Sunday, March 3, 2013

Obedience versus Transgression

The Bible says this...

1John Chapter 5
16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.
18 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.
19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

The above verse clearly teaches...
1. There are "sins unto death" and "sins not unto death."
2. Those born of God do not sin.
3. If a brother sins "not unto death" pray for it, if he sins "unto death" do not pray for it.

Now let's compare scripture to scripture.

1John Chapter 3
6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

The above clearly teaches that...
1. Those who abide in Christ don't sin.
2. Those who do the right thing are righteous.
3. Those who sin are of the devil.
4. Those who are born of God do not "poieō" (commit G4160) sin. ie. produce, shoot out, bring forth, perform, purpose.
5. That manifest conduct reveals if one is a child of God or a child of the devil.

1John Chapter 1-2
5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

The above clearly teaches that...
1. God is light with no darkness.
2. We have to walk (our actions or deeds) in the light in order to be cleansed of all sin.
3. In order to walk in the light one cannot hide their sin but must confess it (Pro 28:13).
4. Christian's have an advocate IF they sin.
5. Keeping the commandments of Jesus is a clear sign as to whether one knows Christ or is a liar.

Now all the scriptural passages above are written by the same author therefore all the passages are in context with each other. If John writes that those born of God "do not sin" (1Joh 5:18) it must be in the context of "sin unto death" (1Joh 5:16) and "not obeying the commandments of Christ" (1Joh 2:4) and "not doing righteousness" (1Joh 3:6-7) while the "sin not unto death" (1Joh 5:17) is in the context of "if we sin" (1Joh 2:1). Notice that the word "if" is used in 1Joh 2:1 as well as in 1Joh 5:16. The word "ean" (G1437) is translated IF and it denotes uncertainty while "poteh" (G4219) denotes certainty and is translated as WHEN.

With this in mind let's see what else the Bible teaches...

Romans Chapter 6
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

The above clearly teaches that...
1. An individual reveals whose servant they belong to by who they obey.
2. One master is "sin unto death" while the other is "obedience unto righteousness."
3. Christian's have been delivered (set free) from the one master (sin) and enslaved to the other (righteousness) via "obedience from the heart."

Romans 6:16-18 harmonises perfectly with what John writes in his first epistle. Namely that Christian's obey the commandments of Jesus Christ (and do the right thing) and keep themselves from sin.

Notice the following phrases...
1Joh 5:18 -  "keepeth himself"
Rom 6:17 -  "obeyed from the heart,"
1Joh 2:3   -  "we keep his commandments.
1Joh 1:7   -  "walk in the light"

Now let's turn to the Old Testament for there is a distinction made in regards to two types of sin.

Number 15
28 And the priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, when he sinneth by ignorance before the LORD, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him.
29 Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them.
30 But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
31 Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.

The above passage clearly denotes a distinction between presumptuous sin and non-presumptuous sin. Clearly presumptuous sin is disobedience whilst non-presumptuous sin is not.

Now let's take a look at how sin is defined in the New Testament...

James Chapter 4
17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

1John Chapter 3
4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Romans Chapter 14
22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

In the above passages it is very clear that sin is the willful violation of what one knows to be right. In other words it is an action of violation (transgression) done with knowlege.

Therefore when John is writing of "sin unto death" (1Joh 5:16) it is in the same context as Paul's "sin unto death" (Rom 6:16) which is simply willful disobedience.

It is no surprise then that the Bible says this...

Hebrews Chapter 10
26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

To sin willfully is to sin unto death and there is no sacrifice for this kind of sin. Why is there no sacrifice for this kind of sin?

It is because the cleansing of the blood is conditional on walking in the light.

1 John Chapter 1
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Also take note that in Heb 10:29 it states that willful sin after being sanctified is sinning against the Spirit of Grace. This is important because Paul taught this...

Romans Chapter 5 and 6
20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Grace abounds when sin abounds but grace does not abound in order that one can keep on sinning. Grace is not to be a license to sin (Jud 4). This is why Paul clearly states when we die to sin we are not to continue in it, if we continue in it it reveals who our true master is for we are slaves to whom we obey.

A Christian is buried in baptism into the death of Christ (through repentance) where the old man is crucified that the body of sin be destroyed. It is this death of the old man (which permits obedience to the truth) that frees an individual from the slavery of sin (while it is the blood of Christ that sets us free from the dominion of sin). If an individual is still serving sin then they have not been set free indeed according to the Master Himself.

John Chapter 8
34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

So in summary while the literal definition of the root word for sin is "missing the mark" (G264 Harmartano) the Scripture clearly delineates between presumptuous sin and non-presumptuous sin.

A Christian who has truly repented and forsaken their former life of rebellion to God has ceased from presumptuous sin (1Pet 4:1-2) for they have crucified the flesh with the passions and desires (Gal 5:24) and thus do not yield to those passions and sin unto death (Jam 1:14-15) but instead keep themselves (1Joh 5:18) and thus manifest the fruit of righteousness in their lives (1Joh 3:9-10).

While a new Christian has been purified within (1Pet 1:22-32, Heb 9:14, Heb 10:22, 1Joh 1:7-9) they are yet a babe in Christ (1Pet 2:2)  and thus are susceptible to err and "sin not unto death" (1Joh 5:16-17) and thus needs to be perfected (Eph 4:12) until they come into the unity of the faith and a full measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:13).

This is why Peter teaches that we are to "diligently add to our faith" (2Pet 1:5) and thus make our "calling and election sure" (2Pet 1:10) and thus ensure abundantly our entrance into the kingdom (2Pet 1:11). Which is why it is those who "patiently continue in doing good, seeking for glory, honour and immortality" who are rewarded eternal life (Rom 2:7) while the disobedient are not (Rom 2:8).

Always remember that Jesus came to redeem us from ALL iniquity and to PURIFY a peculiar people who would be zealous of good works. Beware of anyone who would teach otherwise.

Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

God bless.

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