Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
God has said in His Word that He is going to put an end to sin, not to the guilt of sin but to the sin itself. Sin is a spirit, or thing, or urge, or force that dwells in our flesh—call it what you will. It has made its home with us in our body. It is time to get rid of it, to kick it out.
Table of Contents
Seventy “sevens” are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy (Daniel 9:24)
Let’s think for a moment about the thing called “sin.” Often when we think about sin we are picturing our feeling of guilt, or God’s attitude about something we have done, or our judgment about something we have done. We don’t often think about sin in the abstract, as something dwelling in us. Yet it is. Guilt is one aspect of sin. Behavior is another aspect of sin. Our judgment of our conduct, God’s attitude, are all associated with sin.
But sin is a thing, an urge, a spirit, a force in and of itself. I think it is necessary for us to grasp this thought, because otherwise when the Bible speaks of putting an end to sin, or doing away with sin, we are apt to think only of God’s forgiveness of our guilt. Isn’t is so? In fact, the Christian Gospel is conceived as the good news that God has forgiven our sins. This is not the Christian Gospel. Nothing has been improved from God’s point of view when we are forgiven. The coming of the Kingdom of God results in the removing of sin from the creation. It is when sin is driven from us that God’s purpose in the Gospel is fulfilled. But it is difficult to think of sin being driven from us when we are picturing sin as guilt and the Gospel of the Kingdom as forgiveness of the guilt.
Perhaps because of the influence of the ancient philosophy called “Gnosticism”, we picture salvation as making our eternal residence in Heaven when we die. So we preach that if we believe in Christ, our sins are forgiven and we go to Heaven when we die. This is not the Christian Gospel. The Christian Gospel is that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world—not the guilt of the sin of the world but the sin of the world. That is, He takes away the sin itself. The coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, which is the Gospel, the good news, is the coming of the authority and power of God in Jesus Christ to remove sin itself from the world. As one would expect, Christ is beginning with His Church. It is time to get the sin out of us.
Sin–What Is It?
Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. (I John 3:4)
Sin is the breaking of the eternal moral law of God. The Ten Commandments are an abridged version of the eternal moral law of God. For example, the Ten Commandments directs us to not commit murder. To murder someone is to sin. But the Book of First John tells us that whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and also that no murderer has eternal life in him. This is the eternal moral law. We understand from this that the Ten Commandments are a shortened version of the eternal moral law.
The Lake of Fire is the eternal destiny of all murderers.
The eternal moral law of God is written in the conscience of human beings. The moral law always has existed, exists today, and always shall be the same. This is because the moral law is what God is. The law shall never change just as God shall never change.
The Lord Jesus Christ is that moral Law, that Word, made flesh. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil as well as the Tree of Life. To have Christ formed in us is to have eternal Life formed in us, and also the understanding of what is approved by the eternal moral law of God and what is condemned by the moral law of God. This is the knowledge of good and evil. Part of our growth in Christ is an increase in the knowledge of good and evil, and the willingness and strength to embrace the good and renounce the evil.
Sin is lawlessness. It is a thing, an urge, a force, a spirit producing behavior that is condemned by the eternal moral law of God as evil. What we must keep clear in our minds is that sin is something that:
- Dwells in our flesh,
- Can be put to death in our flesh,
- Can be removed from our flesh.
It is time now in God’s calendar of days to get sin out of the Church. The greatest revival of all times is at hand, and God’s witnesses must be righteous and holy. Also, the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth is near, and if we expect to return with the Lord Jesus Christ and establish the Kingdom of God on the earth, we must be free from sin.
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, (Romans 8:13)
We are to follow the Holy Spirit in the work of putting to death the lawless deeds that proceed from our sinful nature. Our sinful nature is nothing more nor less than a collection of sinful urges or spirits. They dwell in our flesh. They can be confessed and driven from us if we will cooperate with the Holy Spirit.
When we break God’s eternal moral law, we are guilty whether or not we are aware of our sin.
If a member of the community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands, he is guilty. When he is made aware of the sin he committed, he must bring as his offering for the sin he committed a female goat without defect. (Leviticus 4:27,28)
Notice carefully that when someone sins, even if the sin is unintentional and he is not aware of his sin, he is guilty. We must understand this thoroughly if we are to proceed any further.
God’s attitude. God will have one of two attitudes toward the individual’s sin. Either God condemns the sinner or God forgives the sinner.
Condemnation or forgiveness. Under the Law of Moses, when the person became aware of his sin, if he made the required sacrifice he was forgiven. If he was made aware of his sin, and did not make the required sacrifice, God would want to consider the reason. If the individual did not make the required sacrifice because of carelessness or defiance, he was in clear danger of being cut off from the Israelites. There is no forgiveness under any covenant for willful, defiant breaking of God’s laws. He or she is under Divine condemnation.
Our attitude. Under the Law of Moses, the attitude of the worshiper who sinned would be a sense of guilt, as soon as he or she became aware of having committed a sin. He then would make the required sacrifice; or, as I said, he would adopt an attitude of defiance.
Under the new covenant, the worshiper might maintain one of four attitudes: Convicted, Ignorant, Deceived, or Defiant.
He might be convicted of sinning. Sometimes Satan gives us a spirit of condemnation when we have not sinned. We need to go to God carefully to see if we indeed have sinned. If the believer is convicted of having sinned, then he is to go to the Lord as quickly as possible, confess the sin, denounce the behavior as evil, renounce it, declaring he wants nothing more to do with this behavior. He is to take this action as forcefully as he possibly can. God then will forgive the sin and begin the process of purifying the believer from every trace of the sinful behavior.
The confessing, denouncing and renouncing usually do not have to be repeated. If the behavior occurs again, the believer needs to seek the help of other Christians. The point, he is to continue to resist this sin until it is gone. God will help.
The Christian may be ignorant of having sinned. If he is following the Holy Spirit, doing God’s will, the blood of Jesus Christ enables God to suspend judgment on the sin until it is brought to the Christian’s attention. The believer remains absolutely righteous, even though he or she is sinning ignorantly.
The Christian may have been deceived through false teaching. This is by far the majority of cases among Christians in the United States of America. They have been taught, without any basis in the New Testament, that even though they know they are sinning, it does not matter because they are insulated in a state of grace that prevents God from seeing what they are doing. The slightest knowledge of the Epistles should alert the believer that this teaching is wrong.
The believer may be defiant. Just as in the case of the Law of Moses, there is no provision for willful, defiant sin (Hebrews 10:26). That believer is facing terrible judgment when he or she falls into the hand of God. Make no mistake about this!
Sin is a thing, or force, or spirit, or urge, that dwells in our flesh. Sin results in behavior—sinful behavior.
Passive sinful behavior. Passive sinful behavior occurs when we have sin in our mind and heart but do not take action. If we hate someone in our heart, we are a murderer, even though we have not taken action. If we lust after a woman in our heart, we are an adulterer even though we have taken no action.
Passive sinful behavior is regarded as sin by the Lord and must be confessed as such. If we have not forgiven someone, even though we have not taken action, we are guilty of sin. It must be confessed as sin, denounced as wickedness, and renounced vehemently until it is totally gone. God will help with this.
Active sinful behavior. Active sinful behavior occurs when we behave according to the urge to sin that is in us. We commit fornication. We lie. We steal. We use profanity. We hurt someone. We act and speak spitefully. We spend our time doing worldly things, omitting prayer and Bible reading.
All breaking of the commandments given by Christ and His Apostles are sin and must be confessed as such, denounced, and forsaken with all the strength God gives us. God indeed shall strengthen us and give us wisdom if we come earnestly before the Mercy Seat in Heaven.
Intentional Sin. We already have mentioned intentional, defiant sin. When a Christian sins willfully, knowing in advance he is going to sin and does so anyway, there is no provision under the old covenant or the new covenant. He has made himself the enemy of God.
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. (Hebrews 10:26,27)
Let us say a young man takes a girl out in a car at night. He knows that when they both are alone in the car, late at night, he is liable to sin. Yet, in the afternoon, when there is no pressure on him, he doesn’t pray for strength but goes ahead and telephones and makes the date. He plans on asking the Lord’s forgiveness the following day.
He will ask in vain. The Lord will not forgive this sin. It was committed deliberately. It may be that Christ will have mercy on the young man and decide to save him anyway. But you can be sure that he will be brought through hot fires. God is not softhearted, though we American Christians think He is.
Unintentional Sin. My understanding is that unintentional sin, the kind the Lord forgives, is of two kinds. The first kind is the sin of ignorance. Even the strongest Christian might commit a sin during the day and not be aware of it. When the Holy Spirit brings his sinful behavior to his attention, then he can deal with it.
The second kind of unintentional sin occurs when the individual is caught suddenly in some kind of passion. It may be lust. It may be rage. It may be a temptation to steal. The Lord understands that the individual would not sin were it not for some seemingly uncontrollable urge. When the person comes to himself, he is to confess the sin to the Lord, denounce it as wickedness, and resolve never to behave this way again. If this is a repeated behavior, and the believer sincerely wants to be rid of it, he should come to the elders of the church, confess his sin, and have them charge that spirit to leave in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a bondage.
There are times when someone, such as a drunkard, will ask to be delivered from alcoholism. Yet in his mind and heart he is not ready to be delivered. He wants to be delivered, and yet he doesn’t want to be delivered. He will not be delivered when prayer is made. Before he comes to the elders of the church, he should pray that God will give him the desire to be delivered. He needs to wrestle with the Lord until that desire to retain the bondage is removed. This sort of wrestling can be entered into only by a determined individual. An insincere believer will never be able to summon the strength to pray in this manner, to ask the Lord until he has a genuine desire to be delivered.
As soon as he is certain he wants to be delivered and regards the spirit of alcohol as a curse that belongs in the Lake of Fire, he should come before the elders. Now he will be delivered because he has made a firm judgment that drinking alcohol defiles the temple of the Holy Spirit, the human body. His resolution stands firm. The demonic bondages will be broken.
The Thing Called Sin
Once we are persuaded that sin is a force residing in our flesh, that our sinful nature is nothing more than a collection of specific urges or spirits, and that the Bible states we can be released from these, we are on our way to the victorious Christian life.
As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. (Romans 7:17)
A spirit, an urge, a thing, a force. If we think of sin as a discrete object, it is easy to believe Christ can remove it from our body. But if we think of sin in vague terms, believing the Christian is a bottomless pit of corruption, then we do not have faith that we can be delivered.
The Apostle Paul tells us we are not to permit sin to rule in our body.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so you obey its evil desires. (Romans 6:12)
Paul warned that if we permit sin to reign in our body, we will die spiritually. In context Paul is saying we will prevent the making alive of our mortal body in the Day of Resurrection.
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, (Romans 8:13)
You know, such verses always have been in the New Testament. It is a puzzle to me that to this very day Christian scholars keep pointing to forgiveness as being the primary element of our redemption. I do not read of many who stress the true primary element of our redemption, which is the removal of sin from our flesh.
Dwells in us. According to the Apostle Paul, sin dwells in us as an unwanted force. The blood of the cross provides us with undeniable authority to deal with the sin that dwells in our flesh. The Holy Spirit grants the wisdom and power to rid ourselves of these chains. “Live by the Spirit,” Paul says, “and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” It may be difficult for us to believe that the Lord Jesus actually has enough power and will be glad to rid us of all the sinful forces that live in our body. But it is a fact of the Scripture.
Made alive by the Law of Moses or the Holy Spirit. Paul made an interesting comment. He said the Law of Moses caused sin to spring to life in him.
Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. (Romans 7:9)
I suppose Paul meant by “sprang to life” that he became aware he was sinning, just as Adam and Eve became aware they were sinning when they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. However, I don’t like to casually say that the Scripture does not mean exactly what it says. It says “sprang to life,” and that is somewhat different than coming to a state where it is revealed.
Let us think of sin as a force that dwells in our flesh, which it is. We can put this sin to death by praying and asking the Lord’s help. By put it to death I mean we can force the life from it so that we can resist it successfully. The fire has gone out of it.
But before this time it was alive in us. How then does the Law of Moses, or the Holy Spirit, bring sin to life? This does not make sense to me. So we may have to settle for the idea that Paul was speaking dramatically. He meant that the sin was not alive in his mind. He was not aware of it, until the Law of Moses condemned it: in Paul’s case, the sin of covetousness. The Law made covetousness live in the sense of arousing Paul’s concern.
Eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil produced this awakening of sin in the Garden of Eden. The Law of Moses produced this awakening of sin in the mind of the Apostle Paul before He received Christ as his Savior. The Holy Spirit produces this awakening of sin in the mind of the Christian who is seeking the Lord. He might be lying or swearing without realizing such behavior indeed is sin. Then the Holy Spirit points out that he is sinning, and his practice of lying or swearing enters his consciousness.
The Apostle John informed us clearly that we are not to sin:
Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know he appeared so he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. (I John 3:4-6)
We American Christians may not have understood that Divine grace is not a way of serving God in a state of unrighteousness. Temporarily this is true of course, when we first come to the Lord Jesus for salvation. Divine grace at that time is a way of serving God while we still are behaving unrighteously. But if we are following the Spirit of God, He immediately sets about to remove the sin from us and to form Christ in us.
God will never have fellowship with unrighteousness. Righteousness is the very scepter of the rule of the Lord Jesus Christ. From the beginning God always has required righteous behavior on the part of His servants. The same is true today. The same is true for eternity. God will never change what He is.
Unless I am mistaken, the Spirit of God is pressing us to permit Him to reveal our sins to us and to cooperate with Him by confessing and turning away from our sins.
I believe powerful revival will soon overtake America. When this occurs God will need witnesses who behave righteously, who are holy in personality, and who are sternly obedient to God.
Depart, depart, go out from there! Touch no unclean thing! Come out from it and be pure, you who carry the vessels of the LORD. (Isaiah 52:11)
God’s Attitude: Condemnation or Forgiveness
Our Attitude: Convicted; Ignorant; Deceived; Defiant
Passive or Active
Intentional or Unintentional
Ignorant or Moved by Passion
The Thing Called Sin
A Spirit or an Urge or a Thing or a Force
Dwells in Us
Made Alive by the Law of Moses or the Holy Spirit
(“Sin”, 3063-1, proofed 20190303)