20 Question 2

I have heard some teach that Christians can, and should, live lives beyond sin.  Some have even said that they have not sinned for years.  Is this credible?   In writing his first epistle, the Apostle John wrote to believers in 1 John 1:8 where he says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”  Notice that the word ‘sin’ is singular.  It’s not speaking so much of our individual sins, but of our flesh which naturally sins.  As believers, we still have a sinful nature that abides in us.  To deny that we still have the desire to sin is to deceive ourselves and it shows that the truth concerning our sinfulness is not in us.  As to the individual acts of sin, the Apostle addresses that in verse 10 of 1 John 1 where he says, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”  So, to say we have no sin is to lie to ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  To say we have not sinned, is to call the Lord a liar and His Word is not in us.


The Apostle Paul felt the frustration of sin in his life as a believer.  He writes in Romans 7:19-20, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”  Again, ‘sin’ is in the singular here, showing that the nature of sin was still in Paul, even as it is in us, even though we are Christians.


The confusion may come in when we misunderstand 1 John 5:18.  That says, “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.”   This really gives the thought that one who has been saved, or born of God, does not continue in sin.  He does not live a life of sin.  He keeps himself, and the devil is not able to take away what the Lord has given him.  It’s not to say that Satan will never attack us, but we learn from Ephesian 6:11-18 that we put on the whole armor of God.  Ephesians 6:16 tells us, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”


1 John 1:9 gives us instruction as to what to do when we sin.  It says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  This verse is not a verse of salvation, but a verse to believers.  It tells us that upon sinning, we need to confess that sin to the Lord.  He is faithful and He is just.  Not only will He forgive us our sins, but He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


So, if someone tells you that they are living with no sin in their lives, you know that they are deceiving themselves.  If you are around this person very long, you will see that they do indeed sin.  This only proves what we have had before us from the Word of God.  You may want to help that person overcome this deception.  If you see him or her commit a sin, gently speak to them about it.  Ask them if they are aware that they do sin.  One man I spoke with told me that he did not sin, but he did make mistakes.  This is just an attempt to deny their sin.  We need to realize the sin in our lives so that we can confess it to the Lord.


I am so thankful to realize from scripture that sin is still present in me.  Otherwise, I would consider myself to be a complete failure and doubt the truth of my salvation.  I am also thankful for the instruction of the scripture that tells me that I should confess my sins; and that the Lord will forgive me and cleanse me.