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« How Comfortable Are You With Theological Tensions? | Main | Dachau »

July 10, 2009


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I believe that is where you are wrong. Jesus's blood does not just "cover" our sins. That was under the old covenant. The new testament tells us that the blood of Jesus completely eliminated, removed and destroyed our sins. I know how easy it is to look at ourselves and conclude that we are sinners because we fall short. However we are suppose to walk by faith now. This means that we put more confidence in what the Word of God says than we put in our own experience or in our feelings. The Word tells us that our sins have been removed as far as the east is from the west. As we get a greater revelation of the truth that we have been "made" righteous, we will be able to live a more holy life. We need to remember that we are not our bodies but are actual spiritual beings that live in our bodies and that spiritual being has been born of God.

Thanks for your post. Something you said stands out:

"...we put more confidence in what the Word of God says than we put in our own experience or in our feelings."

This is an important principle and practice. And what exactly does God's word say about the topic at hand? Well, I believe it says a lot.

2Cor. 5:21 asserts: "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

And yet Jas 5:16 instructs: "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." What's interesting about this verse in Greek is that a once-for-all action is not in view here. This is a practice which believers should continue to practice.

The scriptures present a both-and understanding of sin. On the one hand, our sin was fully conquered at the cross by our victor, Jesus Christ. Yet, as the Apostle Paul elucidates, sin mysteriously is still at work in us:

"Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me." (Rom.7:20)

At some level in all this, the theological principle of the "already-and-not-yet" is at work (Jim Reeve used to teach on this quite a bit). This already-and-not-yet phenomenon adds to our enigmatic nature as both sinner and saint. Which are we? We are both. And this is why followers of Christ have prayed "The Jesus Prayer" down through the ages. It's not because they were primitive, unenlightened believers. Quite to the contrary -- they level of theological reflection was generally far beyond that of we modern evangelicals.



I think this simple prayer is beautiful and appropriate for us to pray. I do, and often, for I am a sinner. Paul certainly was on to something when he said this. ("Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.") I have never known a person who lived in a sinless state and don't expect that I will this side of heaven.

I am not disputing the fact that Christians sin and that Jesus was the only person who ever lived a sinless life. However, to understand the finished work of redemption we need to realize that we are a spiritual being, we live in a body and we possess a soul consisting of our mind, our will and our emotions. Hebrews 4:12 tells us there is a division between our spirit, our soul and our body. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that at the new birth we became a new creation and that our old spiritual condition passed away. In I Corinthians 6:17 Paul tells us that we now form a single spirit with the Lord. It is very clear throughout the new testament that at the new birth our spirit man was reborn in the image of God -- sinless. We do, however, still have sinful flesh that we are commanded to mortify and we have a sinful mind that we are commanded to renew. Our spirit man (the essence of who we are), however, is sinless, is created in the image of God and is one with God. God would not command us to "sin not" if it was in our nature to sin. Coming to the realization and revelation that we have been given a new nature gives us tremendous power over sin in our lives.

I'm tracking with you, Dave. Yet how then do you harmonize these truths with scriptures such as James 5:16 and the faithful practice of Christians who for 1500 yrs., have prayed with understanding: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." Are you suggesting that they were clueless about their new creation in Christ, or that they somehow insulted God every time they prayed this prayer? Just curious.



Thank you for your post. It definitely got me thinking: if Paul honestly struggled with the ongoing sin in his life, then who are we not to? Any thoughts?




I agree. I'm not sure I can live a holier life than Paul.

From I & II John: "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for[a] the sins of the whole world."

Also from James, "Confess you sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed."

Our faith journey compels us to struggle against sin and when we do sin, confess it, know that God through Christ has forgiven us and move on. And when all is said and done, to humble ourselves before God, asking for His mercy can never be wrong.

Peace to All

James 5:16 doesn't refute my point that born again Christians no longer have a sin nature. Are you suggesting that you can not sin unless you have a sin nature? Well we know that is not true because Adam sinned before he got his sin nature.

As you have said, sin was fully conquered at the cross by Jesus Christ yet sin mysteriously is still at work in us. This doesn't even hint that we have sin in our spirit man. The residue of sin is at work in our bodies and our minds only. We are instructed by Paul to transform our minds by becoming a clear outward representation of what we already are on the inside.

You started out this post by stating that it was a paradox. A paradox is defined as a "seemingly" contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true. Satan has deceived the church into believing that they can not have victory over sin. You have to admit that it is much easier to sin when you believe that it is in your nature to do so. God is pleased when we rightly divide the Word of God and embrace what He said about us even in the face of "seemingly" contrary evidence. As we meditate in the truth that we have been recreated in the image of God, we become transformed more into that image on the outside and end up living more holy lives.

We are all Sinners and God atoned for what we are. No question there.

Jas 5:16 talks about confessing our sins so that we may be healed." I do not find much paradox here. I believe the confession is for accountability and for the body to practice grace... radical grace.

How many people have been encouraged by someone confessing their sins and then realizing they are not alone? Men, what is an accountability group? Mutual confession, direction, and exhortation to living a complete life.

Much principles here... all good and valid. It all comes to one thing.. .God is good, All the time. And all the time, he is Good.

Thanks for weighing in. I agree that accountability is in view with Jas 5:16, but so are the adverse effects of unconfessed sin. I see paradox here in that sin -- already forgiven and atoned for -- still has the ability to mess with us. Even though that is the case, as you've pointed out, God is good all the time!



I believe that Dr. Bill Gillham stated it best


I think there is a difference between 'Sin' and 'sins'.

I believe everything is paid for at the Cross. I also believe that Romans 7 should be brought into play 'it is no longer I that sin but the sin nature inside of me that sins..'

interesting question. Lutherans I've heard say we are simultaneously Saints & Sinners.

I like that.



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