Article by Casey McFall
*Disclaimer: The following only applies to born-again believers who have obtained victory over sin through the redeeming power of Jesus’ blood.
There is a pervasive attitude of laxness towards sin amongst Christians today. We like to couch our sin with such phrases as “I fell into sin”, as if it were some accident that I couldn’t help; or “I had a moral failing”, which sounds very politically correct and not so bad. Or, after sinning, we like to excuse it by saying “Well, I’m just a sinner saved by grace.” It is true that we are sinners, and it is true that we are saved by grace, but that doesn’t excuse us from staying in sin or jumping from sin to sin!
This acceptance towards sin and sinning is due at least in part to the idea that it is impossible not to sin as long as we are here on this earth. I’ve heard many preachers allude to this idea from the pulpit; either in their effort to emphasize the sinfulness of man or even by directly suggesting that anyone who would say that they haven’t sinned that very day is lying. The problem with this is that it provides an excuse! If it is impossible to abstain completely from sinning, then why should we even try? Granted, we should try because God commands us to and because we love Him and we should abhor sin; but it becomes an exercise in futility if it is impossible to achieve!
It is completely possible to not sin!
To anyone who doubts the veracity of this statement, I challenge them to read Romans 6:10-14. These verses make it abundantly clear that we have victory over sin and do not have to sin anymore! Verse 14a says: “For sin shall not have dominion over you”. Sin has no power over us anymore! Verse 12 of that chapter says: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” Notice how the verse starts, “Let not”. To let means that it is a choice! It’s not an accident, it’s not something that is unavoidable. I John 2:1 backs this up as well, by saying “… these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.” If it were impossible not to sin, then this verse wouldn’t say that. It would say something like, “These things write I unto you, so that you don’t sin too much”. But we don’t have a partial victory over sin, we have a complete victory over sin!
For those who argue that while it is technically possible not to sin, but not realistic for anyone in human flesh, I would point to examples of men in the Bible who didn’t sin. First of these, would of course be Jesus Himself. Some may argue that it isn’t fair to use Jesus as an example, because He was also God. While it is true that Jesus was and is God, He was also 100% man! This means that as God He could not sin and as man He did not sin! Consider the temptations of the devil in the wilderness, what was the point of those temptations if Jesus couldn’t sin? In fact, if He was incapable of sinning, then those wouldn’t have even been temptations! This is further confirmed in Hebrews 4:15, which states: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus was tempted just as much as any of us are, and had just as much possibility to sin as any of us, and yet He did not sin.
Other than Jesus, who could have sinned but didn’t; one can also look at Job. God called Job a perfect and upright man (Job 1:8) and one that escheweth evil. To eschew something means to deliberately avoid it or to abstain from. In other words, Job intentionally avoided and abstained from sin! Satan challenged God that Job did so only because of the blessings of God, so God allowed Satan to touch Job twice. The first time to strip him of all his wealth and children; and the second time, to touch his health and strike him with boils from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet.
The Bible does say that the initial loss of wealth and offspring happened rapidly as messengers rushed in one after the other while they were still talking, but we don’t know how much time passed between the first time Satan touched Job and the second time Satan touched Job. It may have been the very next day, or could have even been months or years between these events. Regardless, Job 1:22 says about the first time, “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” Despite losing everything without cause or reason, even losing all his children, Job did not sin! Moreover, when Satan came to God again (be it a day later or years later), God still called Job perfect and upright, and said that not only did he still eschew evil; but that he still held fast his integrity in spite of all that Satan had done. (Job 2:3) Finally, after Satan touched Job’s health and increased his misery, Job 2:10b states: “In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”
Some people have suggested that Job 2:10 is implying that while Job may not have sinned with his lips, he sinned in his heart. But not only does the Bible not say this explicitly, it is also unlikely that it is saying it implicitly. It is more likely that the verse is emphasizing the lips because of the constant focus on verbal sin throughout the chapter. In verse 5, Satan declares that Job will curse God to His face. In verse 9, Job’s own wife is encouraging him to sin with his lips. So the emphasis is there throughout the chapter. Moreover, Matthew 12:34b teaches: “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh”. And finally, a sin is a sin; so it wouldn’t really matter whether or not Job sinned with his lips if he had already sinned in his heart. Thus, we may conclude that Job did not sin at all even in this second time that Satan touched him.
There are many other parts of the Bible that can be used to illustrate the fact that we do not have to sin; but for sake of brevity, I will stop here. At any rate, these verses and examples should be enough to provide overwhelming proof that we, as Christians, do not HAVE to sin! This means, that we sin only when we choose to! We need to stop using inevitability as an excuse to live a subpar Christian life!
There is one very important point to note here. Living free of sin does not mean living free of the temptation to sin! Christians do not have to sin and should not sin, but this doesn’t mean that they won’t feel the temptation. The struggle with sin will always be there, but it is a struggle that Christians should be winning every day!
There are many who, in spite of the verses and examples given previously, would still disagree with the conclusion that Christians can actually live a sinless life. Some people teach that we are bound under Adam’s nature (Romans 5:12), and will thus always end up sinning until God gives us our new, sin-free bodies. Those who teach this, also like to point to I John 1:8 and 10 as proof that we will always sin. Verse 8 states: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”; while verse 10 says: “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
The fact is; however, that neither of these verses say that we will sin. Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and that is what I John is saying too! We have sinned and are unworthy of entering the Kingdom of Heaven. But God washes away that sin (I John 1:7), gives us victory over that sin (Romans 6:6 & 14), and allows us to live a sinless life! (I John 3:6).
This does not mean that we will not struggle with sin! Even though we are saved, we do still have a sin nature and must battle against the flesh. In Romans 7:15-20, Paul describes his own battle against his desire to sin. He explains this battle in verses 22-25 of the same chapter by stating that the inward man delights after the law of God, while his members (the flesh) is warring against the inward man and strives to bring him back into captivity under sin. It is for this reason that Paul commands us to mortify our members (Colossians 3:5). To mortify means to subdue through self-denial or discipline. In other words, we are supposed to make a habit of denying our flesh while strengthening our spirit in order to achieve a habitual victory over the temptation to sin!
We will always have a draw towards sin because of the sin nature of our flesh. As we are made up of three parts; the body, soul, and spirit, you can imagine your flesh pulling your soul towards sin while your spirit pulls the soul towards God. (If you are not saved, you will not have this counteracting force from the spirit and are thus a slave unto sin!) You will always have this draw in both directions, but it is up to you to choose which draw you will follow! The Bible is also very clear that the more you feed the flesh and its desires, the stronger the pull to sin will be! This is why we must sacrifice the flesh daily while feeding the spirit; but when we make excuses for ourselves and say that we cannot help but sin, we surrender that battle before we even begin to try!
Want to know how to keep from sin? First you must understand the reason why Christians sin. Read my article answering that question here.
I really enjoyed this article. I love how you are always consistent to back up your facts with the verses and never just your own ideas. I have never read or heard anything about this myself. I was taught, as brought up in the article, that all have sinned(which is true) and that we can't help it because it is our flesh(yes, it is our flesh but once we accept God's gift of forgiveness, we have a choice). I feel this is so often left out and used as an excuse to some extent accept sin. Sin is always wrong and there is no justification for it! I know as a child I thought if God forgives our sin indeffinently, then why not sin? I know it is bad but God will always forgive us. If I thought like that as a child, what is keeping others from thinking the same thing and not abstaining from sin? Nothing. This is why more people should know the truth. Thank you for the new view.Maribeth            April 16, 2019, 4:19 a.m.
Very well written post. I agree with it completely. The fact that God gives us grace is not a license to sin. Some Christians use God's grace and phrases such as "we all sin" as a crutch. That's most likely because these brothers and sisters have no power. They don't have the Holy Spirit operating in their life or either they are blatantly going against Him so that they can do what they want to do. I thank and I praise God that I can say with truth that by the GRACE of God Almighty, I do not live a life of willful sin, nor do I desire to. As you stated, I am tempted now and then, every once in a while I even slip up and do or say something I probably shouldn't have but the Holy Spirit convicts me of it quickly and I repent. It's great that we can go boldly to the throne of grace to receive forgiveness. But as far as willful habitual sin? Doing the old things that I used to do? Every day? If anyone is comfortable with that then I pray they will receive the power of the Holy Spirit and that God will open their eyes In Jesus' name. God bless.Miranda T.            April 14, 2019, 2:09 a.m.
Very well putAnonymous            April 12, 2019, 5:37 p.m.
First one should be taught what is sin. This is enumerated by Jesus in Mark 7 :20, 21, 22, 23.
One is free from sin means one should follow the above teachings.
We need not refer any other chapter in this regard. This teaching should be inculcated in everyones' heart. Thanks.Edison N            April 10, 2019, 3:37 a.m.
Thank you Mac. I agree sin-filled Christians are to our shame.Cheryl            April 7, 2019, 2:34 a.m.
Very challenging. I agree that I do not have to sin. But I choose to sin. There are no excuses for sinning. I allow emotion to rule instead of the Spirit, or I do not renew my mind and get caught up in daily activity, forgetting to use the armor that Christ has given me.
I fear to say sin is inevitable, because God commands commands I is
What it is to "walk in the light" is explained by 1Jn_1:8-10. "All things.. .are made manifest by the light" Eph_5:13 The presence of God brings the consciousness of sin in the nature 1Jn_1:8 and sins in the life 1Jn_1:9; 1Jn_1:10. The blood of Christ is the divine provision for both. To walk in the light is to live in fellowship with the Father and the Son. Sin interrupts, but confession restores that fellowship. Immediate confession keeps the fellowship unbroken.Anonymous            April 7, 2019, 2:05 a.m.
To Anonymous April 7, 2019,
"There is no such thing as sinless Christian."
That is to our shame. It is possible, as the article has very well stated. Every soul, but Christ, has been born with sin. That is not a choice! Christ has paid for our sins and now we have His righteousness. Now we have an option to not sin. Read the article, the verses are given that can give us all the victory over sin. It does not make us God, it makes us Holy as He is holy! God bless and stop making excusses for sin!
There is no such thing as sinless ChristianAnonymous            April 7, 2019, 12:28 a.m.