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Where There is Salvation, There is Sanctification

The book of Romans is an amazing book.  We begin with Paul’s discussion of the universal nature of sin in both Jews and Gentiles (Romans 1-3:20).  Paul then turns to justification by faith in the finished work of Christ Jesus (Romans 3:21-5:21).  From justification he goes directly into discussing sanctification (Romans 6-8).

The reason for this is that salvation always produces sanctification.  Where there is not sanctification, there is no salvation.  If we are truly saved from sin, we are saved from sin (John 8:34-36).  Jesus doesn’t just wash away our sins by His own blood (Romans 3:25-26) but He also delivers His people from their sinful living (Matthew 1:21).  Jesus completely transform us so that Scripture uses phrases such as “born again” (John 3:3; 1 Peter 1:23) or “new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  We are no longer slaves of sin but now we are slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:18-22).

The point here is that one cannot claim Christ if there is no sanctification.  We cannot claim Christ and still abide in our sins (1 John 3:4-10).  The person who is in Christ is now a slave of His righteousness and the born again person desires to honor God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  The new creation in Christ longs to please God through holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16) and the new creation recognizes the promises of God given to us in Christ are there to help us be holy as He is holy (2 Corinthians 7:1).  The child of God longs to be like his God in every way (1 Corinthians 10:31).  The longing of the soul of the child of God is to honor Christ and exalt Him through holiness (Hebrews 12:14).  Holiness is the cry of their souls (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).  There is an intense hatred of sin (Romans 8:23).  There is a passion for what Jesus has done for us in saving us by His grace (Romans 8:1-4).  One does not live in sin and still claim Christ (Hebrews 10:26-27).  The true child of God recognizes that the grace of God has been given to us to save us (Titus 2:11-14).

I long for holiness.  I long to be like Jesus in everything I say or do (1 John 2:3-6).  I despise sin, my flesh, and the enemy. I long to be pure and holy (Matthew 5:8).  I rejoice in the fact that I can run to the Father when I sin (1 John 1:9).  I rejoice that the blood of Jesus washes away all my sins (1 John 1:7).  I rejoice that Jesus is able to deliver His saints completely from their sins by His power (Hebrews 4:14-16).  There is no denying that we face temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13) nor that we are not perfect (James 3:2).  But the reality is that God has provided the blood of His Son to not only save us once but for all time as we trust in His grace.  The blood of Jesus is powerful enough to not just cleanse us initially from our sins but is able to sanctify us as well (Hebrews 10:10, 14).  As we war in this flesh (Galatians 5:16-17) may we trust in the grace of God, the blood of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit to help us be holy.  This is our only hope.  Holiness will not be found in morality or in legalism but through faith in the finished work of Jesus and His Spirit in us who helps us to be holy.

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/08/2013 at 9:26 AM

Our Doctrine Must Destroy Sin

Our doctrine must not be a doctrine that allows for people to continue without repentance in a life of sin.  This is why Jesus came, to destroy the works of Satan (1 John 3:8).  When we live in sin, we are showing that we are slaves to sin (John 8:34).  By being slaves of sin, we show that we are in turn children of the devil (John 8:44; Ephesians 2:3).  We are then to avoid sinning (1 John 3:4-10).  We are to not walk as the Gentiles (unbelievers) do (Ephesians 4:17-20).  Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:34 that the Corinthians were not to go on sinning.  When we do sin, we have the assurance of 1 John 1:9, that if we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us because of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus who died for our sins (Galatians 1:4).

Any doctrine then that takes the sacrifice of Christ who came to save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21) and teaches that we can continue in sin is not biblical (Hebrews 10:19-39).  Jude 4 reminds that we are not to teach God’s grace for continued sinning:

For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Yet God’s true grace enables us to overcome sin as we read in Titus 2:11-12:

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.

Notice what the grace of God does for the disciple: trains.  God’s grace trains us to renounce ungodliness and not indulge in it further the grace of God helps us live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.  The grace of God does not allow for continued sinning (Romans 6:1-4).

2 Corinthians 7:1 is a wonderful promise given to disciples:

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

The grace of God enables the disciple to be holy (1 Peter 1:15-16) and to avoid sin.  The grace of God trains us and it doesn’t give us a free license to live in sin.  We are now slaves of Christ and not slaves of sin (Romans 6:20-23).  We have been bought with a price and are to glorify God with our bodies which is His (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

There is a subtle way in which the enemy takes the truth of God’s grace given in Christ for sinners and he turns it so that people start to believe that since Jesus died for our sins, we can indulge in sin.  A person is taught that they can live in sin because they are “once saved, always saved” despite no repentance over sins.  Another person is taught that since they died with Christ and are hidden with Christ (Colossians 3:1-4), God does not see their sins anymore so even when they sin, God only sees the righteousness of Christ imputed to them by a one time act of faith.  They ignore 1 John 3:7:

Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.

According to 1 John 3:7, a person who is practicing righteousness is righteous.  There is nothing mentioned here about imputation but about practical living.  A person can claim all day that they are imputed with Christ’s righteousness but 1 John 3:7 tells us that if we are truly righteous through Christ, we will live righteously.  Those who do not live a righteous life by the grace of God will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 21:7-8).  We are to repent of our sins and turn to Christ alone to help us overcome sin (1 Corinthians 10:13).  Christ shed His blood for our sins and He delivers us from the power, penalty, and pleasure of sin.

Do you hate sin?  I do.  I despise sin.  I am not perfect but I long to be like Jesus in every way (Ephesians 5:1-2; 1 John 2:6).  I praise God for the sacrifice of Christ for my sins (Matthew 26:28; Ephesians 1:7).  I praise God that the blood of Jesus cleanses me from all sins (Hebrews 10:14).  1 John 1:7 is a wonderful passage of Scripture that speaks of the cure for dirty feet:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

This passage is all in the continued present tense of the Greek.  In other words, as we walk in the light (present tense), the blood of Jesus cleanses (present active tense) us from all sin.  The cure for our sins is not found in the laws of men.  It is not found in morality.  The cure for overcoming sin and its power is the precious blood of Jesus as we walk in the light (Galatians 5:16-17).  We have a faithful high priest who was tempted as we are but without sin (Hebrews 4:15).  Thus through Christ we are able to approach the throne of God and receive help in our time of trouble (Hebrews 4:16).

Praise God for our merciful and faithful high priest who lives to pray for us (Hebrews 7:25)!  He is able to deliver us and help us to be holy by His gospel that sets us free and empowers us to be holy as He is holy.

Charles Spurgeon on How Sin Shows our Hearts

Here is a great quote from Charles Spurgeon on how sin shows our hearts.  Spurgeon said,

Ah, my friends, those men that say little sins have no vice in them whatever, they do but give indications of their own character; they show which way the stream runs. A straw may let you know which way the wind blows, or even a floating feather; and so may some little sin be an indication of the prevailing tendency of the heart. My hearer, if thou lovest sin, though it be but a little one, thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Thou art still a stranger to divine grace. The wrath of God abideth on thee. Thou art a lost soul unless God change thy heart.

True words indeed.  If a person loves sin, though it be but a little one says Spurgeon, your heart is not right in the sight of God.  You are still a stranger to divine grace and the wrath of God abides on you.  You are a lost soul and need God to transform your heart.  1 John 3:4-10 is clear that the righteous saint of God does not abide in sin.  Any theology that comforts your sins is not from God.  Jesus came to deliver us from sin (John 8:31-38) and His very name means salvation (Matthew 1:21).  He makes us new creations in Himself (2 Corinthians 5:17) and we do not go on sinning (1 John 2:1-2).  We look to Jesus for our salvation, for His intercession (Hebrews 7:25) and for Him to help us escape the temptations of this world and the flesh (1 Corinthians 10:13).  There is no sin that is greater than Jesus and He is able to save us from it.

Friend, what sin do you love more than Jesus?  What sin do you want to hold on to that you will not let go.  That sin will damn you.  You’ll love that sin, cherish that sin, and that sin will become your god.  Sin destroys (Romans 6:23).  Always has and always will until Jesus comes and ends this all.  Sin is what keeps us from God (Isaiah 59:2) and sin is what keeps us from salvation (Acts 2:38).  We must hate sin in all its forms whether “small” sins or big.  We must hate all sin.  We must pray for the Holy Spirit to help us to be holy (Galatians 5:16-17) and to avoid sinning (1 Corinthians 15:34; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1).  We must despise all sin and love holiness (Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:15-16).  Jesus said that the pure in heart would see God (Matthew 5:8).

Is your heart pure before God (1 John 1:7)?

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/14/2013 at 6:38 PM

The One Who Practices Righteousness Is Righteous

1 John 3:4-10 are powerful verses aimed at those who would teach that we can abide in sin and claim Christ.  These verses are not about whether those who don’t remain faithful are saved or not.  1 John 3:4-10 are simple, clear calls to holiness, to forsake sin, and to be righteous.  1 John 3:7 is clear: the one who practices righteousness is righteous.  Let us not be fooled by those who claim Christ but do not practice righteousness.  There are countless people around us who would claim heaven as their own, would claim Jesus saved them, but they are not saved from sin.  Their lives show that Christ has not mastered them but they are their own masters (2 Peter 2:10).  Their lives are marked by sin, ruled by sin, controlled by sin, and their wages from their sin will be death (Romans 6:23; James 1:12-15).  True disciples, however, are marked by the rule of Christ over their lives (Luke 6:46-49) and holiness (Romans 6:1-4; 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 1 Peter 2:11-12).  True disciples exalt the grace of God which saves us from sin (Titus 2:11-12) and avoid abusing His grace to allow for our own willful rebellion against a holy God (Jude 4).

Let us read 1 John 3:4-10 and be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).

4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/12/2013 at 9:39 AM

The Warning of James 1:15

James 1:12-15 gives strong warnings concerning abiding in sin.  It reads:

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

There is a sharp warning.  James could not be addressing the sins of unbelievers since they are already dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1).  James is clearly addressing those who have been born again, who know the power of God’s grace to forgive them and help them overcome sin.  His warning then is clear: sin produces death.

Now I have various viewpoints regarding this.  Dr. John MacArthur states that the death here is physical death and not spiritual death.  In other words, God will kill the sinning saint (1 Corinthians 11:30; 1 John 5:16).  Some view this as God’s love, that He would take out the sinning saint before allowing them to bring more shame to His name.

The problem with such a view is that it seems sinning then would cause the believer to go to heaven faster.  If that is the case, sin!  If the only fear we have is that we have to leave this fallen earth faster for glory then sin it up!

Adam Clarke writes about James 1:15:

Sin, being brought forth, immediately acts, and is nourished by frequent repetition, till at length it gains such strength that in its turn it begets death. This is the true genealogy of sin and death. Lust is the mother of sin, and sin the mother of death, and the sinner the parent of both.

I hold that James 1:15 is referring to spiritual death.  While James does not state either spiritual or physical in the text, the power of sin must not be diminished in the life of the child of God.  The believer is called to be holy (Matthew 5:8; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:15-16) and to forsake sinning (1 John 3:4-10).  The believer is called to follow and obey Christ and not sin nor the members of our flesh (Romans 6:1-23).  The believer is to consistently walk in the light as Jesus is in the light (1 John 1:7) and confess our sins to the Lord (1 John 1:9).  We are not to sin but praise God that we have Advocate with the Father if we do sin (1 John 2:1-2).

For the child of God, we have the precious promises of God that He will help us overcome sin (1 Corinthians 10:13).  We have the blood of Jesus which cleanses us from all sin (Ephesians 1:7).  We have the blessed assurance of His forgiveness as we live in the Spirit and not the flesh (Romans 8:1-4, 12-13).  We have the promise of God that He will keep us (Jude 24-25) as we abide in His love (Jude 21; cf. 1 Peter 1:5).  All of this overcoming, victory, holiness comes through faith in Christ Jesus and abiding in Jesus by faith (John 15:1-11).  We have no fear of sin, of Satan, of the flesh, of the world if we are in Christ Jesus through faith.

I do urge you to hate sin.  I once heard a powerful sermon from David Wilkerson on hating sin and he stated in his sermon about praying for God to give you a holy hatred for sin.  I begin to do this on a regular basis and have been praying this way for many years now.  I praise God that He does give us a hatred for sin as we abide in Him.  The closer I get to the Lord Jesus the more I hate sin (1 John 2:15-17).  I pray often, “God help me to hate those things You hate and to love the things that You love.”  I have seen the Spirit of God putting a yearning in my heart for holiness and a holy hatred for sin.  I am not perfect but I long to be like Jesus in every single way (Colossians 3:17).  I long to love what He loves and hate what He hates.

I fear for any person who believes that they can sin against God and get away with it.  Mark Galatians 6:7-9 and realize that you cannot go on sinning and get away with it.  The judgment of God is coming against your rebellion (1 Corinthians 10:1-21).  However, praise God that He is a God who does forgive sins and He does help us to overcome our sins.  There is no sin that is more powerful than the blood of Jesus and He is able to not only forgive us of our sins but He empowers us to be holy.

 

Hatred for Sinning

I can’t understand how anyone can not hate sinning.  Whether it be in their own lives or in our world, how can one look at sin and wink at it?  How can one love a sin enough to ignore what the Bible says about sinning?  How can one look around them and see the wickedness in our world, the pornography, the blasphemy, the cursing of the name of Jesus, the hatred for righteousness, and love it?  I find the closer that I get to Jesus, the more I hate what He hates and I love what He loves.  Sin sent the Son of God to the cross (Matthew 1:21).  How can we abide in sin while claiming to fear God and love Him (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17)?  Does not His Word call us to repentance (Matthew 3:8; Acts 2:38) and to forsake our sins (John 5:14; 8:11)?

The child of God looks at our current sinfulness in our world and they detest it.  I myself long for the time when sin will be destroyed and all sin will cease (Revelation 21:7-8, 27).  I long for the day when perfection is the rule of the land with the King of glory reigning from His throne.  I long for the day when the pure in heart see God (Matthew 5:8).  I long for the day when the Lord will end all of this madness and will bring in everlasting righteousness (Daniel 9:24).  I long for the day when the true people of God, those who have forsaken their sins through the cross (1 John 2:1) will rise up and forever bless the Lord who saved us by His own power (John 1:12-13).  I long for the day when the holiness of God is what we adore instead of looking around at this sin-infested, sin-dominated world.  I long for the day when the god of this world is cast down and destroyed by the power of Christ (Revelation 2o:10).

The true disciple of Jesus reads 1 Peter 1:15-16 and they long for holiness and they detest what God detests.  They don’t read the Word of God looking for a loophole for their sins but they long for purity and for the power of sin to be broken over their lives (Hebrews 10:19-39).  I look at the news, at the state of many churches, and sometimes even my own heart and I detest what I see.  I want the glory of God to fill His Church (Ephesians 5:25-27) and I want to exalt Him through holiness in not just me but in everything around me (Hebrews 12:14).  This is why I hate sin.  This is why I preach against sin.  Because it offends my King.  He came to set people free from the chains of sin and I will not stop preaching that His blood can wash away all our sins (Ephesians 1:7) nor will I stop preaching that sinning brings the wrath of God (Romans 6:23).  I will not to preaching that God’s call is for holiness (Matthew 5:48) and I will not stop preaching that all sin is a violation of the one true God (1 John 3:4).  I will never stop preaching and praying against sin (1 John 3:4-10).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/28/2013 at 7:02 PM

Prayer and Sinning

But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.
– Isaiah 59:2 (NASB)

I have learned over the years as a disciple of Jesus that what often keeps myself and others from praying is sin.  When we have sin in our lives that we have not repented of, this puts up a barrier between us and God.  Isaiah 59:2 is clear: God cannot hear our cries because of our sins.  The Spirit of God comes to us and He convicts us and this brings refreshing from the Lord (Acts 3:19-20) which in turn opens the heavens for us to pray.

Sin robs us of so much.  Sin robs us of joy.  Sin robs us of victory.  Sin lies to us and promises us that it will feel good and make us happy but in the end, sin leaves us lonely and desperate for release from its bondage within.  Sin makes us moody.  Sin destroys families and ruins entire lives (even nations).  Sin kills.  I promise you that the wages of sin is always death (Romans 6:23).  Whatever sin you love, it will kill you.

The promise of the gospel is that we can be free.  Jesus promises freedom from sin (John 8:31-38).  Paul the Apostle wrote in Galatians 5:1 that Christ set us free for freedom.  Christ didn’t die for our sins so that we could remain in our sins.  Christ died to set us free from sin.  The power of sin is broken over our lives.  It doesn’t matter to me what sin you struggle with, the power of God can give you victory over that sin.  I know.  I am a living testimony of the power of God to set me free from sin.  Whether it be carnal sins of the flesh or sins of the mind, God can set you free.  His Word has the power to release you.  The grace of God has been given to you for victory (Titus 2:11-12).  I pray that you don’t make the mistake of false teachers and preach that we can be saved but still abiding in sin (Jude 4).  The promise of God is that He can set you free and you can be holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).

When it comes to prayer, sin often keeps people from seeking God.  It is sad to say that I have watched people who use to pray and then they began to live in sin.  The first thing they did was abandon prayer.  The prayer meeting was where they use to meet with God.  They use to long to be in their prayer closets seeking the Lord (Matthew 6:6) but as they began to indulge their flesh, the turned away from the discipline of prayer.  Some of these folks still read their Bibles from time to time and many of them went to church fellowships but they abandoned prayer and this led to Isaiah 59:2 coming to pass.  A few of them (and just a few) later repented and returned to their first love (Revelation 2:4) but most of them eventually turned away from Christ altogether.  A few of them later embraced the dead Christianity found in the seeker churches but today are shells of the people they use to be.  Why?  Because they loved their sins.  The didn’t love the gospel.  They didn’t love the cross and looked to Jesus alone for the power to overcome sin and live for God.

I urge you to examine your prayer life (2 Corinthians 13:5).  I suspect that if you are not praying, you are straying.  You who struggle with sin, do you pray?  You who love your sins, I suspect you have abandoned your life of prayer.  We all fall short of the glory of God in many ways (Romans 3:23) and I am not preaching sinless perfection here but I do believe our prayer lives should be full of fire, close to the heart of God and resisting the devil (James 4:7-8).  God wants to deliver us from sin (Hebrews 10:14).  God wants us to close to Him.  You know that Jesus shed His blood for the forgiveness of our sins (Matthew 26:28) and you know that God hates sin that much, that He would leave the glory of heaven to embrace the cross for us, how can you live in sin anymore (Romans 6:1-4)?  God is able to deliver us from sin and He is able to help us love the gospel and follow Christ completely abandoned to Him alone.

I urge you to repent.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/25/2013 at 9:36 AM

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