Thursday, February 28, 2013

Who's Counting? The Honest View of Christians & Sins in The New Testament

This is the most honest view of sin I can write. It legitimately considers what the whole of the New Testament says about "sin" in regards to Christians. Most people seem to think that "a sin" is some mystical pencil mark that exists in a ledger in heaven that God looks at & decides how to punish you for if you don't fess up about it. But Christians do not have any sin accounts with God. Sins were covered in the old covenant. In the new covenant sins are "taken away."

What do you do with accounts? You charge & withdraw. What does God not do?
2 Corinthians 5:19 says, "God does not charge the world with sin." Romans 5:13 says, "God does not charge people with sin where there is no law." Then Romans 10:4 says, "Jesus Christ is the end of the law for all those who trust Him." Romans 4:8 says, "Blessed are the people whom the Lord will BY NO MEANS charge with sin." Such a people exist, they are His children.

Jesus has taken our sins away as far as east is from west (Psalm 103:12). That means they are eradicated. You won't see anywhere that it says we have to repeatedly confess sins to have them taken away either, they are all eradicated forever when we first get saved. Your sin & wrath account is closed eternally. You cannot rack up sin thus you neither need to confess sins or repent of them to get them taken off of your account as so many falsely teach.

Christians are Sinless in 4 Ways
1. Judicially:  God, the judge, does not charge them with sin (see 2 Corinthians 5:19 & Romans 4:8 above).
2. Legally:  Jesus has ended the law for all Christians. Christians are not under the law & they are dead to the law thus the law cannot condemn them & charge them with sin. (see Romans 5:13 & 10:4 above & Romans 6:14 & 7:4).
3. Spiritually (by birth):  Whoever is born of God cannot sin & is not able to produce sin (see 1 John 3:5-6,9 & 5:18). Jesus makes clear in John 3 that your spirit is the only part of you that is born of God. A Christian's spirit is also "one Spirit with God" (see 1 Corinthians 6:17).
4. Positionally:  A Christian's identity is "IN Christ." In Christ there is no sin (see Colossians 3:3 & 1 John 3:5). A Christian's identity is not "IN the flesh" but IN the Spirit (see Romans 8:9, Colossians 2:11, 2 Corinthians 5:16-17).

Christians are Not Sinless in 3 Ways
1. Mentally & Emotionally:  A Christian can choose to charge themselves with sin & count their actions as sins (see James 4:17 & Romans 14:22)
2. Physically:  A Christian can "sin against their own body" by allowing the deeds of the flesh to manifest (see 1 Corinthians 6:18 & Romans 8:13)
3. Relationally:  Scripture still speaks of "sinning against brothers," sin meaning harming them, treating them unlovingly (see 1 Corinthians 8:12 below & James 5:16).

Sin is defined by who is counting it as sin or who is pressing charges. Romans 4:8 says, "God will BY NO MEANS charge His children with sin." But scripture is clear that we can count sins against ourselves & others. If we counts sin against ourselves or others it is not bound in heaven but it is an experiential & relational reality here on earth. God would rather us not be what Hebrews 10:2 calls "sin conscious" meaning He'd rather us be like Him, not labeling our & others' actions as sin & not keeping a record of our wrongs & others' wrongs.

Sinning Against Christ as the Body
"By sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ" (1 Corinthians 8:12)
You can't exclusively sin against God. But Christ and His body are one. When you act without love toward a brother you are acting without love toward Jesus & the Father. Harming a part of the body also stresses the body. The pain caused to one brother can easily affect others.

Jesus said to Saul in Acts 9:4 "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" Saul had not met Jesus up to this point but he had persecuted His followers. Jesus was identifying Himself with His body. Jesus said in Matthew 25:40,45 "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." Jesus identified Himself with His brothers and sisters.

But this does not mean God is marking things you do down as a sin or calling you guilty because of it. God is love & "love does not take into account wrongs suffered" (1 Corinthians 13:5). In regards to His children God never saves a record of their actions labeled as "sins," He never regards their actions as sin, He never charges them with sin. But He does feel our sins, meaning our harmful/unloving actions, when they are against another child of His. God is not self-seeking (1 Corinthians 13:5). He's not shedding a tear because you didn't read your bible today. But God cares for His children as any good father would. It hurts Him to see His children hurt one another. He feels for them & with them.

Hurting your brother or sister is the one thing that a Christian can do to "grieve the Holy Spirit of God." "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God" is said in Ephesians 4 in the midst of these encouragements & instructions:

"Be honest, don't hurt anyone with your anger, don't hold onto anger, don't steal, share with those in need, don't insult others, build people up with what you say, share the wonderful loving grace of God with them. Don't hold onto bitterness, don't attack others' reputations, don't fight or seek to harm. Be kind & tender-hearted to one another. Don't hold what others do against them, remove each others burdens."

How do you accomplish these things? We are told how in the preceding verses,
"Stop setting your mind on the flesh & its deceitful desires so you will be made new in the attitude of your minds. You have a new self, it is your spirit that has been born in the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Set your mind on your new self, on the things of the spirit."

So to live & walk sinlessly mentally, emotionally, physically, & relationally you regard yourself by the sinless identity Christ has given you. That you are sinless in regards to God as judge because He will not charge you with sin, in regards to the law because it is over, in regards to your identity because you are born again & in Christ united with God, partaking of His divine nature. Do this & you will live completely free from sin, as free as you truly have been made by Jesus.

"Jesus died to sin one time for all time. The life He lives He lives to God. Consider yourselves just as dead to sin as Jesus is & just as alive to God as Jesus is" (Romans 6:10-11).

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