Shepherd Elie Hamuli
The most common question we ask ourselves or others is if it is possible to stop sinning. The Bible says that nothing is impossible for those who believe (Mark 9:23), which implies that not sinning is also possible. It is the propensity to sin that will always exist but its existence does not imply that we should yield to it. The Devil implants a thought in your flesh in order for you to own it and subsequently act on it. However, that thought may remain in your flesh without you acting on it.
It is of vital importance to know that as a Christian, there is no sin that God cannot forgive. We have a tendency to believe that God keeps track of our transgressions but He maintains no record of sin for those who are in Jesus Christ (Read Romans 8:1). This means, that all past, present, and future sins are forgiven the moment we accept Jesus Christ. Now the understanding of the forgiveness of sin is what causes it to come to a halt, for it will not happen by our own strength but by the strength of the Almighty (God). Romans 5:19 tells us that we became sinners because Adam sinned, taking his nature and likewise became righteous by taking Christ’s nature.
Righteousness is a state of being in Christ that is not reliant on whether we do good or evil things; if it were so, it would be impossible for us to meet God’s standard; therefore we were made righteous through Christ’s obedience. Job, for example, predicated his righteousness on his performance until he later understood, and said, as a prophecy – of the coming of Christ, if only there was someone to stand between him and God. Only then will we be in the right standing with God and this is the person of Jesus Christ.
In John 8:1-11, Jesus tells the woman accused of adultery to go and sin no more. “Sin no more”, implies that there is a possibility to no longer sin. However, this is not to say that the flesh no longer exists and is made completely perfect; it still exists, with the propensity to sin. On the contrary, what it implies is that if we understand that we are not condemned, we will cease the will to sin for condemnation is what causes guilt (Read 2 Corinthians 5:17) which leads us back to sin. Furthermore, 1 John 2:1 tells us that if we sin (“if” implying that we may), we have an advocate (Jesus Christ) who pleads on our behalf.
Having said that, we are also reassured that because the Spirit of God lives in us, we have the ability to not respond to the flesh in adherence with the ‘Law of the Spirit’ (see 1 John 3:8-9). The Spirit of God motivates us to do the things that God loves. We can’t do that on our own but with the power of the Holy Spirit. As a result, we don’t willfully sin but willfully do the things that God loves (for example, reading His Word, fellowshipping, or doing good).
Thus the revelation of forgiveness of sin will break the bondage of sin. If we rely on sanctifying ourselves before approaching God, we will not have the time to deal with every single sin; we may not even recall them all, but God knows all of them. So, instead of judging our standing based on our behaviors, we should judge our behaviors from our standing because our true identities come from what Jesus did, not what we did. Notice that every mistake has an adjective; and rather than merely observing the mistakes, we appropriate the adjective to ourselves (for example, I stole so I’m a thief). We are with Christ in heavenly realms, far above any mistakes therefore we are not what we do in action (sin); this is a lie from the Devil.
Going back to the woman who was caught in adultery; according to the Law, if you are caught in adultery, you will be stoned. Notice that Jesus wrote twice on the stones. This was to show that He is the One who wrote the Law – He is Lord over the Law. Therefore, no one could cast the first stone because they had all sinned, and according to the same Law, if you break one law, you are guilty of all. Jesus was the only blameless One, He was the only One who could cast the stone on her, but He did not. For this reason, don’t let sinners condemn you while Jesus does not; when you are knowledgeable about this, you are then empowered to stop sinning.
According to Colossians 2:13, God forgives all sin. Since humans can only forgive certain sins like the ones in the present but not the ones to come, it required someone who was out of time to forgive everything [Jesus Christ]. Therefore, if you give your life to Christ, ALL your sins will be forgiven. When you accept Christ as your Saviour, you become a new person- spiritually, not a ‘newborn’, but complete in Him (see Romans 8:9). However, salvation is still an ongoing process for your soul because your mind is still accustomed to the flesh (see Romans 7:18), but when you are exposed to the Word, listen to it, and understand your position in Christ, it sets you free and reminds you of who you’ve become in Him. The body (flesh) will be saved in the future and only then will there be no propensity to sin.
Therefore, God sees you in your spirit (the new person that you are) rather than your flesh. For example, Abraham had a son, Ishmael, before Isaac but Isaac is referred to as the only son because he was a product of faith and Ishmael, a product of flesh. Furthermore, David could see, in Romans 4:6-8, that there will come a time when God won’t recognize sin in His people because of Jesus Christ.
The forgiveness of sin is crucial because the person we want to be like is Jesus, and if you want to be like Him but are afraid to approach Him, you will be distant and unable to reflect His image. If you desire to be like Him and understand that there is no condemnation in Him, you will be closer to Him and this proximity will cause you to resemble Him. Instead of being ‘sin-conscious’, be ‘forgiving-conscious’. Therefore, rather than chasing behaviors, pursue proximity. Be close to God, serve Him, and do good. Do good because the Bible tells us that we overcome evil by doing good (Read Romans 12:21). This is only possible if we are close to Him because the ‘Law of the Spirit’ will apply and help us as a result of our proximity.
Finally, the more you consider who He is, the more you desire to be like Him. We see this in the woman who heard about Jesus and that He was nearby. She went to see Him despite the fact that He was in a house full of people who would judge her (Read Luke 7:36-50). What you hear about Jesus will determine your proximity or distance from Him and sometimes what you’re seeking can be found in the spot where you’ll be judged. But just as Jesus rebuked the Pharisee based on his thoughts, He will rebuke those who judge you before they even speak!
The parable Christ used (Luke 7:41-23) helps us understand that it is only when we realize how bad we are, that will persuade us to love Him even more. With that being said, remember that God forgives all sins, regardless of our past, present, or future, and that it is our right standing with God that really matters; not our mistakes, and what He demonstrated on the cross was a sign of His great love for us (see John 3:16). Jesus Christ, the Mediator is the only person who can stand between you and God hence the more proximity there is, the more you become Christ-like. Due to this, we are filled with the Holy Spirit who motivates us to do God-loving things, preventing us from non-willful sinning. Therefore, do not let sin bully you!