programs long enough to hear what the Spirit of God is saying to the churches. But we keep plowing ahead with our plans to save the world.

It is our personal cross that destroys the self-will from us. God permits Satan to place us in miserable circumstances, just as in the case of Job. We are in prison. We cannot come forth. We do not enjoy what we are doing and we are not receiving what we fervently desire.

Now what? Either we will bear our cross patiently after the Master for many years, or we will decide "God wants us to be happy" and force our way out of the circumstances which are frustrating us.

I sincerely hope I am mistaken but I do not think there are very many Christians in America who are willing to cease from their own programs, even religious programs, and remain in the prison where God wants them. I am sure there are some, and these are the heirs of the Kingdom. The rest is religious Babylon.

We are forgiven by the blood atonement. We are filled with the Spirit of God. But we still are part of God's problem because we are not seeking to find and obey His perfect will. Every believer who is not seeking God's will to do it perfectly in every detail is a baby.

When I first became a Christian and went to Bible school I was very zealous. The older Christians had a saying that they picked up somewhere: "The world is waiting to see the person who will go all the way with God, who will do God's perfect will."

Being single and without close relatives I volunteered for the job. I told God if He would give me the grace I would do His perfect will.

A short time later I had a dream. In the dream I was on a ship that was breaking up. The sailors were jumping off into the water. So were the passengers and they were drowning.

I jumped over the side and started paddling around. Having been raised close to the ocean I have no fear of the water. I looked toward the shore, which was visible in the distance, and the sailors were playing ring-around-the-rosy on the beach—a child's game.

I looked back toward the people who were drowning. Then I noticed that I could stand up in the water. It was only up to my waist.

So I turned to go back and advise the people to cease panicking. All they had to do was stand up and they could walk to the shore.

Then I awakened.

For a few days I pondered the dream, and then it came to me. God's perfect will is readily available to people and they do not know it. They are laboring under the notion that no one can do God's will, or that God's will is some horrible task that no on would desire. But the truth is, God wants every one of His children to do His delightful will at all times and in every detail of life.

I have been preaching the overcoming life since the time of the dream, some fifty years ago.

It is expected of every believer that he or she do God's will totally and completely in every instance. There is no other acceptable Christian life. Anything less than this is rebellion, it is disobedience to our Father in Heaven.

Last night in church we prayed that God would remove from us this satanic cloud that leaves us feeling we cannot do God's will. We most certainly can with His help. And we most certainly must!

The truth is, every action we take that is not God's will for us, whether we are aware of His will or not, leads us away from perfect joy. We just have to learn to believe that God is on our side. He is seeking our eternal joy.

The original lie of Satan addressed to Eve was that God was not seeking for her that which was in her best interest. If Eve would only take matters into her own hands she would be happy. Eve took matters into her own hands and look how happy she was for nine hundred years!

Yet we never, never learn. Today Satan is telling the church people that if they keep control of their lives they will be happier than if they give everything to Christ. Can you imagine? And the people believe this!

When you talk to Christians about God building a wall against sin in their personality they are fearful indeed. They are afraid they are going to lose something of value if they turn their will over to God to do His will.

The very opposite is true. They are living in the original lie of Satan. They do not trust the goodness of God. They do not believe God has the willingness or the power to deliver them from sin. So the theologians have invented several ways of coping with the problem of the sins of the believers, none of which results in deliverance, only an unscriptural confusion.

The simple fact is, we are at the end of the Church Age. God is ready through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to remove everything that causes sin, and all who do evil, from His Kingdom. God is ready now to build the wall of the new Jerusalem. God is ready to build the wall in you and me.

Are you willing to do God's perfect will or are you still a disobedient child? Do you trust God? Will you this very minute tell your Father in Heaven that you want to do His perfect will no matter what it is?

I know that God brings people through severe crises. I have been through a few myself. In such instances we absolutely must hold steadily to our trust in God's faithfulness and goodness.

Sometimes we hear of Christians being "mad at God" because something happened of which they did not approve. What is wrong with such people? Have they no brains at all? Don't they realize they would have nothing at all except for the goodness of God?

Are they trying to be one of Satan's lieutenants that they are mad at God?

Let us have faith in the One who sent His Son to the cross to die for our sins. The dreadful thing that happened to us was for our best, for our eternal joy. If we have been serving God it is impossible that something will take place that is not for the best. Let us trust our Father in Heaven!

Satan chose the path of self-will. The Lord Jesus Christ in an agony of mental, spiritual, and physical suffering cried out, "Not My will but Yours be done." By so doing He broke the back of Satan's authority and power.

The King of kings had to learn obedience through suffering. So do we.

The Kingdom of God is the doing of God's will in the earth as it is performed in Heaven. Those who today long to do God's will, who cherish His will more than life itself, are the heirs of the Kingdom of God. They will receive everything that has been made new, to their eternal joy. These are the sons of God and God is pleased to be their Father.

These are the answer to the rebellion of the angels and mankind.

You can be a doer of God's will. All that stands between you and a perfect inheritance is your own unbelief. Heaven is ready to enable you to climb out of the valley of the shadow of death and join the ranks of those who delight to do God's will.

Choose now to do God's perfect will in every instance. If you do not have the will to choose to do God's will, then pray for that strength. Pray in Jesus' name for the inner strength to always choose to do God's will. It will be the Father's good pleasure to answer your righteous prayer.

Your Kingdom come. Your will be done, as in Heaven, so in earth. Amen.

Summary

The purpose of our believing in Christ is that we may have our sins forgiven and then be delivered from foolish, careless, wicked, lazy behavior. When our belief in Christ is not bringing forth a new righteous creation then our belief is useless to God and to His Kingdom.

Salvation is never static. The day of salvation always is today. There is no such thing as being saved yesterday. Either we are abiding in Christ right now or we are dying spiritually.

We have the authority to enter the Kingdom when we put our faith in the atoning blood of the Lamb. We have the power and wisdom to enter the Kingdom when we receive the Spirit of God. After this we must learn to live and behave in the Spirit of God. By so doing we become part of the Kingdom of God.

It is not at all true, although believed universally today, that we can become part of the Kingdom of God while we continue to sin. No sin is permitted in the Kingdom of God.

If we wish to have a wall against sin constructed in our personality we first must believe that God wants to deliver us from all sin, that God has the power to deliver us from all sin, and that God wants to do this now.

Are you one of those disciples who is living close to God today? Then the Holy Spirit already is speaking to you about your love of the world, the appetites and passions of your flesh, and especially your self-will and self-seeking.

Christ has begun today to remove sin from those who are seeking Him. The believers who cooperate with the Holy Spirit will be as the wheat that will be gathered into the Lord's barn. The believers who do not cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the removal of sin from their personality will themselves be cast into the fire that is never quenched.

The Kingdom of God is the doing of God's will in the earth as it is performed in Heaven. Those who today long to do God's will, who cherish His will more than life itself, are the heirs of the Kingdom of God.

Questions

1. What does the rebuilding of the wall in Jerusalem symbolize?

 2. Identify three contemporary views of deliverance from sin:

 3. Identify the three areas of sin in our personality:

 4. How does God deal with the self-will in our lives? What are our choices of response to this dealing?

 5. How do some Christians today respond to the idea of God building a wall against sin in their personalities?

Answer Guide

You Don’t Have to Sin

1. 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.

2. 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 that he appeared so that 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)

3.True

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

4. 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 than we can help. Often such clear confessing and renouncing, followed by a determination to resist, is all that is needed.

5. 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)

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 Necessary Orientation

1. Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3—NIV)

2. We understand that we are living a dual life. We have a very real life here on the earth. Our physical body and brain are here. Our soul is operating through our body and continually deciding whether to give in to the flesh and carnal mind or to obey the Word of God.

We have another very real life. Our new life is Christ. Our new life will not appear on earth until Christ appears. Our new life is hidden with Christ in God.

Our new, born-again spiritual life is a firstfruits of our personality. Because the firstfruits is holy the remainder of our personality is holy. This does not mean that our personality on earth does not sin or can never be lost. It means it has been set aside for God's purposes because the firstfruits has been accepted.

3. If we, at any given point of decision, pray and seek the will of God, we add strength to our position in Heaven.

When we choose to live in the passions and appetites of our flesh and soul we sow corruption and death.

Each day we are strengthening our life in Christ at the right hand of God, laying up rich rewards that will be given to us when the Lord appears, or we are sowing corruption and death, the corruption and death we shall receive when the Lord appears.

4. One of the main reasons there is so little deliverance from sin in the Christian churches of our day is that the believers are not oriented correctly to their position in Christ. They have been told over and over again that their sins are forgiven. They believe this. They have been told over and over again that the Lord will return to the earth. They believe this.

But they have not been told over and over that they have been crucified with Christ, resurrected with Christ, and have been raised to the right hand of God. They do not realize this is true. Therefore they find Bible teaching too hard.

They should have been told when they were baptized in water that they were entering the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. They should have been told when they came up out of the water that they now have been resurrected with Christ and raised to the right hand of God in Heaven. This is what it means to be born again.

5. What are we to do when we realize that our new born-again spiritual life is hidden with Christ in God? We are to put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. We are to put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature. We are to rid ourselves of them.

What Sin Is

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

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Salvation is deliverance from all sin and being filled with all the fullness of God.

5. 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.

How We Are Set Free

1. The righteous requirements of the Law of Moses are met fully in us if we choose to live according to the Spirit of God rather than according to our sinful nature.

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)

2. Whether we think of the parable of the talents, or the sower, or the ten virgins, the message is clear: there is a fearful future awaiting Christians who do not obey Christ and His Apostles by taking up their cross and following the Lord.

3. The authority of the blood is absolute. The blood of Jesus is the centerpiece of redemption. It is the foundation, the basis for all forgiveness and all removal of sin.

The Spirit of God is all powerful. There is no evil spirit or tendency that can resist the Spirit of God. The blood grants the authority. The Spirit possesses the power.

But the judge, the arbiter, is the individual. The blood and the Spirit will act only as we make a judgment.

4. In the sixteenth chapter of the Book of Leviticus the Jewish Day of Atonement is described. The ceremony focused on two goats. One goat was slain and its blood sprinkled in the Most Holy place. The other goat was not slain. Rather, the high priest confessed the sins of Israel, placing them on the living goat, and this goat was led away into the desert.

The significant fact, in my point of view, is that both goats were considered to be a sin offering and atonement was made with both goats, even though the one goat was not slain.

Since a sin offering and atonement must be made with blood, and since both the slain goat and the living goat were referred to as a sin offering and an atonement, we conclude that the action was one whole. Forgiveness of sin, gained by the blood of the slain goat, and removal of sin, gained by the removal of the living goat, constituted one sin offering, one atonement. This being the case, we see that the atonement made by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary includes both forgiveness and removal.

5. God has given us great grace, under the new covenant, to live the life of victory over sin. We have the born-again experience, the Holy Spirit, the Epistles of the Apostles, the body and blood of Christ, the gifts and ministries of the Spirit, to help us overcome sin. Also we can come boldly to the throne of grace to receive help as we strive against sin.

The Wall Against Sin

1. The rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem symbolizes the constructing of the defense against sin.

2. God forever will see us through Christ so even though our behavior has not changed, we still are filled with lust, hatred, and drunkenness, it does not matter to God. He cannot really see what we are doing.

When we die and go to Heaven all sin will be removed from us. Physical death and Heaven are our redeemers.

When the Lord comes He will remove all sin from us and we will be spiritual giants.

3. There are three areas of sin in our personality: love for the world, the passions of the flesh, and self-will.

4. It is our personal cross that destroys the self-will from us. God permits Satan to place us in miserable circumstances, just as in the case of Job. We are in prison. We cannot come forth. We do not enjoy what we are doing and we are not receiving what we fervently desire. Now what? Either we will bear our cross patiently after the Master for many years, or we will decide "God wants us to be happy" and force our way out of the circumstances which are frustrating us.

5. When you talk to Christians about God building a wall against sin in their personality they are fearful indeed. They are afraid they are going to lose something of value if they turn their will over to God to do His will. The very opposite is true. They are living in the original lie of Satan. They do not trust the goodness of God. They do not believe God has the willingness or the power to deliver them from sin. So the theologians have invented several ways of coping with the problem of the sins of the believers, none of which results in deliverance, only an unscriptural confusion.

Bibliography

The essays, summaries, and answers for this study guide series were provided from the following works of Robert B. Thompson, as published by Trumpet Ministries, Inc., Escondido, CA. To view these materials click on the hyperlinks found below:

You Don’t Have to Sin (1999)

The Necessary Orientation (1999)

What Sin Is (1999)

How We Are Set Free (1999)

The Wall Against Sin (1999)

About The Author

Born in Portland, Maine, in July 1925, Robert B. Thompson spent his formative years along the rugged coastline of New England. He was converted to Christ in 1944 while serving with the U.S. Marines in Hawaii on the island of Oahu. A year later, after the conclusion of WWII, he was called to preach the gospel while stationed in Sasebo, Japan.

A former educator, lecturer, and public school administrator, he holds the degree of Doctor of Education from the University of Rochester, New York, and possesses three Life Credentials in the State of California. After many years of work in secular education the Lord burdened his heart to write concerning the works of redemption which come after the Pentecostal experience.

He and his wife, Audrey, have served since February 1976 as pastors of Mount Zion Fellowship in Poway, California. Dr. Thompson has authored more than two hundred books concerning the Christian salvation.