Can a Christian Not Sin Bible Study
|"What is the definition of sin?"|
Answer: Sin is described in the Bible as transgression of the law of God (1 John 3:4) and rebellion against God (Deuteronomy 9:7; Joshua 1:18). Sin had its beginning with Lucifer, the “shining star, the son of the morning,” the most beautiful and powerful of the angels. Not content to be all this, he desired to be the most high God and that was his downfall and the beginning of sin (Isaiah 14:12-15). Renamed Satan, he brought sin to the human race in the Garden of Eden, where he tempted Adam and Eve with the same enticement, “you shall be like God.” Genesis 3 describes their rebellion against God and against His commandments. Since that time, sin has been passed down through all the generations of mankind and we, ! Adam’s descendants, have inherited sin from him. Romans 5:12 tells us that through Adam, sin entered the world and so death was passed on to all men because “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
Through Adam, the inherent inclination to sin entered the human race and human beings became sinners by nature. When Adam sinned, his inner nature was transformed by his sin of rebellion, bringing to him spiritual death and depravity which would be passed on to all who came after him.
Humans became sinners not because they sinned, they sinned because they were sinners. This is the condition known as inherited sin. ----Just as we inherit physical characteristics from our parents, we inherit our sinful natures from Adam. King David lamented this condition of fallen human nature in Psalm 51:5: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
Another type of sin is known as imputed sin. Used in both financial and legal settings, the Greek word translated imputed means to take something that belongs to someone and credit it to another’s account. >>>Before the Law of Moses was given, sin was not imputed to man, although men were still sinners because of inherited sin. >>>After the Law was given, sins committed in violation of the Law were imputed (accounted) to them (Romans 5:13). >>>Even before transgressions of the law were imputed to men, the ultimate penalty for sin (death) continued to reign (Romans 5:14). All humans, from Adam to Moses, were subject to death, not because of their sinful acts against the Mosaic Law (which they did not have), but because of their own inherited sinful nature. After Moses, humans were subject to death both because of inherited sin from Adam and imputed sin from violating the laws of God.
God used the principle of imputation to the benefit of mankind when He imputed the sin of believers to the account of Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty for that sin (death) on the cross. ****Imputing our sin to Jesus, God treated Him as if He were a sinner though He was not, and had Him die for the sins of all who would ever believe in Him.
****It’s important to understand that sin was imputed to Him, but he did not inherit it from Adam.
He bore the penalty for sin, but He never became a sinner. His pure and perfect nature was untouched by sin. He was treated as though He was guilty of all the sins ever committed by all who would ever believe, even though He committed none. In exchange, God imputed the righteousness of Christ to believers and credited our accounts with His righteousness just as He credited our sins to His account (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Personal sin is that which is committed every day by every human being. Because we have inherited a sin nature from Adam, we commit individual, personal sins – everything from seemingly innocent fibs to murder.
**Those who have not placed their faith in Jesus Christ must pay the penalty for these personal sins, as well as inherited and imputed sin. However, believers have been freed from the eternal penalty of sin (hell and spiritual death). Now we can choose whether or not to commit personal sins because we have the power to resist sin through the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, sanctifying and convicting us of our sins when we do commit them (Romans 8:9-11).
Once we confess our personal sins to God and ask forgiveness for them, we are restored to perfect fellowship and communion with Him.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us o! ur sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Inherited sin, imputed sin, and personal sin - all have been crucified on the cross of Jesus, and now “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).
Recommended Resource: Basic Theology by Charles Ryrie.
Can a Christian Not Sin?
"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (I John 2:1).
If the question is asked: "Does a Christian not sin?" then the answer is, no. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us....If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us" (I John 1:8,10).
Even the most godly Christian does sin occasionally -- in thought if not in deed, in omission if not in commission. The God-given antidote is I John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
But there is a danger if we use such verses as an excuse for sinning or for taking sin too lightly. If the question is asked: "Can a Christian not sin?" then the answer is, yes! God indeed, in Christ, has made every provision necessary for a believer never to commit sin, and we are without any legitimate excuse whenever we do.
This must be so for at least two reasons. In the first place, Jesus Christ in His humanity is our example, and He "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). He accomplished this, not because of His deity, but solely in His humanity.
Secondly, God has commanded us not to sin, and He would never command us to do the impossible.
For every temptation, there is a way of escape (I Corinthians 10:13), and we have no excuse if we fail to take it. Our only recourse is to repent and confess the sin.
Our text commands us to sin not!
But then, it also reminds us that Christ is our great advocate before the Father. He is righteous and has already taken our sins away as our propitiatory sacrifice, so "the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (I John 1:7).
God the Holy Spirit Lives in Us (1 John 3:9–10)
“Whosoever is born of God does not practice sin!”
Why? Because he has a new nature within him, and that new nature cannot sin. John calls this new nature God’s “seed.”
When a person receives Christ as his Saviour, tremendous spiritual changes take place in him. He is given a new standing before God, being accepted as righteous in God’s sight. This new standing is called “justification.” It never changes and is never lost.
The new Christian is also given a new position: he is set apart for God’s own purposes to live for His glory. This new position is called “sanctification,” and it has a way of changing from day to day. On some days we are much closer to Christ and obey Him much more readily.
But perhaps the most dramatic change in a new believer is what we call “regeneration.” He is “born again” into the family of God. (Re- means “again,” and generation means “birth.”)
Justification means a new standing before God, sanctification means being set apart to God, and regeneration means a new nature—God’s nature (cf. 2 Peter 1:4).
The only way to enter God’s family is by trusting Christ and experiencing this new birth. “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:1).
Physical life produces only physical life; spiritual life produces spiritual life. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). Christians have been born again, “not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever” (1 Peter 1:23). A Christian’s “spiritual parents,” so to speak, are the Word of God and the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to convict of sin and to reveal the Saviour.
We are saved by faith (Eph. 2:8–9), and “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). In the miracle of the new birth, the Holy Spirit imparts new life—God’s life—to a believing sinner and as a result the individual is born into the family of God.
Just as physical children bear the nature of their parents, so God’s spiritual children bear His nature.
The divine “seed” is in them.
A Christian has an old nature from his physical birth and a new nature from his spiritual birth. The New Testament contrasts these two natures and gives them various names:
|Old Nature||New Nature|
|“our old man” (Rom. 6:6)||“the new man” (Col. 3:10)|
|“the flesh” (Gal. 5:24)||“the Spirit” (Gal. 5:17)|
|“corruptible seed” (1 Peter 1:23)||“God’s seed” (1 John 3:9)|
The old nature produces sin, but the new nature leads one into a holy life.
A Christian’s responsibility is to live according to his new nature, not the old nature.
One way to illustrate this is by contrasting the “outer man” with the “inner man” (2 Cor. 4:16).
---The physical man needs food, and so does the inner, or spiritual man. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).
Unless a Christian spends time daily in meditating on the Word of God, his inner man will lack power.
A converted Indian explained, “I have two dogs living in me—a mean dog and a good dog. They are always fighting. The mean dog wants me to do bad things, and the good dog wants me to do good things. Do you want to know which dog wins? The one I feed the most!”
A Christian who feeds the new nature from the Word of God will have power to live a godly life. We are to “make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:14).
The physical man needs cleansing, and so does the inner man.
We wash our hands and face frequently.
A believer should look into the mirror of God’s Word daily (James 1:22–25) and examine himself.
He must confess his sins and claim God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9). Otherwise the inner man will become unclean and this uncleanness will breed infection and “spiritual sickness.”
Unconfessed sin is the first step in what the Bible calls “backsliding”—gradually moving away from a close walk with Christ into a life filled with the alien world in which we live.
God’s promise, “I will heal your backslidings” (Jer. 3:22), implies that backsliding resembles physical sickness.
First is the secret invasion of the body by a disease germ. Then infection follows and there is a gradual decline: no pep, no appetite, no interest in normal activities. Then comes the collapse!
Spiritual decline works in a similar way.
First sin invades us. Instead of fighting it, we yield to it (cf. James 1:14) and infection sets in. A gradual decline follows. We lose our appetite for spiritual things, we become listless and even irritable, and finally we collapse.
The only remedy is to confess and forsake our sin and turn to Christ for cleansing and healing.
The inner man not only needs food and cleansing, but he also needs exercise. “Exercise thyself... unto godliness” (1 Tim. 4:7).
A person who eats but does not exercise will become overweight; a person who exercises without eating will kill himself. There must be proper balance.
“Spiritual exercise” for a believer, includes sharing Christ with others, doing good works in Christ’s name, and helping to build up other believers.
Each Christian has at least one spiritual gift which he is to use for the good of the church (1 Cor. 12:1–11).
“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10, nasb).
Here is a vivid commentary on this whole process of temptation and sin:
“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God!’ for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. And when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death” (James 1:13–15, nasb).
Temptation appeals to our basic natural desires. There is nothing sinful about our desires, but temptation gives us an opportunity to satisfy these desires in an evil way. It is not sin to be hungry, but it is a sin to satisfy hunger out of the will of God. This was the first temptation Satan hurled at Jesus (Matt. 4:1–4).
The two terms, “carried away” and “enticed” (James 1:14), both relate to hunting or fishing: the putting of bait in a trap or on a hook. The animal (or fish) comes along and his natural desires attract him to the bait. But in taking the bait, he gets caught in the trap, or hooked. And the end is death.
Satan baits his traps with pleasures that appeal to the old nature, the flesh. But none of his bait appeals to the new divine nature within a Christian. If a believer yields to his old nature, he will hanker for the bait, take it, and sin. But if he follows the leanings of his new nature, he will refuse the bait and obey God.
“This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).
Yielding to sin is the distinguishing mark of “the children of the devil” (1 John 3:10).
They profess, or claim, one thing, but they practice another. Satan is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44), and his children are like their father. “He that saith, ‘I know [God],’ and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4). The children of the devil try to deceive God’s children into thinking that a person can be a Christian and still practice sin. “Little children, let no man deceive you; he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He [God] is righteous” (1 John 3:7).
False teachers in John’s day taught that a Christian did not have to worry about sin because only the body sinned and what the body did in no way affected the spirit. Some of them went so far as to teach that sin is natural to the body, because the body is sinful.
The New Testament exposes the foolishness of such excuses for sin.
To begin with, “the old nature” is not the body. The body itself is neutral: it can be used either by the old sinful nature or by the new divine nature.
“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those [who are] alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Rom. 6:12–13, nasb).
How does a child of God go about overcoming the desires of the old nature?
1. He must begin each day by yielding his body to God as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1).
2. He must spend time reading and studying the Word of God, “feeding” his new nature.
3. He must take time to pray, asking God to fill him with the Holy Spirit and give him power to serve Christ and glorify Him.
4. As he goes through the day, a believer must depend on the power of the Spirit in the inner man.
5. When temptations come, he must immediately turn to Christ for victory.
The Word of God in his heart will help to keep him from sin if only he will turn to Christ.
“Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Ps. 119:11).
If he does sin, he must instantly confess to God and claim forgiveness. But it is not necessary for him to sin.
By yielding his body to the Holy Spirit within him, he will receive the power he needs to overcome the tempter.
A good practice is to claim God’s promise: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able; but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13, nasb).
A Sunday school teacher was explaining the Christian’s two natures—the old and the new—to a class of teenagers.
“Our old nature came from Adam,” he explained, “and our new nature comes from Christ, who is called ‘the Last Adam.’ ” He had the class read 1 Corinthians 15:45: “So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul.’ The Last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (nasb).
“This means there are two ‘Adams’ living in me,” said one of the teenagers.
“That’s right,” the teacher replied. “And what is the practical value of this truth?”
The class was silent for a moment, and then a student spoke up.
“This idea of the ‘two Adams’ really helps me in fighting temptation,” he said. “When temptation comes knocking at my door, if I send the first Adam to answer, I’ll sin. But if I send the Last Adam, I’ll get victory.”
A true believer does not practice sin; a counterfeit believer cannot help but practice sin, because he does not have God’s new nature within him.
The true believer also loves other Christians, which is discussed in detail in 1 John 3:11–24.
But these words were not written so that you and I might check on other people. They were inspired so that we may examine ourselves. Each of us must answer honestly before God:
1. Do I have the divine nature within me or am I merely pretending to be a Christian?
2. Do I cultivate this divine nature by daily Bible reading and prayer?
3. Has any unconfessed sin defiled my inner man? Am I willing to confess and forsake it?
4. Do I allow my old nature to control my thoughts and desires, or does the divine nature rule me?
5. When temptation comes, do I “play with it” or do I flee from it? Do I immediately yield to the divine nature within me?
The life that is real is honest with God about these vital issues.