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•SIN AND BELIEVERS• I had the cause to think about something recently, and that is sin, in relation to believers. To be clear, my thought dwelt on the sinning of believers; that is, as believers, do we still sin? That was the poser that confronted me. And then I had some illuminations. In the course of these illuminations, I had a number of scriptures; scriptures that virtually say that “believers are not sinners; they are saints”, because the Spirit of God Himself, lives in them. Those scriptures are: •’No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has either seen Him or known Him’ 1JOHN 3:6. This unambiguously states that no one with the Spirit of God sins; no one who has known God by believing, sins. •’No one born of God commits sin; for God’s nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God (has the Spirit of God)’ 1JOHN 3:9. •’But God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us’ ROM. 5:8. That is, in facts, we were once sinners, but no more sinners because we have accepted Jesus. All these scriptures, and more, inform those who care to hear, that those who have been redeemed, cannot sin again. That is good news.
But brethren, if believers are said to be free from sins, having reformed their lives through faith, and have transformed from their sinful selves into saints, what do we say about everyday sins; that is, sins-however petty-we commit everyday? I suppose we have the knowledge that we still sin, even as saved individuals; yes, it would be deceitful to say we no longer do things contrary to God’s will after been saved. Our nature counters that, that was even why the apostles warned us to be wary of sins, although we have been saved (HEB. 12:1; JAMES 1:21; 2PETER 5:8&9). It would be an avenue for Satan to make us fall if we think we can never sin again as believers. That was the reason Apostle Paul warned us that stand, to take heed, so that we will not fall. So, having established that, things become conflicting. The scripture tells us that as believers we no longer sin; yet, we sin as we have the natural proclivity to do that. And that is why we have the scripture telling us to be wary of sin or its appearance (JUDE 23). Is the scripture then two-sided or false? Of course not, that would mean salvation and everything about it is false also, or anything contained in the Bible for that matter. So, there is an explanation to this-sinning as believers. You see,sin is not just sin, it has something to it that makes it sin, and that thing is its ramifications, implications, or consequences; it would be incomplete to refer to sin, without its attendant effects on things. The first time sin entered into the world, it set off chains of reactions as consequences, such as Adam and Eve (including their natural offsprings) dying spiritually, the world getting susceptible to mortality, Satan’s influence over the nature of man, etc. That is fully sin; what it does. For if sin has not affected things as listed above, there would surely not be any cause to be talking about it. Why should it be talked about, when nothing about it is felt. But because sin has entered this world, and has really jeopardized things, it is needed to be addressed, and that God has done through Christ (JOHN 3:16). So, to refer to sin, we “must” also refer to its effects or consequences. That being said, one thing then stands: there is actually no sin where there is no effect of it; where it is powerless. And that is where Christ’s sacrifice comes in. “Christ died for our sins”, is always the mantra. And truly, He did die for our sins; the Spirit of God in us is the guarantee of that (EPH. 1:13&14). Christ through His sacrifice rendered sin powerless for those that will believe in Him. About this ultimate, vicarious sacrifice, one fact is very, very worthy of note: Christ’s sacrifice is “once for all”. Apostle Paul in HEB. 10:11 wrote about that: ‘But when Christ had offered for “all time” a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God’. Also, in HEB. 7:25, he wrote: ‘Consequently “He is able for all time” to save those who draw near to God through Him, since He “always” lives to make intercession for them’. These scriptures point to one fact: Christ has rendered sin powerless (without its effects or consequences), not for some appointed time, but for ever. So, those who believe in Him, are for ever saved from sin with its effects. His blood always stands to counter sin (with its effects) for the believers. It fits the word: “once saved, for ever saved”.
All in all, we are to know as believers that sin that once affected our relationship with God; that once tortured many of us, has no power any longer over us! That is the Christian freedom. Our past, present, and future sins are all forgiven in Christ Jesus. As long as the faith in Christ stands, we are saved from sin with its effects, and that is for ever. Though, we still commit petty sins, or sin unintentionally, all these sins are covered in Christ through our faith. Apostle Paul wrote to this effect: ‘But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness (through faith)’ ROM. 8:10. That is, though sin is always still there even as a saved individual, however reduced, just like how it was there when we were yet to be saved, affecting our relationship with God; it does not stand in the way of good relationship with God anymore as we have been saved. That is the dynamism faith brought brethren. All I am saying is that sin is still there, though it has been reduced as we have been saved, it is without its effects, and in other words, powerless. Christ has neutralized its effects (ROM. 8:3&4). Also, our attitudes (reactions, stance on sins) matter in the same vein. Although Christ has taken care of sin for us, our attitudes towards it matter a lot. Apostle Paul wrote about walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit; being worldly, and being spiritual. All those who like the sin they commit obviously lack godliness, and to be frank with ourselves, we were once like that also, yielding to the demands of the flesh; we once liked our sins, but that changed when we got saved (EPH. 2:1-10). So, if in fact we have been saved, and have the Spirit of God in us, we hate sin now, our attitude has been changed towards it. The Spirit now convicts us of sins, and we now feel bad about it, and ultimately, we ask for forgiveness (JOHN 16:8). Apostle Paul wrote: ‘So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, (but) to live according to the flesh-for if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live’ ROM. 8:12-13. All that Apostle Paul is saying is that though we still sin (whether in small ways or unintentionally), as long as we do not like it; as long as we frank upon it, we are not “debtors to the flesh”, we are not yielding to sinful influences; “we put to death the deeds of the body”. So sinning as believers is not that we are still sinners, but that our sins are always being taken care of by Christ; more so, our attitude towards us show that we do not support it. In reality, what Christ has done about sin, causing us to hate it, has alienated the effects of sin (the power of sin) from us. So, the scripture is sure right by saying we are not sinners in Christ, but saints. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. THIS GRACE OF FREEDOM IN CHRIST SHALL BE WITH YOU ALWAYS (AMEN)

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•SIN AND BELIEVERS•

Aside

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