Below is another question that was sent in by a reader. He wants to know how to stop sinning.
Don’t we all!
Below his question I have included the answer I sent to him, but I am sure he would like for you to weigh in as well. As always, be gracious in your replies.
I need your advice. I was saved in 2005 and really pursued God and got close to Him. I have a reputation in my town and with my family as a big Christian. God used my to witness and that made people form the opinion of me. I have been living for him off and on. Finally the other night I drank some alcohol and slept with a girl. Now sometimes I feel awful. I feel like the biggest hypocrite alive. And I’m afraid if people found out it would discredit God. I used to live a life of integrity and had boldness. Now I am often reminded of what I have done and feel less than bold.
Thank you for any advice.
P.S. I know that you are very big on believing God always finishes His work in us. So my question is what do I do when I sin? I know it can’t be OK and fine to live in sin and claim to be a Christian. How do I get my confidence before God back by not sinning for a long time? That doesn’t seem right. And lastly if I try and witness I am reminded of my own sin so I lose confidence.
This is a very difficult question, as I know almost nothing about your situation, your beliefs, or your background.
But let me suggest this: It sounds to me like you are trapped in religion. It may be the Christian religion, but it is still religion.
One prominent sign of religion is the desire to live a certain way to give an impression to others that we are godly and spiritual.
We hide from others who we really are, and we never let them see our mistakes, our failures, or our weaknesses.
There are other indicators of religion as well, such as the desire to keep God happy with us through our obedience and the pressure to live by a set of rules and standards that keep us in good standing with others in our religious group.
I could go on and on about religion, but that is not going to helpful for you right now. You want to learn how to stop sinning.
Here are my recommendations:
Learning to live the victorious Christian life is based on three things:
1. Honesty with God about who you are
Most sin comes from a failure to be honest with ourselves and with God about our own weaknesses and mistakes. We often try to put on a good show for God and others, hiding from them the real struggles that we face.
But if we are not honest with God about our struggles, then we will never be able to receive help from Him.
Though it may sound trite, confessing your sin to God is the beginning point of gaining freedom from that sin (and the guilt that comes with it). See 1 John 1:9-10.
Then every time you struggle with sin, with temptation, or even find yourself in the midst of sin, be honest with God about it.
There have been times when I have been in the midst of some sin, and I look at what I am doing and in the midst of that sin, pray, saying, “God … what am I doing?” Almost always, it seems to me that God says back, “Yeah … I was wondering the same thing.”
And then we are able to have a conversation about that sin, why I fell into the trap, and what I got out of it. Usually, such open and honest conversations with God help me resist the temptation when it comes at a later time.
Remember, God is not shocked, surprised, or ashamed of your sin. He walks with us through our sin because He wants to help rescue us from our sin.
As we are open and honest with God about our sin — even in the midst of the sin — we begin to understand that God is not scared off by our sin, nor is He shocked, surprised, or ashamed when we sin. God wants us to invite Him into our sin, not so that He can participate with us, but so that He can rescue us from it.
Living this way will help with my second recommendation.
2. Knowledge that God loves and forgives you NO MATTER WHAT
As we are honest with God about our sin, we will come to see that God loves us and forgives us no matter what.
Religion often teaches us that God’s forgiveness has a limit. But if Jesus tells us to forgive those who sin against us 490 times (which means … don’t even count, just always forgive), don’t you think that God Himself does the same thing toward us?
Infinite grace, love, and forgiveness is not a license to sin as many Christians assume, but is the starting place of learning to live without sin. Sin loses all its power when we realize that sin will not cause God to love us any less.
Learning to live in God’s love is essential to learning to beat sin and temptation.
While we cannot become sinless, by focusing on the love of God, we can learn to sin less.
3. Believe that as you are honest with God and rest in His love, He will conform you to Jesus Christ
When we are honest with God and learn to rest in God’s love, these two things allow God to begin to work in us in ways that we were trying to do in our own strength previously. When we are focused on a list of do’s and don’ts, and behaviors and actions that we must practice for God to love us and forgive us, we are trying to live life on our own strength. If we are successful, we become self-righteous and proud. If we fail, we become depressed and desperate.
But when we are honest with God, and know that He is with us, loves us, and forgives us, it is from this place of resting in God’s love that He begins to perform His work within us. It takes time, to be sure, but God’s will can only be done in God’s time.
So those are my three recommendations.
Notice that I am not telling you to broadcast to your town and your family about what you have done. Some Christians would tell you do this, but I won’t. It might be important for you to make a public confession, but it might not. That is something between you and God. I think that as you incorporate the three recommendations above, God will make it clear to you how He wants you to proceed regarding your sin.
Let me say one thing though about your lack of boldness and confidence. I might be wrong, but it appears that your boldness came from your ability to be a good Christian. Now that you have failed, you no longer have the self-righteous pride you did before, and so lack the boldness. This is actually a very good thing. In that sense, praise God for the good work He is already accomplishing in your life as a result of your failure. We must not ever be confident in ourselves, but confident in God and His grace. How do you gain this confidence in Him? Through the three recommendations above.
Oh, and one last thing. As I was searching for images for this post, I found the two images below:
I laughed a bit because of the internet memes these images come from, but the images gets it right. One does not simply stop sinning. And we can wish to stop sinning and try to stop sinning all we want, but sin will be a constant reality this side of glory, and the sooner we learn that fact, the better. Again, this is not a license to sin, but an invitation to invite God into our sin, and let Him deal with it as only He can.
I hope this helps a little bit. Hopefully some of the comments below will be helpful as well.
i Love Jeremy’s advice. Lots of wisdom. The only thing I would add is from my own experience with overcoming repetitive sins. Inviting God into your sin is BRILLIANT! Good call Jermemy. I actually did this by memorizing a worship song I liked from church. Then when that “what am I doing” moment came I would just start worshiping right there, out loud. It’s amazing how quickly the spriit of our Lord comes to our consciousness when we worship out loud.
Jeremy Myers says
Dan, I think I learned that from Max Lucado. I cannot recall. Bottom line, God doesn’t want to abandon us to our sin, but help us in it and through it.
Good advice from Jeremy. One thing that he says that I’d like to emphasize is the all too common Christian belief that we are to try to keep sinning with our own strength and power rather than to rest in Jesus and allow His victory over sin to become ours. Because this concept seems so ‘vague’ in Christian circles today the default belief is that there will be no progress over sin this side of Resurrection. However, I’ve found in my own life that I am less likely to sin if I do the following:
1. Seek true humility in the sight of Jesus–Humility is the recogintion that there is no good thing in my flesh and that there is only One who is good who dwells within me. The flesh is very tricky and will do some amaizing things so long as you let it stay in charge. Jesus alone can keep it in its proper place, but only if you let Him.
2. Be conscious of my dependence on Him. The more often the better. To say (sometimes even out loud), “I can’t overcome this Jesus, only YOU can.”
3. Pursue an intimate relationship with Jesus as your lifelong goal. I’m 41 years old and have been a Believer since I was 13, but it wasn’t until the last year or so that I understood that Jesus doesn’t want to be treated like a slot-machine (where I do ‘religious things’, pull the handle, and then get God’s favor or blessing). He wants to be treated like the ever-present Father-King that He is. That means He wants you to truly know Him at the deepest level. And how does ANY relationship get built? Through constant trust and constant communcation–to share your life, struggles, dreams, and hopes. In fact, an awesome earthly marriage is a perfect echo of the kind of relationship Jesus desires with His Bride. Abandon yourself (sin and all) to His perfect love. It’s awesome!
Although the Bible speaks a lot about the victory we have in Christ (not just positional, but ACTUAL), I would recommend reading and meditating on John 15:1-17. In that scripture, I pray that Jesus provides you a new revelation of Himself and the victory that He offers as you ‘abide on the Vine’.
Weird to reply to myself, but yesterday I felt like I left something vital out. I read an email to day from a friend that stated very succinctly what it was…
“Many will say of Satan’s work that he tempts men to sin; and certainly, he does that. But I would suggest that his real intention is simply to get us to take our eyes off of Christ and put them on ANYTHING else. Let me clarify: when I say, “eyes” I’m talking about the focal point of our hope and pleasure, our needs and fulfillment. Are we set in Christ for those things, or are we finding comfort in the arms of another? Jesus’ eyes were set upon the Father. He said of Himself, “My meat (fulfillment and purpose) is to do the will of my Father.”
Throughout the bible is this idea of ‘beholding’ Jesus. 2 Corinthians 3:18 is a good example:
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
There’s something about the spiritual exercise of staring into the face of Jesus that makes us more like Him (and in doing so, keeps us sinning less).
Jeremy Myers says
Excellent point, Mike. Yes, trying to stop sinning on our own strength will lead to frustration and failure. And if we somehow succeed, it will result only in pride, which is more sin.
Steve Edwards says
Great response Jeremy.
One other thing, John says in 1 John 3:9 and 5:18 that it is impossible for those who are in Christ to continue to sin. This isn’t about us. This is about the way God sees us. If we do sin we have an advocate WHO GOES TO THE FATHER FOR US. We don’t go to the Father, Jesus goes for us, and presents His blood as punishment already paid.
Forget about your sin. God doesn’t remember it, so why should you?
“I have swept away your offences like a cloud,” (Isaiah 44:22)
“Your sins I will remember no more.”
Have you had a Grace revelation yet? I was heavily trapped in sin last year and God set me free by revealing Grace to me. Pure, radical, extreme grace.
Here’s a post I wrote recently about sin and grace.
Rejoice! “Blessed are those whose sin the LORD will never count against him.” We are free!!!
Jeremy Myers says
Beautiful. Thank for the great reminder, and for the link to your post.
Dave Lucas says
I thought I would ask you why you are so quick on the censorship trigger???
I just did a little search and came across this post:
“I figure that genuine truth can handle every and any question or objection thrown at it. But how can we really know that what we believe is true if we don’t even allow the questions to get asked or the objections to be raised?”
Do you still hold that belief? I’m thinking no.
Jeremy Myers says
Dave, I am not censoring you. Unless you are spamming the comment section, or writing comments with lots of links, your comments should go through, just like this one did.
However, this comment it off-topic as many of your others have been as well. If you want to have genuine and gracious interaction about the content of the blog posts, that is fine. But if you want to attack, belittle, call names, and demand answers to questions that have been answered elsewhere, you will get blocked.
I’ve had a particular sin I committed years ago playing on my mind. Been feeling so guilty. I’ve said sorry to God for it, I know I’m forgiven but still feel awful. I’ve told my husband about it too, I guess I’ve just got to forgive myself.Any help. I think the devils telling me I am a hypocrite & have to tell everyone what I’ve done. Any help. Please. God bless everyone.
Jeremy Myers says
The devil loves to beat us over the head with our sin. But God never does this. You are forgiven. You are loved.
Whatever it was, has your husband forgiven you? Either way, know what God has forgiven you completely and wants to give you freedom from the guild and shame of this past mistake.
Genevieve this is my story i hope it may help you but your question was one i struggled over for years i couldnt let go of my past sins they were on a continous loop playing in my mind that nearly drove me over the edge.I knew that Christ had forgiven me but i couldnt forgive myself maybe i thought that i deserved to be punished.What set me free from this trap? The Lord revealed that the problem was with my heart it is so wicked and deceptive i still believed that i was a good person i didnt drink or take drugs smoke or swear i wasnt violent i had some hangups but kept them to myself but this wicked thought was the reason why i couldnt get free.That was enough for the enemy to bring guilt and condemnation upon me.So when i confessed that my heart was indeed wicked and that i needed a new heart.I was instantly delivered and set free from the past and have not looked back though i am sometimes reminded by others for what i did wrong.It no longer has power over me.I believe we all struggle with two areas as christians we must confess our sin and we must confess our pride for without him we can do nothing.May the Lord show you what it is that is blocking you from receiving his love and forgiveness the issue will be found in your heart ask the Lord to reveal it for what it is.We dont like to see the truth its ugly and i am sorry if this offends you it wasnt my intention.May he set you free as he has done for me.regards brentnz
Jeremy, I have and am continuing to learn. Since we are talking about sin I would so love it if you could help me with this verse. 1 john 3;9.. I have my own thoughts and I think I understand what this verse is saying. The last part is saying we can’t sin because His seed remains in us because we are of born of God. Please explain.
Jeremy Myers says
That is an excellent question! A full answer will take a full post, which I will try to write sometime…
Basically though, the verse means that sin does not come from God’s seed in us. There were people in John’s day who taught a form of Gnostic dualism which taught that some sin came as a result of being born of God. John was firmly condemning such an idea.
I am so agree with you on point 1,2 3 and also the picture were so spot on, Jeremy 🙂 !!!!
Anyway, If I may add some suggestions , here are the things that I learn to overcome the sin. ( which I am still doing until now):)
1. Learn about myself…. what is my weakness, my strength, my background etc… ( ask God if there are something from the past or childhood which shape and influence your character too…)
2.. Then learn how satan strategy to tempt us, by eye, hunger( bread, food, or drink etc), pride( Matthew 4:1 -1 11) and half truth Genesis 3.
3. I agree with Mike on ( Pursue an intimate relationship with Jesus as your lifelong goal) and here are the words of God, which actually an armor for all of us in our life, so :
a Recite God’s word.Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. ( so, memorize the word of GOD)….
b. Flee = 2 Tim 2 :22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
c. Purity = Philipians 4:8 Garbage in garbage out. Dwell in the word of God. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent and praiseworthy – think about such things.
d. Pray = Hebrew 4: 15 -16 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathisze with your weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may received mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
e. Seek God = John 8: 34 – 36 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
word of wisdom by Curt Wise = satan use what you like, what you don’t like, your weaknesses to pull you off the track. Our greatest strength can be our greatest weaknesses . The problem is ” Your response to temptation, not the temptation. people most of the time dwell in it, and finally attract to it then fell into temptation.
and also, be very careful to discern which is Satan temptation or our own sin ( which normally pride, stubborn etc) because we can not always blame the Satan….
God bless you and keep you brother in Christ….God loves you so much 🙂
Jeremy Myers says
Great suggestions! There are things we can do to help the Spirit take more control of our lives. Thanks for sharing those.
Clive Clifton says
Thanks Jeremy, I read the comment from Dave Lucas several times and have no idea what he was talking about. The difference in your comments Jeremy is I always find them clear and the most important part of being honest is being understandable.
Sin is always knocking at our door, and the harder we try to resist it in our own human strength the worse it gets. Once I gave up trying on my own and asked God to come in, the temptation did not stop and I still sinned, but I knew it was loosing it’s power over me.
I used to hate myself and felt like a right hypocrite to others who would ask me to pray for their sins. There’s me sat on my throne allowing them to think I was a super Christian while I lifted them up to God in prayer. This has happened several times and I realised I needed to confess to them my sin and ask if they would intercede on my behalf.
We do need to forgive ourselves because He does not judge us so we have no authority to judge ourselves. The devil accusers us and unfortunately we nod our heads in agreement with his analysis. Of course it’s a lie when he says we are guilty, Jesus said on the cross we are no longer guilty but saved and cleansed by His blood. Our part is to acknowledge our sin and then to repent of it (walk away from it and change) He also does the changing part as we are to weak.
Thats enough about my stuff, Jeremy makes it very clear. Clive
I love your story 🙂 thank you for sharing 🙂 such a blessing for me
Jeremy Myers says
Thank you, Clive. Sin truly is always knocking at the door, and we must constantly be on the lookout for it. Hopefully, as we learn to rely on the indwelling Spirit, we will sin less and less. But becoming like Jesus is a life-long process.
Suzanne from Belfast says
Thank you so much for your loving thoughts and words. I spend so much of my time worried about my Christianity (or lack of), but every time I read one of your posts, I always feel a sense of relief.
Jeremy Myers says
I am glad you are encouraged. There is so much guilt and condemnation in Christianity today, I want to remind people that God loves them and is not mad.
Clive Clifton says
Dear Suzanne, There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. So no matter how bad you may think you are, Jesus can’t love you any more or less than when he first loved you at your conception.
Love casts out all fear so therefore be ye not afraid. Isaiah 43 v 1 to 2. Your brother in Christ, Clive>
Ross Thompson says
Greetings Jeremy.. I have to say that I disagree with your last paragraph(starting ..I laughed a bit) while fully agreeing with you that my disagreement should be a genuine and gracious interaction. If the statement, ‘behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’, is put beside your paragraph it shows your statement to be a contradiction of scripture. To put it plainly, it does not make sense for us to be continuing to be talking about sin, bringing it to God, it will always be with us etc. when the basis of the Gospel is Jesus doing away with sin. If we are waiting for death to deliver us from indwelling sin we will be disappointed. Sin is only done away with by Christs cleansing blood. Here are some brief statements from the NTestament on the subject; Titus: but to the pure in heart all things are pure. 1John, He that is born of God does not commit sin because Gods seed abides in Him and he cannot sin because he is born of God Titus; Jesus..has purifyed a people unto Himself. Hebrews: for the laws sacrifices can never make those who approach perfect..for if they did they would have no more consciousness of sin.(unquote) I know that if I was God the Father I would be very put out if after allowing my Son to endure such unimaginable suffering to deal with the whole sin question, and then to find those that are saved(hallelujah)have not grasped the enormity of what He did and are continuing to be preoccupied with sin. He became sin that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. ..blessings Ross Thompson
Jeremy Myers says
Yes, Jesus takes away the sin of the world, but does that mean we stop sinning? I don’t know about you, but I still sin all the time. He who says he is without sin is a liar, and the truth is not in him (1 John 1:10).
Ross Thompson says
Aha..Jeremy..for the sake of friendly discussion. 1John 3 v 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin because he has been born of God. Now if you are to be honest you have to admit that my verse is as good as yours…Ross Thompson
Jeremy Myers says
That’s right. But they cannot contradict, can they? So which verse trumps the other one? Ha! Your choices seem to be:
1. Liar (If you claim you don’t sin)
2. Not born of God (If you admit you do)
Hmmmm…. something else must be going on here…
Ross Thompson says
I still don’t have an answer to that and I have a request pending with the Lord. I wrote a post at my blog called ‘Paradox in 1 John’. He says one thing and then seems to say the complete opposite in another statement. For the present I would have to go to other parts of the New Testament to support my comments about freedom from sin because it is 50/50 in 1 John.
Jeremy Myers says
I STRONGLY recommend the commentary on 1 John by Zane Hodges to help resolve this conflict. The Epistles of John: Walking in the Light of God’s Love
Ross Thompson says
Thanks Jeremy I will try and find it and have a look.
Ross Thompson says
I think Zane Hodges got close to explaining the so called contradiction but over all I was not keen. He says the inner regenerate man does not sin then goes on in a lot of places to talk about our propensity to sin, hence making a division between some sort of hidden spiritual state and the person who is me. Where as John always talks about the whole person, ‘ he cannot sin ‘ The hidden regenerate state is me total. On the cover it talks about prayer to overcome our propensity to sin and inside he talks of our sensitive conscience making us feel bad. Hebrews 10 v 1-3 talks about the sacrifices for sin in the law always left those doing them knowing they were still sinners and needed to keep sacrificing. But with Jesus sacrifice recipients are made perfect and have no more consciousness of sin, according to Paul. Therefore we should never start with a confession of struggle with sin, which is negative and defeatist, but rather with freedom from sinning, which confession lines up with Jesus finished work.
Jeremy Myers says
Those are good points. I need to read Zane’s commentary again, as it has been a long time since I read it. Thanks for looking into it!
1 john 3:9 Its the holy spirit in us who is the one that cannot sin we are still of the flesh so we do sin .It is a process i think that as we mature we can get to a point where we choose to not sin but rather walk according to the holy spirit within us.Whose nature is not to sin but we must choose to either follow the Lord or follow our old nature.
The Bible does not support a separation between me and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. What is the point of Redemption and Salvation if I continue to be as I was before and continue to work out my salvation by trying not to sin. Jesus sacrifice made us Holy and without blame before Him in love. The New Testament says He has purified a people unto Himself and that we have no more consciousness of sin. All of these statements are in the NT. He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit with Him. The NT is given to us to know all that is ours and a revelation of who we are now. We should carefully study it all in depth for ourselves individually. We will not be able to say,’Oh Lord I never new’, because He will show us the pages on which the answers are written.
Ross the bible is quite clear that it is not by works that we are saved but by the finished work of Christ.We are saved the moment we accept Christ.Can you say that you stopped sinning the moment you accepted Christ i certainly didnt it was ingrained in my old nature.When we have the holy spirit he helps us to be transformed into Christ likeness that process is sanctification.You are right there is no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus.The bible says that Jesus and the father are in heaven and the holy spirit is with believers though they are one they are also separate individuals.As far as sin is concerned we cannot in our own strength live a christian life it is impossible only though trusting the holy spirit by accepting Jesus can we live a life as overcomers.If we choose to accept sin in our lives after becoming christians then we cannot become overcomers i think people accept Christ for the benefits and then live there lives for themselves i used to.I dont know about but how is it going are you overcoming sin in your life or i know i am able because the holy spirit helps me.I dont have to try anymore i just have to believe that through Christ the holy spirit empowers me to do that which i cant.I appreciate your comments.regards brentnz
It seems that you have jumped on the hyper grace train. Just because there is grace doesn’t mean that we have the right to be heirs of Christ and remain in our sins. That’s what i seem to be reading here. And that my friend is a dangerous doctrine, a doctrine of demons in fact. To say we can be slaves to sin and also children of the Most High God, this a lie from hell. And for you to say “i sin all the time” is very disturbing because as Christian’s we know we should not “sin all the time”. How can you say that like its a good thing? Or like its no big deal? I don’t understand your reasoning on this issue. If Christ died for our sins why would we sin more? Just because we can? or are you going to say because we are human and we all sin? Well, the truth is that there are many people out there that live holy (set apart) lives and do not sin “every day” or “all the time”, to say that “sinning” is normal for the believer is making God a liar. Please understand that i by no means am saying that i or those other people that live holy (set apart) lives are perfect or that we don’t sin, but if we do its the exception not the rule. I take great concern with your view of sin and grace because many people are slaves to sin and believe that they are in right standing with God. They worship the god of this world and yet expect to receive the Gift of God which is eternal life, what a deception. Jesus said ” Why do you call me ‘Lord,Lord,’ and not do what i tell you? Luke 6:46. and then he goes on to tell the people that believing in any else but what he says will end in ruin. Look at the foundation have you made for yourself, that allows for your sinful lives and yet you still receive a crown in the end, how convenient. Lets us look at the truth of scripture and how Grace is really only applied to the repentant sinner, one who sees their sin for what it is and knows that they have sinned against a Holy God and that the works of the Law cannot save them. For it was the Law that killed them, and once the Law has been broken you cannot repay it ,because you are not worthy nor do you posses the sacrifice that is needed to cleanse yourself from your sins. even the sacrifice of the lamb (or other animal) was not enough because the animal could not sin, nor knew of sin and had not chosen to be a sacrifice. But only a man who knew what sin was and was tempted just as we are and never chose to sin, but instead chose to give himself as a ransom for many, could and would be a worthy sacrifice, and WAS by the way. And what did this man die for? SIN! and not for you to continue in them, for he set us free from sin. (not that God doesn’t see our sin, sure he does!) (remember Ananias and Sapphira in acts5) When we repent we turn from the world and turn to God, we put the dead man in his grave and we don’t go and visit him. Many say “I’m haunted by my old man”,but they are haunting him! Look at what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 8:27 ” But i discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after i preach to others I myself should be disqualified.” My friends obeying God is not works salvation, i can never earn my way into heaven, but in disobedience i can earn myself a ticket to hell. Lets read Ephesians 4:17-24 17. Now this i say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.18 They are darkened in their understanding,alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.20 But that is not the way you learned in Christ!-21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. My friends, are you a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness? Who is your god? If you are feeling trapped by sin call upon the name of the Lord and repent, confess your sins to your brothers (to church too if you wish to do so) its called being humble and being broken before God, the healer of our souls. Hold nothing back and he will hold nothing from you! Please don’t take my word for it, do this yourself and see if i am i lair. Also, read the bible without all the commentaries for a change. (some are good) but we have the author living inside of us, ask and you will receive. I don’t mean to bash any of you but i must correct the error that sends many to hell. If you have any questions i will try my best to answer them. ( i am not a bible teacher, just a follower of Christ). God bless all those who hear the word of God and do it.
Jeremy Myers says
You wrote this right at the beginning: “Just because there is grace doesn’t mean that we have the right to be heirs of Christ and remain in our sins.”
I 100% agree and have never written or said anything contrary to that.
Here’s the thing, though, there is a HUGE difference between receiving eternal life and being heirs of Christ. Eternal life is based 100% solely on Jesus Christ. Faith alone in Christ alone.
If that is “hyper grace” then I gladly say “Guilty as charged.” I teach shocking, outrageous, scandalous grace. What other kind of grace is there?
Please correct me if I am wrong. This is my understanding on 1 John 3:9
its actually need to be read together from 1John 3: 8-10
8the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 9No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother
The one who practices sin is of the devil = genesis 3: 15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring[a] and hers
I was confuse before about the meaning of satan offspring ( I thought that satan gives birth to men or something) 🙂 but I was told… satan offspring is people who love to do sin, like to do what the satan do…(lie, murder, pride, not doing good… etc), the sin is the work of devil. that is why : The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.
So, when we are born again… surrender to God, acknowledge that we are sinful in front of His eyes, and we need Jesus to be my savior we are born of God. Many people think that yeay… we are save.. then it is enough, our name is in the book of life. guaranteed of mansion in the heaven. but, it is actually not…. because we are still living in sinful world, and our habit of living in sin still haunting us, and pull us off God’s track, and God is moulding us to be like Jesus… forever…
So, I see I John 3:9 as a mirror to differentiate between God’s offspring and Satan offspring. In this fallen world, both still fall doing sin… the different when we are born of God, the holy spirit will convict us and we need His forgiveness again, and we need His strength again not to do same mistake… that is why we feel bad when we do sin, but people who born of satan offspring enjoy doing sin….they do not have the same conviction as us… ( I guess…. maybe only certain length..but then it will stop and their heart will be hard)
I see from 1 John 3:9 also about it is important to abide in Him. everyday. Ask Him everyday to bless our plan today. Ask Him to interfere our plan if it does not go along with His plan for us. Read His word. remember it. and the result.. we can not sin.
Here is my story about being abide in Him. I used to liked watching movies, horror movie was my favorite one too.. Now, when I am learning about Him more and more.. I did not have desire to watch horror movie at all….I actually now filter what movie is good for my eyes and my soul . If it is not… I did not have desire to watch at all..
This is one layer of my onion spritual character… there are a lot of layer of characters which God is still dealing with me.I am born of God, I still do sin that is why I need to abide in Him everyday to get the strength from Him not to fall into sin. If I still do, I will ask His forgiveness and open my heart and my mind to Him so that He can mould me to become more like Jesus. I am born of God, that is why I realize that I can not do nothing without Him.
Jeremy Myers says
Thanks for the input.
Maybe I am misunderstanding your view, but I don’t think it is wise to try to use 1 John 3:9 as a way to determine who the true and false believers are, or, as you put it, God’s offspring and Satan’s offspring. This will lead into much legalism and fear, I believe.
thank you for your input Jeremy… I will need time to think from your point of view 🙂 but thank you for reading my view 🙂
Jim Strickland says
I hope this little poem of mine is of assistance with this problem.
It has helped others and is part of my testimony to the caring and
keeping powers of Jesus Christ for the past 53 years.
My heart goes out to men and women who go through the same sort of trouble I did.
There is a cure. His name is Jesus. He empowers me one day at a time.
Just for today please Lord Jesus. Just for today.
VICTORY IN REST
They thought it would be easy. They liked the law a lot.
But when it came to keeping it, they found that they could not.
This shouldn’t be surprising. Have you ever tried?
You will very quickly find, that down on your inside,
Lurks a predilection which we cannot control.
A tendency for breaking them which soon becomes our goal.
This tendency to break it is in our very genes.
Knowing that our breaking it surely contravenes,
That which God commanded. We figure, “What the heck.
If I keep on trying I’ll surely break my neck.”
Then suddenly temptation stares us in the face.
Never mind the consequence; the shame and the disgrace.
We will do it anyway. How can we resist?
This is really something that surely can’t be missed.
Then we try and do it. Our instinct tells us, “No!”
But in that fatal instant, that’s the way we go.
This carries on repeating. It seems we cannot win,
The never ending battle with wickedness and sin.
That was my position. I tried so very hard.
But when I tried to keep it, I missed it by a yard.
“I’m sorry Lord!” I’d tell Him. “Give me another chance!”
He smiled at me and nodded. But somewhere in His glance
I knew that it was futile. I’d never beat that thing.
I guessed it would be easier to teach a pig to sing!
For three long years I struggled. It “happened” not a bit.
Then in disappointment, I turned around and quit!
For eighteen years I backslid. I simply couldn’t cope,
With trying the impossible. There seemed to be no hope!
But Jesus wouldn’t leave it. He wouldn’t go away!
It seems I was an errant sheep who’d simply gone astray.
And so He came and found me. My life was in a mess.
“Would you like another chance?” I couldn’t answer “Yes!”
“May I do it for you?” “Yes please my Lord” I said.
“There has to be a better way than striving ‘til I’m dead.”
The prayer the Master gave me still blows my mind away!
“Just for today please Jesus! Do it just for today!”
Jim Strickland – Written 21 March 2014
Jeremy Myers says
Wow. Excellent poem. Well done! The truth you put into those words is right on target! Thank you for posting it here.
thank you for the poem… 🙂
Jeremy I commend you for wanting to give your advice. Your 3 points can be sumarised into one ie be honest with God. Yes you are right as God through His grace has forgiven him for his sin. But how to stop sinning, the Lord’s voice rings loud and clear, I do not judge you but go in peace and Sin no more.
Jeremy Myers says
Yes, I think it all begins with honesty with God. Good summary.
Of course, do we think she really went and sinned no more? Doubtful. She may have stopped that one particular sin, but there were others.
Brother Jeremy, if she follows what John in Ch.3 v30 says, ” He (Jesus) must increase and I must decrease” then I believe she can overcome other sins. Romans, all have sin and fallen short of the glory of God.
Ross Thompson says
Jesus, who we should remind ourselves is the Divine Son of God—–the One who upholds the Universe by the word of His power (Heb 1 v 3 )—The One of whom it is said ‘and the Word was God ‘. made a mistake in telling the lady to go and sin no more? God made a blue(as we say in Australia) in telling the Woman to do something that could not be done? Personally I think that I should be thinking along the lines that if Jesus told her to sin no more it must be possible,because Jesus is God,and that I should be trying to find out from Jesus just how that is possible for me.
As I understand it, the passage in question is not in the earliest manuscripts … and in the manuscripts that have it, it is placed in different locations – even in different gospels (Luke instead of John). Many scholars doubt this is original to the gospel and think it may have been added later. Therefore, Jesus may have never said this at all.
Jeremy Myers says
Which passage are you referring to?
I was replying to the comment above -the writer references a woman who was told to sin no more. I think he is referring to the adulteress in John 8.
But if it is an accurate account of what Jesus said to the woman (and not added to John’s manuscript at a later date by an unknown author), I think it can be understood in the light of the discussion in your post: Why does Jesus Say “Go and sin no more” when it is impossible to “go and sin no more”? – Jesus was warning the woman to give the Pharisees no further reason to arrest and stone her.
Ross Thompson says
I am not a scholar, but just recently I was looking at that particular verse in all the English versions. There are about 20 and they all include that verse. I was also looking at the Greek/English linear NT and that also includes those verses without comment….Some of the English versions( i did not realize there were so many) give the verse as referring to her whole life from then on. I will check out if there is a question about the verse by Scholars. Where did you get your info from ?
Here are some examples of what I have read.
Footnote in my ESV:
Some manuscripts do not include 7:53 – 8:11; others add the passage here or after 7:36 or after 21:25 or after Luke 21:38, with variations in the text.
In the 1984 NIV as a heading before John 7:53:
[ The earliest manuscripts and many other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53 – 8:11]
Footnote in my NASB before John 7:53:
Later mss add the story of the adulterous woman, numbering it as John 7:53 – 8:11.
( and then they include all those verses between brackets like these [ ] )
Footnote in the Amplified Bible:
John 7:53 – 8:-11 is absent from most of the older manuscripts, and those that have it sometimes place it elsewhere.The story may well be authentic. Indeed
Christ’s response of compassion and mercy is so much in keeping with his character that we accept it as authentic, and feel that to omit it would be most unfortunate.
They all printed the story, but with the footnotes I copied above.
Ross Thompson says
Thanks for that. I found a site, (Not Just Another Book) that has so much information about these verses and original manuscripts that it would take you all afternoon to read it. For me, I can believe that God wanted it in there and I also thought of the last verse in John about the huge number of things Jesus did that are not recorded.
I found the site. Thank you. It will be helpful to me as I had questions about some other passages.
Matthew Richardson says
1 ) I would suggest that you not focus on the action but on the attitude. Scripture teaches that as christians were are to put on a new mind and new heart. The way we look at life, our point of view, changes with a deeper understanding of who God is and what He wants from us. Stop worrying about rules and focus on attitude. The things that used to seem important will (eventually) fade in significance and the old temptations will not hit as hard. 2) Don’t try to do it all yourself. You can’t. Ask God to help. He wants to.
Jeremy Myers says
Yes, good point.
Pal Madden says
Rather long, but stay with it.
The only way an alcoholic can stay clean is through a high level of accountability. Many times this is with AA meetings with confession and/or a sponsor who mentors them. It’s a form of discipleship. The key is transparency with a willingness to come clean when you didn’t stay clean, and start anew as many times as you need to. They understand they are always in recovery. Sinners are no different, and we are all forever missing the mark and falling short.
Say what you want about AA but there is not a whole lot of hypocrisy there – especially not as much as there is in traditional churches. In my twenty five plus years in traditional, institutional churches as an adult I do not recall one time where a person openly confessed a sin before others. I have sat with my own sin, and others knowing their sin, many times egregious sin, and no one comes clean in “church”.
An anonymous nationwide survey in the US showed 35-40% of pastors admit to an ongoing struggle with online porn, but none will come clean out of fear they’ll lose their job. Not to mention the many other sins a pastor maybe guilty of that he can’t come clean of for the same reasons. You talk about a sick, poisoned system.
Wrote the following yesterday. After rereading it several times step 9 wouldn’t let go of me. I have lot of work to do. I started with a brother in Christ I offended through what I first thought was innocuous, but the Holy Spirit showed me different. After asking for and receiving forgiveness I tell you I gained a great sense of why the body of Christ is so stymied and ineffective. We’re hypocritical about own individual sin. The only way to get better is to confess our sin, seek forgiveness when our sin has hurt or caused pain to others, and do whatever we can to make amends. Think what would happen if a movement wrapped up in this one thing got underway. Gets me kind of excited.
12 Step Plan for Christ Followers
Who of Us Can Work It?
(Edited/Revised from 12 Step Plan of AA, Alcoholics Anonymous. Christ centered, not centered on an ethereal God or unnamed ‘higher power’.)
1. We admit we were once lost without hope in darkness and sin, and only by the crucified, dead, buried, and resurrected life of Jesus Christ have we been given light, a new, eternal life, new hope, and the righteous way to live.
2. We believe only by the blood of Christ our sins are cleansed, forgiven, and forgotten as far as the east is from the west.
3. We believe only our Father in Heaven can restore us from the misgivings and sin of our past.
4. We believe only by the Holy Spirit can we be empowered to go forward to live a manageable, moral, righteous life.
5. We believe when Christ took away the weight of our sin he replaced it with the weight of the cross. Therefore, we commit to take up the cross, shoulder it, and carry it forward.
6. In order to make a fearless, moral inventory of our lives we will self-examine ourselves, allow the Holy Spirit to examine us, and other faithful followers of Christ to examine us – to expose any fault, sin, immorality, or character flaw we maybe blind to.
7. We will always be willing to confess to God, and to others the exact nature of any fault and sin of our own, and humbly ask our Father in Heaven as well as others to forgive us.
8. We will work with whoever we must, and with whatever Christ centered resources we can find to rid ourselves of whatever fault and sin maybe found in us.
9. We will make a list of people we have hurt by any fault or sin of our own, humbly seek their forgiveness, and be willing to make amends however we can – except when doing so would cause more pain.
10. We will continually improve our relationship with our Father in Heaven through unceasing prayer seeking His will at all times, and lean on the power of the Holy Spirit to carry it through.
11. We will strive at all times to remain faithful, be spiritually alert, and ready to give an account and witness of Jesus Christ.
12. When afforded the opportunity we will help anyone we can with each of these twelve steps, and consistently practice each of these principles in all our affairs.
I wish to comment that through His grace, God does not dwell much on our sinning but our will for righteousness and fighting to keep our faith in Him strong. It is not so easy to do this and that is why in Hebrews 4:5 and 5:2, we are given an assurance on to this understanding. By coming out in the open, this is one way of crying out to Him that there is need for help. The attitude of the heart matters allot to our creator. Therefore continue seeking His invisible power which He promises to all who put their trust in Him, and which is seen by men through your new found actions or character, even without your knowledge, and so you do not have to struggle to please them or do the right thing out of their eyes. I also think some situations work out with the help of a committed prayer partner, but here you need God’s guidance and wisdom to identify one.
To stop sinning is impossible for us on the one hand but is possible in Christ so what must we do for a start we must accept Jesus and we must be born again.Our old nature must be crucified and we need to walk by the spirit of God.But is it a reality yes definitely because the word says that sin shall not have dominion over us.The victory is found in Christ not in ourselves because we cannot do it in our strength so we humble ourselves before God in our weakness so that by doing so allows the holy spirit to empower us to do what only he can do.In that way we become overcomers more than conquerers.I am seeing the reality of what Christ can do with a sinner like me as he moulds me in the person i was destined to be in him.
Aidan McLaughlin says
It, s one thing asking God “what am I doing!?” And something altogether different in “What have I done!?. To me personally this is the value of the different characters in the old testament. They were real people and committed some humdinger sins. You got drunk ish and slept with a girl. King David sent a woman’s husband off to the front line to get killed so he could get his leg over the guy, s missus. Where do you think King David is now? Bethsheba was a willing participant also by the way. The story is always bigger than the person. We get up and try again continually. Perseverance. And with regards to the outward appearance of being a good Christian ehhhhh. Good luck with that. Only God knows how good you are. And by the way. That’s very good. All he created was good. And very good! Oh happy days. I could give you a list of 57 years worth of my personal sin misadventures. Dark matter. The only fool was me. But we all do it. At least now as a believer your beginning to see what your saved from. Before this you didn’t give a diddly squat. Well maybe a wee bit. But not as much as now. When we sin now we feel it more acutely. And wallow about in the whales belly a while. Then get spat out. Huff and puff a bit. Sin again. Then complain about our condition or conditions aka the palm tree. Then maybe even shake our fists at God etcetcetc. Such is life my friend. Build more bridges and get over them. But as saved, born again people we live in the kingdom of victory. NOT defeats. Amen
Mike Aaskov says
I totally agree with your assessment of this persons or any other persons situation about sin. I might add one more piece of advice from someone who is a sinner and want to sin less.
For several years I’ve been meeting regularly with a men’s accountability group on Wednesday mornings at 6am. I look forward to this group because I can be humble, transparent, and honest with these guys and it helps to lay it all out on the table and it won’t leave that room. We all struggle. If I had had this group of Christian men in my corner years ago, well let’s just say I might have avoided the worst hurt and sorrow of my life. Praise God for small groups.