“For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do….”
This is a topic that I wrote many years ago and I thought that I might revisit it again as it remains as a continual thing of importance for us because of what is taught by many in the church.
I believe that there is a process within us as The Holy Spirit works through the act of sanctification where we are changed over time into the image and character of Christ.
We don’t automatically become transformed into this image, but over time as we yield ourselves unto the work of The Holy Spirit, then the old man dies one day at a time.
Sanctification comes from the verb sanctify. Sanctify originates from the Greek word hagiazo, which means to be “separate” or to be “set apart.”
In the Bible, sanctification generally relates to a sovereign act of God whereby He “sets apart” a person, place, or thing in order that His purposes may be accomplished.
We came into contact with a couple from a church many years ago that professed to me that they no longer sin.
I soon found out that they were very adamant about their interpretation of scripture, even though I pointed out many relevant verses on the topic.
Let me begin with saying that holiness is certainly an important Biblical attribute for the Christian.
We need to strive to be more and more Christ-like in our walk with God.
The issue was that this couple sincerely believed that they would not sin anymore because of a second commitment where they had given themselves over to The LORD.
We brought up various scriptures with each other, and continually I would remind them of these passages in 1 John:
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness,” 1 John 1:7-9.
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense — Jesus Christ, the Righteous One,” 1 John 2:1.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective,” James 5:15.
Some draw relevance to the following scripture below citing that no one who is born of God will continue to sin because of God’s seed that remains within him.
What many I believe, fail to see however, is that this is referring to the “new man” that resides within us that is now being transformed.
There is still our sinful nature that is slowly being chipped away, and yet it is still there.
No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him, (1 John 3:6).
No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. (1 John 3:9).
I think that perhaps one of the issues with this matter is that we would not “continue” to “willfully sin against God,” because we want to strive to become more Christ-like in our walk with him.
To say that anyone of us will NEVER sin again because of a second birth, second commitment, or whatever, is a very dangerous thing to propose.
Let me go on with this and say that there are indeed, two different natures fighting within us.
We know of this because of Paul’s deliberation from Romans 7:
“14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”
The sin that we commit is not committed by the “Christ in us” but is done by the sinful nature that is “within us.”
“21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
We do indeed have two natures that war against each other within our spirits. To be sure, and never forget it; we have been born anew by the spirit of God.
Behold, the old is done away with, and the new life in Christ is in us propelling us forward in him each and every day.
We are being conformed into his image day by day, by the continual working of his spirit in us, and in dying to the flesh, if we let him do this work in us.
But my friends, we will ALL STILL SIN. If we are being conformed into his image, have we fully arrived yet?
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is,” 1 John 3:2.
~ Stephen Hanson
Stephen Hanson of In His Truth Ministries came to the LORD is a special way in 1975 and has prophesied regularly since. In these end-time birthing pangs we are reminded that judgment must first begin with the household of God. Will we be prepared and ready?