Sin in the Life of a Christian
We know from reading the Scriptures that Christ was without sin;
there was no sin in His life. It was because of this fact that
He was able to carry our sin to the cross so that we can have
forgiveness. It was through the sinless life of Christ that it
became possible that He was the perfect sacrifice. God would
accept nothing less than a perfect sacrifice for our sin.
Therefore, we can know with assurance that because of Christ's
death on the cross we can have forgiveness of sin and look
forward to life in eternity with our Heavenly Father.
In our monograph titled "A Scriptural Look at Sin" I discussed
the fact that we cannot overcome sin by ourselves. We can
realize a victory over sin through the strength of Jesus Christ.
But how should a Christian live in relation to sin?
I think it is clear in the Scriptures that we are expected to
live a life apart from sin. Consider what Peter tells us in this
passage, "For to this you were called, because Christ suffered
for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
'Who committed no sin, Nor was guile found in His mouth'; who,
when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered,
He did not threaten; but committed Himself to Him who judges
righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the
tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness
- by whose stripes you were healed." (1 Peter 2:21-24) It is
clear that we are to follow in His steps; we are to live a life
free of sin to the best of our ability. When we fail to get rid
of the sin in our lives, we are not able to live in harmony with
the Word of God. Our relationship with the Father, Son and Holy
Spirit suffers because of it.
Let's explore a little further what happens to us when we become
a Christian. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior we
have a deep regret for the sin we have committed in times past.
This regret and sorrow causes us to repent of those sins.
"Repenting" is not merely saying that we are sorry for those
sins. It is, on the other hand, a deep regret which causes us to
change the way we live; to stop sinning!
The Bible speaks of this repenting as being "crucified" or as
being "dead to sin." Consider these passages: "I have been
crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ
lives in me..." (Galatians 2:20); "And those who are Christ's
have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."
(Galatians 5:24); "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in
sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died
to sin live any longer in it?" (Romans 6:1,2); "Likewise you
also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to
God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:11). Being "dead to
sin" or being "crucified with Christ" is the same as saying that
we have departed from sin, departed from a life of sinfulness.
Paul says if quite well when he asks the question, "Shall we
continue in sin that grace may abound?" His response is
emphatic; "Certainly not!" We, as Christian, need to recognize
that if we are to live the kind of life which is pleasing to
God, sin must not be a part of our lives.
Our Christian walk should be one which is apart from sin. The
Scriptures refer to us as "new creatures" and says that we are
walking in "newness of life." "Therefore, if anyone is in
Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away,
behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)
"Therefore we are buried with Him through baptism into death,
that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the
Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Romans
6:4) "Old things have passed away" - these "old things" are the
sins which we committed while still outside of salvation.
"Behold, all things have become new" - the "newness of life",
the opportunity to live apart from sin.
Is this merely an opportunity to live a life of sinlessness. No!
It is much more than that. It is also a command that we should
live a life apart from sin. Consider these passages: "And do not
be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing
of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and
acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:2); "Therefore,
having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from
all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in
the fear of God." (2 Corinthians 7:1); "Abstain from every form
of evil." (1 Thessalonians 5:22). These and other Scriptures
clearly tell us that we are expected to live a life of holiness.
We are expected to fight against sin in our lives and to win the
victory over sin and the consequences that it has in our lives.
It may be a good idea here to revisit our monograph titled "A
Scriptural Look at Sin." In that monograph I stated that it is
impossible for us to live a life which is completely without
sin. As John said, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive
ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1 John 1:8) Am I
teaching contradictory doctrine here? Or worse yet, is the
Bible? Absolutely not! We are called to righteousness and
holiness. We are expected to live a life indicative of that
righteousness. Were we capable of a sinless life we would be
expected to live such. However, the admonitions above are given
so that we can take control over sin and not have sin control
us. In other words, as I said in the other monograph, we must
have the victory over sin.
"Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one
thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and
reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward
the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ
Jesus." (Philippians 3:13,14) We should do as Paul says. Forget
the things of the past. This includes those sins of the past
which we may look back on and remember the "fun" we had at that
time. Let's forget those. It also includes those failures that
we have had as Christians trying to overcome sin. I'm sure that
each one of us can look back at failures; times when we let sin
have the upper hand. WE need to forget those times as well. We
should have learned from them, but let us not dwell in the
Let us rather look to the future with boldness, knowing that
with the strength of Christ and the Word of God on our side we
can "press toward the goal for the prize."
Are we going to sin in the future? In all likelihood, yes. But
John tells us this, "My little children, these things I write to
you, that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an
Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He
Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not ours only but
also for the whole world." (1 John 2:1,2) If we are striving to
overcome sin, and still sin, then Jesus will be our Advocate for
us to the Father. Jesus substituted Himself for our sins.
On the other hand, if we do not strive to overcome sin but sin
willfully, then there is no further sacrifice for those sins.
"For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of
the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins."
Are we expected to live a life of sinlessness? No! Are we
expected to live a life which is constantly fighting against sin
in our lives, a life which is striving to overcome sin, a life
which is pressing toward the goal? The answer is YES!
Finally, what should our attitude toward sin be? Is it just an
irritation which we have to put up with? No, I think it is much
more than that. We should have a deep hatred for sin of all
We are called to be like Christ. Well, He hated sin, and so
should we. We should hate sin because our Lord and Savior does.
But we should also hate sin because we can see what it does to
ourselves, our loved ones and others as well. It destroys
families and wrecks marriages. It causes people to become
addicted to drugs and alcohol and thus destroy their lives. It
causes distrust among people, even fellow Christians. It has
caused America to change from a righteous nation to one
wallowing in the mire of drug abuse, homosexuality, abortion on
demand and a crime wave beyond compare. I do not really
understand how the Christians in this nation can stand idly by
and watch what is happening and not take a stand against sin,
both in our own lives and the nation as well.
We should hate sin because we desire to do the will of God. Sin
is in direct opposition to the will of God. Often times it is
sin that keeps us from doing the will of God. Let us not give in
to the temptations of sin, but rather strive earnestly to do the
will of the Father.
Be Strong Maltbie D. Babcock August 3, 1858 - May 18, 1901)
Be strong! We are not here to play, to dream, to drift; We have
hard work to do, and loads to lift; Shun not the struggle - face
it; 'tis God's gift.
Be strong! Say not, "The days are evil. Who's to blame?" And
fold the hands and acquiesce - oh shame! Stand up, speak out,
and bravely in God's name.
Be strong! It matters not how deep entrenched the wrong, How
hard the battle goes, the day how long; Faint not - fight on!
To-morrow comes the song.
All Scriptures quoted are from the New King James Version unless