Can We Live Sinless Lives?

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Hi M____,

The short answer to your question is that as long as we are “sinful flesh” we cannot expect to live as if we have been “born of the spirit from our mother’s womb… [and as with Christ] given His spirit without measure.”

Luk 1:35  And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Joh 3:34  For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.

This is true only of our Head, Christ. No other man who has or ever will live will be able to make that claim as long as there is flesh on this earth. Here is why:

Psa 51:5  Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

This is so about us without benefit of the verses above which are spoken of our Lord. In our very best state we are nowhere near as evenly ground to powder as our Lord was. Christ alone, of all men of all time, was fit to be called our spotless, without blemish sacrifice. He alone was worthy to serve as the sacrifice “for the sins of the whole  world” (1Jn 2:2).

To understand 1 John 3:9 one must first know that the phrases “ceased from sin” and “cannot sin” are saying the same thing, which is that “sin shall not have dominion over you.” It is not saying you will never again go so much as 1/4 mph over the speed limit. What these verses are all saying is that you and I are no longer the slaves of sin even though we are still sin by virtue of being flesh. Here are the verses in question:

1Jn 3:6  Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
1Jn 3:7  Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
1Jn 3:8  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.
1Jn 3:9  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.

The words “doth not commit sin” and “cannot sin” are used here in the same sense in which Christ told the lame man and the woman caught in adultery to “sin no more:”

Joh 5:14  Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

Joh 8:11  She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Christ is not telling these ‘babes in Christ’ that if they so much as think a wrong thought that a worse thing will come upon them. What He is telling them, and what He is telling us all, is that if He is living His life in us, then when evil thoughts do come they will no longer have dominion in our lives. That is what “doth not commit sin” and “cannot sin” mean. These words mean Roman 6:

Rom 6:1  What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
Rom 6:2  God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Rom 6:3  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Rom 6:4  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Rom 6:5  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:
Rom 6:6  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.
Rom 6:7  For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Rom 6:8  Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
Rom 6:9  Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
Rom 6:10  For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
Rom 6:11  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Rom 6:12  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Rom 6:13  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.
Rom 6:14  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Rom 6:15  What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Rom 6:16  Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
Rom 6:17  But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
Rom 6:18  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
Rom 6:19  I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
Rom 6:20  For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
Rom 6:21  What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things [is] death.
Rom 6:22  But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
Rom 6:23  For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

At least six times in this one chapter Paul affirms that these Roman converts are “dead to sin… freed from sin… and sin does not have dominion over them.” By this Paul is saying there should be a change in direction in the lives of those in whom Christ dwells just as Christ was in type telling the man who was healed of his lameness and the woman caught in adultery, “Go, and sin no more.” Christ certainly was not saying, “Go, and do not ever even raise your voice to another human or a worse thing will come on you.” What He is saying is that “sin shall not have dominion over you… you have now become a servant to God, and ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”

Peter makes the exact same point that Paul and John make when he says:

1Pe 4:1  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;
1Pe 4:2  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.

So “ceasing from sin” scripturally means simply that “we no longer… live the rest of our time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.”

I hope this is of some help. I have cut and pasted another letter on this same subject. You will find it below.

Mike

February 3, 2004

Hi M___,

It’s good to hear from you. I am going to answer your question with nothing but the scriptures. I’ll let you and the Lord take it from there. Before I do though, I want to encourage you to read a book by Andrew Jukes, who wrote over 150 years ago, but I consider it to be the single most educational book I personally have ever read, outside of the Bible itself. The name of the book is The Law of the Offerings. The answer to your question is in understanding the difference between the ‘sin offering’ and the ‘transgression (or trespass) offering.’

All the offerings of the old covenant (and there are dozens of different offerings) each reveal a new covenant aspect of Christ’s office as our redeemer. Above all things, we need to know who Christ is.

Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Christ came to reveal the Father because the Father had never been revealed before.

Luk 10:22 All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.

As politically incorrect as it is to say it, we cannot know God except through Jesus Christ.

Joh 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

Joh 10:1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

If we are ever to know the Father, it must be through Christ. Why is it so important that we come to know Christ as well as we possibly can? Again I quote John 17:3 – And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Now for a few New Covenant scriptures which have to do with your question.

Rom 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Rom 6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

There it is, twice in the same chapter; a Christian should be “free from sin.” What exactly does that mean? Does it mean that you will never again ever have an evil thought? No, that is not what “free from sin” means. Here is what Paul explains he means by “free from sin.”

Rom 6:13 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.
Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

There is a big difference between never having an evil thought and ‘looking on something to lust after it.’ The reason “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” is because “neither can corruption [flesh and blood] inherit incorruption.” You see, when we are told (2Co 5:21), “For he hath made him [Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin” this is not saying Christ ‘became sin’ while He hung there on the cross.

Christ was ‘made sin for us’ the moment He was conceived of the flesh:

Psa 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Neither was Christ being “made under the law” to be understood to mean that He kept the law of Moses, because as Matthew 5 and 12, and indeed the entire New Testament demonstrate, Christ broke the law of Moses repeatedly and taught His disciples to do so. It wasn’t just “one of these least commandments” either.

Mat 5:38 Ye have heard that it hath been said [old covenant], An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
Mat 5:39 But I say unto you [new covenant], That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Mat 5:40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
Mat 5:41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
Mat 5:42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
Mat 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said [old covenant], Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
Mat 5:44 But I say unto you [new covenant], Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Mat 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Mat 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
Mat 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so?
Mat 5:48 Be[come] ye therefore perfect [Greek – mature], even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. [Here is the answer to your question. We “die daily,” as we mature in Christ. Yet “sin shall not have dominion over you.”]

Christ not only taught contrary to the law of Moses, He even defied it:

Mat 12:1 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.
Mat 12:2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.
Mat 12:3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
Mat 12:4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?
Mat 12:5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
Mat 12:6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
Mat 12:7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
Mat 12:8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

Is Christ admitting to “doing that which is unlawful?” Yes, indeed He is! Is He admitting to “profaning the Sabbath?” Yes, He certainly is! Was Christ a Levite or of the priestly family of Aaron? No, He was not. Yet He claimed that He, too, was “guiltless.” On what grounds could He be declared guiltless since He was not descended from either Levi or Aaron? Christ gives us two reasons, and in reality, they are both the same reason:

1. In this place, is one greater than the temple.
2. The Son of man is Lord, even of the sabbath day.

These were indeed “the times of reformation.”

Heb 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things…

Heb 9:10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances [weekly sabbath keeping], imposed on them [only] until the time of reformation.

Both the temple and the sabbath were mere “shadows” of the True. Christ is our sabbath: (Heb 4:3) For we which have believed [in Christ] do enter into rest…

Contrary to the teachings of the entire orthodox Christian Church, Christ was not a “practicing” Jew. As a good Jewish friend of mine once told me, as far as the Jews are concerned, “Christ was a criminal who died for His crimes.”

Joh 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

Had Christ really claimed to be the son of God?

Mat 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

Had Christ “broken the sabbath?” He says: “he…did … [that] which was not lawful for him” and “on the sabbath days [He] profaned the sabbath, and [was] blameless” (Mat 12:3-5).

Our rest is from is our works. From now on “in Christ” we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Eph 2:10). Christ is our ‘sabbath.’

Joh 5:17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

Joh 5:8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
Joh 5:9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.

Jesus was way past ‘the law of Moses.’

Getting back to your question:

1Co 7:36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.

1Jn 3:6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

1Jn 5:18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.

I hope that you can see that the “law of Christ” (Gal 6:2) does not define sin with written-letter laws. There is a new covenant addition to what now constitutes sin. Sin is now defined simply as “lawlessness.” (1Jn 3:4) “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” should actually read, “Everyone who is doing sin is doing lawlessness also, and sin is lawlessness” (Concordant Literal New Testament). This agrees with another New Covenant definition of sin: (Rom 14:23) … Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

There is a much higher standard in the new covenant, and yet there is also much more latitude: …let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.

It is impossible to answer your question if we don’t even agree on what sin is. I would encourage you to read The Law of God Versus The Law of Moses.

To summarize, while “sin shall not have dominion over you” as long as you are still in “the body of this death” (Rom 7:24 – O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?), we ARE sin, and in need of a “sin offering.” That is why:

1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

Even the flesh of a sinless Christ could not inherit the kingdom of God. In spite of these plain scriptures, most Christians teach that our new body will be a “glorified body of flesh.” Flesh simply refuses to die to the flesh.

Christ is that “sin offering” of course. It was Christ Himself who told us that even His flesh was the last obstacle that kept us from the presence of the Father:

Joh 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I [in the flesh] go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I [in the flesh] depart, I will send him unto you.

This is what is meant by Hebrews 10:20 (By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.) It was “His flesh” yes, the flesh of Christ Himself, that was “made to be sin” – “the veil” that was the obstacle which kept us separated from the presence of the Father!

Until that sacrifice came and was made, there would never be any access into the presence of the Father. This is the reason Paul tells us (2Co 5:16) …though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more [after the flesh].

This is, of course, the exact opposite of the way orthodox Christianity sees Christ. He is always either in a manger (in the flesh), 12 years old in the temple (in the flesh), being baptized in water (in the flesh), carrying out His earthly ministry, teaching the multitudes, feeding them the best wine, healing their diseases, casting out demons, feeding them with the loaves and fishes (in the flesh), hanging on a cross, in the flesh, being buried and resurrected and showing Himself to doubting Thomases in a body full of holes (in the flesh).

Those who come to know the true living Christ are aware of this foundational knowledge of Christ. However, for them this foundation, as with all foundations, is out of sight. Mature Christians have been building upon that foundation. The Christ we are to come to know is the Christ of the transfiguration, who is also the Christ of:

Rev 1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
Rev 1:13 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.
Rev 1:14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
Rev 1:15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters

I know this is not what you expected, but it is the scriptures that bear on your question.

I hope it is of some help.

Mike

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