Exactly What Our Savior
Taught About Sin
By M. L. Dye
With gratitude to God for all who are faithful dealing out His Word, and with Christian charity for those who honestly differ from his own convictions, the writer still believes there is a tragic need for a re-examination of the sin question, in the Light of Christ's own words.
Many are teaching that Christians "sin every day in thought, word and deed." Yet, the Son of God from Heaven declared, "He that loveth Me keepeth My commandments," and who could truthfully say that he sins while he is keeping the commandments of Jesus?
In a time when the world is divided into two camps and both are stock-piling bombs and missiles that could literally annihilate the other, surely it is time to make every possible effort to learn and to teach exactly what He taught, who came into the world to "bear witness of the Truth; "and Who is, indeed, "the Way, the Truth and the Life."
In 1896 a passenger train was flying into New York City. Another train was flying in the opposite direction on the same track. There was a head-on collision. There were 300 members of the Knights of Pythias on that train. Fifty lives were snuffed out. The engineer of one of the trains was pinned under his engine. When they came to remove the wreckage they heard his agonizing cries. They pulled him out. The blood was streaming from his nostrils. He was crushed. The tears were streaming down his cheeks. In his dying pains he held a piece of yellow paper, crushed in his hand and he said, "Take this. This will show you that someone gave me the wrong orders."
In publishing this book my deepest concern has been to give only the most accurate information by setting forth exactly what Christ himself taught.
When God sent our Savior from Heaven to this sin ruined orb, He set forth clear and unmistakable evidence of our Savior's divinity.
Though Christ partook of human flesh, He was absolutely unique, or different from all other mortals, as we shall note.
First: He was unique in the fact that His Spirit came from another world to this world. He said, "before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58). Again "I came down from Heaven (John 6:38) and again, "Father, glorify Thou Me with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was" (John 17:5). And again, for Thou lovest me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24).
Surely all will agree that Christ, in this fact, was indeed unique.
Second: Christ was unique in prophecy; Many details concerning His coming were foretold centuries before He appeared. The prophet Daniel foretold the time of His comming. The place of His birth was plainly foretold by Micah, in these words, "Thou, Bethlehem, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto Me, that is to be ruler in Israel; Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting" (Micah 5:2).
Isaiah, called "the greatest of the prophets" most clearly describes the sufferings of Christ in His atonement for sin. Indeed, so numerous are such prophecies of the Old Testament that Peter declares, "To Him give all the prophets witness." (Acts 10:43)
Neither Zoroaster nor Confucius, nor Mohammed, nor Buddha could cite any prophecies about themselves; but Luke says of Christ, that on His way to Emmaus after His resurrection, "beginning at Moses and all the prophets He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself" (Luke 24:27)
Third: Christ was unique in having no human father. The devout Joseph was chagrined and shocked and exasperated to find that Mary, his darling sweetheart, was pregnant "so he planned to break off the engagement" (Phillips translation of Matt. 1:19). But an angel appeared to him and said, "Don't be afraid to take Mary to be your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." So Joseph knew, by celestial testimony, that Jesus had no human father.
Fourth: Christ was unique in miracles. Only of Christ is it true, that as many as touched Him were made perfectly whole (Matt 14:36). and "He healed them all" (Matt. 12:15). Even more than this is true of Christ. D. L. Moody was called to preach at the funeral of a man of great influence. Because many would attend, Mr Moody determined to preach the best possible funeral sermon that many might br won of Christ. He resolved to find out how Christ Himself preached a funeral sermon, and to pattern after Him. But while noting carefully all the Gospel accounts of Christ at funerals he was startled to learn that in all the sacred records, never once did Jesus preach a funeral sermon. He always raised the dead! CHRIST is indeed unique.
Fifth: Christ never made a mistake. He never had to apologize and never to regret.
Sixth: Christ never once sinned but always sought to please the Father, He repeatedly said, "I seek not My own will but the will of Him Who sent me," In fact, He said His very food was to do the Father's will (John 4:34).
Seventh: Because Jesus was unique in never sinning. He could be, and was the only man of all mankind who could be the atonement for the sins of the world, or take the place of the sinner as "the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8). John the Baptist, pointing to Him, cried out, "Behold the Lamb of god Who taketh away the sins of the world." After His death and resurrection, Jesus Himself declared, "Thus it is written and thus it behooved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His Name among all nations" (Luke 24:46,47).
Even this does not exhaust the matchless marvels of Jesus Christ. There remains a most important point in which Christ is unique. This last is an infinite attribute of Christ and exalts His divine majesty almost beyond the capacity of the human mind to comprehend. It is the marvelous fact that, after His resurrection, Christ became, so far as this world is concerned, actually Omnipresent or everywhere present, at the same time---exactly as God the Father is Omnipresent.
Jesus said, "Where two or three are gathered together in My Name there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20). In giving "the great commission" to the eleven, Jesus sent them "into the world." One went to India, one to Asia-Minor, one to Africa. John died on the Isle of Patmos. Others went in other directions, but to each of them He said, "Lo I am with you always and even unto the end of the age." He promised specifically and repeatedly to abide in each believer who would "keep His Words."
In His last discourse alone He cited this fact at least 9 different times. For example in John 14:23 Jesus explained, "If a man love Me he will keep My Words; and My Father will love him and I will love him and We will come unto him and make our abode with him." In His prayer in John 17, He said the believer would be one with Him and the Father "even as We are One," i.e., exactly as the father dwelt in Jesus so Jesus said He would dwell in the true believer. And the very last words of this same 17th chapter of John are "I in them."
It is perhaps the most glorious fact of all Christian Truth and experience that the personal, risen, loving Christ of Galilee not only is "alive indeed," but actually makes His residence in the body of true obedient believers. He, today, verily, uses the believer's body as His temple.
Thus Paul could say, "No longer I but Christ liveth in me." The most sublime and glorious privilege of any believer is to acknowledge the presence of the risen Christ, and to completely turn over to our ever living, loving, and watching Savior, the reins of our life on earth: thus giving the risen Christ a body in which to dwell and through which to continue His deeds of mercy.
When we glimpse of the actual uniqueness and divinity of Christ, we begin to realize why John the Baptist said, "He Who comes from Heaven is far above all others--far superior to all others in prominence and in excellence" (John 3:31---Amplified New Test.). Then we appreciate the words of John the beloved, recorded on the Isle of Patmos: "I was in the Spirit of the Lord's Day and heard behind me a great voice of a trumpet saying I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, and I turned to see the Voice that spake to me. And being turned I saw seven golden candlesticks. And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and His hairs were white like wool---as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire. His feet like unto fine brass as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He Had in His right hand seven stars. And out of His mouth went a sharp two edged sword; and His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And He laid His right hand upon me saying unto me, 'Fear not, I am the first and the last. I am He that liveth and was dead and behold I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.'... And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb and they sung a new song saying, "Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof for Thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld and heard the voice of many angels round about the Throne and the beasts and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands saying with a loud voice, 'Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.' And every creature which is in Heaven and on the earth and such as are in the sea and all that are in them heard I saying, 'blessing and glory and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb for ever and ever' (Rev 1:10-11;12-18; 5:8-13)
Because the Authority of Christ is, indeed, divine and unique, and Supreme, let us now study in deep humility and with obedience of heart EXACTLY WHAT OUR SAVIOR TAUGHT about Sin.
The very name Jesus indicates God's purpose to save us from sin. The angel who encouraged Joseph to go ahead with his marriage said he must call the baby's name "Jesus" "for," said the angel, "He shall save His People from their sins."
After the angels, the next mouthpiece of God, in telling how Christ was related to sin, was John the Baptist--a prophet and special advance agent of Christ. "Repent!" he cried, "for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand!" (Matt 3:2).
To the false religious leaders of his day who had rationalized away the need for true holiness of heart, John shouted in stentorian tones, "Bring forth fruits meet for repentance!" or "Show by your lives that you have repented." "For now", said John, "the axe is laid at the root of the trees, and every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire." "I, indeed baptize with water unto repentance but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear. He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." Then re-emphasizing the need for real obedience of heart John uses another metaphor--"Whose fan is in His hand and He will throughly purge His floor and gather His wheat into the garner, but will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." Far from preaching a soft and compromising little sermonette about "turning around," John made it clear that what God requires is to stop all wickedness and do only what is right, and his illustrations were unmistakably clear in emphasizing this.
Christ Himself described His own objective as "To call, not the righteous, but sinners to repentance." The positive statement of Christ in this passage is, "I am come to call sinners to repentance" (Matt 9:13).
At this point let us remember that Jesus taught that WITH WILLINGNESS OF HEART TO OBEY GOD, THERE COMES AN ADDED ILLUMINATION FROM GOD. In John 7:16 Jesus said to the Pharisees: "My doctrine (i.e. teaching) is not Mine but His that sent me. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself." The Amplified New Testament translates this, "My teaching is not My own, but His Who sent Me. If any man desires to do His will (God's pleasure) he will have the needed illumination to recognize and can tell for himself, whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking from Myself, and of My own accord and on My own authority." LET US THEN BE SURE that in our approach to this study, we are, first of all, willing to do God's will. For only thus can we hope to discern the Truth.
The Greek Philosopher, Plato, said, "If you would converse with me, please, first, define your terms." We are told that one of the first marks of intelligence is the ability to distinguish between things that are different. Before we further consider what our Savior taught about sin, let us see how the Son of God defined that term. Let us look at sin, and see what it is not, and what it is, as revealed by the language of Christ. For surely as Jesus defines sins, so our Heavenly Father defines it. For Jesus said, "My doctrine is not Mine, but His Who sent Me (John 7:16)."
In defining sin we shall note there are three important facts which Jesus taught.
Fact No. 1
CHRIST TAUGHT THAT TEMPTATION IS NOT SIN
For forty days and forty nights Jesus was constantly tempted by Satan in the wilderness. Yet never once did He yield to the tempter. Later after spending some time in His ministry He said to His disciples, "Ye are they who have continued with Me in My temptation" (Luke 22:28). Jesus thus describes His very life on earth as a period of temptations. Yet, challenging His enemies, He said, "Which of you convinceth Me of sin (John 8:46) Jesus never sinned, because He never yielded to temptation. So the writer of the book of Hebrews could truthfully say. "He was in all points tempted like as we are yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15). "Though tempted every day," one has said, "Jesus boldly faced all His present and future enemies in the absolute certainty of His spotless purity before God and man."
It should be remembered then that temptation is not sin---but only an opportunity to do either right or wrong-- to choose either virtue or evil---to serve either God or Satan. The birds that fly over our heads cannot be controlled by us. But to let them build a nest in our hair quite another thing.
Fact No. 2
JESUS TAUGHT THAT MISTAKES ARE NOT SIN
Speaking of those who hate and persecute both Him and His disciples, Jesus said, "If I had not come and spoken unto them they had not had sin but now they have no cloak for their sin...If I had not done among them the works that none other man did they had not had sin but now have they both seen and hated both Me and My Father" (John 15:22 and 24).
In other words, "If these haters and opposes had not seen Me raise the dead and heal blind eyes and lepers and lame, theirs would be only a mistake. But now, having seen the evidence of My Deity---having seen the proof of My connection with God--having seen My Words confirmed by miracles which only the Father could perform, now they know better and therefore are sinning." Thus Jesus in this discourse, distinctly teaches that mistakes are not sin.
Again in John 9:41 this great moral principle is reaffirmed Jesus declares to compromising religious leaders, "If ye are blind, ye should have sin; but because ye say we see, therefore your sin remaineth." To these religious pretenders--these "blind leaders of the blind"--these "whited sepulchers"--these "wolves in sheep's clothing", Jesus said, "Had ye believed Moses ye would have believed Me, for He wrote of Me." Without walking in the Light which they had, they yet claimed to be enlightened, but Jesus said because they knew better--but did not do better--therefore their sin remained.
Having noted that temptation is not sin and mistakes are not sin and that the willing heart will receive added light let us look now at what sin is.
Fact No. 3
JESUS TAUGHT THAT SIN ALWAYS INVOLVES A WILLFUL REJECTION OF LIGHT
We have already seen in John 15:24 how Jesus taught that sin consists in doing wrong when we know better. Christ taught that even the Pharisees, in rejecting Him, would not have been sinning if they had no proof of His divinity. Christ repeatedly taught that wherever sin is involved, there is rejection of light. For example in John the third chapter, Jesus explained clearly what He means by sin, and what God considers as sin. Many know by heart John 3:16, but few seem to have noticed the clear teaching which follows the sixteenth verse. We shall quote Jesus' words from verse 18 onward. "He that believeth on Him is not condemned. But he that believth not is condemened already, because he hath not believed on the Name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation (or this is the reason for condemnation) that Light is come into the world, but men loved darkness rather than Light." (Note carefully) "For every one that doeth evil hateth the Light, neither cometh to the Light, lest his deeds should be reproved."
Observe that Christ her emphasizes that only such as turn away from all evil are truly believing Him.
"But he that doeth Truth cometh to the Light that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God." The Amplified version makes this more clear: He who practices Truth--who does what is right--comes out into the Light, so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are, wrought in God --divinely prompted--done with God's help. Note how this agrees with the statement of John the beloved disciple: "If we walk in the Light as He is in the Light we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleaseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).
Please note that the above statement of Christ also implies that mistake are not sin. Because of the widespread misunderstanding and confusion on this particular point, let us re-emphasize that mistakes are made because of lack of light, whereas sin always involves the willful rejection of light. Even in the "sins of ignorance" of the Old Testament those responsible to inform Israel of God's laws were personally guilty, in their failure to do so.
Some have quickly remarked, "Why then inform the heathen?" The answer is that even the heathen do have a conscience and do fail to walk in its light; though without the Gospel, that light is limited. For the Gospel is a double blessing-both adding to the light of conscience, and motivating obedience.
In proceeding paragraphs we have considered four statements of Jesus Christ all of which lead to a conclusion that sins are not mistakes and mistakes are not sins. (a--John 9:41; b--John 3:19-21; c--John 15:22 and d--John 15:24). It is important to carefully study these passages.
I submit that 99 out of 100 people who read these passages the first time and without bias will understand from them that sin is relative to light; that sin never occurs without a conscious and willful choice of evil. Wherever Jesus spoke of sin this moral principle was clearly implied or plainly taught.
A copy of my manuscript on Sin was sent to Dr. George Lamsa, who is widely known as the world's foremost authority on the Aramaic language, the language which Christ spoke. After reading the manuscript, Dr. Lamsa stated in his reply: Sin does separate us from God---Repent in Aramaic means do not sin again--Mistakes are not sin---No one can be forgiven without repentance---When a sinner repents he is no longer a slave to sin and Satan.
When our son was two years old he followed his mother out to the porch on morning as she went to bring in the milk left by the milkman. Seeing his mother take a quart in each hand, he tried to do the same. As he followed her in, one quart slipped from his little fingers, and of course, the result was a milky splash on the front room rug.
The results were bad, indeed but certainly the child was not sinning, and of course, he should not be punished because he was doing his best according to his light and understanding. He only made a mistake. We have known some really good people who accused themselves of sinning when in Heaven's sight they had only made a mistake. As long as the heart stays right we are not sinning, even though the head lacks information. No mere man is perfect in knowledge, though any mortal man can be perfect in heart. This is what Jesus meant when He said, Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect (Matt 5:48)
Many accuse themselves of sinning when they have only been tempted to sin---but have not yielded to the temptation. The familiar song says, "Yield not to temptation for yielding is sin." Of course, if one is tempted and yields to the temptation enough to entertain the will to do it, when he knows it is evil, he is then sinning in thought.
The Lord Jesus illustrates this by saying, "Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her" (an illicit, deliberate looking with the purpose of lusting) "hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matt 5:28).
Here it should be remembered the thought of sin was deliberately entertained---and the looking was done with the purpose of lusting. For "looketh to lust" are the words of Jesus.
It is well to note that in the verse following the one we have quoted, is the very place where Jesus introduces one of his strongest statements about sin; for He follows this thought of "looking to lust," with the words, "If thy right eye offend thee or if your right eye serves as a trap to ensnare you" or "is an occasion for you to stumble and sin, pluck it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than that your whole body be cast into Hell. And if your right hand serves as a trap to ensnare you or is an occasion for you stumble and sin cut it off and cast it from you. It is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body should be cast into Hell." (Amplified New Testament---Matt 5:29 and 30).
The Son of God from Heaven thus informs us that if any part of our body would actually force us to sin we had better literally tear it off from our body because sin, unrepented, is fatal to the soul. But when we honestly face this matter, we all know that if we try even half that hard to keep from sinning, we will not sin!
How these words of our Savior do clash and contrast with the "free-and-easy-believing-and-living-in-sin" theories often taught in religious circles today. Yet Jesus said, "The Father Who sent Me has Himself given Me orders what to say--so whatever I speak, I am saying exactly what My Father has told Me to say, and in accordance with His instructions" (John 12:49 and 50--Amplified N.T.)
Faithfulness in declaring what Jesus taught on the sin question would go a long way toward solving the problems of broken homes and unwed mothers, which are facing many pastors today. Our pastor in a major denomination told the writer that among the people of his church alone more than a dozen babies had been born out of wedlock. Surely in Heaven's sight it is high time to re-examine this all-important issue, and return to teaching exactly what our Savior taught!
What a horrible shock will come to multitudes in the Day of Judgment--multitudes who now profess the Name of Christ, but day unto day are living in known sin---yes--guilty of unrepented sin!
Remember, dear reader these words of Jesus "are Spirit and Life" and He said, "Though Heaven and earth shall pass away my words shall never pass away" but "shall judge in the Last Day" those who hear them. His words have exactly the authority as though Christ in His physical Presence were standing before you now. Indeed, He is "with you always" and is at this moment intently watching and reaction to his own Words.
JESUS TAUGHT THAT THERE WILL BE A GREAT SEPARATION
Jesus clearly definitely and repeated declared that a time is coming when "before Him shall be gathered the nations of the world and He shall separate them as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats." Their destiny? "These shall go into everlasting punishment but the righteous into Life Eternal" (Matt 25).
Beyond all questions, two classes shall go in opposite directions when God's eternal justice is melted out. The great question is not when or how this will take place, but which side am I on now, and which side will I be on when this great separation comes?
Let us look at how often the Lord Jesus repeated the fact of this separation.
He said, "The hour is coming when all that are in the graves shall hear His Voice and shall come forth; They that have done good unto the resurrection of Life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:28-29)
Hear His Words, "Woe unto thee Chorazin and, woe to thee Bethsaida, for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sack-cloth and ashes. But I say unto you it shall before tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the Day of judgment than for you." "And thou Capernaum, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the Day of Judgment than for thee." Jesus said. "The men of Ninevah shall rise in Judgment--The queen of the South shall rise up in the judgment (Matt 11 and 12).
Also "Every idle word that men shall speak they shall give account thereof in the Day of Judgment" (Matt. 12:36)
In interpreting "the parable of the tares," Jesus said, "In the end of this world, the Son of Man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His Kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire. There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father" (Matt. 13:41-43).
Note again how Christ explains the parable of the net and fishes. "At the end of the world, the angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from among the just; and shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matt 13:49-50).
From the words of the Son of God, we know there will be a separation of the "just" and the "wicked"--the--"righteous" and the "unrighteous"-the "good" and the "bad" and that separation will effect every mortal who ever traveled the short road from birth to death on this earth.
FROM THE STATEMENTS OF CHRIST. IT IS ALSO ESTABLISHED THAT THE WICKED WILL GO INTO HELL, AND THE RIGHTEOUS INTO HEAVEN.
Now since the scriptures declare that all have sinned and since this is also proven by universal human experience, the question which follows logically is, "How can the wicked person become righteous?" or "How can the sinner become a saint?" "How can the bad be made good, before it is too late? The answer to these questions is found in true and genuine repentance and in faith in Christ.
Jesus said it is by faith, i.e., "Whosoever believeth on Him hath everlasting life." But with equal emphasis, Jesus taught that repentance is essential to genuine, saving faith. For the every first words of Christ's own preaching were, "Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4:17).
Likewise He instructed all His disciples, for we read that the disciples "went out and preached that men should repent" (Mark 6:12).
Jesus repeatedly emphasized, "Except ye repent ye shall perish," and "there is joy in the presence of the angels over one sinner that repenteth."
In the presence of most church members there is joy when a man or woman joins the church, but the angels rejoice only when he or she repents of sin. Are the angels blind? Or are the pastors and church members blind who do not require genuine repentance?
Jesus closed His ministry with a final emphasis on repentance in the words, "It behooved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His Name, among all nations" (Luke 24:46).
Anyone who loves Christ, and who really knows what He taught about repentance, cannot help feeling horrified by the modern spectacle of multitudes being exhorted to "believe on Christ" without any clear instructions concerning repentance.
Of course the "father of lies" is delighted by this procedure which in Heaven's sight is merely turning sinners into hypocrites!
Certainly those who have joined the churches without repentance are not on their way to Heaven, for Jesus said, "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven but He that doeth the will of My Father which is in Heaven." (Matt 7:21).
When Jesus was "in the days of His flesh" He constantly instructed His disciples as they followed Him. Then on the night of His crucifixion He gathered them around Him in the upper room. There, He not only established the Lord's supper for our observance, but emphasized again the spiritual cleansing which Heaven requires of all the Redeemed.
In deepest humility He girded Himself with a towel and began to wash the disciples' feet. Peter drew back in amazement, exclaiming, "Lord, doest Thou wash my feet? (John 13:6). Christ, in replying made a statement which is Eternally vital to every believer. If I wash thee not thou hast no part with Me" (John 13:8).
Lest they should think He was merely concerned with the Judean dust on their sandaled feet. He hastened to explain, "He that is washed needeth not but to was his feet, but is clean every whit. And ye are clean, but not all. For He knew who should betray Him. Therefore He said, "Ye are not all clean" (John 13:11).
Thus Jesus explained that He was not talking about the dust from the road, but was stressing the need for being cleansed from the domination of demons such as swarmed around Judas, and such as direct the actions of everyone who sins, For let us remember, "Every one that sinneth is a slave (John 8:34---Century Translation).
When Jesus said, "If I wash thee not thou hast no part with Me. He was placing a final emphasis on the fact that true repentance from all sin, or saying "No!" to the devil is essential to the salvation of our immortal souls.
This same thought is re-emphasized again in the prayer of Christ (John 17:16). "They are not of the world even as I am not of the world." (In verse 20, Christ explains that this applies to all believers).
What could He mean but that real Christians are not dominated by evil forces--they are not slaves to the Satanic power which impels to sin. "My sheep follow Me", said Christ, "and a stranger will they not follow" (John 10:5).
If like Peter under terrific pressure they swerve and deny their Lord: like Peter, they will also hasten to repent in bitter tears and they follow him as Peter did until they see His face; for history tells us that through Peter's determined loyalty to Christ, He was finally crucified with his head downward.
The true sheep of Christ are ever encouraged by their Shepherd's words, "To him that overcometh will I give to sit with me upon my throne". And above all, they cherish to hear the Master say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant;... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord" (Matt 25:21).
The true servants of Christ seek a city that is made without hands, "whose builder and maker is God" where there is no need of the sun to shine by day, for the Lamb of God is the Light thereof; nor the moon by night, for there is no night: and where God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away; and where ages on ages they will serve the Father, and delight in the glories of His creation. There they will rejoice in knowing Him as our Savior knew Him, while He walked on earth. They now eagerly look forward to the Eternal Day of divine joy in which to worship and love and exalt the Savior Who hath redeemed us, by His own blood, from the clutches of all the infernal powers of Hell! Praise be to Him through endless ages!!!
"THE UNPARDONABLE SIN"
Because confusing interpretations are given about "the unpardonable sin" or "blaspheming against the Holy Ghost", we pause to remark that wherever Christ speaks of an unforgivable sin, in the context of that same passage, a definite case illustrates exactly what he means. In each case false religious leaders had accused the Son of God of casting out demons by Satan's power. Therefore, unless he has done exactly this, no one has scriptural grounds for believing he has committed the unpardonable sin of which Christ spoke.
Nine awful fallacies that seek to excuse sin, and which Satan uses to defeat the purpose of Christ in the lives of those who believe them:
There are some men who put in their creed, 'We sin every day, in thought, word, and deed.' Then, ignoring God's laws, they will often proceed To walk with the devil, and live by their creed.
Fallacy No. 1---Those who insist upon teaching that "we sin every day in thought, word, and deed" will often quote Paul's words. "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10). They insist that this applies to Christians, and many are misled to believe that it does, because their preacher or Sunday School teacher says it does. But does it? Let us see. Here is the complete passage: "As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understandeth. There is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way. They are together become unprofitable. There is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulcher. With their tongues they have used deceit. The poison of asps in under their feet are swift to shed blood. Destruction and misery are in their ways and the way of peace have they not known." Can it be truly said of Christians, "The way of peace have they not known." Surely then it is indeed a fallacy or false teaching, to say that this passage applies to Christians, and to use it as proof that Christians sin every day, or that there is "none righteous" among those who have repented of their sins.
Fallacy No. 2---might be called "the filthy rags fallacy." Many, many times those who teach that "we sin every day," quote in defense of their statement. "Our righteousness are as filthy rags." And multitudes hear this quotation and are misled to believe that it applies to Christians. Let us see if it does. The only place the passage is found in the Bible is in Isaiah 64:6. Here is the whole passage: "But we are all as an uncleaned thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags. And we do all fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon Thy Name that stirreth up himself to take hold of Thee. For Thou hast hid Thy face from us and hast consumed us because of our iniquities" (Isaiah 64:6 and 7).
Should this picture of the backslidden Jewish nation be used to describe the normal Christian Life? Surely, only the devil would like to have it so, and some Bible teachers are fooled enough by his Satanic Majesty to teach what he wants them to teach.
Fallacy No. 3---Often those who defend the idea that we "sin every day" will tell their hearers that "conscience is not safe as a guide." It is true that the Word of God must be used to enlighten the individual conscience more and more: and true also that some conscience are more enlightened than others. But at the same time it is wrong to say that one should not follow one's conscience. "Conscience,' says Webster, "is the moral sense within which urges to right conduct." Conscience will always lead us to follow the Word of God so far as we know it. And conscience will also lead us to study more of the Word of God. A man can ignore and even "sear" his conscience, but if followed, it will lead him in the right direction.
No one at any time should disregard his conscience. The apostle Paul said' "Herein do I exercise myself to have always a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men." In other words "I always try to keep a clear conscience" (Acts 24:16).
Paul's exhortation to Timothy leaves no doubt about this matter of conscience. He says, "That thou mightest war a good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith, have made shipwreck" (I Tim. 1:19). A moral shipwreck, indeed, is any man who disregard his conscience.
Fallacy No. 4---One of the most absurd of all modern fallacies is to teach that "we cannot keep God's commandments." Yet, believe it or not, many teachers are actually teaching this to their congregations. So let us see what God says about it and what Jesus the Son of God from Heaven taught. More than 3000 years before such teachers were born God spoke in an uncertain terms about the imperative necessity of keeping His commandments. Let us note especially whether God really meant that the Jews should keep His commandments.
Through Moses, God said, "Know therefore this day and consider it in thine heart that the Lord He is God in Heaven above and upon the earth beneath. There is none else. Thou shalt keep therefore His statutes and His commandments which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth..."
"These words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and thou shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down and when thou risest up---ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God---Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments unto a thousand generations. Behold I set before you this day a blessing and a curse. A blessing if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, and a curse if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God" (From Deuteronomy 4th to 11th chapters).
Not only was it made unmistakably clear to the Church of the Old Testament that they were expected to keep the commandments of God, but through Moses, God said He expected us to keep the commandments of Christ. "I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My Words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass that whosoever will not hearken unto My Words which he shall speak in My Name, I will require it of him" (Deuteronomy 18:18-19).
Peter says this prophecy refers especially to Christ, and, in the light of this passage, what infinite folly for any to say we need not keep the commandments of Christ or that we cannot do so. Yet many preachers are actually teaching this today!
Jesus Himself urged, "If ye Love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15).
Again, "He that hath My commandments and keepeth them he it is that loveth Me" (John 14:21). And again: "If a man love Me he will keep My Words (John 14:23)."
And again, "If ye continue in My Word, then are ye my disciples indeed and ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free" (John 8:31). And again," go--teach all nations ... to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" ... (Matt 28:19,20).
Finally, to John on the Ilse of Patmas, Jesus said, "Behold I come quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the City" (Rev. 22:12-14).
Fallacy No. 5---Some say that if we keep the commandments of God we would have no need of God's Grace, but would then be "saved by works". They stress Pauls words, "For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast."
To say that keeping God's commandments, after one repents of sin, is being saved by works, reveals a total misunderstanding of what "saved by grace" really means. Suppose that I am haled into court to be tried for murder. After due process of law I am found guilty of first degree murder. Can I plead, "but Judge, I've learned my lesson. I repent of this sin. I will never do it again, therefore I expect you to set me free."? Never; the Judge would point out that for my past crime, I am guilty, even though I should henceforth be a model citizen. I must pay the penalty for past crime. My "good works" could not save me. Neither can doing our duty, after repentance, save us from due penalty for our past sins. Only the suffering of Christ in our stead can save us from this due penalty, under the just Government of God. Only the grace of God in Christ---"His unmerited" favor can set us free from our guilt for past sins.
But the grace of God can be applied only to those who stop sinning, or get right with God. It is only, "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, that the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).
This imperative necessity for repentance is acknowledged wherever mercy is shown by human governments, as well as throughout the Scriptures.
The chief engineer of one of American's foremost engineering firms, after reading the manuscript of the book, reminded me that any convict appearing before a parole board must:
1. Admit guilt 2. Convince them he is sorry. 3 Convince them he won't continue his criminal practice.
Let us further illustrate this relation of "works" to "grace" by the true story of the crime and imprisonment of Samuel Holmes of Frankfort, Kentucky. While imprisoned for the crime of murder, Mr. Holmes was visited by lucian Young who was a former schoolmate. When Lucian Young appealed to Governor Blackburn for the pardon of his friend, the governor remembered the bravery of Mr. Young in rescuing several lives from a wrecked vessel and granted the pardon, in recognition of the merits of Young. With this pardon in his pocket Young hastened to the prison to see his friend Holmes. Before revealing that he had power to make him a free man, Young began a conversation with Holmes. After talking on other subjects for a while, Young finally said, "Sam if you were turned loose and fully pardoned what would be the first thing you would do?" The convict quickly responded, "I would go to Lancaster and kill Judge Oursley and a man who was a witness against me." Young uttered not a word but turned mournfully away went outside the prison walls took the pardon from his pocket, and tore it to bits! (This true story was published in the Richmond Register).
Holmes lost his pardon because he would not forsake the sin from which he was wanting forgiveness. Neither can the infinitely just "Lord of Heaven and earth" pardon a sinner while he continues in sin, even though pardon is offered through the merits of Christ.
Fallacy No. 6--A prominent Bible teacher of recent years managed to secure such a following that he finally had a Bible published under his name. Though this Bible contains many constructive helps for Bible students at the same time some terrible fallacies are included against which warning should be sounded in no uncertain terms.
For example on page 1000 at that Bible he says in his notes, "the sermon on the mount, in its 'primary application' gives neither the privilege nor the duty of the Church." He says in other words that neither the promises nor the commands of the Sermon on the Mount were for believers in general (The promises are the privileges and the commands are the duties). Now let us see what Christ Himself said of His own Sermon on the Mount.
To determine this all we need to do is look at the conclusion of that sermon itself. Here are Jesus words: Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man which built his house upon a rock. And the rain descended and the floods came and his winds blew and beat upon that house and it fell not for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that likened unto a foolish man which built his house upon the sand; and the rain descended and the floods came and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it" (Matt. 7:24-27).
In the great commission Christ commanded that all of His words be taken "to every creature;" and here He says that everyone who hears these words and does them not is building on the sand. Certainly, therefore both the promises and the commandments of this sermon were intended for all believers. But, obviously the enemy of souls has sought, by human tradition to undermine the commands and promises of Christ.
However those who have courage and faith to trust and act upon these words of Christ, find that our Almighty Father fulfills His promises found in the Sermon on the Mount.
For example, George Muellerfed and clothed and educated more than nine thousand orphans, by looking to God alone, and never asking a man in any case to meet his need.
He says When I first began to allow God to deal with me, relying on Him, taking Him at His Word, and set out fifty years ago, simply relying on Him for myself, family, taxes, traveling expenses and every other need, I rested on the simple promises I found in the sixth chapter of Matthew (Matt 6:25-34). For those unfamiliar with it, the sermon on the Mount consists of the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of Matthew. What a blessing it is that men like George Mueller have not been influenced by modern teachers, who say that the Sermon on the Mount is not for us today! How often have new converts started out to believe with holy fervor what they found in their Savior's words, then while going to Bible School or attending some church they were told that such words of Jesus do not apply to us today, and in discouragement and disillusionment they would lose their joy, and fervor, and often finally backslide entirely---all because some teacher or preacher had misrepresented Christ to them.
On the other hand we should thank God and take courage when men like Billy Graham will come out strongly and make it known that living by the Sermon on the Mount would change every evil condition in this nation or any other nation.
Actually, much that passes today for "rightly dividing the word of Truth" when viewed in the celestial Light of the words of Christ, is found to be nothing more nor less then "Making void the commandments of God by your tradition!"
By teaching a spineless "believe-it-and-live-as-you-like" theory and by sitting aside the Savior's own commands and promises and substituting theological sophistries; the power of Satan has largely hamstrung the Church and in many places made of its professed members a lot of fearful and unbelieving stumble blocks to sinners. The average sinner, looking on, says, "If what these professors have is religion we want no part of it!"
Surely, when the world seems about to be set on fire with hydrogen bombs it is time for Christians of the world to "get in there and pitch," and forget the very thought of compromising with sin.
Before we are haled before "people's courts" as Christians are in China and are forced to literally stab to death members of our families who in any wise opposed Communism, as millions have actually been forced to do in China, we'd better go "all out" for Jesus Christ and let Him show the world what true Christianity is!
Fallacy No. 7---Might be called the stinking corpse fallacy." involving the illustration used by the Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans.
Those Bible teachers who insist that we "sin every day in thought, word, and deed" assume that Paul in the seventh of Romans is describing the normal Christian experience.
Those of us who stand for what Jesus taught about sin believe Paul would be horrified at such misinterpreting of his words.
Let us briefly look at the 6th, 7th, and 8th chapters of Romans and seek to interpret the words of Paul in harmony with the words of Christ as Paul would want us to.
In the sixth chapter the apostle points out the absolute necessity of holy living, in the words: "Let not therefore sin reign in your mortal body that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness, unto God" (vs. 11-13).
"Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
"For when ye were servants of sin ye were free from righteousness...but now being free from sin, and become servants unto God, ye have fruit unto holiness and the end unto Everlasting life." (Romans 6:18.22).
Obviously these statements in the sixth chapter make no allowance for serving the devil.
The portion of the letter found in the seventh chapter is where the confusion usually starts. In the ninth verse of chapter seven, Paul speaks of his first experience of encountering the law of God; which was, of course, before his conversion. He says, (quoting the Amplified New Testament) "Once I was alive, but quite apart from and unconscious of the law. But when the commandment came, sin lived again and I died---was sentenced by the law to death" (Romans 7:9, Amp. Ver)
"Did that which is good then prove fatal, bringing death to me? Certainly not. It was sin working death to me by using this good thing (as a weapon) in order that through the commandment sin might be shown up clearly to be sin, that the extreme malignity and immeasurable sinfulness of sin might plainly appear" (Romans 7:13, Amp. Ver).
Note: At the end of the 13th verse Paul continues his description of his past and sinful experience but uses the present tense in describing that experience like we hear many do in their conversation today.
We need to bear in mind he is describing an experience totally different from that pictured in the sixth chapter and also totally different from that presented in the eighth chapter; yet all this is apparently written at one sitting or without his experience actually changing. In other words though at the same time of his writing his experience was that portrayed by the sixth and eighth chapters, he pictures in the seventh chapter his former experience which was totally different. This must be our conclusion if we stay in line with the words of Jesus concerning sin.
Note how his words of the seventh chapter describes the sinner's experience. "I do not understand my own action. I am baffled, bewildered. I do not practice, or accomplish what I wish but do the very thing I loathe (which my moral instinct condemns" --vs. 15, Amp. Ver).
"Now if I do habitually what is contrary to my desire (that means that) I acknowledge and agree that the law is good (morally excellent) and that I take sides with it" (vs. 16, Amp. Ver.). Note this is exactly the experience of the sinner, whose conscience tells him what is right and what he ought to do. "However it is no longer I who does the deed, but the sin principle which is at home in me, and has possession of me. I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is in my flesh. I can will what is right but I can not perform it. I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out" (vs. 16-18, Amp. Ver.).
Note: Who doesn't know that this is not the experience of the true Christian nor is it Paul's experience when he writes in Eph. 6:13, "Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day. And having done all to stand, stand therefore having your loins girt about with Truth and having on the breastplate of righteousness, and with your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. And above all taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked" (Eph. 6:13-16). Thus in Ephesians, and in many other of his writings we see Paul's Christian experience. But in the seventh of Romans he concludes his experience as a sinner in the 23rd verse: "I discern in my bodily members--in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh---a different law (rule of action) at war against the law of my mind (my reason) making me a prisoner to the law of sin that dwells in my bodily organs---in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh" (Romans 7:23, Amp. Ver.).
Now notice carefully what brought him out of his awful condition of slavery to Satanic power. In Paul's day it was the custom, if one was accused of murder to tie a corpse of the murdered one face to face to the body of the accused prisoner. Paul views the awful state he has just described as though a dead and decaying body were bound to his With this custom in mind he cries, "Oh wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death"? Then, exultantly he exclaims, "I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!!"
He continues: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit" (Romans 8:1).
Then in unmistakable language, Paul goes in the 8th chapter to clearly show the difference between the sinner and the saint. He says: "for those who are according to the flesh and controlled by its unholy desires, set their mind on and purse those things which gratify the flesh. But those who are according to the spirit and (controlled by the desires) of the Spirit, set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the (Holy) Spirit. For if you live according to the dictates of the flesh, you will surely die. But if through the powers of the Holy Spirit you put death--make extinct, deaden--the (evil) deeds prompted by the body you shall (really and genuinely) live forever. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God" (Romans 8:5, 13, 14---Amp. Ver.).
The above interpretation of Romans 6, 7, and 8 agree with what Jesus taught, and is surely what would please both Paul and the Lord Jesus. For Paul said, "Be ye followers of me even as I also am of Christ" (1 Cor, 11:1).
In view of the clear teaching of Christ Himself, I submit that, in the sight of the Risen Christ, it is a very serious fallacy to teach that, as Christians, we are to carry this "stinking corpse" of spiritual defeat around with us all our lives.
Fallacy No, 8---Those who insist that "we sin every day" will often pick one ambiguous passage in the book of John, to prove it while totally ignoring nine other plain statements in the same epistle, which lead to an opposite conclusion.
Let us briefly line up these ten statements about sin in John's letter and see what he really teaches on the sin question. The passage that "sin every day" teachers quote is 1 John 1:8: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the Truth is not in us. Statement number two, in the same letter of John reads, "Hereby we know that we know him: if we keep his commandments" (1 John 2:3). We certainly do not sin while keeping His commandments!
No. 3--"He that saith I know Him and keepeth not His commandments is a liar and the Truth is not in him" (1 John 2:4).
No.4--"He that saith he abideth in him ought himself so to walk even as He walked" (1 John 2:6). (If we walk as Jesus walked will we walk in sin?)
No.5--"And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as He is pure" (1 John 8:8) This is the hope of seeing Jesus when He appears. Are we sinning while we are pure "as He is pure?"
(Must we conclude that those who say we are always filled with sin do not have this hope?)
Statement No. 6--This same epistle reads: "Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not" (1 John 3:6). Jesus taught that we are to "abide in Him" (John 15:7).
No. 7--"Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world "(1 John 5:4). Certainly to overcome the world is to overcome the evil forces that would lead us to sin.
No. 8--"We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not" (1 John 5:18).
No. 9--"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). This is like the statement, "as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
No.10--"He that committeth sin is of the devil for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil" (In other words, if ever we sin we are cooperating with the devil, and not with Christ.) (1 John 3:8).
In the light of these nine statements from the apostle John, is it not clear that John taught as Jesus did about sin? In view of these many clear statements it is the writer's view that John's meaning in 1 John 1:8 is the same as what he said more clearly in 1 John 1:10 which reads; :If we say that we have not sinned we make Him a liar and His word is not in us." Let the reader compare also verses 6 and 7 in the same chapter.
Obviously it is absurd to base a doctrine on one ambiguous passage and ignore nine plain statements in the same epistle. This is indeed a most harmful fallacy by which the enemy draws many into compromising with sin.
Fallacy No. 9 is "once-in-grace-always-in-grace regardless of-what-we-do."
While holding a tent revival meeting in the south the, writer was preaching what Jesus preached about sin when the pastor of a large denominational church announced a series of sermons on "Once saved, always saved" and he told his Church members that he would prove that we all sin every day.
One sincere believer related to me the following incident. This pastor conducted a branch Sunday School in another section of town where one of his deacons was the superintendent. One Sunday morning a young woman stepped into the room whose life the whole town knew was that of a prostitute; but who had formally been a Christian and was baptized in the church. The deacon called on her to pray. The girl replied, "I don't feel fit to pray in public." The deacon urged. "Why you were baptized were you not?" "Yes." "Well, if you were once saved you are always saved so go ahead and pray." (The sincere people in the audience were of course, disgusted).
But this true story illustrates how far this modern fallacy has gone. The writer has since found there are many other ministers in the north, the south, the east and the west of this apostate nation that teach the same destructive doctrine; though most of them do not carry it to the same logical conclusion as did this deacon. One pastor of a very large church in Detroit stated to his radio audience that even though a person commit murder, he still could not be lost, if he was once born again. (!)
Surely a doctrine that bears such fruit needs to be re-examined!
The two strongest props that are used to braced this false doctrine are: 1--"No man can pluck you out of my Father's hands," and 2--"You can't be spiritually unborn."
Let us briefly examined these props. True the first one consists of Christ's own words. But let us be sure we do not read into them what is not there. When Jesus said, "No man can pluck you out of my Father's hand." He did not say, "You cannot get out if you try," but only that "you are secure against all attacks from without."
Our safety in the Father's hands is like the safety of a man in a fort or castle where the windows and doors are all barred securely against any intruder who might come to forcibly take him out.
One important factor is too often forgotten. This man inside the castle still possesses the key.
The Christian is not made a prisoner in the Father's hands, against his will. He still possesses the key (his free moral agency---his free will to choose).
God does not destroy our will when He saves us. He wants us to love Him enough to walk with Jesus voluntarily. He will not make a machine of us when we are saved. Hence, He leaves the key in our hands and we can walk out any time we choose, if we become foolish enough to be so---and tragic though it is many do.
Now, let us examine the second prop the claim that we cannot be "spiritually unborn."
The Lord Jesus likens the spiritual birth to the natural birth. All informed people will agree that the term "born again" is used here by the Lord Jesus as a metaphor. Using it as a metaphor does not mean that the new birth and the natural birth are in all points alike, though it does mean they are alike in some points.
Webster defines a metaphor as "a figure of speech by which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is applied to another by way of suggesting a likeness or analogy between them."
Nicodemus enquired whether this metaphor would apply by a man entering the womb again and being born in the natural. It is a fact that no metaphor ever applies in all details to that which it simulates. The new birth is like the natural birth in some respects but quite unlike it in other respects. When a person repents of sin, evil forces are no longer in control. In the act of repentance they have been rejected; for when we resist the devil, "he will flee from us", the Scriptures declare. As long as we obey God, the Spirit life that controls and energizes us is God's Spirit. For "as many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14). Those who are not led by the Spirit of God are led by the devil. Jesus said to the hypocritical Pharisees. "Ye are of your father the devil and the lusts of your father will ye do" (John 8:44).
Paul says: "To whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey his servants ye are whom ye obey whether of sin unto death or of obedience unto righteousness" (Rom. 6:16).
John says: "Whosoever is born of God sinneth not" (I John 5:18).
And Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven" (Matthew 7:21).
By obeying the Word of God in genuine repentance, we come into God's Kingdom and family and it is a "new birth" in the fact that a new Spirit life is taking possession of us as we give consent.
This view of the matter is clearly confirmed by other Scriptures related to the new birth. For example, Peter says we are "born again not by corruptible seed but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever" (I Peter 1:23).
Paul says, "Tho ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ yet have ye not many Fathers, for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel" (I Cor. 4:15).
The Greek word translated "begotten" which Paul here uses is exactly the same Greek word which Jesus used in the term born again. Born and begotten are from the same identical word. Any Greek concordance will prove this.
A sincere and careful study of all Scriptures related to the "new birth" reveals that the Spirit of God, by divine persuasion, produces the change known as the "new birth" whereby a sinner becomes a saint--a child of the devil becomes a child of God. Thus the Spirit is truly the agent of the "new birth; while the Word of God and the one who preaches the word are the instruments of the "new birth". Paul was the instrument and therefore he says he "begot" the Corinthians "through the Gospel." Using Paul and the Word, the Spirit of God wrought the change called the "new birth". Thus as Peter says, they were "born again by the Word of God."
The Holy Spirit, at conversion begins a cleansing process to clean up selfish motives that have been inspired by Satan. Thus (through conviction) He leads the convert to hate and turn from all sin.
So then, the new birth is like the natural birth, in that a new life takes possession of the one who is "born again"; but not quite unlike the natural birth in the fact that it is voluntary---while the natural birth is wholly involuntary.
The infant, arriving in this world by natural birth certainly has no choice in the matter; whereas to obtain the spiritual birth there must be personal response to the invitation, "whosoever will let him take of the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17).
In the new birth it is a matter of "God now commands all men everywhere to repent" and some will do so and some refuse. Freedom to choose is the possession of all.
Now certainly the new birth does not deprive a man of his free moral agency. For this reason he can, of course, later, turn his back on God and Christ if he chooses and it is a matter of history that thousands do exactly that. Because God never cancels man's power of choice, he can of course, be "spiritually unborn".
Because the new birth is conditioned on repentance (or obedience) and the new birth does not destroy an individual's freedom of will, it can be revoked or canceled by the will of that individual. The new birth is thus annulled, or becomes spiritually "dead" again "in traspassess in sin" (Eph. 2: 1-2).
Both Jesus and all the apostles clearly taught repentance is essential to Salvation. Even the prophet Isaiah, 700 years before Christ understood this fact. He said, "Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon" (Isaiah 55:7).
Since God requires forsaking all sin today to get saved, can anyone dare to suppose that He will require less tomorrow than He does today? If it is necessary to stay right with God to get saved, is it not equally necessary to stay right with God to stay saved?
How absurd---how utterly preposterous is the view that sin indulged in the second time is not as ruinous as it was the first, or that God requires less of a saint than He does of a sinner! This sophistry of Satan leads some to believe that because we are not under the law of Moses we have escaped entirely all responsibility of God's laws.
Certainly one is just as filthy and dirty when dragged through the mire of sin the second time as he was after leaving childhood innocence and becoming filthy the first time The fact is one is more filthy, morally and in Heaven's sight with the second trip into sin than he was the first---because by that time one has gained more light than he had at the start. For it is ever true that the greater the light rejected, the deeper is the guilt of sin.
If sin put a child outside of God's Kingdom---when it comes to the age of accountability, it will certainly do as much to an adult!!!
The teaching that sin does not separate us from God is indeed an absurd fallacy. Such religious sophistry is but one more lie of the devil and by this lie the ranks of Christendom are filled with men and women who profess the Name of Christ, but live in sin.
It fills the ranks of the army of the Lord with traitors and hypocrites who actually neither into the Kingdom themselves nor permit others to go in, because their lives are stumbling blocks.
Thus today, many preachers who too often themselves are living in sin, and hiding behind this false doctrine, will stand behind the sacred desk and call "the doors of the church are now open. If there is anyone who doesn't have a church home come now while the invitation is extended."
Often not a word is said about repentance, or getting right with God, to say nothing of saying right with God. Thus, sinners are invited to become hypocrites! Later, these hypocrites are invited to be baptized (thereby transforming them from dry hypocrites to wet hypocrites)! Their damnation will be worse because of their hypocrisy! "These shall receive the greater damnation" Mark 12:38-40).
When Jesus saw Pharisee inviting sinners to be church members, without leading them first to repentance, He said, "Ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made ye make him two-fold more the child of hell than yourselves" (Matt.23:15).
The prophet Ezekiel, 600 years before Christ, understood the righteous principles of God's Heavenly Government and taught exactly what Jesus taught about the necessity of getting right and staying right with God. Here are his words: "If the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live. He shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed they shall not be mentioned unto him. In his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Here I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die, saith the Lord God; and not that he should turn from his ways and live ? ...
"But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness and committeth iniquity and dieth in them, for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. Again, when a wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live. He shall not die" (Ezekiel 18:21-28).
Peter, James and John were the closest to Christ of all He disciples. We have noted how the large majority of John's statements about sin coincide perfectly with Christ's own teachings. Now look at these words of the apostle James: "Brethren, if any of you do err from the Truth and one convert him, let him know that he that converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death and shall hide a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20)
Note: James said if a backsliding "brother" becomes a "sinner" his restoration is, saving a soul, from 'death'." Does this look like "once in grace always in grace---regardless of what we do?"
The apostle Peter puts his thoughts about this matter in these words: "If after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning-but it happened unto them according to the true proverb, 'the dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire'" (II Peter 2:20,22).
Instead of telling hypocrites they are saved even in prostitution and murder, ministers who truly represent Christ will exhort members of their church, as Jesus Christ Himself did in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation." True pastors will warn them to stay right with God, to be ready for the coming of their Savior. "Watch ye, therefore and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36).
It has often been stated that Charles G. Finney was the greatest theologian of the entire Christian era
Five hundred lawyers and judges of the New York State Bar Association invited him to present to them the claims of the Gospel in a two week series of meetings. On the last night he called on them for a full surrender of their lives to Jesus Christ and two hundred and fifty out of the five hundred accepted the invitation to repent of their sins and get right with God. More than a million souls were won to Christ through his sermons and his books, and those converts have, by competent writers been called the deepest converts of the Christian era."
It seems to be a conservation estimate that eighty percent of those converted under Charles Finney were faithful to Christ through the rest of their lives.
Speaking of the true meaning of Calvary, Mr. Finney says: "The atonement of Christ is a governmental expedient to sustain law, without the execution of it penalty on the sinner. Of course, it must always be a difficult thing in any government to sustain the authority of the law, and the respect due to it, without the execution of the penalty. Yet God has accomplished it most perfectly. A distinction must be made between 'public justice' and 'retributive justice.'
"Retributive justice visits on the head of the individual sinner a punishment corresponding to the nature of his offense. Public justice looks only toward the general good, and must do that which will secure the authority and influence of the law as well as the infliction of the penalty would do it.
"It may accept a substitute, provided it will be equally effective to the support of law, and the insuring of obedience.
"Public justice, then may be satisfied in one of two ways--either by the full execution of the penalty, or by some substitute which shall answer the ends of the government equally well.
"Let it be distinctly understood", says Mr. Finney "that the divine law originates in God's love, and has no other than benevolent ends in view.
"It was revealed only and solely to promote the greatest possible good by means of obedience.
"Now such a law can allow of pardon provided an expression be given which would equally secure obedience, making an equal revelation of the Law-giver's firmness, integrity and love. The law being most essential to the good of His creatures, God must not set aside its penalty without some influence to induce obedience.
"Every act of rebellion denounces the law. Hence before God can pardon rebellion, He must make such a demonstration of His attitude toward sin as shall thrill the heart of the universe and make every ear tingle---and such as shall show that He is no tyrant, and that He seeks only the highest obedience and consequent happiness of His Creatures. This done, God will be satisfied.
"On this point", he says, "many mistake, saying, "If I believe the facts of history, it is enough!' No, No!" says Mr. Finney, "To believe the facts is not by any means enough. For the Scripture says, 'with the heart man believeth unto righteousness'." Mr. Finney insists that obedience, after conversion, is absolutely essential to salvation. "The sacrifice on Calvary," he says, "is to be understood as God's offering to public justice---God Himself giving up His Son to death and thus throwing open the folding gates of mercy to a sinning lost race."
We come, then, to a three-fold conclusion: first, God yearns to forgive all sin, and does so on the grounds of Calvary, in the twinkling of an eye, when a soul repents.
Second: however because of the very nature of sin He cannot and will not forgive until all sin is forsaken.
Third: sin indulged the second time, or the fortieth time---is as vitally destructive as it ever was the first time.
In the time of Oliver Cromwell, "the iron man of England," an officer of his army was found to be a traitor, and Oliver Cromwell signed the death-warrant for him. An order was given that the next morning when the bell from a nearby church should ring at six o'clock that officer should be shot.
The wife of the officer came into the room where Oliver Cromwell was and fell upon her knees and said, "Sir, won't you pardon my husband?" "No," he said. "He has proved himself a traitor to the country and to the commonwealth. Tomorrow when the bell from the church steeple will ring at six o'clock, then he will be shot."
Heartbroken, this woman of love went out of his presence. Oh, what she experienced! She did not sleep that night, of course. Early in the dawn long before sunrise the form of the wretched woman torn by grief in her heart, was seen hurrying toward the church steeple.
Up she went, step by step until she reached where the large bell was hanging. A man perhaps ninety years of age both deaf and blind, received a few shillings a month for ringing the bell. The officer's wife hid herself in the belfry and when that blind and deaf man began to take hold of the bell rope and pull the wife placed her hand between the brass tongue of the bell and the side and instead of striking the side if the bell, it struck the soft hand of the loving wife of that officer and no sound was heard.
Then the man swung it the other way and the woman put her left hand upon the other side of the bell and it struck her left hand. For about five minutes it kept on striking against her hands until instead of fingers there were only shreds of flesh and blood left. Tears were flowing down the face of that woman in her suffering but she never made a sound, because she was suffering for a loved one. When the old man had finished she went down, the blood dripping to the floor, and she went to Cromwell, the man who had said her husband must die. She stretched forth her bleeding hands and said, "for the sake of these hands won't you forgive my husband?"
Cromwell weakened and said, "Woman great is your love. Go in peace." Thus her husband was freed through an act of grace on the part of their Governor and in recognition of the love and the suffering of another.
However, it must not be overlooked that this officer in Cromwell's army had continued his traitorous acts, then Cromwell would have been compelled to disregard the bleeding hands of his loving wife and proceed with the strict demands of justice---because EVEN GRACE CANNOT APPLY WHERE THERE IS NO REPENTANCE.
Now let us look at another scene. Behold the Savior, the spotless, holy and lovely Jesus, struggling with convulsive effort, under the scourger's lash, to rise the Cross, beneath which He had fallen, blood from his bleeding body staining the ground. The severed flesh quivered from repeated strokes by the athletic scourger's hand. His spirit groaned, but without complaint. Instead He looked upon His accusers and tormentors with pity. He remembered their depraved state, and felt compassion for them. His swollen visage was more marred than any man's. His eye of love was concealed beneath blood and tears. His holy lips moved, prompted by His heart which was ever full of love and pity. They seemed to emphasize "sinner, for thee I freely suffer; for thee I endure these afflictions, yea, I endure them that thou mayest be saved." Then, at last, because He was bearing our sins, when the Father turned His back upon Him, hear Him cry, 'My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?!" Thus an awful price was paid for our redemption. But here, too, it must be noted that even though the Savior did indeed suffer in our stead, and through truly "He was bruised for our iniquities," yet WITHOUT REPENTANCE THERE CAN BE NO FORGIVENESS.
Heaven is a holy place and sin can never enter there WHEREVER SIN IS FORGIVEN, IT MUST FIRST HAVE BEEN FORSAKEN. Saving faith in Jesus as the redeemer, incites the true worship of God from a broken spirit and a contrite heart.
This alone is saving faith. For said our Savior, "My sheep hear my voice and they follow Me" and "Not everyone that saith Lord, Lord shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven" (Matt.7:21).
Dear reader, if this book has helped to clarify to
you what Jesus really taught about sin, why not send for extra copies
to place in the hands of preachers and Sunday School teachers, and earnest
Christian friends, that many more may know and teach exactly what our
Savior taught about sin. In doing this you will please our risen Lord
and also make a vital contribution toward genuine Revival!