Must We Sin?
By way of introduction to this study let each of us answer a simple question. Do you believe that you can live for the next ten years and never commit another sin? If your answer is yes, stop right now and place a check mark here (Yes ). If you believe that you cannot live without sin for the next ten years, place a check mark here (No ).
For many years now, Satan has worked to convince God's people that all Christians must sin daily. He has received a great amount of help in teaching this devilish doctrine from sincere and well meaning preachers and teachers. This is nothing more than an extension of Romanism, whereby they teach the need and use of the confessional and even the idea of indulgences for future sins now being planned. We will never overcome sin and Satan with this attitude. Let us examine this thought in the bright, revealing light of God's word.
Jesus is confronted by the scheming scribes and factious Pharisees in John 8:3-11, as they sought to force him to contradict the teaching of Moses by bringing before him a woman taken in the act of adultery. After Jesus had convicted each of them in his own conscience, he told the adulteress, "go, and sin no more."
If there were no other teaching in God's word on the subject of our ability to live without being forced to commit sin, this would be enough to show that it can be done. The fairness and justness of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ testify that they will not give us a command, which it is impossible for us to obey. Therefore, when Jesus told this woman, "go, and sin no more," he was giving her a command, which she could obey.
Paul, in Rom. 6:1-2, commands us not to continued in sin. Also in 1 Cor. 15:34, by inspiration of God, he tells us to awake to righteousness and sin not. Many, in protesting that we cannot really be righteous, fail to consider the example of Zacharias and his wife Elisabeth in Luke 1:6: "They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless."
Nothing that we have said thus far teaches that we have not sinned in the past. A casual look at Rom. 3:23 proves without question that we have all sinned in the past, and this includes both Zacharias and Elisabeth. However, this passage does not teach that we must continue to commit sin, nor does 1 John 1: 8 or verse 10 teach such. If we will take notice of 1 John 1: 7 and also verse 9, we will see that God promises a cleansing by the blood Of Jesus Christ from all sin. Once cleansed, we are instructed in 1 John 2 :1, "sin not."
Often people are heard to remark, "I wish I could quit lying, swearing, smoking, drinking etc., but I cannot." If this person is a Christian, either they have lied, or God is a liar. For God, in 1 Cor. 10: 13, has promised to help us overcome all temptations by making a way for us to escape the temptation. If you question God's ability to do this, look to Job 1: 6-22 and 2:1-10. It is here demonstrated how God can limit the severity of the temptations which Satan can use on a specific person at a given time.
In James 4:7 we are told to submit ourselves to God; "resist the devil and he will flee" from us. Jesus, while being tempted in Mt. 4:3-10, obeyed his Father and thus won the battle between himself and the devil. We also have such a battle going on right now. I Pet. 5:8 says: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." Notice the similarity in language to that found in Job 1:7 and 2:2. As Jesus sought and obtained God's help in overcoming temptations, we must seek His help. This help is promised in 2 Pet. 2:9: "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations." What we really need is to convince ourselves that God can do more for us than the devil can do against us. Rom. 8: 3 1 says, "If God be for us, who can be against us?"
Some brethren are troubled by Ecc. 7:20 which says, "For there is not a just man upon the earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not." I make no claim of scholarship and most certainly am no trained student of Hebrew, but those that are indicate that the phrase, "sinneth not," is from "lo yechta," which means, "that may not sin." This is a truth of which we are all aware. Certainly we can all commit sin, and regardless of the amount of maturity we may achieve in Christ, we will always be capable of committing sin. Even Christ the sinless one, while in the flesh, was capable of committing sin.
This study then, as with so many others, simply boils down to a matter of faith. Do I believe that God has the power and is willing to use His power to enable us to overcome temptation, and thus be able to "go, and sin no more."
TRUTH MAGAZINE XVII: 27, pp. 6-7