On February 19, 2013 I posted this status:
"It is arrogant of us to think we don't need to repent/confess our sin to God every day."
I thought I was long done with online debates. But this status led another brother to respond, and before you knew it the debate was on. Now this debate was short compared to some of my other online debates. Also, it was a civil dialogue and I believe truth was revealed. That's why I am choosing to post this, because so many believers hear so many things that sound right but are biblically and historically inaccurate. It's hard and dangerous for believers. With access to all kinds of information, knowledge appears easier to grasp but so is confusion and distortion. So many believers are without sound biblical knowledge. Even with all this access to information, many believers still lack in sound doctrine/theology and properly interpreting Scripture. Sin has placed a veneer over our eyes from sound biblical teaching. The end times are truly upon us. Holy Spirit we need your help. Please guide us into Your truth and not our own. Give us discernment for falsehood, a desire for Your truth, and the grace and wisdom to know the difference!
This brother, whose name I purposely left out, believes that we can live without sinning here on earth. He rejected the biblical doctrine of our sinful nature. I hope my responses to him will help educate some others about this very thing as well.
His response to my status -- "I disagree. The devil couldn't do worse than sin everyday. Jesus said "Go and sin no more." We may sin again, but it shouldn't be everyday -otherwise we haven't really repented."
Me -- "I can understand why u or another would think that. But let's look at one area, do u honor/revere/esteem God perfectly in your thoughts everyday? Since no one can answer this one question with yes, therefore we fall short of the glory of God and it is arrogant of us to not express that shortcoming to God. Let's not forget that sin is not secluded to that which is manifested in the physical, but also our thoughts and emotions.
My status was not to incur any negative reactions, but rather humble introspection of our utter dependency and submission unto Jesus and confrontation of our pride."
Him -- "Chris, as of yet I'm not, but that gives me no excuse according to Matthew 22:37. I don't think Jesus was joking when He said that in that passage. And how do you know no one can answer the question with "yes"? You have to be omniscient to know that.
No negativity here, just being real with what the Word says bro."
Me -- "I never said nor does my status imply that we have an excuse to sin bcuz we're sinners. Sanctification ensures us that over time we will continue to look more like Christ and better manage our sinful nature. Thus, we have no excuse to not confess our sins. Apostle John, writing to believers, said that if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us and we call God a liar, and in confessing our sin Jesus is faithful & just to purify us (1Jn. 1:8-10).
And no I'm not all-knowing, but the Word says no one could answer yes (Eccl. 7:20, Prov. 20:9)."
Him -- "faithful and just to purify us...from all unrighteousness (gotta add that part in there when referencing that passage, its important)." And what about the next verses in 1Jn. 2:1-6? And all of 1Jn. Chapter 3?
Eccl 7:20 is comparable to Rom. 3:23, both of which reference sin in the past tense (which I agree, hence all need Jesus because all sinned). Why else would Solomon end it like in he did in 12:13-14? Regarding Prov. 20:9, only the blood of Jesus can clean our heart and purify us, not ourselves -so that passage makes sense.
Chris, what God has shown me recently is that its not a sin to obey Him. In fact, He requires it! Salvation is conditional upon ones repentance, faith, and walking in obedience until the very end. The "sinful nature" (which I discovered to be invented, coming from gnosticism) only gives people an excuse why they can't fully obey Him with a pure heart as He demands. I won't be offended if you don't believe me, but I would encourage you to check this out when you have the time (and others as well):
Be blessed bro!"
Me -- "Yeah, I didn't add the last part of that verse bcuz its included in the "purify", we're being made clean from something...I.e. unrighteousness.
As for the other verses, they were to simply show that we sin, none of us are perfect. All of our perfection & righteousness is in Christ, not us. God sees us as perfect & righteous bcuz of Christ, not bcuz we're actually perfect & righteous.
And Augustine didn't corrupt the church with gnostic doctrine. Gnosticism was around long b4 Augustine. John was battling that belief in 1Jn (so was Paul when he wrote Colossians). That's why John wrote that we do sin, bcuz the gnostic teachers were teaching that matter was evil and spirit is good and freedom from bondage/control comes through special, higher knowledge (higher than Scripture). So they justified and dismissed their sin (and their continual sinning) bcuz matter is evil. But John spoke against that in the remaining chapters, he taught that while none of us are without sin, born-again believers do not continue on living in sin.
As for our salvation being conditional, there is only one condition God's grace! Yes it is us who respond in faith, but our faith is nothing if not for His grace first. And repentance isn't a condition of our salvation, it's the evidence. Our obedience is an evidence of the Holy Spirit. So yes we repent and we obey to the very end. Yes we have victory in areas of our lives. Yes we are growing & maturing each day, becoming more like Christ. But we still fall short every day bcuz we're not perfect, none of us can live up to God's standards perfectly. Plus, even though we're a new creation, we're still warring with our carnal/sinful nature (Gal. 5:16-17, Rom. 7:15-25). Our perfection is our glorification."
Him -- "I'd rather not prolong the discussion. I just want to highly suggest that you both at least watch the video that's on the site. Even the Early Church didn't believe in the sinful nature as you will see."
Me -- "I respect ur decision to not prolong this discussion. And I will end it here, after I respond to ur false statement.
To say the early church didnt believe in the “sinful nature” is a misnomer, since JESUS and the Apostles themselves (the 1st century church) are where we get the “flesh/carnal/sinful nature” from. Here are a few:
- ...our flesh serves the law of sin & sin is in our members (Rom. 7:21-25)
- ...our flesh wars against the Spirit (Gal. 5:17)
- …temptations are common and not to be underestimated (1Cor. 10:13-14)
- …temptations come from our fleshly desires/carnal nature (Jam. 1:13-15)
- …our tongue—which is among our members—is a world of iniquity and it CANNOT be tamed (Jam. 3:2-8)
- …it is a sin to NOT do all the good u know all the time (Jam. 4:17)
- …fleshly desires war in our members (Jam. 4:1)
- …we are not without sin (1Jn. 1:8-10)
- …fleshly lusts war against our soul (1Pet. 2:11)
JESUS Himself says
- …what comes out our mouth (our tongue) comes from our heart (our members) (Matt. 15:18)
- …it is “impossible” to “not” be tempted to sin (Lk. 17:1, Matt. 18:7)
Brother, I hope u can see that this teaching about the flesh/carnal/sinful nature finds it’s roots in the NT. They were writing these things in their letters to fellow believers (the 1st century church). It is a biblical reality. If u still don’t see it, then may the Spirit have His way.