He Takes Away the Sin of the World
Do we fully understand the true gospel of Jesus Christ and why it’s such good news? Today we’ll look at the foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ and why we have the blessings and promises that are given to us throughout the Bible. The foundation of the Gospel is of course, Jesus Christ crucified on the cross, but what does that really mean? John the Baptist said it best when he saw our Lord coming and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus didn't come to just forgive our sins but to take them away. Do you believe that Jesus completely took your sin and delivered you from that sin nature? Do you believe that you can go day to day without sinning; how about a week? We are taught by our churches and pastors that we are all sinners and we’ll always be sinners, and that you can’t even go one day without sinning, but is that what the Bible really says? Please read in the entire chapter of Romans 6 for much more about sin, but here are some excerpts of what Paul says about sin; verse 2. “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it, verse 6,7 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin for one who has died has been set free from sin”. Was your “old man” crucified; the person that you used to be before you were saved; have you really put that “old man” on the cross? Has the old you died so that the new you can live, the new creation in Christ? If you have become that new creation, you haven't just been forgiven of your sins, but you've been set free from your sins. Verse 11,12, “so you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies”. Paul says that we are to not let sin reign in our mortal bodies and that we are to consider ourselves "dead to sin" yet most teachers of the Bible will tell us that it’s impossible to do away with sin and that we'll always be sinners. They teach that we can only accomplish a sin free life is when we get to heaven and when we get our glorified bodies. Nowhere is this taught in scripture! Let’s read on in verse 22, “But now being made free from sin and become servants to God”. When you accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ by faith, you were made free from sin, and if the Lord, "who takes away the sin of the world", has made you free from sin, then contrary to what you’ve been taught, you’re no longer a sinner. "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed" (John 8:36).
Let’s take a closer look to see just how the Lamb of God has taken away that sin and how you and I were made free from sin. (Galatians 3:13) Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law having become a curse for us. Jesus "redeemed" (Greek – ransomed or rescued) us by taking our sin upon Himself and at the same time giving us His righteousness.(2 Cor. 5:19,21) “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them (21) For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”. This is what the Bible calls the reconciliation; Jesus made an exchange, our sinfulness for His righteousness. Through our faith in Jesus we now have His righteousness and are reconciled to God without spot or blemish, we've now “become the righteousness of God”. Christ is now our continual sacrifice for sin, "not imputing their trespasses to them" and because of this reconciliation or exchange, God is not imputing our trespasses against us because God sees the spirit of Christ instead of us and our filthy flesh.
(1Peter 3:18) For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God. This is why it’s called the gospel, which in the Greek means “good news”. We can now come before a holy God without our filthiness counted against us. Jesus suffered once for all your unintentional sins now and in the future. That’s not only why we have the promise of eternal life but its why we have all the other promises throughout scripture too; it’s no longer you that lives but Christ living in you. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me” (Galatians 2:20). Because of the faith you have in Christ and what He did on the cross, we now have His spirit living within us and we are accounted as righteous, accounted as holy not at all by our works but by faith in Jesus we're accounted as righteous. “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about but not before God…But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness” (Romans 4:2,5). If it's your works and what you can do in order to be righteous, you'll fall well short of holiness every time. Scripture confirms that even if we keep all of God's laws and stumble just once we are guilty of all. (James 2:10) For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. Yes you can try your hardest to be holy but if it's your works that justify you then you will be a sinner. "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law" (Romans 3:28). Do you have faith in what Jesus did on the cross; Jesus exchanging your sinfulness for His righteousness? If you have that faith that it’s Christ who now lives in you, then and only then can you begin to understand why you're done with sin because Jesus took them away. If the exchange has been made and it’s Christ in you, then is Christ a sinner? No, and that’s why scripture says, “And ye know that he was manifested to take away sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither knoweth him” (1 John 3:5,6). No we as born again Christians are not sinners, so don’t let the devil convince you that you are. Scripture says that whoever sins doesn’t really know God. Even worse, we see that he that sins is of the devil! (1 John 3:7,8) “My little children, let no man lead you astray: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous: he that doeth sin is of the devil”. If you’re a “sinner” then you are not really born of God but of the devil! (1John 5:18) We know that whosoever is begotten of God sinneth not. Yes the Word of God says that you're not born of God if you’re a sinner! Even more alarming is that God will not listen to you if you’re a sinner. (John 9:31) We know that God does not listen to sinners but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will God listens to him. If we are sinners like religion teaches us, then our prayers fall to the ground, never to be heard. The Bible says that Jesus is “holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners” (Hebrews 7:26). Wow, we must be careful to not to be deceived into thinking that we're sinners or Jesus will not come near us! Even though you may not fully understand how Jesus took away our sin and how Jesus delivered us from sin we must believe it because it’s written. Will you believe man and what you’ve been taught or will you believe the Word of God? Once you accept what the Word says and believe that Christ took away your sin, the Lord will help you to fully understand how He did that; maybe even in this study He'll help you with this.
This is the good news; this is the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor 3:18) But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit. Now that Christ has exchanged our sinful nature for His righteousness we must see Jesus in the mirror instead of the old you, God is the one who transforms us into the image of Jesus it you have faith for it. You must see that it’s the Lord who does this in you and not yourself. “For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a mirror” (James 1:23). Who's face do you see in the mirror, your own sinful self or the face of Jesus? If all you see is yourself and your failures you will always struggle with sin. If you don’t believe that Jesus took your sin and Jesus delivered you from that sin nature, then you are seeing yourself in the mirror instead of Jesus and you'll never be delivered from sin because of your unbelief. It’s just like your salvation, do you have the ability to save yourself or does God save you? That’s no different than sin, God does in you. We as fleshly humans don’t have the ability ourselves to be good enough or deliver ourselves from sin but God does, and it’s Him and His power working in us that accomplishes this for us.
This may be hard to grasp when we look at our lives and some of our failures in comparison to what the Bible says about sin. Did you know that there’s a difference between sin in the Old Testament compared to sin after Jesus died on the cross? Let’s first explore sin in the Old Testament; I've heard there were approximately 630 laws in the covenant that God made with His people and they were required to follow them all, and if you didn't you had to offer a sacrifice. (Exodus 29:36) And you shall offer a bull every day as a sin offering for atonement. These sacrifices were not taking sin away; they were covering sin for the forgiveness of the people. “You forgave the iniquity of your people you covered all their sin (Psalm 85:2). The hard part about keeping the Law in the Old Testament is that even if you broke one of the laws unknowingly you were guilty of sin. “If a person sins and commits any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the LORD, though he does not know it, yet he is guilty and shall bear his iniquity. And he shall bring to the priest a ram without blemish from the flock, with your valuation, as a trespass offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him regarding his ignorance in which he erred and did not know it, and it shall be forgiven him. It is a trespass offering; he has certainly trespassed against the LORD” (Leviticus 5:17-19). Instead of being accounted as righteous by the blood of Christ like we have today, they were accounted as guilty before a holy God. So then they needed a priest to shed blood and offer sacrifices to forgive that sin. As soon as that sacrifice was finished they were guilty once again of breaking another of God's laws; it was a vicious circle that man would never be holy before God. Yet it was prophesied that God was going to change things and make a new covenant with His people. “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:31-34). We’ve just read the prophesied new covenant when God would put His law into our minds and into our hearts; a covenant where God would no longer remember our sins. Let’s read more about this new covenant that was to come. (Ezekiel 36:26-29) And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules and I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. Not only does God promise a new spirit that we would receive (that born again spirit of Christ) but God would cause us to walk in His ways! It wouldn’t be us and our efforts it would be God who would deliver us.
That promise of a new heart and a new spirit is now what we receive when we become as the Bible says, “born again”. (John 3:3,5) Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”… Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. This is the fulfillment of the promised spirit that would cause us to walk in God’s laws. Many people today look to themselves and feel that they cannot be perfect and they cannot go without sinning. They are correct in that they themselves can do nothing, but it's Christ in them and God's Holy Spirit that will keep them from sin and perfect them. If you haven't been born again then you do not have the spirit of Christ and you are a sinner and you don't have any hope of deliverance from sin because it's only you trying to be good, which is impossible on your own. You don't have that new heart God promised and therefore God cannot work in you to clean you up. When you became born again, you received that new spirit of Christ in you and it’s Christ’s spirit that speaks to your heart what's right and what's wrong, then it's God's Holy Spirit that cause you to obey the Lord and stop sinning. For more information about the true "Born Again" experience please read the article on this site entitled Born Again and Again and Again.
The Bible says that Jesus “delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son (Colossians 1:13). Do you understand what this really means? After Adam’s fall, power was given over to the devil and man now had that sin nature, that heart of stone that was rebellious and could never obey God's law. It’s still that way for those who have never been born again, even many that call themselves Christians who have never had that born again experience they still have that heart of stone and cannot obey God’s commands. For those who have been born again into the spirit, the sin nature you once had has changed, it all changed when Christ went to the cross; He's now delivered us out of the power that the devil had over us. (Romans 5:19) For as by one man’s disobedience (Adam’s) many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience (Christ’s) many will be made righteous. Although Adam with one mistake of disobedience handed the power of sin over to Satan making us sinners, Christ with one act of obedience, has now delivered us out of the power of the devil making us holy by His spirit that now lives within us. Spiritually you have been delivered out of the sinful world of the devil and into the kingdom of God where there is no sin; (Ephesians 2:5,6) Even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have ye been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus. You have been washed and cleansed, (1 Cor 6:11) you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. By faith in the Son of God and are now spiritually seated with Christ in heavenly places! Now being accounted as righteous in the eyes of God, that new spirit within you now goes to work to perfect you, “being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). It’s God who perfects you, not you and your efforts. “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one” (2 Thessalonians 3:3). It’s not your power or your works but the power of God within you who helps you resist the devil. It's the Lord who causes you to obey Him and no longer sin. “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). You must be able to see that it’s Jesus in you, helping you in your temptations. It’s God’s power that purifies you and makes you holy. “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely…He who calls you is faithful he will surely do it (1 Thes 5:23,24).
So if it’s not you and your abilities that cause you to stop from sinning, then how does the Lord perfect us and keep us from sin; how does God cause us to walk in His ways and to obey His rules? It’s that spirit within us that speaks to our heart or our conscience. We all recognize that voice that tells us right from wrong, that is the Lord’s still small voice you're hearing. We all understand the moral law in the Ten Commandments and if for example we commit murder, adultery or steal, we understand that it is wrong and that it’s sin, but what about the sin that’s not so obvious?
Let’s now take a look at sin in the New Testament and see what is attributed to us as sin and what is not. (James 4:17) Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. Here’s an example of this; we have two Christians walking down the street, one notices a poor person in rags and has compassion, that still small voice of the Lord speaks to his heart that he should give him some money but he quickly reasons that if he gives him money he’ll probably spend it on liquor anyway, so he does not listen to the Lord’s prompting; he knew to do good but did it not; that was sin. The other Christian walking right beside him noticed this poor person but his eyes went right on to something else. He did not feel prompted to give and frankly didn’t even think about it. He didn’t give this poor person money either but God did not attribute sin to him. (Gal 5:16) I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh... (18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The law is your works in order to obey God, the law would be things that you do in order to be righteous before God. Paul is saying if we walk in what we know to be right; if we obey and are led by that still small voice, the spirit then we are not under the law of sin (law = Do this, don't do that in order to be righteous). Another example would be this; you stop at your local bank and they have a cup setting out with about 50 pens that have their logo on them; you think to yourself "they must be giving these to customers" so you take one without even giving it another thought. Was that stealing? No, according to your conscience and what the Spirit spoke to your heart it was not stealing and it was not a sin. The next person arrives at the bank and they see the same pens in the cup; he desires them and know they are not his, when they're not looking he takes one and sneaks it into his pocket. To him it was wrong, to take that pen was disobeying the Lord's spirit which told him right from wrong and that was sin according our New Covenant with the Lord. "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin".
When Jesus came he said, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin” (John 15:22). The Lord now holds us accountable to what we know and what His spirit speaks to our heart. We are to be lead by the Spirit and obey it. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:14). Those who are truly the Lord’s with His spirit WILL OBEY what the Lord puts in their heart. (Romans 2:14,15) For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law … (15) who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them. A true believer will obey right from wrong as the Lord places it in their spirit and according to their conscience. The Lord's Spirit now works in their conscience, in their thoughts either accusing them or excusing them. Sin is no longer accounted to us when our conscience doesn’t convict us and we don’t realize we are sinning. “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them". Please understand this; sin is no longer accounted to us as sin when we don’t realize we are sinning! (Romans 4:15) Where there is no law there is no transgression. If in your understanding and you conscience you're not breaking God’s law or what you understand to be wrong then there is no sin. We are now led by the spirit of the Lord and if you can lay your head on the pillow at night and feel in your heart and conscience that you haven’t sinned your fellow man or against the Lord, then you have not sinned! Paul in Acts 24:16 said, “I also exercise myself to have a conscience void of offence toward God and men always. Do you have a clear conscience according to what you know is commanded of us in scripture? Do you have a clear conscience with your fellow man? If so, you're not walking in sin and you're not a sinner; any unintentional or unknowing sin that's committed is covered under the continual blood covering of Christ’s sacrifice. Yes Jesus is coming before the Father on our behalf even when we don't realize that we sinned, Jesus has already taken the penalty. (Hebrew 9:24,26,28) For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us…He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself…so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. Can you visualize Jesus making intercession on your account, coming before the Father saying, “they didn’t know, it’s covered by My blood”, or “it was not intentional, it’s covered by my sacrifice”. This is something that could never be accomplished in the Old Covenant before Christ became our sacrifice. (Hebrews 10: 11,12,14) And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. (12) But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God… (14) For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. Yes, our Lord and Savior made one sacrifice at the cross and it was finished, the devil lost his power over sinful man by the shed blood of Jesus. That blood is continually covering our sins even when we don't realize that we’re doing anything wrong.
Hopefully you're seeing how the continual sacrifice of Christ takes away our sin and how it’s not counted to you as sin, but are there sins that are not covered by Christ’s blood? (Hebrews 10:26,27) For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, (27) but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries…(31) It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. The Lord gives us His spirit and speaks to our conscience and as long as we listen and obey that still small voice in our spirit, those sins are paid for by Christ. If you disobey what you know to be right, that's a sin that Jesus will not pay for! All sin must be paid for and as long as they're not willful or against your conscience they are covered and paid for by Christ’s blood. If you sin willfully, you're the one who will have to pay for that sin not Jesus. It's a very dangerous thing to willfully sin, and It was no different in the Old Testament when willful or Intentional sin was not covered either. (Numbers 15:29-31)You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally… (30) But the person who does anything with a high hand (intentionally), whether he is native or a sojourner, reviles the LORD, and that person shall be cut off from among his people. (31) Because he has despised the word of the LORD and has broken his commandment, that person shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be on him". In the Old Covenant God essentially disowned or cut off anyone who intentionally and willfully sinned. So we must come to understand that God sees the differences between willful sin and accidental sin. Since we serve a God who does not change, (Hebrews 13:8) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Then we have to understand that in the New Covenant we're also in trouble spiritually if we willfully sin, intentionally sin when we know better.
The closer we look at sin, the more we understand the two types of sin; the unwitting and unintentional sin which is washed by the blood of Christ; this is the sin where we realize it only after we've done it and we repent as soon as that mistake is brought to our attention by the Lord. This sin is covered by the blood of Jesus and is not attributed as sin to us. The other type of sin which is not covered under the blood of Christ is that willful disobedience. It’s sin that’s accounted to you and put on your account that you’ll have to pay for. It's this sin that God will give you a spanking for and which Jesus is not taking the penalty for. You will have to suffer for that sin just like King David did with his willful sin. (2 Samuel 12:9) Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. (10) Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ (11) Thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. (12) For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’” (13) So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. (14) However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.” Yes David did repent from the heart and he was forgiven, but the Lord made him pay for that willful sin. That is no different from us, if we have willful sin then we will have to suffer the consequences. You may have even heard Christians give excuses for their willful sin by saying that they're covered under the grace and that they're forgiven; nothing could be further from the truth.
I believe the greatest and most common of willful and intentional sins is un-forgiveness. No other sin will condemn you to hell faster than this sin. In Matthew 6 we have the Lord’s prayer and directly preceding that prayer you have verses 14,15, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses". When it’s your turn to die and you stand before your Father in Heaven, how many sins can you have on your account? The answer is none, and clearly scripture says that we must forgive or we will not be forgiven. Unforgiveness is willful disobedience to what the Lord places on our hearts. We know that we should forgive; we know that it’s not right to hold that bitterness and anger, yet we harden our hearts and choose not to forgive; that’s a sin which unless you repent of, and forgive from your heart, will cause you to be turned over to Satan and his demons (Matthew 18:32-35) and if never repented of will send you to eternal damnation.
Let’s look at other examples to see if we can better understand sin and what’s covered under the blood of Christ and what’s not.
Scenario one - Two people tell an untruth, the first hears it from an honest friend and believes it to be true and tells others. The second person knows that it’s a lie but tells others anyway. Technically they both lied, but the first was covered under the blood and not attributed as sin because he didn't know it was a lie, the second person knew it was a lie and that was willful sin and is not covered under the blood of Jesus, that is a sin that he will have to pay for and is not automatically forgiven.
Scenario two – Christian #1 smokes cigarettes and has for the past ten years, little by little the Lord is cleaning up his life speaking to him about sin in his life and as the Lord places things on his conscience, he repents and is obedient to the Lord’s voice. Up to this point, the Lord has not dealt with him about his smoking and he does not consider it to be a sin. Though some people consider smoking to be sin, this is covered under the blood and not attributed as sin. (Romans 14:1,4) Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. (4) Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. Yes, the Lord will cover this person and is able to make this man stand, and when the Lord is ready to convict his heart about smoking He will, but until that time he's covered.
A different person, we'll call him Christian #2 has been smoking for a while now but really doesn’t need them and feels he can quit at any time. His biggest enjoyment is a good smoke after meals, and when he’s out with friends. Recently at church they’ve been preaching on our bodies being the temple of God and this scripture rings clear in his mind. (1 Corinthians 3:16,17) Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (17) If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. Suddenly his conscience is convicted that smoking is defiling God’s temple and that he shouldn’t be doing it anymore. Soon it’s dinner time and after a good steak that craving comes for a cigarette. All of a sudden his conscience is flooded with guilt and he remembers the scripture from church and he knows that he shouldn’t have that cigarette that he now craves. He now understands that smoking is deadly and is defiling God’s temple. Quickly he discards that voice and scripture and justifies it by saying to himself, “well it really doesn’t say anything about smoking cigarettes in the Bible” and “I’m really not hurting anybody else” and “what’s wrong with a little harmless enjoyment in life”? He then lights up his cigarette. This was sin and it was not covered under the blood; he willfully sinned and went against that still small voice of the Lord. This is a sin not covered under grace.
Christian # 3 also smokes and is up to almost two packs a day. Suddenly by reading the word of God, the Lord convicts him that smoking is sin and needs to quit. Soon the desire to smoke comes but he resists the urge, it soon comes stronger and stronger, he’s doing all he can to resist the temptation when finally after a day and a half his flesh breaks down and he lights up a cigarette. That addiction is fed and physically he feels better as his flesh received what it was craving. Mentally he’s a wreck as he knows he just sinned and feels so guilty, so sorry for letting the Lord down. He continues to repent and ask the Lord for forgiveness. He asks the Lord to take this craving for nicotine away and promises that he’ll try and do better next time. Did Christian #3 sin? Yes he did but it was not counted as sin, it was under the blood of Christ, he was sinning against his will and what he wanted to do, therefore it was not counted against him as sin. Let’s read what Paul says on this matter. (Romans 7:14-25) For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. Sold under sin because he is flesh and the seed of Adam. (15) For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. Paul is wrestling with the same things you and I wrestle with; that our flesh acts contrary to what our will wants to do. Sometimes our flesh just acts without us thinking and against what we hate to do. (16) If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. (17) But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. That’s why it’s not counted against us when we sin contrary to what our mind wants to do. Our spiritual man wants to do the right thing while our carnal fleshly man does another; it's a continual war for those who are obeying the spirit of the Lord. (19) For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. This is the constant battle we face as Christians, our will to do good verses our flesh that acts out against our will. This is your “old man” the old you that rises up that you're putting to death day by day to bring forth the spirit of Jesus. (20) Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. Again, if we are wrongly doing and acting against what our will to do good is, then it’s no longer you doing it but the sin that dwells in your flesh, your “old man”. (21) I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. (22) For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. That's the spirit of Jesus who's showing you right from wrong as you walk with Him. (23) But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (24) O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (25) I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! Paul asks, “who will deliver me from this body of death” and realizes that it’s only through Jesus Christ that we can be delivered, only through His spirit can we be perfected and walk more and more in the steps of Christ. “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord”! This is where Christian # 3 is; he’s fighting against his flesh, he doesn’t want to smoke and when he lit that cigarette up, it wasn’t with his will. His flesh failed and because it was not willful disobedience, it's not counted as sin on his account; it was covered under the blood of Jesus. Yet, this is not an excuse to keep smoking, the next time that desire raises it’s ugly head, he must fight it by leaning on the Lord to take it away and then rebuking the devil and his urges to smoke, "Resist the devil and he will flee from you". Anything less you are not resisting the devil and you're willfully smoking because you enjoy it.
Scenario Three – Christian #1 is walking in the mall when he notices a pretty young lady and out of nowhere comes a mental picture of her naked. He quickly casts that fiery dart from Satan down and clears his mind and thinks about something else. Did this man sin? No, he didn’t as he did nothing willful and when the temptation came he cast it away, temptation is not sin. (Hebrews 4:15) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Scripture says that Jesus was tempted in every respect as we have been, yet without sin. That would mean the devil shot his fiery darts and Jesus and even He would have had to resist temptations like Christian #1 and that is not sin. (James 1:12-15) Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (13) Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God” for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. (14) But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. (15) Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. As the old saying goes, you cannot prevent a bird from flying over your head but you can prevent him from building a nest in your hair. In other words, fiery arrows of temptations will come but you don't have to entertain those thoughts or it conceives sin. Notice that in verses 14 and 15 that it's only sin when after being tempted, your desires invite that temptation in and it conceives and gives birth to sin.
Now Christian #2 has the same lustful dart strike his mind when instead of casting it away he entertains the lustful thought and fantasizes about the Lady, even though he knows better he continues to think on that image because it's pleasant to his flesh, that is willful sin and is not covered by the blood of Jesus.
Scenario four – Christian #1 is a new Christian and has been reading her Bible and sees that pork is considered an unclean meat and was strictly forbidden by the Lord according to the Old Testament law. For the last six months she’s refrained from eating any pork because according to her conscience, feels that to do so, she would be going against God’s law and sinning. According to the law of the spirit where we are now obeying the spirit according to our conscience, if she does eat pork it’s sin to her because she has disobeyed the spirit telling her that it's wrong. "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin". It's God testing her to see if she'll obey the Spirit. Christian #2 fully understands the liberty we have in Christ and understands that we are not under the Old Covenant law and Christ made all meats clean. (Mark 7:18,19) Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?" (Thus He declared all foods clean.) She can eat what used to be called an unclean meat and according to her conscience it's not sin. (1 Tim 4:4) Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. (4) For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; (5) for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. One Christian eats with guilt, the other with a clear conscience; to one it's accounted as sin and to the other it's not.
Scenario five – The same Christian, who understands that it's acceptable to eat pork, invites Christian #1 (the cautious meat eater) over for dinner. Christian #2 wants to be polite so she fixes both beef and pork ribs. Christian #2 is more mature in the Lord and is respected by the non-pork eating Christian and sees the liberty she has in the Lord so somewhat reluctantly she tries a pork rib. She thinks to herself "if her good Christian friend is eating it, maybe it's OK". So even though her conscience is burning she eats some. Did you know that according to the Bible both Christians in this example have sinned? (1 Cor 8:7) However, there is not in everyone that has knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. (8) But food does not commend us to God for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. (9) But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. (10) For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? (11) And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? (12) But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. (13) Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. Yes, we have liberty in Christ, but if your freedom in Christ causes others to do things against their conscience, then you're causing them to sin, and that sin is upon you also.
Scenario six - We have two Christians who get upset, the first gets angry with his brother and without a thought curses at him and returns evil for evil. It just came out of his mouth, without even thinking. Later his conscience spoke to him that he was wrong and that he needs to apologize to his brother. He does and then asks the Lord for forgiveness. The second Christian just got done reading scripture in Romans that morning, when suddenly another person really upsets him. Suddenly his anger rises up within him and he's ready to let him have it, when suddenly the spirit of the Lord speaks to his heart what he had just read in Romans 12 that very morning, “Bless them that persecute you; bless, and curse not” (verse 14). Then he remembers verse 17 which said, “Render to no man evil for evil”. The Lord also reminds him that we are to turn the other cheek. As he hears what the Lord speaks to his heart, he quickly dismisses it and reasons to himself what an injustice has been done to him, how dare that person do this to him and that the other person must pay, so Christian #2 repays evil for evil and gets even with his fellow brother. He didn't do what the Lord spoke to his heart but he did correct the injustice done and put the other person in their place. Christian #2 ignored both the word of God and his conscience, that still small voice he had heard. Although the Lord directed Him in what to do, he willfully sinned, he disobeyed the word and went after his fleshly lust for revenge. That is a sin that is not covered under the blood of Christ. Scripture says that he will have to pay for that sin, not Jesus. Although Christian #1 also sinned against his brother, he repented when the Lord brought it to his attention. It was neither intentional nor pre-planned and was covered under the blood of Jesus and not attributed to him as sin. “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (2) And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:1,2). Yes, Jesus Christ is the atonement for our sins and they’re covered when we mess up. In fact, that’s how the Lord teaches us and causes us to walk in His ways, by having us make mistakes so that He can burn that repentance into our hearts so we don’t make those mistakes again. But it’s hard and the Lord takes us through a refining process of making mistakes and learning from them, making mistakes and learning from them...it’s that purification process, that sanctification that makes you holy. These sins are not purposeful and they are all covered under the blood while God is teaching you to walk in the steps of Jesus.
Be encouraged as Scripture promises that after some suffering, Christ will perfect us. (1Peter 5:10) Christ, after that ye have suffered a little while, shall himself perfect, establish, strengthen you. The more we read the word of God, the more knowledge we receive and understand. The Lord renews our mind and causes us to walk in His ways when we read His Word. (1 John 1:17) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. We walk in the light by doing what we know to be right according to what we see in the Word and then produce what the Bible calls fruit; by reading the word of God and having that Word cleans our hearts and renew our mind. This is because Jesus is the Word and by reading the Word we are walking with Jesus and walking in the light. The spirit begins to speak louder and louder as the Word renews our thoughts. We're seeing the fulfillment the Ezekiel 36 promise of a New Covenant and new heart before our very eyes. "I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules and I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses". Yes, God puts His spirit in us and causes us to obey Him! While He accomplishes this task we are sin free because Jesus is covering our unintentional sins and sins of ignorance. Without the blood covering that set you free from your sins you could die tomorrow with just one sin on your account that wasn't covered and you'd go to hell. God had a better plan for us didn't He?
As we conclude our study on sin, we need to review and understand that as a born again believer you’ve died to sin and that you have been set free from that old sin nature. That sin nature is gone because of that new spirit that now works within you. It’s now our conscience, the law of the spirit and we must listen to it. As Christ’s spirit lives in your heart and directs it and causes you to walk in His ways we must obey it. Those who are really born again with His spirit will prove that they are His. By obeying His voice they will prove they are truly born of God. Those who claim to be Christians but do not obey the spirit and say we cannot go without sinning are not really born of God nor are they really saved. (1 John 3:7.8) My little children, let no man lead you astray: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous: (8) he that doeth sin is of the devil. For those who really do have that born again spirit, it’s God who perfects you and makes you holy. It's not your works, because your flesh continually wants to sin, it’s the Lords power that keeps you from that sin and saves you, (Romans 1:16) for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. Do you believe; do you really believe that Jesus took away your sin? Do you believe that you “died to sin” and that you were “set free from sin” and “delivered out of the power of darkness”? If you don’t believe that Jesus has done this, then you really have more faith in the devil and his power than God and His power to deliver you. We must believe that you can “go and sin no more” because it’s God’s power that saves us and not our own. It’s because of the new spirit within us that we have God’s power working to perfect us. (Romans 8:1,2) There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. There is no condemnation because any and all unintentional sin is covered under the blood of Christ and not counted against us as sin. The Lord continually uses our unintentional mistakes to teach us His ways and to learn to walk in His steps.
So as we go forth in our walk with the Lord, just remember that we must renew our mind with the Word of God and then listen to that still small voice as it speaks to our heart. I pray this has been a blessing to you.
Mark, a servant in the Lord. www.heavenshelpers.org
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