I want to take a moment and present something that I’m sure will be met with much resistance by the “religious know-it-alls” who can’t seem to comprehend the shear magnitude of such biblical principles as salvation. So much of the time I hear the outright religious lie that Believers sin daily in word, thought, or deed. I want to propose to you that not only is it possible but should be the norm that Believers in Yahweh, followers of Yeshua, and recipients of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) can achieve a place of sinlessness in this lifetime.
Now, most people who got this far in this message have already concluded that I have gone too far in saying such a thing. But I will ask that you hear me out for just a little bit.
Years ago there was a book published that was quite popular in many Churches—it was being used as a discipleship guide throughout Christian circles. The book, by Neil T. Anderson, is titled Victory Over The Darkness. Anderson says, “The New Testament clearly states that we are saints who sin. Children of God who say they don’t sin are called liars (see 1 John 1:8).”
This is what happens when someone takes a single verse out of the text and applies it out of context. It’s called proof-texting and can be dangerous. Now, there is nothing necessarily wrong with using a single verse from Scripture to back up your position, just so long as you are using it in the proper context. Anderson is trying to use this verse to claim that saints sin. The use of the word saints indicates that he is referring to those he considers Christians or Believers.
1 John 1:8 clearly does say: “If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” But we find context in verses 9 and 10, where John continues: “ If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” See, in verse 8 John was dealing with the unsaved sinner who needs to confess their sins and repent. He follows by noting that true repentance results in being purified from all unrighteousness and then noting that there is a transition—if the Believer says they have not (past tense) sinned they make God a liar.
We’ll come back to John’s epistle in a moment. For now I want to go back for just a moment to where the whole sin problem began.
Back To The Beginning
Recently I put out a message titled: Hath God Said? In that message I drew focus to the scenario known as the fall of man, which we can read about in Genesis 3.
The common doctrine is that prior to this event of the fall of man it is believed that man was without sin. Of course, as we read through the first two chapters of Genesis everything is called good. There was no evil, no sin, and Adam was perfect in every way. He was made in the image of God, whole and complete.
But as we know from the story, that serpent slipped in and deceived first the woman, Eve, who in turn convinced Adam to partake of that one tree they weren’t supposed to eat from. At that point, there was something added to the human nature that wasn’t there before: SIN.
Now, some try to debate about the notion of original sin, which is the doctrine that says humanity is born with a sin nature as a result of the fall. So often I get weary of these types of debates. Scripture is very clear: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). It really doesn’t matter if you are born with a sin nature or somewhere along the way you become a sinner in need of a Savior, all have sinned and all need to be saved.
Entire courses in Bible Colleges and Seminaries are committed to soteriology (the study of salvation), yet the whole thing is so simple. It’s the most basic math equation: addition and subtraction on a kindergarten level. If you know that 1+1=2 and 2-1=1 then you can understand the depths of soteriology.
Man was created in the image and likeness of God Himself (Genesis 1:26). God, of course, is wholly without sin. Therefore when humanity allowed sin to enter their lives way back there in Genesis 3 it became: Man in the image of God + sin = fallen humanity in need of redemption. This should mean that the opposite equation would be: Fallen humanity in need of redemption – sin = man once again wholly in the image of God, without sin.
It seems so simple, and yet in its simplicity it is so difficult for the masses who have been manipulated by religion to comprehend. Why? Because organized religions needs you to believe that you cannot be free from sin in this life and that you sin daily in word, thought, or deed. This is how corporate religion maintains its hold over your life. They tell you all you need is Messiah’s finished work on the cross, but if that were truly all you needed then you would have no need for the Church.
Let me tell you a secret that career pastors who earn a living running a corporate church don’t want you to know: There is nothing commanded in Scripture that requires the modern church system for you to obey it. Even commandments regarding fellowship and not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together can be accomplished without “going to church” in the sense most know it today. In fact, that whole thing about assembling together implies you should do it frequently, even daily, and that is something most structured modern churches simply cannot accomplish.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to Churches or what they offer. Unlike many who teach along the same lines as I do, I am very much an advocate of what many today call “The Church”. I just want to make sure you are also aware that there is a lot of corruption in Churches and, because of what structured religion has become, in many cases they feel the need to manipulate their parishioners into needing them. That’s why many times the ultimate goal of a Church seems to be first to get you to become a member and second a committed volunteer. There is nothing wrong with either of those things, but the motives behind them are often concerning.
Have you ever heard someone talk about freedom in Christ or Christian liberty as if this is some type of free pass to openly sin or just ignore certain commandments, usually labeling them obsolete? These people confuse the message of freedom through Messiah.
The Bible is very clear in Matthew 1:21 that Yeshua’s mission is to save His people FROM THEIR SINS. 1 John 3:4 is equally clear in defining sin as the transgression of God’s Torah. So the main thing you are supposed to be free from as a born-again Believer is the transgression of the Torah.
1 John 2:4 says that a person who claims to know God but does not keep the commandments is a liar and the truth is not in them. 2 Peter 3:15-17 says that it is the lawless, not those who live according to God’s Laws, that twist Scripture, and that they do this to their own destruction.
Be very careful about anyone who would twist the Word of God, especially the Apostolic Writings, to present a false view of freedom in Christ or Christian liberty that seeks to claim that you have no obligation to obey things in The Bible. I recently engaged with a “pastor” in a particular denomination who claimed God anointed him to preach against this type of teaching. He offered that I listen to a message where he was “preaching against my teachings”. I listened to his message and he openly mocked God’s Sabbath, saying “I ate bacon with unwashed hands on The Sabbath and God didn’t strike me down”. I have to say, that is easily one of the top most brazen statements against obeying Scripture I have ever heard by a “Christian pastor”. While Ananias and Sapphira may have been struck down immediately—at least the text suggests it happened that way—most of the time God gives people plenty of time, even decades, to repent after sending a Prophet to rebuke them. So of course God would not strike down this “pastor” for eating pork on the Sabbath mere days after I attempted to present the truth to him.
We are free FROM sin, not free TO sin. This “pastor” said to me: “I don’t keep myself from stealing because I try to obey the law or because I memorize the Ten Commandments. I don’t steal because I can’t. Christ lives in me and through me.” I said back to him: “I don’t not eat pork just because I am trying to obey the Law. I don’t eat pork (or shellfish or whatever else is on the list) BECAUSE I CAN’T, BECAUSE CHRIST… THE JEWISH MESSIAH WHO WOULD NEVER EAT IT, LIVES IN ME.” Yet somehow when I use the same logic regarding a commandment he thinks is not imposed on him I am wrong. This is the deception of the heretical views held by those who say they are “not under the law” and have freedom in Christ FROM God’s Torah.
You CAN Stop Sinning
Christ suffered while he was in his body. So you should strengthen yourselves with the same kind of thinking Christ had. The one who accepts suffering in this life has clearly decided to stop sinning.
~1 Peter 4:1 (ERV)
I was looking through various translations of this passage, as most versions of The Bible read in a way that could cause confusion. Then I happened upon the ERV, a translation that was developed to be easier to read for deaf Believers.
Many versions read a bit different, such as the popular King James Bible that states the text to say: “For inasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind, for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.” Some would contend that the reference to ceasing to sin is attributed to Messiah Himself, others that it is a reference to the Believer only after entering eternity. But, as I stated at the beginning of this message, I want to contend that this ceasing to sin is attainable in this lifetime. Take a moment to look at these excerpts from some of the most regarded Bible Commentaries:
If a Christian becomes dead in a moral sense—dead to this world, dead by being crucified with Christ (see the notes at Galatians 2:20)—he may be expected to cease from sin. The reasoning is based on the idea that there is such a union between Christ and the believer that his death on the cross secured the death of the believer to the world.
—Barnes Notes On The New Testament, Albert Barnes
The words that follow, however, make this interpretation impossible, and the “ceasing from sin” must therefore be understood of that “deadness to sin,” “sin no longer having dominion over us,” of which St Paul speaks in Romans 6:7-11.
—The Cambridge Bible For Schools And Colleges, E.H. Plumtre, D.D.
The apostle spoke first of the Master; now he turns to the disciple.
—The Pulpit Commentary, H.D.M. Spence and Joseph S. Excell
In looking at these statements it becomes apparent that it is a valid and longstanding theological view that Peter’s statement indeed does indicate a Believer reaching a state of sinlessness and that this can—and perhaps should—be what occurs in their lifetime on the earth. This may seem inconceivable to the mind of someone who has always been told this is impossible, but I think if we properly define sin we will be able to better comprehend a salvation that results in sinlessness.
1 John 3:4, which I have already mentioned once, reads this way in the Complete Jewish Bible translation: “Everyone who keeps sinning is violating Torah — indeed, sin is violation of Torah.” It is commonly stated that there are 613 individual commandments in the Torah, though some lists have a few more or a few less. It is further concluded that about half of these commandments are exclusive toward Levite priests, those who hold judicial positions, Temple practices, and a handful of other things that excludes every Believer from an obligation to do them.
Of the remaining commandments, most Believers today would still not argue against following them, regardless of how deep their “not under the law” deception runs in their mind. Think about it—nobody says “we’re not under the law” as an excuse to murder, lie, steal, commit adultery, or numerous other things. It’s almost always a handful of things this statement is made regarding, and the most common things this excuse is used for are keeping the Sabbath, celebrating the biblical Feasts, following the food laws of clean and unclean meats, and not taking the ways of pagan religions and turning them into the worship of Yahweh (Christmas and Easter appear to fall into this category)
Romans 3:20 says: “For no human, on the basis of Torah observance, will be set right in His sight—for through the Torah comes awareness of sin.” This makes it very clear that it is impossible to be saved simply by obeying the Torah. But it also makes clear the importance the Torah plays in salvation. No, you cannot earn or maintain salvation through keeping The Law. But how can you even be saved if you don’t know what you are being saved from? Paul goes on to say in Romans 7:7: “What shall we say then? Is the Torah sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the Torah. For I would not have known about coveting if the Torah had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’” Neither would you know eating pork is a sin except the Torah says: “The pig, though it has a split, divided hoof, does not chew cud, so it is unclean to you. You are not to eat meat from them, nor are you to touch their carcasses. They are unclean to you” (Lev. 11:7-8, TLV).
So, contrary to popular belief, it seems that Paul’s attitude of Torah was not “we’re not under the law, we don’t need to follow Torah anymore”. Rather, he was in favor of Torah in that it reveals what sin is (1 John 3:4), giving us the ability to identify sin and overcome it. In fact, Paul’s entire defense of himself in Jerusalem was: “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way (which they call a sect), I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything written in the Torah and the Prophets” (Acts 24:14). Matthew 1:21 tells us that Messiah’s name will be Yeshua, which literally means salvation, because He will save His people from their sin. Romans 6:14, where the misconception comes from, actually says: “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” If you take “not under the law” and separate it from the context of “sin shall not be master over you”, then you are quickly on your way to embracing one of the greatest deceptions in Christianity.
Let’s take a moment to put some of this together before I wrap this up. Sin is the transgressing of Torah (1 John 3:4). Yeshua came to save us from sin (Matthew 1:21). Sin shall not be master over you (Romans 6:14). So then, Yeshua came to save you from violating Torah and transgression of Torah will not dominate you. That’s what it’s saying! That’s basic soteriology. Peter, Paul, and John all seem to be of a belief that salvation is validated in ceasing to sin. Now, if you still think what I am proposing is just an impossibility, let me show you what God said in the Torah about keeping the Torah.
“For this mitzvah that I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it far off. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, ‘Who will go up for us to the heavens and get it for us, and have us hear it so we may do it?’ Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross over for us to the other side of the sea and get it for us, and have us hear it so we may do it?’ No, the word is very near to you—in your mouth and in your heart, to do it.”
~Deuteronomy 30:11-14 (TLV)
Think about that—God says it is EASY to obey His Torah. The very thing religion tells everyone is impossible God says is easy. Let me ask you a simple question: Do you believe some preacher or do you believe God?
Religion needs you to believe it is impossible to obey The Bible because as long as you believe that you will continue to sin and as long as you continue to sin under the deception of religion you will need religion instead of needing God. The moment you realize that you can overcome sin you suddenly no longer need structured religion. You will then be submitted wholly to God alone and you can truly fellowship with true Believers—those who have also overcome sin—and you will be fully empowered to lead others into this truth, whether you need to lead them out of the world or out of religion and the “Church crowd”.
The late Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones is credited as once having said, “Sin means that our lives are governed by desires and not by truth.” When you get right down to it, it really is just that simple. You can live a wholly sinless life if you are wholly submitted to God and His Word. Torah is simply the instructions in God’s Word. So if you are submitted to God and His Word, you will obey His Torah, and that means you will not sin because sin is the transgressing of His Torah.
I would love to take time to dive into the distinction between sins done in ignorance and sins of intent, how Yeshua as advocate plays into that, and numerous other important points. Perhaps in a future message I will dive into that more and show how it all ties into this. But for now I want to encourage you to really take time to think about what I have shared in this brief message. Can we truly find a place of sinless living in this world? I believe we can, and I believe the only reason we don’t see people finding that place is because they have bought into the lies and deception imposed by religion from the greatest liar of all time: Satan, the serpent that always asks you to question God with that infamous question he asked from the very beginning: Hath God Said?
As with so many things, it all comes down to faith and what you are willing to believe. Religion tells you one thing, The Bible tells you something completely different. Religion tells you it is impossible to stop sinning, that you must sin daily in word, thought, or deed. The Bible tells you that you can stop sinning. Believe religion if you want. I choose to believe The Bible.
~Blessings and Shalom~