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stephanos 09-24-2008 09:40 PM

This is a discussion that took place quite a bit in patristic writting if I recall correctly, but more so during the reformation (especially the radical reformation). Some believe it is possible for a Christian to completely put away the ways of the flesh. I personally don't think we can put away all sin in our lives. If someone were to achieve a state of perfection it would be not of his own doing, but of God.

Philippians 2:13 (KJV) For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

I think that's very important to remember. I also think it is equally important for us to remember that there are going to be rewards awaiting us in the Kingdom (Crowns?), and that we should be completely focused on fulfilling God's purpose for us here while we sojourn in the world.

Ephesians 2:10 (KJV) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

I for one want to serve the Lord primarily because His pleasure is my pleasure. I've sometimes thought that when I finally see my Master smile that I will loose it, quite literally. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The smile of the Lord is the greatest jewel in Heaven. The second reason I want to do good works in this life is because there is a reward awaiting me if I should stand fast in God's purpose.

Revelation 22:12 (KJV) And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.


Paul talked about perfection, which fits this thread.

Philippians 3:8-14 (KJV) Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Let us also press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus!

Peace and Love,
Stephen

Forrest 09-25-2008 11:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wwjd.usa (Post 8365)
...This verse says that every single person has sinned. (That is before coming to know Jesus.) However, I believe that after a person is saved, the person can gradually live his life without sin. If that would not be so, then why else would Jesus command us us to be as perfect as the father in Heaven is? (Matthew 5:48)

God is perfect, and has never sinned. Jesus commands us to be perfect as God is. If Jesus tells us to be perfect as God is, then this means that a person can become perfect, as God is, and not sin. Why else would Jesus tell people to do the impossible?

You said, "However, I believe that after a person is saved, the person can gradually live his life without sin. If that would not be so, then why else would Jesus command us us to be as perfect as the father in Heaven is? (Matthew 5:48)"

The point of the sermon on the mount, was not to provide a higher and loftier standard of holy living that people should aspire to live by through prayer, study, striving, effort, discipline, drive, or determination. The message was to show the impossibility and utter hopelessness of doing so. To strip humankind of any and all self-righteousness. Again, the only way you can be, listen now, think about this, PERFECT AS THE FATHER IN HEAVEN IS PERFECT, is by receiving Jesus Christ. It's His righteousness not ours.

We should indeed put off, put on, yield, yield not, submit, follow, put away, flee, pray, study, love, forbear, cease, and obey the teaching of God in His Word. No one is suggesting that the power and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is a divine permission slip to live the way you desire. Follow and submit to Jesus Christ by the power of Holy Spirit operating through the written Word of God.

You said, "If Jesus tells us to be perfect as God is, then this means that a person can become perfect, as God is, and not sin."

To me this is a most disturbing and troubling statement, the way you are applying it. Reflect on your words. Perfect as God? Some glorious day, when we are changed in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, in His very presence, we will have utterly put off sin and experienced ultimate and final sanctification. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure" (1 John 3:1-2).

The above verse in 1 John is a statement of fact. It is a reality. Every man that hath the "hope in him" is speaking of a person who has Jesus Christ Himself. He has purified himself even as he is pure by believing in and receiving Jesus Christ. The result of being in Him and Christ being in you is that you've become the righteousness of God.

I 0nce thought "purifieth himself" was a call to live a pure life, until one day I observed the last statement, "even as he is pure." Even as God is pure! How is that possible? Not in this corruptible body, brother. Jesus Christ is my righteousness and Jesus Christ alone. This verse is not addressing changed outward behavior, it is a "spiritual" and "positional" reality of what we are in Christ. "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:" (Colossians 1:21-22).

Again, I'm not suggesting our mortal life does not change. But, in my opinion, these verses (in Matthew and 1 John) do not address the mortal life.

My love for the Lord Jesus Christ constrains me to follow Him. Yet, being honest with you, the things I know I should do, I don't. The things I should not do, I do! I'm still a wretched man! Longing for that glorious day of final transformation.

peopleoftheway 09-25-2008 11:55 AM

Quote:

My love for the Lord Jesus Christ constrains me to follow Him. Yet, being honest with you, the things I know I should do, I don't. The things I should not do, I do! I'm still a wretched man! Longing for that glorious day of final transformation.
Amen to that Brother, now thats a truth, we are all wretched! I to long for that Day when this world is put behind us and we stand before our Glorious LORD and Saviour. Utntil then I will keep stumbling and I will keep getting back up again.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
Proverbs 24:16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

Brother Tim 09-25-2008 12:33 PM

Quote:

Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
I'm glad it is not up to me to get cleaned up!

wwjd.usa 10-01-2008 04:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Forrest (Post 8343)
How is that even possible? Perfect! Only by receiving Jesus Christ.

“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” 1 John 3:9
How do you answer this verse?

Quote:

Originally Posted by peopleoftheway (Post 8346)
THE SCOPE OF SIN Certainly all must confess, "I have sinned against Thee" (Psalm 41:4). Doctors report that cancer claims one out of four people. Do you know God reports that sin seizes four out of four? Yes, 100% of us have been taken!

I agree with you that every single person (except Jesus) has sinned. However, I say that when one is a Christian, one can avoid sin to a certain extent. Jesus said that with men, all things are impossible, but with God, all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26) What I'm saying, is that if a person wants to, then he or she can live a week, a month, or longer without sinning. (This includes the fact that a person can sin through thoughts). That is of course possible not with a human strength, but with God, all things are possible.

"The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
I believe that unforgiven sin would result in Hell if we die. Therefore, if we commit a sin, immediately, we need ask God for forgiveness. The longer we wait, the more chances there are that we would die.

Quote:

Originally Posted by peopleoftheway (Post 8369)
You are on seriously dangerous ground to say you are perfect. We will only attain perfection when we reach Heaven, until then we are all a bunch of sinners saved by Grace through faith and that faith is what gets us by until out PERFECT LORD Jesus Christ calls us home or comes for us.

No, I'm not saying that I'm perfect, but I'm saying that if one works hard on himself and asks God for help, one can be perfect as long as he is on his guard

Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanos (Post 8379)
This is a discussion that took place quite a bit in patristic writting if I recall correctly, but more so during the reformation (especially the radical reformation). Some believe it is possible for a Christian to completely put away the ways of the flesh. I personally don't think we can put away all sin in our lives. If someone were to achieve a state of perfection it would be not of his own doing, but of God.

Yes, I believe that one can completely put away sins from the flesh, but in order to do that, one has to be on guard and ask God for help. THIS IS A VERY DIFFICULT TASK TO ACCOMPLISH. Once the person accomplishes this task, one has to be on extreme guard in order not to sin. (It's very easy to sin once accomplishing this state of being)

peopleoftheway 10-01-2008 05:22 PM

Quote:

Yes, I believe that one can completely put away sins from the flesh, but in order to do that, one has to be on guard and ask God for help. THIS IS A VERY DIFFICULT TASK TO ACCOMPLISH. Once the person accomplishes this task, one has to be on extreme guard in order not to sin. (It's very easy to sin once accomplishing this state of being)
Friend, In this life its not a very difficult task to accomplish, its impossible, you CANNOT live a sinless life it is NOT scriptural and completely self righteous.

Forrest 10-01-2008 06:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wwjd.usa (Post 8741)
“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” 1 John 3:9
How do you answer this verse?

I apologize for the lengthy answer, but I want to be thourough in my answer. Excellent question by the way, and one that needs to be answered.

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). In this verse the words taketh away [airo] mean to remove or to carry off. It also means to take upon ones self and carry what has been raised up, to bear.

Jesus Christ has taken away the sin of the world. He was nailed to a cross and lifted up; placed upon Him were the sins of the world! When He was crucufied and died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day. That's the gospel.

“For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins” (Romans 11:27). Here the words take away [aphaireo] mean to take from, take away, remove, carry off, or to cut off.

“And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin” (1 John 3:5). And here again the words take away [airo] mean to remove, and to carry off. It means to take upon ones self and carry what has been raised up, to bear.

Praise God—your sins are forgiven! As Corrie Ten Boone once said, “My sins are in the sea of His forgetfulness and God has posted a “NO FISHING” sign for all to see and observe.” Sin is atoned for. We are free from its eternal bondage.

These verses teach us that Jesus Christ is the propitiation for our sin. He completely satisfied the just and holy demands of God toward sin. By shedding His own precious blood, He has cleansed us from all sin! “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18–19).

THE “NEW POSITION” OF THE BELIEVER

Are you washed in the blood?

If you have trusted Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of sin, you are as clean and as sanctified as you’ll ever be. No additional sacrifice can be made. “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10).

Sanctified [hagiazo] means to separate from profane things and to dedicate to God. To consecrate things to God. To be purified internally by the renewing of the soul.

Sanctified is in the perfect tense. The perfect tense in Greek corresponds to the perfect tense in English, describing an action which is viewed as having been completed in the past, once and for all, not needing to be repeated.

Jesus’ last cry from the cross, “It is finished!” is a good example of the perfect tense used in this sense, namely “It [the atonement] has been accomplished, completely, once and for all time.”

In addition, the words, “we are sanctified” are present tense denoting continual action. Our sanctification, separation, consecration, dedication, and renewal never stop. In Christ, we are continually sanctified.

Furthermore, the word once [ephapax] literally means all at once. Jesus Christ sanctified every believer all at once with one offering. And He keeps sanctifying every believer.

“For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14).

Perfected [teleioo] literally means to make perfect and complete. There is nothing left. You are complete in Christ, beloved. “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:10).

How long are you perfected?

Forever! We are as holy, unblameable, and unreproveable as we’ll ever be. “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight” (Colossians 1:21–22). Nothing will stain the born again believer because the blood of Jesus keeps cleansing.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).

As we examine this remarkable truth, we understand there is absolutely no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus and who, in reality, no longer walk in the flesh. "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Romans 8:9).

In this verse, condemnation (katakrima) literally means there is no damnatory sentence. We must understand that apart from Christ a person is already condemned to eternal damnation.

It is specifically the sin of unbelief and the rejection of Jesus Christ that condemns a person. But the penalty of sin and all its condemnation is vanquished by the redemptive work of Christ. “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). He has made a way of escape once—for all who believe.

Praise God! Christ has made us free from sin. Our newly acquired freedom is not based on what we do or how we behave, but rather, who we are in Christ. Jesus Christ has taken care of all condemnation through His perfect and sinless sacrifice.

We can rest fully in the sacrifice of Christ. His atonement has abolished the penalty of sin forever in the life of the believer. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55–57).

If victory is ours in Christ, why do will still commit sins?

If God has given us a new heart and mind and equipped us with the power to live the Christian life, why do we still sin? That’s a legitimate and disturbing concern for each of us who desire to follow Christ.

It’s simply because our corruptible and mortal flesh continues to fight against the Spirit. There is a very real and present experience of spiritual warfare in our lives. I do not need to convince you of this stark reality—if you are honest, you know that you live with it each day.

There is certainly nothing we can do in the flesh that will ever please God. “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Romans 7:18). So what hope is there for mortal man?

The flesh (sarx) could refer to the flesh covering our sinew and bones, but here it denotes mere human nature. Paul is not suggesting the ear that hears the preaching of God’s word, or the mouth that utters His truth, or the eyes that read His inerrant Word are all bad and no good thing dwells in them. The flesh is the earthly nature of man that is opposed to divine influence and therefore prone to sin. The flesh nature is opposed to God in every way. The only real good in man is his new spiritual nature, the new man, which is firmly rooted in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Understand: our new heart and new mind is positionally perfect. As a believer, you cannot be washed in the blood more than you already are. The blood of Jesus Christ is continually cleansing you and presenting you acceptable to God. You are justified based solely on the completed work of Jesus Christ. Jesus came “in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight” (Colossians 1:22).

If you are like most Christians, you’re probably more interested in the “operational” or “experiential” aspect of living the daily Christian life. If I am presented “holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight,” why do I still commit sins? Why don’t I live a holy, unblameable, and unreproveable lifestyle? Is it a lack of faith? Perhaps I'm not trying hard enough? Maybe I need some new disciplines in my life.

No! No! No! We must understand that we have not yet received our ultimate and final condition of sanctification—the final and literal transformation into a glorified condition when the presence of sin will be gone forever.

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:52–53).

This is why we are admonished in Scripture to actively lay aside, mortify, put off, abstain, yield, flee, walk, trust, believe, reckon, awake out of sleep, cast off the works of darkness, put on the armor of light, and be holy in our present mortal state. We appropriate these spiritual realities through the instrument of faith. We cease from our own labor when we enter into the Lord’s rest by faith in the completed and finished work of Jesus Christ.

THE OLD MAN

We must also understand that there is a battle or conflict because the “former conversation the old man” is still present in our mortal life. That is why we are specifically reminded by the Apostle Paul that in Christ we have been taught, “that ye put off concerning the former conversation [manner of life, conduct, behavior] the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Ephesians 4:22). This chapter goes on to say: be renewed, put on, put away, sin not, let not, let no, grieve not, and let all. Let me stress that all we do in the Christian life is a result of God working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

Let me also make clear that the old man [the man without Christ] is indeed crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6) and that you can know this fact as a present “spiritual” reality by faith.

What I mean by “spiritual reality” is that you have not been literally or physically nailed to a cross and your flesh has not literally died and been buried in the grave. It’s a spiritual reality. The words “old man is crucified” are the aorist tense which usually refers to the past tense and denotes something that has happened, not needing to be repeated. Praise God, Christ has finished the work of redemption once and for all. The phrase “is crucified” is also in the passive voice which represents the subject [the old man] as being the recipient of the action.

This does not mean, however, that the former conversation [manner of life, conduct, or behavior] is abolished from your daily experiences of life. The “former conversation” of the old man must be put off [to put off or aside or away] on a daily basis. “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Ephesians 4:22). Put off is in the “middle voice” which indicates the subject performing an action upon himself (reflexive action) or for his own benefit. The subject in this case is the true believer. Again, we are admonished to be renewed, put on, put away, sin not, let not, let no, grieve not, and let all. We obey these admonitions by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ—for the just shall live by faith.

LIVING VICTORIOUSLY

How do I achieve success in the daily Christian life?

Success in the daily Christian life does not occur by trying in the strength of the flesh or by appropriating certain disciplines of the mind, but by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our trust is in Christ, not in the weak and beggarly aspects of sinful flesh or human intellect. Practical or experiential victory [putting off the former conversation] occurs when we apply the revealed doctrine of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection by faith.

I do not mean to be repetitive, but we must understand this. As Christians, we have a new standing with God and are completely justified (deemed or declared righteous) on the basis of Christ’s completed work. The penalty of sin, which is death, including eternal separation from God, has been completely destroyed by Jesus Christ. We are completely forgiven and reconciled with God based on the sacrifice of Christ alone. We are in right standing with Holy God only by the instrument of faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. We did not begin the Christian life based on the merits of our good behavior, and we certainly do not maintain the Christian life based on the merits of good behavior. These are the glorious facts of our position in Christ.

In Christ Jesus we are dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God. “Likewise reckon [an accounting term meaning to count or conclude] ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:11). To reckon yourself dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God is realized only by divine revelation and then applied by faith. This is not learned behavior; it’s revealed fact. True, practical victory not only occurs when we reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin, but when we reckon ourselves alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. He did not leave us in the grave, but resurrected us to live in the newness of life.

You must know before you can ever reckon yourself dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God through Christ Jesus. In other words, counting or concluding yourself dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God through Christ Jesus is the result of first knowing you are dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God through Christ Jesus. We can say we are dead unto sin every day of our life, but we’ll fail miserably until we actually know we are dead unto sin. We can say we are alive unto God through Christ every day of our life, but we’ll fail miserably until we actually know we are alive unto God through Christ.

Knowing comes from divine truth which is revealed to us through the Word of God by the Holy Spirit and then received by faith. I am not speaking of intellectually knowing the facts; rather, I am referring to our inner spiritual perception, discernment, and understanding. In other words, faith is not based on our intellectual understanding. Faith is a confident leap into the light of God’s unwavering truth—even when you may not completely understand it.

By faith we can accept the fact that in Christ we are dead indeed unto sin, but what happens if we sin? We can believe with our whole heart that we are crucified with Christ. We can reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God through Jesus Christ, but what happens if we say, do, or think something sinful? Does this mean we are not really saved after all?

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” (1 John 2:1).

We can do our very best, but our very best is never righteous. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” (Isaiah 64:6). Thankfully, our righteousness is not conditional to our good or sinless behavior; it is conditional to the righteousness of Jesus Christ. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

May we each cease from the fruitless effort of striving and laboring to live the genuine Christian life. Instead, let us rest in the complete and absolute sufficiency of Christ by faith. Let us each commit to abiding in Christ and yielding the fruit He desires to produce in our lives. This is the joy of living the Christ directed life!

READ THE VERSE WITH UNDERSTANDING:

"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; [WHY?] for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God" (1 John 3:9).

Yes, "positionally" (in Christ) I no longer sin. Not "experientially" or operationally, but positionally. I no longer sin because His seed remains in me, no because I live a holy, disciplined, committed, or sinless lifestyle.

peopleoftheway 10-01-2008 06:47 PM

Well answered Brother Forrest, I pray that wwjd understands it.

wwjd.usa 10-01-2008 08:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by peopleoftheway (Post 8746)
Friend, In this life its not a very difficult task to accomplish, its impossible, you CANNOT live a sinless life it is NOT scriptural and completely self righteous.

What about if a person lays in a comma (without conscience) for a month? Would you say that the person sins while his soul is out of his flesh?
So therefore, this task is not impossible.

What about an infant, who can't tell right from wrong? Does it mean that an infant can not go for a month without sinning?

By the way, I personally don't think that there was a time (since I was saved) that I did not sin for a month. Although there might have been a week which passed by, where I did not sin.

Diligent 10-01-2008 08:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wwjd.usa (Post 8758)
What about if a person lays in a comma (without conscience) for a month? Would you say that the person sins while his soul is out of his flesh?
So therefore, this task is not impossible.

So when Jesus prayed to the Father and asked to let the cup pass from him if it was possible, did the Father not consider the option of putting us all in comas? Don't you see how unreasonable your argument is?

Quote:

What about an infant, who can't tell right from wrong?
That's not sinlessness, that's sin not imputed.


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