IS SINLESS PERFECTION POSSIBLE

1 John 3:9-10

 

I.Intro.

A.the devil has deceived people in many ways and with many false doctrines, and the error of sinlessness is one of them

B.many people struggle between two seemingly contradictory teachings of the Scripture

1.on the one hand the Scripture clearly declares the grace and forgiveness of God, toward those who believe

2.on the other hand Scripture affirms the absolute need for holy living

C.can a Christian attain sinless perfection in this life; how "sinless" is "sinless perfection"

1.are we sinless because we are forgiven, cleansed and given the Holy Spirit -- absolutely not

2.we are given a new nature, but the old nature has not been removed

D.because so many are influence by this false doctrine, it is necessary to see what the Word of God says

II.what is the biblical definition of sin - 1 John 3:4

A.any command by God that is not obeyed perfectly would be defined as sin

1.one would have to be perfectly righteous to say that they do not sin any longer - 1 John 5:17

2.everything we do would be included in the test - Romans 14:23

3.not doing what we know to be good, is the sin - James 4:17

4.with these basic guidelines we can understand what the Bible defines as sin

B.everyone has sin in their life - Romans 3:10, 12

1.believers and non-believers alike

2.Jesus told he rich young ruler that only God was good - Mark 10:18

a)only God by His nature does good and does it all the time

b)we have a fallen nature and for this reason we need to be born again, or have a spiritual birth

3.Adam brought sin into this world, and it resulted in both spiritual and physical death for him

a)we die physically because Adam’s sin was passed on to all succeeding generations

b)we are all born with a built-in death warrant, which is our sin nature, which we have inherited from Adam

c)when we are born, we are already spiritually dead, separated from God - Psalms 51:5, Job 14:4

III.after we have a new nature we can do good; it comes from our new nature, not the old - Rom 7:18

A.what happens when a sinner is saved - Ephesians 2:1

1.this verse teaches us that a person becomes alive spiritually when he is saved

2.before being saved, a person is "dead" spiritually, not dead physically; the flesh is not dead

3.when the sinner is saved, he becomes "alive" spiritually

a)this has nothing to do with the old flesh, but with inner spiritual life in Christ

b)the flesh has been alive all along

c)now the soul is quickened to life, or united to Christ's life

4.God's Spirit is the Agent who "quickens" a sinner to spiritual life - John 3:5-6

a)the flesh is unaffected by a persons spiritual birth

b)the flesh is absolutely unprofitable in every respect, and never becomes profitable

c)the flesh is carnal, not spiritual

B.the two natures

1.when a person is saved, he is "quickened" to life; to spiritual life in Christ, by the Spirit of God

2.the Christian now has two natures that are alive:  he has the fleshly nature and the spiritual nature

a)his spiritual nature was once "dead" (without Christ), but is now alive

b)the fleshly nature is the nature that we receive from Adam at our physical birth

c)our spiritual nature is the nature we received from Christ when we are born again

3.Paul tells us about these two natures of a Christian - Galatians 5:17

a)the fleshly nature and the spiritual nature are at war with each other

b)believers still sin, and it is because we still have a sinful nature

c)both the spiritual nature and the fleshly nature are in every born-again child of God - Rom 7:22-25

C.many say we are no longer sinners because we are now saints

1.this is a problem of language meaning

2.in a legal sense we are not sinners, but in practice we are still sinful

3.Christian have had a positional change as well as a nature change or addition

4.the sin nature is in all mankind, and NO man on earth is without this fallen nature

5.all have been born with it, and when we are born again we do not lose it

6.when we are born again, it is put aside as the ruling power over us

D.the word “saint” used for the believers show’s ones new position in Christ, they are set aside for His service, and separate from the world

1.Saints are sinners saved by God’s grace, they have a new nature along with the old nature of sin in their body

2.when we identify someone as a sinner, it means they have a lifestyle of sin and unbelief, but this does not mean that we who are saints no longer sin

3.Christians still have a sin nature, but we also practice holiness, which no sinner can

E.we are told that we should walk in the newness of life and obey from the heart - Rom 6:4, Eph 6:6

1.this implies that we have a choice in either fulfilling or failing in what we are asked to do

2.throughout Romans 6, Paul speaks of the choices a believers should make – 2, 6, 12, 13, 16

F.if we looks at the children of God throughout history, we would find that none ever claimed a spiritual condition of sinlessness

1.look at Abraham, or Isaac, or Jacob, or Job; Moses, David, Peter, John, or Paul

2.none of them claimed to be absolutely perfect, and not guilty of any act of sin – Romans 7:15

G.Paul’s had a solution to reducing sin in one’s life - 1 Corinthians 9:27

1.if Paul were sinless, there would be no reason to bring his flesh into submission, it would already be submitted

2.Paul’s greatest adversary was his own body

3.by self-discipline he gives it knockout blows

IV.does not our text teach sinless perfection, as some claim – 1John 3:9-10

A.this cannot mean we are now sinless, because it would contradict what is said previously in the book       - 1 John 1:8-2:1

1.if “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin” means perfect holiness and teaches the doctrine of sinless perfection; it means that all Christians are to be perfect, not some of them

a)this verse does not speak of a special group of born of God believers who are perfect

b)this verse does not teach that it is impossible for the Christian to sin

2.this verse teaches that it is impossible to be born of God, and to go on sinning as we once did

B.the new nature battles against the old to overcome it

1.he who is born again does not CONTINUALLY sin, and is not a HABITUAL sinner as he was before he came to know Jesus

2.the born again believer has no urge to sin as he once did, because he was driven by his fallen nature

3.he who is born again will not continue in, or like their sin

4.if anyone continually and habitually sins, and does not feel ill about it, it may prove that he has NEVER been spiritually renewed

5.”commit” means to abide, agree, continue without any delay, hold, and tarry

C.sin has its roots in the heart, and influences the intellect and will, and finds expression through the body  - Matt 15:19-20

1.to say we have no sin is to claim we have not reacted to any temptation

2.the closer we grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ, the more we will see our sinfulness

3.to claim that we are no longer a sinner in any fashion, and no longer sin, shows how far away we are from the Lord and His word

V.our struggle with temptation and sin is proof of our salvation

A.when we are saved, a battle begins between our saved soul and our unsaved body - Romans 7:18-25

1.as long as any person has flesh, that flesh will be serving sin

2.it will always be warring against the spiritual mind

3.only when we are delivered from "this body of death," will we be delivered from sin completely

B.the absence of struggle between body and soul means that the body has won and the soul is given over to sinfulness

1.the flesh does not become justified, it will be gotten rid of

2.if the struggle between body and soul ends, it can only mean that the flesh has won

C.those who think they have attained "sinless perfection" are the most unfortunate of us all

1.not only do they remain sinners, contrary to their claim; but because they refuse to admit their sinfulness, they cannot receive the grace of Christ which can help them do better

2.the believer’s purity is in Christ

3.the saint is not sinless, but they sin less

D.only a hypocrite would profess to be perfect in the flesh

1.the greatest believers in the Bible never boasted of being perfect in the flesh - Phil 3:12-14

2.the man who claims any perfection except that perfection which we have in Christ, is a hypocrite

3.he is not sinless in the flesh, and simply lies if he says that he is

4.he is exactly like the Pharisees of old, who thought that they were sinless in the flesh also

5.this doctrine will make an infidel out of a man, because anyone with a little common sense realizes that he cannot be perfect in the flesh

6.we do not have to be a hypocrite or an infidel; if we will just study our Bible and believe it