Thursday, July 23, 2009

Guaranteed Holiness -- posted by Sarah Grace

Living in the “Bible Belt,” one might assume that as Christians, we’re surrounded by like-minded people. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. The Bible Belt is an area of the country that is full of church divisions, with each denomination saying something different from the next. This should not be, as Paul clearly states in 1 Corinthians 1:10:

“Now I beseech you brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and the same judgment.”

These churches are divided because each denomination has it’s own “interpretation” of the Bible, instead of believing God’s word as a whole. Unfortunately, most of these denominations do agree on one falsehood— that Christians can’t stop sinning. However, 1 John clearly states:

“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

They frequently use the following passages as a way to excuse sinning:

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23

In the first verse, John was referring to the Gnostics who believed that all people are born good. He’s explaining that all people are born sinful, and that those who say otherwise don’t have the truth. My family recently heard a pastor use this verse to explain that Christians can’t quit sinning, and Will was impressed with the fact that even some of the little boys knew the scriptures well enough to be able to counter that argument. Notice the second verse uses the words "have sinned" (past tense), not "continue to sin."

What was the point of Christ dying on the cross if not to free us from the bondage of sin? Under the old covenant, we already had forgiveness of sin by way of sacrificing animals, but we were not able to quit sinning. So did God give his only son to be beaten and crucified just to spare us the hassle of animal sacrifices? Of course not. Christ died not only to forgive us of sins that are past, but also that we may be made a new creation that doesn’t sin in the future. For the Bible says:

“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” 1 John 3:4-6

“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.” Galations 2:19-21

That’s what it means to be a true believer. Not just believing that Christ is the son of God (for even the demons know that), but believing that he died to take away our sins. Only by faith in that promise are we truly saved.

“And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.” Matthew 13:14-16

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