Thoughts to Ponder

Do Christians sin daily?

In His word God say that His people are destroyed because of a lack of knowledge. The knowledge He is speaking of is His word. I believe that God's people are still being destroyed because of their lack of knowledge of God's word.

One of the popular beliefs among Christians today is that a Christian will continue to sin daily. I have heard this idea expressed in different ways. I have heard people say that we (Christians) sin in word, deed and thought daily. Or that we commit sins of omission and sins of commission daily. Or that we all continue to struggle with our sin nature or our flesh daily, meaning that we can't help but sin even though we struggle not to. They will even quote passages from God's word to back up their point of view. This is one of the most popular passages that they like to use:

Romans 7:14-25 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. [15] For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. [16] But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. [17] So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. [18] For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. [19] For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. [20] But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. [21] I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. [22] For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, [23] but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. [24] Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? [25] Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. [NASB-U]

Then they will quote the next part of the passage which speaks of there being no condemnation for those in Christ to prove that it does not matter that a Christians sins. I must admit this sounds pretty convincing if you don't know the rest of God's word. That is the problem, people pick and choose what they want out of God's word instead of taking it as a whole from Genesis to Revelation. Let me show you what I mean.

We know that Paul wrote Romans, so we can look at other things that Paul wrote to show whether he felt that he as an Apostle was still a slave to sin. A good place to start is in the very same letter that Paul wrote to the Romans.

Romans 8:5-14 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. [6] The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; [7] the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. [8] Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. [9] You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. [10] But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. [11] And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. [12] Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. [13] 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, [14] because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. [NIV]

Notice that this quote is taken from a passages just a couple of verses away from the other quote. When people take the first quote and leave the second one out, they miss the whole point Paul was trying to make. Paul was a Pharisee and in the Jewish mind that made him more religious and more righteous then anyone else, yet Paul is showing that when he was following the Law (Old Testament Law) he struggled against another law the law of sin in his flesh. No matter how badly he wanted to keep from sinning it was impossible, because he was a slave to sin. But then he goes on to say that only Christ can free us. Now let's look at other things Paul wrote to make sure we understand what he is saying. We will stay in the same letter but go back to an earlier passage to show what Paul was saying:

Romans 6:16-18 [16] Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? [17] But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. [18] You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. [NIV]

Set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. Now that you have read those two other passages is it still easy to believe that Paul was claiming that he sinned daily against his will because he was a slave to sin? Of course not, yet people are destroyed because they lack the full knowledge of what God's word says. But I don't want to stop there, I want to build on this by looking at what other passages of Scripture have to say on the matter.

1 John 3:7-10 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. [8] 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. [9] 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. [10] 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. [NIV]

John makes it pretty clear in this passage that Christians do not continue to sin daily, in word, deed or thought, by omission or commission. Don't miss the point, it is not that a Christians can't sin, or that we don't sometimes stumble and sin or even deliberately sin on rare occasions, but our lives will not be characterized by sin. If our lives are characterized by sin, then we are children of the devil not of God. If we sin daily in word, deed and thought, then I would say our lives are characterized by sin and we have a real problem. Let's keep looking.

Ephes. 5:1-6 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children [2] and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. [3] But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. [4] Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. [5] 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. [6] Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. [NIV]

Look closely at verse 5. Paul makes it clear that an immoral, impure or greedy person has no place in heaven. People will try to tell you that an immoral, impure or greedy person can have a place if they are saved, but that just doesn't match up with Scripture, if the person is saved then they will no longer be an immoral, impure or greedy person!

1 John 2:3-6 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. [4] The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. [5] But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: [6] Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. [NIV]

1 Peter 1:13-16 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. [14] As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. [15] But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; [16] for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." [NIV]

So we have seen that John, Peter and Paul all agree that Christians cannot live in sin or sin daily and still be true believers. Now I want to show you what Jesus had to say on the subject:

Matthew 18:5-9 "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. [6] But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
[7] "Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! [8] If your hand or your foot causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. [9] And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell." [NIV]

I want to focus on verse 8 and 9 for a moment. People will try to mitigate this by claiming that Jesus was not speaking to believers or that He was speaking to people who were still under the Law. Both arguments fall flat. First, what was Jesus' message? It was that He came to take the sins of the world and that the only way to get to heaven was to place your faith in Him as your perfect sacrifice. So why would He tell non-believers that if their hand causes them to sin they should cut it off and cast it into the fire? Would He not be saying that by not sinning they could get to heaven? We know that is not the truth, so we know that Jesus did not mean that by this passage. As for speaking to people who were still under the Law, yes He was but again His whole message was that the Law could not save a person, only faith in the perfect sacrifice could do that, so why would He tell even people under the Law that they could get to heaven by not sinning?

What this passage shows is how seriously God takes sin. More accurately, how seriously God takes sin in the lives of His people! You can be sure that Jesus is not speaking of some minor loss of rewards because He plainly says it is better to enter life then to be thrown into the fire of hell.

Now many people will try to claim I am preaching legalism but I am not. We are not saved by not committing sins and we are not lost because we do commit a sin. Sin is the symptom of the deeper problem. Let me address what happens when a Christian does stumble and sins.

1 John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; [NASB-U]

Jesus stands before the Father on our behalf, however, He will not stand there and defend a person who is disobedient. Yes all sin is disobedience, but what I mean is someone who is continually disobedient.

Galatians 6:7-9 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. [8] The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. [9] Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. [NIV]

As you can see God's word is very clear that Christians can choose not to sin or choose to sin, but choosing to sin means that they are choosing to leave Christ. That is the message in both of the following two passages:

John 15:6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. [NIV]

James 4:4 You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. [NIV]

The reason this doctrine, that believers sin daily, is so dangerous is that it belittles sin in the life of a believer. If we all sin daily and can't help but doing so, then there is no reason to attempt to live a sinless, holy life because it is impossible. I want to repeat that I am not claiming that we will live a totally holy and sinless life, but praise be to God that He has set us free from slavery to sin. A true believer's life will not be characterized by sin on a daily basis, or any other regular basis.

E-Mail Ralph

These devotionals are written by Ralph Dettwiler, and reflect his views.

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Below is an e-mail conversation I had with someone who commented on this article: (The person's comments are in blue and my comments back are in green.)

Ahhh Ralph,

Why do you continue to try enslave people using Gods word? You say that people pick and choose what they want from Gods word. That's exactly what you do. Wouldn't it be Wonderful that when we became Christians - we never sinned again? But we all know that Isn't possible because we are human - even if Christ is in us.

When I read this: John makes it pretty clear in this passage that Christians do not continue to sin daily, in word, deed or thought, by omission or commission. Don't miss the point, it is not that a Christians can't sin, or that we don't sometimes stumble and sin or even deliberately sin on rare occasions, but our lives will not be characterized by sin. If our lives are characterized by sin, then we are children of the devil not of God. If we sin daily in word, deed and thought, then I would say our lives are characterized by sin and we have a real problem. Let's keep looking.

Why do you try to convince people that once they're saved - they are "POOF" - no longer sinners. While trying to make the point that we shouldnt continue to willfully sin, Calling those who have not overcome, children of the devil - is downright wrong, The "real problem" is the yoke your trying to lay on people - the one Jesus came to remove

Be careful Ralph, not to judge others

If I am picking and choosing then show me where I am wrong. I gave many different Scriptures which show that Christians will not sin continually, so show me where I am wrong and please do it through Scripture not your own emotions. I am not enslaving anyone, I am telling them that they can be free. If you want to be a slave to sin, then go ahead, but don't complain that I use God's word to say you are wrong.

I think it is you who are judging me, but I don't care because my stand is based on God's word as I plainly showed in this article. If I am wrong, then show me and quit just accusing me of something.

Dear Ralph,

First - I'm not judging you. Listen to what you said in essence and think - What you've said is that if you are habitually sinning (take someone who is overweight - for instance) your saying that Person is a child of the Devil. Because he should deny himself and do what is right. Common Ralph. Jesus doesn't come down with a bolt of lightning and we're are totally sin free. - We work at it, like peeling an onion. Taking off layer after layer of bad attitudes, gossiping, impure thoughts, putting ourself first - etc.

Do you know that King David was having an affair with Bathsheba for a year before Confessing it to God. Did God say to David - Your off my list? NO

What your trying to tell people is that our righteousness depends on us. Our righteousness depends on Gods Grace - Read Matthew 9:9-13. Like you, the Pharisees Complained - How could Jesus keep company with sinners? His response to them was Go and learn the meaning of these words. "It is mercy I desire and not sacrifice. I have come not to call the righteous to repentance, but sinners. Jesus knows how we are - he knows our weaknesses. (Who calls us to repent ?- Jesus)

And he loves us in spite of it. He daily calls us to change our ways. For those who are still stuck, still struggling with some sin - he is every bit as merciful as he was then, He doesn't change.

As for trying to help people be free - nonsense. Let God do his Job Ralph. That's why the Holy Spirit came. To Guide us, Instuct Us, Reprove Us. Why not try telling people That when you fall, get back up, dust yourself off and keep on moving. Not you're a wicked person.

You sound like one of those religious bureaucrats who hold up your robes and insignia of authority-Raising your eyebrow at your fellow Christian - and disregarding the gospel Of Grace.

It is my experience - and a long one at that - that people like you enjoy your self righteousness - that you (in your own mind) are actually doing good by trying to Condemm others. Please reread about the log and splinter in your eye. Get the log out of you own before you can see the splinter in your neighbors.

You cannot earn God's Goodness - EVER. It is a free gift - given out of Love.

And by the way - I am not a slave to sin. By Gods grace, I examine myself daily, ask God to reveal those things or attitudes that are wrong and confess what I've done - I thank God for his goodness and am forgiven.

Well I see you decided not to show me where I was mistaken about the Scriptures I used. I must admit I am not surprised, but I am saddened that you would accuse me of picking and choosing what I want to believe from God's word, but you don't bother to back up what you say in any way other then with your own opinions.

You also said: "Calling those who have not overcome, children of the devil - is downright wrong". I hate to tell you but if you had read my article with an open mind you might have noticed that all I did was paraphrase what the quote was from Scripture. Let me quote it again:

1 John 3:7-10 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. [8] 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. [9] 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. [10] 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. [NIV]

Notice verse 10!! I didn't say it, I just repeated it, God's word is what says it. You might not like what it says, and you may even think that I am just picking and choosing what I want to from God's word, but you will have a hard time claiming that it does not say what it says. So if I am downright wrong for quoting God's word, you must also be saying that you think God's word is downright wrong.

I will tell you right now, I am a very blunt person who does not beat around the bush. I don't mean to be antagonistic, but I won't allow you to claim I am judging and saying things wrong, when all I am doing is quoting from God's word. As I said before, if I am mistaken, or if I am taking things out of context, then show me.

You are also mixing apples and oranges in several places. First you talk about someone who is overweight and equate that to a habitual sin. Now it could be, it could be the habitual sin of gluttony but it doesn't have to be. It could also be lack of exercise for any number of reasons, it could be a medical problem, etc... Now if it truly is the habitual sin of gluttony, then yes I stand by God's point that the person is a child of the devil and not His child. But again I did not say that He did. Just in case you don't like that passage let me show you another:

Hebrews 10:26-27 [26] If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, [27] but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. [NIV]

So if the person deliberately keeps on being a glutton there is no sacrifice left, only a fearful expectation of judgement, yet you don't want me to warn the person.

Another place you mix apples and oranges is when you call me a Pharisee or at least like a Pharisee. You claim I am saying the same thing as them, when they asked the disciples why Jesus hung around sinners. The only problem with that is that Jesus was hanging around sinners to save them, but I am talking about people who have already come to know Christ. But since my opinion is meaningless, let's look at what God has to say about the matter:

1 Cor. 5:9-13 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-- [10] not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. [11] But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. [12] What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? [13] God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you." [NIV]

The passages speaks for itself. You have also managed to pervert what I said by claiming I am saying our righteousness depends on us. Maybe it is that you so hated my message that you missed the whole point. It would seem that way, since you have claimed I am trying to enslave people, when I am telling them that they can be free from sin. Let me quote a passage from the original article again:

Romans 6:16-18 [16] Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? [17] But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. [18] You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. [NIV]

Look at verse 18; you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. Now does that sound like I am claiming our righteousness depends on us? What I am saying is that we have a choice as believers, a choice that the unbeliever who is sold as a slave to sin, does not have. We have the choice to either follow the world and be slaves to sin, or to follow Christ and be slaves to righteousness. You seem to deny that we have that choice, but again you are not disagreeing with me, you are disagreeing with God's word. Let me repeat, if I am mistaken about what these passages say, then please correct me, using Scripture.

You claim I am not trying to help people be free, yet I am quoting passages which say that we can be free. You are the one who appears to be claiming that we can never be totally free from sin in this world. I will tell you what my problem is with that statement, you are giving the last enemy the power to do something that you are denying God has the power to do. Who is the last enemy? Death. What you are saying is that at our death we will finally be free from sin. That would mean that death is able to do something for us that God is not able to do. That is a sad thought.

You also seem to be claiming that I am condemning those who are not able to overcome. Let me again go to God's word:

1 John 5:3-5 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, [4] for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. [5] Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. [NIV]

Am I wrong to say, according to the passage above, that anyone who does not overcome is not truly a child of God? Note verse 4; for EVERYONE born of God overcomes the world. Now let's look at what Jesus had to say to the churches:

Rev. 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. [NIV]

Rev. 2:11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. [NIV]

Rev. 2:17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. [NIV]

Rev. 2:26 To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations-- [NIV]

Rev. 3:5 He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. [NIV]

Rev. 3:12 Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. [NIV]

Rev. 3:21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. [NIV]

Rev. 21:7 He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. [NIV]

So again am I wrong to tell those who have not overcome that they need to become slaves to Christ so that they can overcome?

You also tell me that I should tell people that when they fall they should get up and dust themselves off and keep on moving. That is what I am telling them, but I am adding that they need to move in the direction of Christ not on their own. You can claim I am self righteous all you want, but in doing so you just show that this is more your dislike for me personally then a disagreement about God's word. I have never claimed to be self righteous. Now if you think I am self righteous because I say that my life is not characterized by sin, then I guess you are right, but even then you are wrong, because the ONLY reason that my life is not characterized by sin is that I have become a slave to righteousness by giving my life to Christ and allowing Him to control my life.

I will continue to teach that God's word says we can be free from the slavery from sin.

You mentioned David and said it was a year before he confessed his sin to God. You are right, but you missed an important point. King David was an Old Testament saint, the Holy Spirit had not yet been given to believers. David only confessed his sin, after Nathan the prophet confronted him with it. That is not the same as today. A believer today is indwelled by the Holy Spirit who will convict them even as they choose to sin. So your point about King David has nothing to do with our discussion. Christ had no yet died and thereby freed believers from sin.

One last point. You told me I should leave these things up to the Holy Spirit because it is His job to reprove and rebuke. You are only half right. It is His job but who does He use to do so? Since I have already stated that my opinion is meaningless, let's go see what God has to say:

Leviticus 19:17 "'Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt.'" [NIV]

Luke 17:3 So watch yourselves. "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him." [NIV]

2 Tim. 4:2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. [NIV]

As I have said numerous times, if I am taking things out of context or misinterpreting them, then show me. If you can't show me where I am wrong, then maybe you should re-evaluate your beliefs and make sure they line up with God's word.

Ralph

2 Corinthians 5:14-19

As believers in Christ, we like to claim our Lord's promise that we can know the truth and it will set us free. (John 8:32) It is wonderful to see the power of God at work when we first get saved. Old habits fall away, while positive, lasting changes seem to occur overnight.

At the same time, some disturbing thought patterns will linger tenaciously. As we struggle with feelings of insecurity, worthlessness, and incompetence, we begin to wonder what happened to our freedom. Our new identity as children of God doesn't seem to match our behavior. It's as if we have become the victims of some cruel joke. We thought we ordered a freedom package, but upon opening the contents, we find something far different from what we were expecting.

The trouble is that we frequently fail to distinguish between the act of salvation, which happens in a moment, and the process of sanctification, which lasts a lifetime. When we are saved, we instantly take on a new identity and become what the Scriptures refer to as "a new creation." (2 Corinthians 5:17) Then begins the transformation process of conformity to the image of Christ through the renewing of our minds. (Romans 12:2) Remember that the promise of freedom is qualified with a condition: "If you continue in My Word" (John 8:31). This means feasting on Scripture as well as studying and absorbing it. Then our minds will be truly renewed, and we will begin to think as God does. It is a lifelong process, but it leads to freedom all along the way.

Well you did try to use a few passages in this message, but I must disagree with how you used them. Yes we are new creations when we are saved, that I will agree with, but that means we are no longer sinners, we are born of the Spirit. The flesh dies with Christ so that Christ can live through us. If anything you have proved the point I have been trying to make.

I totally disagree with the idea that sanctification is a life long process. Spiritual growth is a life long process but not sanctification. What does sanctification mean? Maybe that is where we need to begin. Does it mean to be conformed to the image of Christ as you say and takes place every day of our life? Or does it mean to be separated from the world, set apart and made holy? I content it means the second.

Here is what the dictionary says:

sanc·ti·fy

To set apart for sacred use; consecrate.
To make holy; purify.
To give religious sanction to, as with an oath or vow: sanctify a marriage.
To give social or moral sanction to.
To make productive of holiness or spiritual blessing.

I want to look at God's word and see what it says. Does it say that we are sanctified over a long period of time or does it imply or state that it is something that happens to a believer at a time in their life?

Acts 20:32 "Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. [NIV]

This passages states that these people were sanctified, past tense, not ongoing.

Acts 26:14-18 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' [15] "Then I asked, 'Who are you, Lord?'" 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' the Lord replied. [16] 'Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. [17] I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them [18] to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.' [NIV]

This passage is Paul telling King Agrippa how Jesus appeared to him and what He said. Notice what Jesus said. He said 'among those who ARE sanctified by faith in me.' Not who are being sanctified, but where ARE sanctified.

1 Cor. 1:2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ--their Lord and ours: [NIV]

Again past tense, it is something that has happened to these people.

1 Cor. 6:11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. [NIV]

Again past tense. They were sinners but then they were washed and sanctified.

Hebrews 10:29 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? [NIV]

Once again past tense, the covenant that sanctified him.

I won't deny that we continue to grow in Christ all the days of our lives, but to try to say that we gradually quit sinning as we are sanctified over our life time is to deny what God's word says. If sanctification takes a life time to accomplish, then what about the person who is saved and dies soon afterward? Are they sanctified by death, since they did not live long enough to get it gradually? If so then again death, the last enemy is more powerful then God Himself.

Being conformed to the image of Christ means to learn to live as He lived and yes we have to learn that, but being set free from sin is something that happens because God does it for us, when we decide that we want Him to control our lives. When we decide to follow Christ and not the world. I have given many passages which show that a person who deliberately continues in sin is not a child of God. You have not addressed even one of those passages. In my article I stressed that I am not saying we will live a totally sinless life, but our lives will not be characterized by sin, if it is then as God's word clearly says we are not His children. Either I am wrong and you should be able to show me where I am mistaken or your argument is with God not me.

Ralph

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August 2004