TO THINK THAT NO ONE CAN STOP COMMITTING SIN IS A DECEPTION
Satan wants Christians to think they can continue to commit sin and still be saved. Satan whispers to the believer that it is impossible to cease from sin. To prove his point he tells believers that they are committing sin every time they have evil thoughts or desires.
Then, once they believe that lie, he soon has them thinking like this...
IF: Lustful thoughts are sin, and committing Adultery is a sin.
AND: I can have lustful thoughts and still be saved.
THEN: I can commit Adultery and still be saved.
As you can see, the Satanic deception depends on the false premise that a believer who has lustful thoughts is committing a sin. That simply is not true, the Bible carefully distinguishes between a person's "SIN NATURE" as described in Romans 7:17, and Galatians 5:17:
"...sin that dwelleth in me."
"...the flesh lusteth against the Spirit."
and COMMITTING SIN as found in 1 John 3:8: "He that committeth sin is of the devil;"
There is a great difference between the sin nature as an active force in man and committing sin which is rebellion against God. The Sin nature is that which urges us to commit an act of sin; and that is what this article is about - the difference between our Sin nature and acts of sin.
Comparing Acts of Sin and the Sin Nature:
AN ACT OF SIN consists of an intentional choice to break one of God's Commandments with full knowledge that it is wrong. The Bible refers to this as "Presumptuous Sin" as opposed to sins of ignorance. A sin done in ignorance of the law could be atoned for by the offering of a sacrifice (Lev 5:17) but willful transgression of the law was punished by death. (Lev 20:10 - Adultery) If a Christian is obeying God up to the knowledge he has and unwittingly breaks one of God's Commandments it is not an act of willful sin and he is not condemned. The atoning sacrifice of Jesus (The Blood of Christ) covers any sin done in ignorance until such time as the Holy Spirit makes the believer aware of his wrongdoing.
We can see the principle clearly illustrated in 1 John 1:7:
"But IF we walk in the light, as he is in the light...the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin."
Look closely, the condition for cleansing is that we must walk in the light. If a believer is doing what he knows to be wrong, he is not walking in the light and therefore he is not covered by the blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus only cleanses from sins done unintentionally or in ignorance of God’s law.
If the Christian has come to know that it is wrong, and continues to transgress the law, he is guilty of rebellion. If he will not put that sin away completely and forever, he is a rebel against God's Kingdom and will be condemned to death. He will not inherit eternal life. This is what John meant when he said:
"All wrongdoing is sin, but there is SIN which is not mortal." 1 John 5 :17
"....SIN is the transgression of the law." 1 John 3:4
All wrongdoing is transgression of the law, but any transgression done in ignorance is not mortal.
God does not consider a sin to be mortal unless there is rebellion in the heart. Without an attitude of rebellion there is no act of sin. Perhaps this analogy will help explain what it means to "commit sin"...
A man was walking in the park and saw a sign that said:
KEEP OFF THE GRASS!
He walked up to it and contemptuously kicked it over and said: "I'll walk where I please!" That man acted in rebellion to the law.
Another man was walking in the same park and strayed on to the forbidden grass without seeing the sign, but as soon as he did see it he immediately obeyed. That man did not act in rebellion. Both men trespassed, but only one was rebellious.
So it is with sin, we do not "commit sin" unless we are aware that what we are doing is against one of God's Ten Commandments, and do it anyway. The word "commit" implies an intentional act as in: commit murder...commit robbery...commit Adultery. No one can commit sin accidentally.
Does a born-again Christian "commit sin"? The apostle John said NO!... "No one born of God commits sin." 1 John 3:9
Many who think they are born-again are not. The fact is that a person is not "born of God" the moment he first believes. Just as in the natural world where a child is begotten before it is born, so it is with the spiritual rebirth. First we are "begotten from above" then if we continue to grow we are born. The seed in the womb has "power" to grow and so do we! John said:
"But to all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power TO BECOME children of God..." John 1:12 RSV
Please notice that John did not say "...all who believed in His name ARE children of God, but that all who believed had power TO BECOME children!
With the new birth comes the power to obey through the indwelling Holy Spirit. The true child of God will suffer anything,
even death before he will deliberately offend God by disobeying even one of His commandments. According to the scriptures, if we do not obey God's commandments we do not love God! John said:
"For this is the love of God that we keep his commandments." (1John 5:3) If that is not clear then listen to what Jesus said:
"He that hath my commandments, AND KEEPETH THEM, He it is that LOVETH me: John 14:21
Only those who love God are going to inherit eternal life!
Is it possible for someone who is born-again to commit a deliberate act of sin against God's law? Yes, because he still has
free will and is able to choose good or evil. But woe to him if he chooses evil...
Think about it! This is a blessed person who has made a covenant with God to obey Him, and in turn has been given the faith, the strength, and the power to obey; yet he treacherously chooses to rebel and betray the one who has shown him great mercy. He spits in the face of the Holy One who suffered the agonies of the cross and died in his place.
The return of a born-again believer who has come to the “knowledge of the truth” unto willful and deliberate sin is an act of high handed treason. ( See Heb 10:26)
God's righteousness demands judgment without mercy and eternal destruction for such a wretch. (Read Proverbs 1:28-33 and Hebrews 6:4-8 and tremble!)
In order to keep new believers from understanding these things and recognizing that they must stop "committing sin", the Devil wants them to put errors such as lustful thoughts and angry words, in the same category with deliberate acts of rebellion such as Lying, Stealing, and Adultery. He wants them to think that it is normal to "commit sin" very day so that they will lose the distinction between rebellion against God and simple manifestations of the Sin nature.
THE SIN NATURE is that part of man which generates evil desires. The Sin nature is used by the Devil to tempt a person to commit sin. Through the Sin nature, Satan is able to stimulate the body, soul and mind towards evil.
The spiritual powers of Satan's kingdom work directly through the Sin nature in order to tempt a person into breaking God's law. Like the carrot on a stick held in front of a donkey, Satan dangles the reward of pleasure as an inducement to lure the person along the path towards actual transgression of God's Ten Commandments.
Through rewards of greater and greater pleasure the unwitting victim is drawn ever deeper and deeper into his own lusts, until lust overcomes him and he becomes willing to rebel against God and commit an act of sin.
Sinful lust is best defined as: "desire for that which is forbidden". The scriptures teach that although lust in itself is not an act of sin (i.e. a deliberate transgression of the law) it will soon lead to an act of sin if not checked. Here is the way James described the process by which our lusts lead us into transgression and death:
1st Stage. DRAWN AWAY!
"But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed."
The moment the Sin nature is given an opportunity it begins to act on a person's will by drawing him away from what is right through his own lust. - (Greek: Epithumia 1939, "a longing for what is forbidden.") Those "longings" will soon entice. - (Greek: Deleazo 1185, "to entrap.") Once the person is entrapped, his desires have grabbed hold of his
mind, and the sin nature will work to draw him on toward actual sin by rewarding him with pleasure or the promise of pleasure if he will continue to entertain his "longing for what is forbidden."
2nd Stage. SIN BROUGHT FORTH!
"Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin:"
Very soon the lust will have "conceived," and the living seed of rebellion is planted in the fertile soil of the mind. It begins to take root and grow and then bringeth forth sin. - (Greek: Tiktei 5088, "to produce from seed.") Once the seed of rebellion has taken root in the mind of the believer actual transgression is not very far away and is inevitable unless the person slams on his spiritual brakes and puts a stop to the process. This can only be done by an express act
of the will and calling upon Jesus to rescue him from Sin's power.
3rd Stage: AN ACT OF SIN AND DEATH!
"and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." James 1:14, 15
If the person does not stop entertaining his lusts, the power of sin will have its way and the person will soon commit sin by choosing to set aside God's Law. Then Sin, "when it is finished (Greek: Apoteleo 658, "to complete entirely i.e. consummate.") BRINGETH FORTH DEATH"!
Listen to the warning that Paul wrote to the born-again Christians at Rome. What he said to them, he said to us:
"...his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of SIN UNTO DEATH, or of obedience unto righteousness." Romans 6:16
A true Christian will not long entertain lustful fantasies about forbidden desires because he knows they are evil, dangerous, and offensive to God. The mature Christian knows that the longer one does entertain wrong thoughts or desires, the more one will suffer when trying to shut them off. The longer they are entertained, the deeper they become rooted and the more difficult to overcome.
The Christian need not fear that he will not be able to overcome temptation because God promises that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can endure. (See 1 Cor 10:13) That same verse also proves that anyone who really is born-gain and has the Holy Spirit of God is able to say "NO!" to any temptation that comes his way. (I pray that any believer who finds himself unable to avoid acts of sin will realize that he is not yet born of God and will cry out for God's Holy Spirit, and surrender himself completely in obedience to God's Law.)
If the Christian will not turn away from his lusts--then he wants to keep them. If so, then sooner or later, he will inevitably succumb to the power of the Sin nature, reject the Lordship of Christ and commit sin. If he was truly born-again and then turns away from obedience to God's law, he will be lost! Not only lost, but according to Peter the punishment for the dog returning its vomit will be worse than for the unbeliever who was not able to obey. Christians, beware of your desires that are contrary to God's law, for the Devil is patient and has lots of time.
"WHOSOEVER LOOKETH UPON A WOMAN TO LUST..."
A good example of willful sin would be Adultery, which is an act of sin that occurs when a person chooses to set aside God's law and have sexual relations outside of marriage. Please take note that to commit Adultery is an act of sin, but the lust which precedes the decision is NOT AN "ACT" OF SIN, rather it is the manifestation of the Sin nature.
It is very important to notice that when Jesus said:
"But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman TO lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Matthew 5:28
HE DID NOT SAY--
"If you look upon a woman *WITH* lust ye have committed adultery in your heart."
Jesus was saying this: "The Pharisees have told you that you are committing Adultery only if you actually have relations with a woman, but I say to you that it is the intent of your heart that God judges. If you look upon a woman lusting to have sex with her, and the only thing stopping you is the lack of opportunity, then you have already broken God's law in your heart."
The word TO means: "indicating intention, purpose or end." (Websters) If a man is looking on a woman with the intention of lusting after her then he certainly is not trying to avoid lust! He may be sure that his heart is still set upon evil. He may also be sure that if he would commit Adultery given the opportunity, he is not truly born-again because John says that "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin." (1 John 3:9)
Looking upon someone TO lust after them is a sin, but the Devil wants Christians to think that just looking at the opposite sex and feeling desire is also an act of sin. That is not true! It is simply the first stage of temptation. Temptation to commit sin does come through lustful desires, fantasies, etc. but those lusts are not in themselves an act of sin because temptation does not involve rebellion.
If lust itself is an act of sin then Jesus committed sin because the Bible says that "every man is TEMPTED when he is drawn away in his own LUST," and that Jesus was TEMPTED like as we are,".
THE SCRIPTURES CANNOT BE BROKEN...
Here is the final proof that sinful desires are not an ACT of sin; the scriptures say this about Jesus:
"Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made LIKE UNTO HIS BRETHREN, that he might be a merciful and faithful
high priest..." (Hebrews 2:17)
"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities;
BUT WAS IN ALL POINTS TEMPTED LIKE AS WE ARE, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15)
"But every man is TEMPTED, (Greek: Tested) when he is drawn away of his own LUST..." (James 1:14)
IF: "Every man is TEMPTED when he is drawn away of his own lust..."
AND: Jesus was "IN ALL POINTS TEMPTED LIKE AS WE ARE",
THEN: Jesus was TEMPTED when he was drawn away of his own LUST.
IF: Jesus was TEMPTED when he was drawn away of his own LUST,
AND: Jesus was "yet without sin".
THEN: Jesus was without sin when he was tempted.
Therefore If Jesus was tempted by lust (sinful desire) then lust is not an act of sin. The Bible says that all Christians are tempted and drawn away of their own lust, but "He that committeth sin is of the devil." (1 John 3:8)
The Devil wants us to commit sin and "sin is the transgression of the law." Those who knowingly choose to disobey any part of God's Ten Commandment Law (including the Sabbath) are obeying the Devil. They are his servants and will share his fate on Judgement day. Paul warned:
"Know ye not that, to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are..." Romans 6:16
The most important question a Christian can ask himself is: Whose servant am I?
"Jesus answered...Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." John 8:58
Harold and Donna Kupp