Why is it that Christians struggle continually with sin in their lives? Why is it that believers – both ones who are new to the Christian faith as well as some who have been walking with the Lord for a long time – seem to be constantly and willingly living in sin? Yet they are believers in the Book.
The Bible states that:
“No one who abides in Him (habitually) sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.”
How come the younger generation who declare themselves to be born again find nothing unsettling about living together before marriage? And those who are married – immediately declare they want a divorce when things are not working out to their liking? Yet would declare themselves believers in the book.
Whatever happened to the concept of “holiness … without which it is impossible to see God”. And, righteousness? And, “becoming a new creature in Christ”when asking Jesus to be your Lord and Saviour? “Behold old things are passed away and all things have become new”.
It can be frieghtening to think about what the Bible really says:
1 John 2:29 “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness if born of Him.”
So, if you are not “practicing righteousness” as defined by God’s Word you should be questioning whether you really have a personal relationship with Him who is righteous. We receive “the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus” when born again – but God expects us to live it out in practical, daily life.
1 John 3:6 quoted above: “No one who abides in Him (habitually) sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.”
1 John 3:9 “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
Do we really believe this stuff? Are we really believers in the Book? If we are, this verse should frighten those who are deliberately living in sin – shacked up with someone they are not married to, committing adultery on their wife (as they await a divorce settlement and are thus still married), excessive drinking (or as God would call it – drunkenness), or whatever the issue is.
1 John 5:18 “We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.”
So, in other words, we can’t even blame the devil for our problems with sin. It is really the flesh running wild and a will (soul) not yielded to the Holy Spirit or submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Believers in the Book? True Christians (wheat) or tares? Dare we even ask that question?
I have been reading recently (and again) on the Church in China. No, not because of the olympics which I totally ignored other than a major write-up in one issue of Maclean’s Magazine (like Time Magazine but Canadian). In one of the books I am reading the author wrote:
“Without a deep experience of repentance in our lives, we will continually struggle with basic sin and never mature as believers.” [Page 19 Living Waters by Brother Yun and edited by Paul Hattaway]
Is this what is missing in the western Church today? I think so. Maybe even more basic to that is a clear understanding of what constitutes a sin. And, maybe more foundational to that would be an understanding of the character and nature of God (holiness) and His view on sin.
Can a person be born again without an understanding of these concepts and the true nature of God and sin?
Maybe what we have are people who are false converts and are really not believers in the Book but, instead, have created a god in their own image who smiles on sin and forgives everything and everyone without any need for repentance and responding by making permanent changes in your life.
Are we allowed to even say that today?
Well, the Book, for those who still believe in it, states:
Revelation 3:19 “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.”
Matthew 4:17 (Jesus speaking) “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
Maybe it is time for the Church to start preaching a serious message on sin, repentance, and the holiness of God – and not on “God has a wonderful plan for your life”. Maybe we need to focus on these heart issues and take the focus off healing, prosperity, ministry, anointings, miracles, signs and wonders … Afterall, the biggest miracle, sign and wonder is when a life is totally transformed by the power of the Gospel.
And there seems to be a lack of this transforming miracle in the Church today.