How bold is this statement: go, sin no more!? Is this statement possible or mere wishful thinking by the author? Who can declare for himself or another to start form this point and be sin free? Has the author completely lost his mind in suggesting such? If you have an ear to hear, continue on and read, otherwise make your judgement now without reading and considering the facts and turn away standing on the grounds of it's impossibility. I surely will not be offended for even if the closed minded was to read on, they will not perceive what is written and they will be wasting their time!
As the author of this writing, I will attest that I am of sound mind: emotionally and mentally. I believe it is in fact possible for myself or any other who has a relationship with Christ to stop sinning! Again, if you do not have a open mind that is willing to hear what is being said, read someone else's writings and do not waste your time here. At anytime, if in sincerity, one who is a true Christian and not one in mere name only, which the modern church is full of and this is not said to condemn, but merely to state a fact, they can stop sinning! I will prove this as you read. You may reject the proof, you are free to do so, but I will stand firm in my statement: go, sin no more! The reason I can have such confidence in my statement is because it did not originate with me. I have only quoted the greatest man to ever walk the planet: the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
How did I come to this point of view and have I stopped sinning in my life? To answer the latter, let me remind you of what has already been said and add one more thing. First of all, the choice to sin is not a one time, it's over, I'll never sin again, choice. It's a day by day, moment by moment choice all of us must make and if we do choose to sin, we must also be willing to repent both to God whom we have sinned against and to the person or people to whom we have sinned. As for what was said earlier, the choice to not sin must be in all sincerity coming from the heart with a desire to be obedient to God and what He has called us to do without hidden or ulterior motives. This must be our choice at every opportunity for sin. Every time the temptations arise, if not the battle is lost before it begins.
Let me share a personal example with you: For many years, more than I care to recall, I have struggled with lustful thoughts, as do many, but especially men. For years I would tearfully apologize to God and plead with Him to remove this harmful sin from my life, while at the same time, if I were completely honest, I enjoyed the sin of my lustful thoughts. I could have anything or anyone I wanted in the moment of my desire by imagining I had it and I would enjoy every detail of my imagination. So then, was I sincere in my desire to stop? I was sincerely sorry I sinned, yes, but I was not sincere in my desire to stop. I enjoyed my sin too much to give it up. Did I overcome, at times or in moments when the desire was not that strong, yes I did! However, when the pull was great and my desire for personal pleasure high, I yielded to my will and my heart's true desires. This battle has gone on much of my life. Then one day, in disgust with myself before God, I implored Him to overcome my sin of lust. I asked Him how, as I had many times before, but this time, He answered me because this time He knew my heart was truly, honestly, repentant, and I did indeed desired to stop. He even gave me a “how to” that has worked every time! Your “how to” may be different than mine, God doesn't use the same method with each of us. Nonetheless, He uses what works every time. I pray for the person I'm tempted to lust after. Since I do not know if she is saved, I pray for her salvation and her personal growth as a Christian. If I believe she is saved, I pray only for her personal growth. Remember it is not the acting out of our “how to” plan that causes us to overcome, it is the heart's true desire to stop the sin and act and obey according to the loving true God!
I could also share how God overcame my anger many years ago! I was a bitter angry person and when I share this to those I know now, they find it hard to believe! Sometimes they argue with me in protest. Then I tell them, just ask my mom, she can tell you there's a difference. She has personal experience with both sides of this sin in my life. The angry child and teen and the healed teen and adult. Does this mean I still don't get tempted to get angry? Be real! Temptation will be with us until we go home to glory and we are with our heavenly Father. The difference is once saved and sincere about change, we have the choice to sin or to sin not!
When I'm tempted to be angry now, it is as if time pauses and I have a clear opportunity to choose, will I sin or will I obey God. In that moment I hold the future of whether I will sin, not for my entire life time, but for that moment. I sometimes think, God, you could have made the choice for a lifetime and we'll have to talk about that when I get here, cause it would have been better that way; as if I could instruct God, please! He knows us, He created us. He knows we needed a moment by moment dependency on Him or we'd think we did it! We'd think we were the Great One and only He is! This dependency on Him is what He knows will bring successful change in our lives!
I've attempted to share this principal principle with people over the years, but many are too stuck in their ways and not willing to consider new views. It's sad, but that is often the way we are. I've fallen into the same trap at times. Thankfully, God doesn't let me stay there to long!
I think you can concluded the answer to my question, have I stopped sinning? If you've heard me correctly, you know that when I choose to love God by obeying Him, I have overcome and when I choose to love me, I choose to sin! I can say this with gratefulness, God has me choosing to love Him a lot more than I do me and I can only pray, He keeps me going in that direction until I enter heaven!
So then, why do I still say it is possible not to sin? The author of the statement said it and I believe it: They are His words: John 8:10-11 “When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” Notice want He said at the end of the verse? Go, sin no more! God will never ask us to do that which we are unable to do. Christ clearly said to the woman, “go, and sin no more.” Can you or I say to God, you only meant it for the woman in that circumstance at that moment in time only for that situation? God forbid! God is telling us a very principal principle both here in this text and elsewhere: we have the power to overcome sin! Not one sin, all sin! 1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” God has given us a guarantee, we don't have to yield to sin! Therefore, if we do, we do so in the flesh and are serving our sinful nature rather than God. Romans 6:1-2 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” We are DEAD to sin! Romans 6:9-10 “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.” Christ DIED to SIN once and SIN has no DOMINION over him or us! Romans 6:11 “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” We too are now DEAD to SIN through salvation in Christ! Romans 6:12-14 “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 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. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” We are told directly not to let sin rule in our lives! We now have a choice! We can choose to sin in our old nature, the Self will or choose not to sin in our new nature, which is surrounding to God's will! Which will you now choose!
Maybe restored nature would make more sense to some, although its not quite accurate. Think back to the beginning of time itself. God created all things and gave dominion to Adam and Eve. God gave them one law, if you will: Genesis 2:16-17 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Notice only one tree they couldn't eat from, only one! Yet it was their free choice to eat of it or not! Of course we know the choice Adam made and the consequence of it: he died both spiritually at the moment of his choice and physically later on. Restored would apply directly to both Adam and Eve, but a new birth applies to us for we were born physically alive and spiritually dead! This is the reason many could not understand Jesus when he spoke, He often spoke of the spiritual world rather than the natural world because He was both alive physically and spiritually as was Adam originally. His listeners were thinking in the natural rather than the spiritual because they were dead spiritually and only alive physically. Recall Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus about being born again: Jesus spoke of spiritual birth, which we are born dead to due to Adam's sin and Nicodemus was thinking physical birth, asking how can a man re-enter his mother's womb? Jesus was telling Nicodemus to be born as Adam was originally created: Spiritually alive! Once we are spiritually alive, as is any who have accepted Christ are, we are now free from sin as Adam was and we are now free to choose who we will obey. Romans 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?” Clearly we are all servants, the question is to whom? Sin unto death or God unto life! Give me life!
We do however have one thing now that Adam did not, we have two natures, one DEAD, which is SIN and one ALIVE which is our life in CHRIST! The battle of our Self will vs. God's will, remains until Christ's return, yet the power to overcome is now present for the believer. Galatians 5:16 “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Notice that when we walk in the Spirit, we will not obey the flesh! Therefore, if we choose to walk in the spirit we will not walk in the flesh! We have no choice as to walking, we will walk in either the flesh or the spirit, but the choice of which one we walk in is up to us! The outcome of walking in the flesh is that we will surely sin; the outcome of walking in the spirit is that we will without a doubt overcome sin. So then, which do you want to do? I want to walk in the spirit thereby putting to death the flesh and ending sin in my life.
We can ignore Romans 8 and cling to Romans 7 and live a defeated Christ life because Paul tells us of the battle within ourselves between the old nature and the new and how the old wins so often. Thus, we can conclude it is useless to fight and succumb to sin as I did for many years regarding my lustful thoughts or we can understand the battle of Romans 7 is present and will be until Christ's return and embrace Romans 8, which tells us how to live by the spirit, the choice, again is ours. I desire to live by the spirit even though that road is much more difficult and at times I wonder, what was I thinking? Yet in the end, will it not be worth it all? You can read more about the walking in the spirit by reading; “How to Walk in Spirit' so I'll not cover it here.
The question we must all answer is plan and simple: do we want to do the will of our Self will or God's will? Do we want to stand and fight the battles of temptation, yielding to them and conform to the society we live in or do we want to conform to God's society? Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” To live a life free of sin is work! Not work to be saved, that is elementarily understood by the children of God: we are not saved by works of man, but by God's gracious grace apart from our own-selves, through faith only, in Jesus Christ! The work I speak of is also not that of “me, changing my life” once I'm saved. We have no more the ability to reform ourselves after salvation then we did before it and any and all goodness and change in us is the direct work of God's gracious Holy Spirit alive inside of each of us! God does the work! We are merely blessed by Him with the change He makes. Then what work I'm I speaking of, the work of our will. We are to yield our Self will to God's will! This is our choice! How will you use your choice, whom will you serve?
The work of our salvation, again not being saved, is the surrendering of Self to God and this is made so much easier by doing what is said in Romans 12:2 above: conform not to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds! This is what aids us in thinking straight and if we are thinking straight, we can choose which way to obey. However, if we don't even know what or how God thinks about a subject, how can we choose wisely and obey Him? We are commanded not only to know God's word, but to meditate on it. The more we fill our minds with the thoughts of God the more we will have His words in us and the more likely we are to obey Him. Think about it, if we don't know God's opinion about something, how can we choose to do it! I know it seem as if I'm repeating myself, but is not this true? We must know what God wants, if we are to do it. So then, pray and pick a topic to learn about and study it, share it as God gives you opportunity and then pray and pick another and keep on going until either you are taken home, or you know it all! Hint, we wouldn't know it all if we had on hundred life times and we only have one! The time is short, learn God's ways so you'll know God's ways and then you can choose God's ways! The outcome is a more intimate relationship with God and a more powerful testimony in the world we now live.
The more we fill our minds with God's thoughts the more we can stand when questions of what to do come into our lives. The more we fill our minds with God's thoughts the more naturally and immediately we will obey Him. There will always come times of great debate within ourselves and if we know God's will, the argument is more about Self will vs. God's will than what we should do. The same argument Adam faced in the garden when his wife gave him the fruit. His debate was not does God want me to do this, rather it was do I want to please my wife and myself or do I want to please God? Christ is clear as to where our loyalty must be: Matthew 10:37-38 “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” We at times will be face with the choice of pleasing someone we love vs. pleasing God, yet the same principal principe applies: do we love God and want we know is right or do we want to please Self and what we know is wrong. My stepfather died at a young age, 42. I've been caring for my mom since that time, not because I'm a wonderful person, rather it is God's will: 1 Timothy 5:4 “But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to show piety at home, and to requite (re-pay or reward) their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.” Over the years as I've done this, my dad has repeatedly tried to entice me to leave my mom on her own and without my help as my brother choose to do a few years after our stepfather's dead. My dad has made tempting offers: I could live with him for free, he would pay my college expenses so I could return to college since my stepfather's death happened when I was 19 and I did not finish college and he's made these offers on a repeated basis, yet I refused, because I know that God wants children to care for their windowed mothers and not leave them to themselves. My life would have been easier had I taken the offers of my dad and I would have had better opportunities opened to me career wise, but that choice was a choice to sin. The question remains the same for us all: do I do what's better for me or what I want to do or do I do the will of God? Had I not known God's will in this area, I may have chosen a different path, my mom would have suffered unnecessarily and I would have dishonored God without even knowing it!
Examples like this will face everyone of us throughout our lives. We need to do the will of God and trust Him for the outcome even if the outcome isn't going to be as good as it would if we did what we want to do? I had a chance to earn $60,000 a year when I was about 24. I'd never made anything near that prior nor have I since and that was almost 20 years ago. It only required one small compromise: I had to fabricate a false resume. My friend was the one offering me the job, he was leaving the company he worked for and wanted me to replace him. He know I could do the work because I'd gone on jobs with him and helped him in the past. He even told me that he got the job doing the vary same thing he was telling me to do. I won't lie to you and say I've never regretted my decision, it would have made life so much easier! Yet, I'm so very grateful I didn't! I was true to God over monetary gain and over Self will vs. God's will. I only wish I'd been this faithful to God over my whole Christian life! What an awesome testimony that would have been!
Don't be dismayed if you've not been choosing God's path. God is more concerned with where we are going then where we've been. Any of us at any time can choose to go in the wrong direction. Thus, the question is still before us: Whom will we obey, Self will vs. God's will, what is your choice regardless of the circumstances? Joshua 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” The children of Israel we're told to make a choice. They were told to choose between the gods of this world or their traditions or the one and only God who delivered them from the Egyptians. We we are given that same choice everyday, sometimes several times a day. This is my prayer, although it has not been my whole Christian life, that as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! Now is a time for you to choose: what will your daily moment by moment choice be? Will you walk in the flesh, trusting in Self and others and this world or will you walk in the spirit, trusting in the one true God, the God of our salvation?
In our heart lays the answer and through our actions is revealed to the world our answer for what we truly believe is how we will act regardless of what our words say or our intends are. Words are an empty shell, it's our actions that fill them and bring them to life. Choose life and live!
The choice to obey was given to Adam and misused, we are born into the consequences of his choice and live as slaves to sin, then, we were restored, reborn, in Christ, the second Adam. With this freedom as a child of God we can either do as the first Adam or the second. If the first, we will endure God's discipline as His children so that we will choose wisely in future and avoid future punishment and if we fail to learn God will increase His method of dealing with us over time. Hebrews 10:26-29 “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” We are not to take God lightly as many Christians do. God is love, they say, yet God is also just and will not tolerant our willful sinful behavior! On the other hand, thankfully, God is open and waiting for us to choose rightly so He can show His power though us! God wants an unbelieving world to see Himself for who He is: holy, loving and just among many others attributes. They can only see Him for who He is, if we show them. Sure God can open their eyes via creation or by merely willing it to be, yet He wants to use us to show Himself in this world. This is why He has given us His power: John 14:12-13 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” and Ephesians 3:20 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” God's power is ready to work in us, although not to use for our own selfish gain: James 4:3 “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” Rather we are to be partakers of His divine nature: 2 Peter 1:2-4 ”Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” God wants us to be used by Him to do great and mighty things both in our lives and the lives of others and in doing so, we are showing the world our Creator! We are without excuse! What then is your Choice? I want to live and to live is to live for God and deny self: Luke 9:23-24 “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” Additionally, if we live for self, we will lose our life! To life for anything or anyone other than God is foolishness: Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” All else is vanity!
So since the power of God is available to us and it is our choice whether we sin or not, what are practical ways we can, in fact, put Christ's instructions into action? Minerals for a tree's life and strength come from that which is washed off the rocks by water. The tree's roots go in search for the minerals it needs to live, a lesson for us as believers. As the tree finds, minerals it absorb them and the tree grows! The richer the soil the stronger and healthier the tree! Likewise, to grow as Christians we must be in search of Christ, that is, we must learn about Him and know Him more fully. This is what Paul meant saying: 1 Corinthians 2:2 “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Paul wasn't thinking, as some falsely do, that we are only to preach salvation and nothing else. Paul was telling us to know intimately Christ because in doing so we would know the One who sent Him, that is God: John 14:7-9 “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” By knowing both Christ and Christ crucified, we know both God and God's plan of salvation, thus, we know what God wants of us after salvation too! God isn't selling “fire insurance,” He's seeking an intimate relationship with His children. Is this not want any good parent desires, especially, from their teenage children? They want a relationship! Relationships don't just happen, they are built! Likewise a relationship between us and God don't happen by itself and isn't created by merely reading over God's word, rather we must absorb the word of God. How? Studying it, not merely for knowledge, instead, looking for ways to absorb it, making it our own! We can do this by memorization of verses, passages, chapters and books. We can do this by meditating on the Scripture, thinking through the text asking it questions: who, what, when where and how? However, we also need to study the word of God looking for application. How can we apply the passage to our lives today? In doing this we grow. The choice to internalize the Bible is ours and the growth we have is God growing in us.
Take this passage and consider how you can apply it today? Matthew 5:38-41 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” The passage is about how others may mistreat us and how we are to respond to them. I once had a convertible, I had wanted one for years. I took it in to get major work done and the mechanic tried to rip me off big. I fused to pay his false claims and he took me to court. The judge ruled in my favor and I only had to pay the rightful amount, yet whenever I would get in the car my anger would return and I wanted to get even with the mechanic for his mistreatment of me. It was not right how I had been treated and I could no longer enjoy my dream car! God brought this passage to mind and I knew what I must do: I got a friend to drive his car and I drove mine. We went to the mechanic's garage and I gave him the keys to my car and road home with my friend. God may not ask you to do this, but it is one modern application of the verse above and it healed my anger towards the mechanic! What's more important, I lost an asset or gained peace in my heart? I'll take the piece! To this day I have no clue how the mechanic is doing, but God does. The outcome of our obedience to God is not our concern, but obeying Him is.
I have asked this question many times throughout this writing and shall ask it one last time: What is your Choice? Will you choose to serve your Self will or God's will? Will you willfully choose to sin or will you willfully choose to obey God? We cannot sit on the fence, either we are serving sin or serving God: Revelation 3:15-16 “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” There is no middle of the road in God's society. We are either on fire for Him, cold hearted against Him or He is completely repulsed by us and He vomits us out of His month! I lived the early years of my Christian life luke-warm, as vomit out of God's mouth, partly because I didn't know how to apply God's word because so many churches and Christians focus only on salvation and not on how to live a life for God and partly because I didn't want any better. I had my “fire insurance” what more did I need? It was an attitude I had. If the truth be told, if your salvation experience was only “fire insurance” you'd better question the sincerity of it! God will not let His children flounder forever! If you are truly saved, God will convict you to draw near to Him and develop a relationship with Him. Again the choice of who you respond is up to you!
Remember, the title is not my saying, but that of Christ and we know God does not ask us to do what we cannot do, therefore, I urge you to consider our Savior's words once again: John 8:10-11 “When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”. It's your choice, God will not force Himself on you.