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Can a Christian sin?

Started by Chrisx2600, Dec 20, 2022, 03:31 PM

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Can a Christian sin?

Firstly, a couple of terms must be defined - Christian and sin. Despite how wrangled the name "Christian" has become throughout the years,  a Christian is a Christ-follower, a disciple of Jesus (Acts 11:26). A Christian is a person who has responded to the conviction (a formal declaration that someone is guilty of a criminal offense) of the Holy Spirit (John 6:44) and put their complete faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ for salvation (deliverance from the penalty of sin). (Ephesians 2:8–9; John 3:15–18).

A Christian is NOT one who solely demonstrates a particular set of religious beliefs or practices, joins a church, prays a prayer, or participates in certain sacraments or rituals.

Christians have turned away from their sin and have made Jesus the Lord of their lives (Romans 10:9–10; Acts 2:38). They are born again by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 3:6–7).

"Sin" is any thought, word, or action that contradicts the character or law of God. We all sin (Romans 3:23), and even what we consider as good deeds generally are motivated by selfishness or pride (Isaiah 64:6). By ourselves alone, it is impossible to please God or to be completely free from sin (Romans 3:10; Ecclesiastes 7:10).

When we come to Christ by faith and trust Him to forgive and cleanse us, we are immediately born-again. (John 3:3)  A new creation results from the new birth. (2 Corinthians 5:17). God gives the repentant sinner a new heart that heeds and pleases  Him rather than self (2 Corinthians 5:9; Romans 8:5–6). Sin (which leads to death) had enslaved us, yet now we are obedient (which leads to righteousness). (Romans 6:16)  The domination of sin has been broken by the power of Jesus. (Romans 6:6; Titus 2:14).

We do (however) still live in the flesh, and it is prone to want what it desires. In Romans 7:21–23, Paul describes the battle between the flesh and the spirit in his life: "So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me." Each battle with temptation is victorious or lost based upon how fully we have surrendered to the control of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16–17).

In the letter of 1 John,  the apostle states,  "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" (1 John 1:8–9).
It is, therefore, possible to grieve (Ephesians 4:30) and or quench  (1 Thessalonians 5:19) the Holy Spirit at times.
But this writing also reassures us that God offers continual, ongoing grace whenever we agree with Him about our transgressions against Him and ask for His cleansing.

However, other passages clarify the boundaries of this of His grace. First John 3:6 says, "No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him." Verse 9 says that those who have been "born of God" will not continue to live sinfully.

Because of the new nature given to them, they cannot; it is the equivalent of the saying, "A fish cannot remain on land for long because its nature is to seek water." A fish could flop onto the shore and survive for a short time; but it was not made for land and cannot continue there.

Likewise, a born-again believer cannot remain sinning because of this factor about nature, and he has received the Holy Spirit.  He guides, directs, and alerts us should we trespass against God. Jesus not only erases our past sin; He also transforms our hearts so that we no longer desire it (Colossians 2:13–14).

Paul asked, "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?"(Romans 6:1–2). Although Christians will still sin after being saved, the heart change that the Holy Spirit brings will result in a new attitude toward sin. Sin cannot continue being a lifestyle choice if we have surrendered our lives to Jesus. That is what it means to say that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9; Colossians 2:6).

We are adoptees into the Royal family and no longer under the yoke of Satan.(Romans 8:14-17)
"For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him."

We have a new boss. We cannot be followers of Christ and followers of sin at the same time. They are going in opposite directions (Luke 9:23; 14:33). Therefore, Romans 12:2 instructs, "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Ultimately, behavior is changed.

When a true child of God goes astray, our Father administers discipline to bring him back into obedience. Hebrews 12:7–8 says, "It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons."

Therefore, if a professing Christian can choose a lifestyle of sin without experiencing enough discipline to bring him to repentance,  it is doubtful that the person is a child of God.

Do Christians transgress or sin? Yes. Do they willfully continue in sin? No. Scripture indicates that, while we will always "fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), we have the hope that the power of God is at work in us to "make us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image" (2 Corinthians 3:18, NLT).

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