SIN - The Forgotten Doctrine

by Tim Germain

John 8:31,32 - "Then said Jesus to those Jews who believed on him, 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."

One of the main characteristics of Jesus' ministry is to bring men and women into liberty. This liberty spoken of is directly related to a freedom and dominion over sin. Jesus came to save man from sin, not in sin.

A Christian's salvation is dependent upon his present victory over sin. Romans 6:17 "Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"

Today, there must be a resurrection of truth that will slay the falsehood of "positional truth", which says you don't have to be victorious over sin, to be saved. You are deceived to believe that you don't have to be actually free from sin in your personal experience. 2Thess.2:10 "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

But for you who have struggled and faltered down the path of righteousness take heart. The same victory that Jesus promised His first disciples, He still promises you. John 8:36 "If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." Matthew 11:28-30 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

EBENEZER (Hitherto the Lord has helped me)

If you are Christian, there must have been a time in your past when three things occurred in your life. First, there was a personal cleansing of all past sin. The conscience was purified and all guilt and remorse was morally cleansed. Heb.9:14 "How much more shall the blood of Christ...purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" Secondly, the Holy Spirit of God communicated to your heart in a personal way that you have passed from death unto life and that you now are a child of God. Rom.8:15,16 "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God". Thirdly, there was a time when by virtue of your own experience the love of God was communicated to your heart and you were aware that God really loved you. Rom.5:5 "And hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us."

When those three events occurred simultaneously in your life, you have victory over sin! Are you still walking in the light as he is in the light? The Scriptures tell us to "walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh." Gal.5:16

To walk in the Spirit is the meat and potatoes of the Christian life. Without understanding this principle of walking in the Spirit, you will be continually drinking of moral pollution and spiritual bondage. How or what is it to walk in the Spirit?

You may be accustomed to failure and defeat in your life to the point that you have just given up! Maybe you have conceded that there is no such thing as victory over sin. You say to yourself it might be true for others but my case is a new strain of bondage. I'll just never make it! There is hope and victory for you, my friend. Let's discover what God has given to us in Jesus Christ that will completely annihilate any bondage no matter how long or how strong it is.

JEROBOAM GENERATION

Jeroboam the King, in 1 Kings 12:26-33, set up his own place of worship contrary to God's commandments. He wanted to have his own way in the political arena so, he went about changing the theology of his day. By changing the theology, he accomplished the end result which he wanted, namely, esteem and power.

It was the change in the theology which facilitated his selfish ambitions to power over the people. This principle of changing the theology to facilitate some other end was the means of bringing bondage to those who embraced his "New Jerusalem".

Reformation in Reverse

By introducing changes which made it easier for his "worshippers" to "worship" he ensnared the nation. "It's too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: 1 Kings 12:28. His new theology was similar, but not the same. He had priests, but they were not pure nor were they from the tribe of Levi. He had offerings and "Holy Days", but they were not sanctified nor acceptable. At the end God said, "And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin." 1 King 14:16.

This is strong language when it is said that God "gives up" someone. It is even stronger when that someone is you!

Three Steps to Destruction

The three main changes, introduced by Jeroboam were: first, make it easier for the worshippers so that it would not cost them as much as before, to name the name of Jehovah. Secondly, put unclean leaders to teach and preach falsehood to the people. Thirdly, offer unacceptable sacrifices that is, sacrifices that are similar in form, not in substance. The sacrifices were not acceptable because the vessels were unclean. Jeroboam "made an house of high places and made priests of the lowest of the people:.

REFORMATION THEOLOGY

Have you ever asked yourself the question, "why is the church so ineffective and worldly?" I believe the main reason can be found in the three areas that Jeroboam introduced to Israel.

Church leaders have made the Gospel message cheap. That is, offering a salvation that does not cost the sinner anything.

The sinner is told that he is saved just because he believes the facts that Jesus died on his behalf. Whether his conscience is purified or not doesn't enter the picture. There is no mention of restitution for stolen items, which are necessary prior to his conversion. The idea of forsaking all known sin and casting your life upon the mercy of God is seldom mentioned!

I was told by a Bible teacher here in the city that the new convert is not expected to repent from all sin! This teacher said, "The Lordship of Christ is preached after a person accepts Jesus as his Saviour:. Imagine, preaching a Jesus that doesn't save from sin! That is not the Jesus of the Bible. The Jesus of the Bible is the Saviour who saves from sin. "...and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins." Matt.1:21

IMPUTED (YET IMPURE) RIGHTEOUSNESS

Secondly, the truth has been changed for a lie. The common teaching today about imputed righteousness is that there is nothing you can do to save yourself and that the second you "accept Jesus" all is well and you can never come into condemnation. (Once saved, always saved idea.) Full obedience from the heart is not required as a condition of being saved to these Bible teachers.

The Scriptures teach however, that obedience to the truth is a means of entering into the salvation that is offered by God to the sinner. 1 Peter 1:22 "Seeing that you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren..." and "But God be thanked, that whereas ye were the servants of sin, ye have obeyed from the heart that from of doctrine which was delivered you. Being made from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." Rom.6:17 and "...we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given to them that obey him." Acts 5:32.

The imputed righteousness that the Scripture speaks of is an actual righteousness that is produced in the heart of the saint of God through the influence of the Holy Spirit. It is God's influence upon the mind and heart to induce the will of man to follow him in obedience. This imputed righteousness is the result of faith in the death of Christ on man's behalf, for the forgiveness of past sins only. This is how Christ works in the heart to conform and transform the heart; where it can be said that "...old things have passed away, behold, all things are become new". 2 Cor. 5:17

This is also how it can be said that "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption...1 Cor. 1:30

So you can see that God does not impute righteousness unless it is actually imparted. If there is no moral change in the heart of repentant sinner from sin to righteousness then there has not been any salvation in the heart of the sinner to speak of.

PURE HEART

Thirdly, just as Jeroboam offered unacceptable sacrificed, impure, and defiled; so today, unsanctified people are offering partial obedience all the while thinking that it is acceptable. As a matter of fact there are some who believe that you will always have an impure heart. The only advance to these people is in degrees of obedience. They believe that there is no such thing as total obedience. Our obedience must be with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Matt. 22:37; Mark 12:30

God calls for purity of heart. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God". Matt.5:8 "Unto the pure all things are pure, but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled." Titus 1:15

There we have it! Three steps of what not to do, as well as what to do.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

In any work of reformation and change in personalities, the path to freedom is found on the road of responsibility. You must take responsibility for your life. Do not shift the blame to someone else.

You may say, but you don't know my situation, my background, my upbringing, etc.! No, I don't. However, up to now, there is a liberty and freedom made available to you if you will sincerely and prayerfully apply the truth.

The steps you need to take on the path of liberty are travelled by following the signs which show us our responsibility, along the way. When the Statue of Liberty was placed on the east coast of America, they should have also put the Statue of Responsibility on the west coast. There is freedom apart from responsibility.

Colossians 2:6 "As ye have, therefore, received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding with thanksgiving."

Ask yourself this question, how did I received Christ Jesus the Lord? The way in which Christ was received is the same way that you continue to walk. Let's establish how it was that you first received Christ Jesus the Lord.

FIVE STEPS TO VICTORY!

You first received Christ Jesus the Lord by being totally honest. You admitted your personal guilt and responsibility for your sin.

Secondly, you humbled yourself before God giving Him due honour and supreme importance in your life.

Thirdly, you embraced and believed the testimony that Jesus is the Son of God and that His death on the cross was on your account.

Fourthly, you obeyed from the heart Christ's commands to come and follow Him. You began to build your life on the words of the Lord Jesus.

Lastly, your yielded your entire life unto the control and leadership of God. You could say that your life was not longer your own and that your supreme desire was to please Christ in everything.

There you have it! Honesty, Humility, Truth, Obedience, and Surrender.

A THOROUGH WORK

Charles Finney, that great revivalist of the nineteenth century, said that a convert's stability in his or her Christian walk, will be directly related to the kind of foundation that was laid in their life prior to their conversion. What kind of foundation are you presently building your life on? If you are finding yourself usually giving way to the lusts of the flesh and repetitive bondage, go back to the kind of beginning you had. We read "Forasmuch, then, as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind; for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men but to the will of God." 1 Pet. 4:1,2 and "For I, through the law, am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Gal. 2:20 and "For sin shall not have dominion over you; for you are not under the law but under grace." Rom. 6:14

Why is it so hard to change?

We are made in the image of God, that is, we make choices, have emotions, reason, remembrance, imagination, and have a conscience. Our design is such that when we sin there is a damage that occurs to our personalities.

This damager to ourselves the Bible speaks of, is sometimes called hardening, sometimes searing, sometimes polluting; it is a moral corruption or perverting, a twisting of the heart of man which results in a depraved darkened mind. This corruption is not overcome solely by will power but by cooperating with the Holy Spirit of God.

The Scripture tells us that all moral action flows from the heart. Prov. 4:23 "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." We originate or create our own choices. Those choices are either honourable or dishonourable, obedient or disobedient. Ask yourself this question, do you live to promote God's will? If you don't know or can't honestly say yes, then you are not in the Kingdom of God, nor are you a child of God. You are still in bondage because you have not fully repented of all known sin and surrendered your life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

Remember whether you do good works or observe some religious duties as long as your actions are not out of consideration to do the will of God from the heart it is all morally bankrupt in the eyes of God.

SIN IS SERIOUS

I was once asked the question, "what sin could sever you from God?" The answer I gave startled the person when I said any sin at all!

Today, there is a very strong representation of falsehood which says that the death of Christ has literally discharged all of the believer's past, present, and future sins. Since all sins, past, present, and future have been discharged for the believer he can not come under the judgment of these sins. The Bible of course tells us that "...God hath set forth a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past..." Rom.3:25 Nowhere are future sins remitted, before they occur!

This false teaching of past present and future sins being already remitted breeds sin in the church. The truth is that for a disciple of Christ to be continually free from the entrapments and snares of the devil it will take spiritual power, and a dynamic living faith. This all implies an utmost effort on our part to overcome the wiles of the devil.

This teaching begets in believers a false hope and false security. If you do not experience personal freedom from sin, yet believer that somehow all your past, present and future sins have been remitted, where is the urgency for you to be actually free from sin? This is of course antinomianism which says you don't have to obey God's law and yet you are still a Christian. You must determine that all sin in any form by the grace of God be cleansed and pardoned. Don't allow sin to have any hold on you. "Awake unto righteousness and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God; I speak this to your shame." 1 Cor. 15:34 "Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath; neither give place to the devil. Eph. 4:26,27 "He that commiteth 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." 1John 3:8

Remember, "The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared unto all men. Teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world." Titus 2:11,12 "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace." Rom. 6:14

CONCLUSION

To be free from sin one must be dead earnest about free from sin. This means taking responsibility for your own actions. The first work we must engage ourselves in is repentance from dead works and faith towards God. "...as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servant to righteousness unto holiness. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servant to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. But now being made free from sin, and become servants of God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." Rom. 6:19, 16,1,2,6,22.

Secondly, make use of the weapons of warfare in the power of God's might. That is, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the girdle of truth, the preparation of the Gospel on your feet, the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God, and the shield of faith. Praying with all manner of prayer and supplication in the spirit. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold of eternal life, for which you have been called to.

Lastly, by giving yourself to the will of God to build the kingdom of God you then can be assured that everything works together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.

By a steadfast "looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith: and a dependency on God's grace to help us finish our course with joy we will have an abundant entrance ministered unto us into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and our victory over every obstacle will be assured.