Why do you say sin is inevitable when God says it isn’t?

by Scott Mayfield
(Temecula,Ca USA)

Why do you say sin is inevitable when God says it isn’t?

1 John 3:5-6 And you know that He (Jesus) was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin...

The sin I tolerate allows the devil to harm me and cuts me off from God’s power to stop it.

Smith Wigglesworth was used mightily by God in the first half of the 20th century to win tens of thousands of souls to Christ and to deliver multitudes from the power of sin and Satan. The following is taken from Smith Wigglesworth’s daily devotional for November 23:

“You will never be able to discern or deal with the evil powers as long as there is anything in you that the Devil can touch. Before Satan can bring his evil spirits, there has to be an open door. Hear what the scriptures say “We know that no child of God keeps on sinning, for the Son of God keeps him safe, and the Evil One cannot harm him”. 1 John 5:18 TEV and

“The lord shall preserve you from all evil, He shall preserve your soul”. Psa 121:7.

How does Satan get an opening? When the believer ceases to seek holiness, purity, righteousness, truth, when he ceases to pray, stops reading the Word and gives way to carnal appetites. Then it is that Satan comes. Don’t fool yourself, don’t mislead yourself. Never think that God overlooks sins. Sins have to be dealt with, and the only way God ever deals with sin is to absolutely
destroy its power. You can be made so clean that the Devil comes and finds nothing in you

“(Jesus) The ruler of this world (Satan) is coming, and he has nothing in Me” John 14:30”.

Eph 4:26-27 …Do not sin… nor give place to the devil.

For God to free me from sin I must first see in the scriptures the possibility of it.

Freedom from the power of sin (having already received freedom from the penalty of sin) is one of God’s greatest gifts to the Church that many Christians have yet to receive. In order for a Christian to be freed from sin, and the exceedingly harmful access that such sin gives the devil into that Christian’s life, he or she must first see from the scriptures that God promises freedom from sin.

Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him (Jesus)…that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
7 For he who has died (with Christ) has been freed from sin.
11 …Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ..
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you…

However if a Christian believes based on their own past experience of unsuccessfully trying to conquer sin, and not based on the truth of God’s word, that sin is inevitable then for that Christian, sadly, ongoing sin will be inevitable because they have believed a lie – and whatever we believe be it God’s word or a lie we thus insure its fulfillment based on these scriptures:

Prov 23:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…
Matt 9:29 (Jesus) …According to your faith be it unto you.

If this unwise approach, of taking past experience over the truth of God’s word, that many Christians adopt with respect to sin, had been the approach they took to their salvation they never could have been saved.

When a Christian who knows the truth of both God’s promise of deliverance and the necessity of deliverance from the power of sin, begins to proclaim this truth to other Christians who don’t yet know it he may encounter these reactions: They may shut up their hearts, or walk away or make reference to 1 John Chapter one and either verses 8 or 10 in the mistaken belief that these scriptures justify ongoing sin in the life of a Christian:

1 Jo 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1 Jo 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

To better understand these scriptures, which are often quoted to exonerate ongoing sin with disastrous results, lets consider the writings of one of the finest and most widely respected, in many denominations, of all Christian Bible Teachers, Andrew Murray. Here let God show us that these two scriptures are not in the least bit inconsistent with the opening scripture from 1 John 3: 6 Whoever abides in Him (Jesus) does not sin and Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you. These writings are taken from Andrew Murray’s classic book “Abide in Christ”.

Andrew Murray shows why 1 John 1:8-10 does not teach the inevitability of sin.

"In Him (Jesus) is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin "--1 JOHN 3:5,6.

Murray: "You know the apostle John said, "That Christ was manifested to take away our sin," 1 john 3:5 and had thus indicated salvation from sin as the great object for which the Son was made man. The connection shows clearly that the taking away has reference not only to the atonement and freedom from guilt, but to deliverance from the power of sin, so that the believer no longer does it. It is Christ's personal holiness that constitutes His power to effect this purpose.

He admits sinners into life union with Himself; the result is, that their life becomes like His. "In Him is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin" As long as he abides, and as far as he abides, the believer does not sin. Our holiness of life has its roots in the personal holiness of Jesus. "If the root be holy, so also are the branches" Rom. 11:16.

The question at once arises: How is this consistent with what the Bible teaches of the abiding corruption of our human nature, or with what John himself tells of the utter falsehood of our profession, if we say that we have no sin, and that we have not sinned? (see I John 1:8,10). It is just this passage which, if we look carefully at it, will teach us to understand our text rightly. Note the difference in the two statements (ver. 8), "If we say that we have no sin," and (ver.10), "If we say that we have not sinned."

The two expressions cannot be equivalent; the second would then be an unmeaning repetition of the first. Having sin in verse 8 is not the same as doing sin in verse 10. Having sin is having a sinful nature. The holiest believer must each moment confess that he has sin within him--the flesh, namely, in which dwells no good thing (Rom 7:18). Sinning or doing sin is something very different: it is yielding to that sinful flesh nature, and hence falling into actual transgression.

And so we have two admissions that every true believer must make. The one is that he has still sin within him (ver. 8); the second, that sin has in former times broken out into sinful actions (ver.10). No believer can say either, "I have no sin in me," or "I have in time past never sinned." If we say we have no sin at present, or that we have not sinned in the past, we deceive ourselves.

But although we have sin currently in our flesh we are not required to confess that we are doing sin in the present too; the confession of actual sinning refers to the past. And so we see how the deepest confession of sin in the past and the deepest awareness of having still a vile and corrupt flesh nature in the present, is totally consistent with humble but joyful praise to Him for being kept now from sinning.

Is it possible for a Christian with a sinful flesh nature to live constantly free from its power.

Murray: But how is it possible that a believer, having sin in him--sin of such intense vitality, and such terrible power as we know the flesh to have--that a believer having sin should yet not be doing sin? The answer is: "In Him is no sin. He that abides in Him does not sin." When the abiding in Christ becomes close and unbroken, so that the soul lives from moment to moment in the perfect union with the Lord its keeper, He does, indeed, keep down the power of the old nature, so that it does not regain dominion over the soul.

We have seen that there are degrees in the abiding. With most Christians the abiding is so feeble and intermittent, that sin continually obtains the ascendancy, and brings the soul into subjection. The divine promise given to faith is: "Sin shall not have dominion over you" Rom. 6:14. But with the promise is the command: "Let not sin reign in your mortal body" Rom. 6:12. The believer who claims the promise in full faith has the power to obey the command, and sin is kept from asserting its supremacy.

Ignorance of the promise, or unbelief, or unwatchfulness, opens the door for sin to reign. And so the life of many believers is a course of continual stumbling and sinning. But when the believer seeks full admission into, and a permanent abode in Jesus, the Sinless One, then the life of Christ keeps from actual transgression. "In Him is no sin. He that abides in Him does not sin" Jesus does indeed save him from his sin--not by the removal of his sinful nature, but by keeping him from yielding to it.

Abiding in Christ, not sinning or abiding in my flesh, sinning & harmed by Satan-–my choice.

Why should I stop sinning? Well, Jesus Christ died to free me from sin’s awful power – do I love Him? When I sin I allow Satan’s kingdom of evil, darkness, hatred and harm to have access to me (He who sins is of the devil- 1 John 3:8) do I really want this.

How can we be kept from sinning? If we see the possibility in the scriptures, if we believe the truth that there is such a place and if we allow God to establish us “In Christ” living in the spirit in full moment by moment submission to the Holy Spirit. No longer living in and under the dominion of our flesh because truly we now believe that we died to our flesh in Christ.

When we don’t abide in Christ we sin when we start abiding in Christ we stop sinning!

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