“So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin.” (Romans 7:14 NLT)
In a recent conversation with a man whom I believe is a man of God, a man who has walked with Jesus for many years, he made a statement in a “matter of fact” way. He said: “I sin more or less every day.” So, my question to him was “why?”
We discussed the subject, but his “go-to” passage was in Romans 7, specifically the verse above where Paul says he is “a slave to sin.” The fact of the matter is, we were all slaves to sin before we came to Jesus, but to pull a verse out of context and use it as a proof text is not only dangerous, but it can also be very misleading.
The fact remains, if you want to stay true to Scripture, you can’t interpret one passage without understanding it in light of surrounding passages, and, ultimately, in light of the whole of Scripture. The Bible does not contradict itself, yet, if you take a verse like the one above without understanding it’s context, it seems to contradict other passages.
For example, in chapter 6:1-2 Paul wrote: “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of His wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” So, is Paul speaking out of both sides of his mouth? Is he saying we die to sin, but still live in it?
No, he isn’t. He’s essentially saying that the role the law plays in our life is to reveal that we are sinners who have no hope of ever keeping the law, thus hopeless to ever be good enough to save ourselves and be in a right relationship with God. God judges us based on the law; therefore, we have only two choices. Try to keep the law ourselves, which is humanly impossible, or trust what Jesus accomplished on the Cross when He died to pay the penalty for our sin, reflected in our inability to keep the law of God.
The law demands perfect obedience or death. Since no one but Jesus was able to keep the law, He alone was able to pay the sin debt we owed. So, we have only one of two choices: trust our own goodness, which is futile, or trust the sacrifice that Jesus made in our place. That, to me, is a no-brainer.
But the plot thickens because we maintain a measure of allegiance to our Adamic-sin nature for as long as we walk in this body of clay. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all our sin the moment we yield our life and allegiance to Him, but He doesn’t free us from future sin or take away our ability to still sin.
Yes, of course, Jesus’ death made appropriation for every sin we’d ever commit, but I believe it’s a violation of Scripture to tell someone that every sin they ever will commit is already forgiven. Appropriation for forgiveness, yes, already forgiven, no.
If that was the case, why would John write in 1 John 2:1: “My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if (not when) anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father.”
There’s a lot more that could be said, but suffice it to say, NO, a believer has no obligation to sin. Sin is a choice we make, and when we’re compelled by the Holy Spirit to walk faithfully with the Lord, our goal and desire is to walk in a manner that honors the Lord, not dishonor Him.
Blessings, Ed 😊
3 thoughts on “Must Believers Sin?”
The Bible also says that none are holy except Christ. We are conforming to be more like Him after we are born again. However; when we win against one sin, the Holy Spirit reveals another to us. If you are called, this continues until we go to meet our Savior.
I hate when people ask are you saved. You see, it’s like this… if you are in a car wreck, which I was, you aren’t saved until you are taken to the hospital, away from the wreckage.
It’s the same with God. We aren’t saved until we are out of this hostile world. We are never sinless. If you believe you are, you have the sin of pride.
Thank you, Kimmey, for sharing your insights. I respect your opinion and am grateful for your willingness to share. Blessings, Ed
Many good questions and I appreciated the brief video very much. Thanks for sharing.