What does Paul mean when he says that it is no longer he that lives but Christ...or that we are dead to sin in Christ? This used to be understood and lived out by the church. No longer it would seem (or so little as to not upset the majority view)! So men have changed the meaning of the bible in order to reduce it to a merely religious grasp of the text rather than a life lived in conformity to the word...and Christ. We do not measure truth by the number of people who can vouch for the accuracy of the bilical testimony. When someone walks in the Spirit (according to Paul) he will not do what the flesh desires. John goes further and sys that a born again person cannot sin because of the divine nature in that person. To ignore this aspect of the word is to fall in with the popular religious culture of our times. There are no scriptures that state that we must all experience (or not experience) the same connection with God. Quite the opposite.
Firstly, I believe it's quite clear what Paul means when he says that Christ lives in us, that we are dead to sin in Christ. As I said in my last post, it's a case of the substitutionary atonement. 'In Christ' our lives are seen as blameless and pure. Christ's work of righteousness lives 'within' us because of His sacrifice. God looks at us and sees Jesus perfect life, and atoning death, not our sins and failures. That is what it means for us to be 'In Christ'...we live our lives within the bounds of that propitiation, of His very life and death, just as His life and death now dwell within us. I do not believe the bible gives us leave, in any way, to say that Jesus is actually living our lives for us. Jesus does not inhabit our bodies to the extent that when we stub our toes, it's actually Jesus who feels the hurt.
Secondly, I believe that taking those verse which you are talking about, without considering the other verses that speak of sin still within our lives, is not very hermeneutically wise. Everything in scripture must be understood against what scripture has already said. Yes, John says we 'cannot sin', but if we look at the passages leading up to where he says that, we draw a conclusion based on what point John is trying to make, and not from just what the sentence in and of itself says. This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:5-10 ESV)
There are several important points here. First, in verse 6, we see that he begins the chapter with the idea that we cannot 'claim' to be Christian, if we continue to walk in darkness. In other words, those who continue on in a lifestyle of unrepentant sin, is not truly born again.
Then we also see, in very clear words, that John says that we all sin. Anyone who says he doesn't sin is a liar. That's kind of plan and simple to understand.
We also see that God expects us to live a constant life of repentance. That's what being a Christian is, how our progressive walk in the Spirit works...we constantly repent of the sins in our lives, and true repentance is to put them to death and not go back to them. In other words, we can't just say 'oh, is that wrong? whoops, but whatever'. That is 'walking in darkness'. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. (1 John 2:29 ESV)
Again...the thought that we must actively participate in our sanctifying walk with the Spirit. (I'm not talking salvation here, but what comes after the free gift of grace.) Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. (1 John 3:2-9 ESV)
In verse 3 we see that we are not yet perfect, and won't 'be like Christ' until He returns.
And then we move on to the verses you were talking about, where Christians 'don't sin'. But as you can see, it doesn't actually say we are sin free
. It says that those who are truly redeemed will not make a practice out of sinning. It ties back in to what John said in Chapter one, verse 6. As people who have that 'seed of God' living within us, we cannot go on and on with unrepentant sin in our lives. It's like the pastor who stands up and preaches about the sin of adultery, but is cheating on his wife...and refuses to stop. That man, according to John, is not a Christian. Other pastors will not be perfect, but when they are convicted of a sin, because they have the new heart Jesus gave them, and the freedom from sin through His death, they will be able to turn from that sin, and shine the light on that part of their life. So what John is saying here, is not that Christians do not, will not sin. He is saying that true believers will not recklessly and habitually violate the grace given to them.
You have missed what I am saying. I have stated that WITHOUT the perfect measure of CHrist as a standard we WILL set our own standard...such as NOT believing in the attainment of the full stature of Christ.
I'm not trying to misunderstand!
I'm not trying to drag out the conversation just to pull apart your ideas either...I'm honestly striving to understand what you're say, and really trying to run it all by what scripture teaches...which I'm sure you agree is the best thing to weigh it all against!
And I'm afraid I'm still, apparently, not comprehending! Granted, we need Christ to be our example. But I'm saying that we have that example in scripture and through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, where as, I understand you to be saying that we need that example from the times that Christ 'takes the wheel' from us and drives a bit in our body, so we can then see how He does it. So, what I understand you to be saying, is unbiblical. If my understanding of your point is faulty...sorry!
We are not just seen as perfect...that is a fallacy that stems from a reaction to the Roman system by the reformation. We BECOME the righteousness of God in Christ...not WE just appear to be this righteous. The gospel has real power but not the power to deceive God as to our true condition. Rather the power of the gospel causes us to walk even as He walked (This from 1 John 2)
Ah yes, one of the most awesome passages in scripture: For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV)
This means that just as God imputed our sin and guilt to Christ (“he made him to be sin”) so God also imputes the righteousness of Christ—a righteousness that is not our own
—to all who believe in Christ. Because Christ bore the sins of those who believe, God regards and treats
believers as having the legal status of “righteousness”.
Again, it all comes down to Jesus. What we have now, as believers, all belongs too and comes from Jesus. In "the Great Exchange" God has accredited to us Jesus' perfect life, death and righteousness. It will never be 'our own'...in that we can never claim that it is our work, or goodness. We may have it, but it's always Jesus'. We receive this righteousness not because Jesus pops in now and again to take the wheel, but because we have faith in Him who redeems us. the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: (Romans 3:22 ESV)
You really must provide scripture to back up a belief system that limits followers of Christ to not become ACTUALLY cleansed from all sin.
No, no! I'm not saying where not 'cleansed' of all sin. Jesus, in His death, has wiped them all away! Our past, present and future sin are seen as nothing, because when God looks at us, He only sees Christ's righteousness. What I am saying, is that despite that grace, that forgiveness, we do still sin. We fight against it, we are grieved by it, and we know it's wrong. But we still do it. We think rude thoughts of people who wrong us. We argue with our spouses and children. We turn our back on people we should help, because it's an inconvenience to us. We argue a bit too passionately on forums...
!! We still sin! But it is the new heart within us, the freedom from sin that grace has afforded us, that allows us to see that sin for what it is; an offence against God, and repent of it, ask for forgiveness, and walk away from it. We know that repentance is still necessary for those who follow Jesus, not just because of what John said (above), but other verses as well. I like this one... Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
(Luke 15:10 ESV)
Joy before the angels of God. The angels, who stand before God praising Him. God Himself rejoices when a sinner repents! That's kind of awesome, and also a pretty hefty weight towards the fact that we should!
Paul does not say..you are filled with the Spirit but BE filled with the Spirit. The Galatians weren't doing this. I am simply seeking to encourage this.
Well, this gets into a bit of the doctrine on the Spirit, which would maybe be blowing it over the top a bit. But the bible tells us that when we are saved, we are baptised with the Holy Spirit. That is when He comes to live within us. But the Bible also talks of other 'Spirit'...um...events. There seems to be a distinction between being 'filled with' the Holy Spirit, and being 'full of' the Holy Spirit. I really haven't made an in depth study of it yet, but from what I understand being 'filled with' the Holy Spirit (above and beyond what 'normal' Christians have on a day to day basis) is when the Spirit empowers you to do something extraordinary, like heal, or speak in tongues, or know when that person over there needs your encouragement. And it also seems that being 'full of the Spirit' is something we should all be striving towards...that process of becoming more and more like Christ so that, as Paul (the Bible often talks of him withstanding and proclaiming with such conviction, peace of mind and love) does, we are full of the Spirit. But it took Paul many, many years of growth, repentance and learning to get there...and even at the end he admits he's still not perfect.
So, are we to encourage people to seek more of the Spirit's empowering? You bettcha! That's not a bad thing at all. But I strongly believe that the Bible tells us that to become 'full' of the Spirit, requires a lifelong commitment to the things of God...where to be honest, the more 'wise' we become of the things of God, the more, like Paul, we will say...'I am the chief of sinners.' No where does the bible encourage us to say 'aha! At last, I have reached the level where I am now "full" of the Spirit and perfect.' There is a big difference (vast, when considering the different natures between God and man) between straining to achieve something, and making it. Does that mean we stop trying? No...how can we? I will spend all my days trying to walk as God requires of me, but I do not...ever, expect to reach a level of perfection in line with Jesus. In fact in all the years of my Christian walk...I've only found Paul to be more wise...the more I grow, the more I see myself for a pitiful wretch desperately in need of Jesus' grace.
What sin do we do when we are abiding in Christ? Do we have a sinful Saviour?
Jesus' blood cleanses us from ALL unrighteousness...not just partially until we die. How we walk AFTER that cleansing depends on our characters...how deeply we walk in Christ depends on our faith. Do all Christians walk on water? So if one does then does that make it somehow wrong? Or should we see the work of Christ in us as a body ministry where one finds a breach in the wall for others to follow?
I've never suggested that Christ is sinful. All I'm striving to do is stick to scripture. We are told...repeatedly, that we are sinners. That we need to repent, that we need to, on our Christian walk, put to death things of the old nature and strive towards the things of Christ. Over and over we are told such things. So how can those passages be true, if, once Jesus lives 'in us' as you claim, we sin free and perfect? The answer is, they can't. Too much of the NT cannot be reconciled with the notion that here and now we can be perfect because Christ is once again living out His perfect life within us. That's just not what the bible teaches. It teaches that despite our sin, despite our rebellion, Jesus has died for us and given us, in the eyes of God, the righteousness and perfection needed to be reconciled with God.
Really, when it comes down to it, considering the number of verses that say: we are sinners. That our righteousness comes through faith in Christ, that we are to walk in a way that puts to death old things and praises God in the new. That really, the onus is on you to show how the bible promotes the idea that Jesus is actually taking over our reigns now and again and that we are now completely sin free (different from 'free from sin'...as I've explained before). I honestly can't see it. I honestly can't see the verses you give to say what you say they say! Especially given all the other verses. It's a nice idea and all...who wouldn't like Jesus to take over now and then so you don't feel like you're stuffing up all the time! Who wouldn't like to be free from sin, knowing that in any given situation you'll handle it in a godly manner. But the bible, and again, just reality, doesn't back those ideas up. We go out into the world, or just to our families, knowing that we can make godly choices, He has given us that freedom; but also knowing that it's just as likely for us to stub our toe and swear before thinking. Or that the kids decide it's a good thing to paint on the sofa, and you'll lose your temper before remembering God in the situation. The real mark of a Christian is not always being perfect...it's realising and repenting of that curse, of that temper implosion. That's what the bible teaches, and it's why the Spirit convicts us.
PS...sorry for the length...I'll cut 'em down from here on!!