Often, when I speak to groups of students or ministers, I give them God’s goal for us as individual believers. That goal is to never sin again. I realize that sounds impossible, but God does not seem to think so. He sees us like He sees Jesus. And, if Jesus never sinned, and we have the same Holy Spirit living in us, and even more of the Word of God available, why shouldn’t we live a life above sin? I then ask them if they have lived a life without sin and immediately tell them not to raise their hands. If they did, they would be lying and lying is a sin. None of us have reached that goal, but it is still not too much to ask to keep shooting for it.
Set Your Goal High
“Now to him (God) who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).
God would rather us shoot for the moon and miss it than to shoot for the ceiling and make it. Since God plans on presenting us faultless to Himself in heaven, He simply asks you, “why wait until then?” Your witness before the world is not only your testimony and witness by the Word, but also by a changed lifestyle. What good is being born again if your life does not change as much on the outside as it did on the inside?
I think the real issue is not that we have reached a point of not sinning anymore, but that we are making progress? Is it your goal each day to walk closer to God than yesterday and not sin today? Then you should be able to look at your life and realize you do not sin as much now as you did five or ten years ago. Your salvation on the inside is making a difference on the outside. You are walking down a path that is growing brighter every day.
This life I am speaking of before the world has nothing to do with your own salvation. It has everything to do with leading others to the Lord. You are still saved, even when you sin or even leave the church you attend. Stupid Christians are still Christians. You have simply put your lamp under a basket. You are not to live your life for yourself. God left you here after salvation to affect the lives of others. This is part of the Great Commission of winning the world to Jesus, by word and by deed.
But What If We Do Sin?
There is not one of us who has reached a point of total holiness in our daily life. Yet, it should be our daily goal. While God instructs us not to sin, He also tells us what to do if we do sin.
“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you do not sin. And if anyone does sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1,2)
John, through the Holy Spirit, tells us one reason God gave us His word is so we can walk free from sin. David said, “Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). Yet, like David, we still sin at times.
Notice, though, that John says to the ones who are not supposed to sin, “and if any man does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” This verse reflects back on verse 9 from chapter 1. 1 John 1:9 was not given to us as a license to sin, but a license to serve God. Without the confession and forgiveness of sins as a believer, we would never be able to make spiritual progress. But also, sin is not removed to allow us to sin again, but to get rid of our obstacles so we can move on again. 1 John 2:2 goes on to say that Jesus is the One who forgives the sins of the sinner and of the righteous as well. His blood cleanses us at the point of salvation and after.
Jesus Also Told Us to Walk Free From Sin
After Jesus healed a sick man, He told him, “go and sin no more lest a worse thing come on you”. He told a woman caught in adultery also to “go and sin no more.” Did the man and woman probably sin again? Of course. But what do you think the Lord would say to them after He forgave them again? “Go and sin no more.” This is what He says to us each time He forgives us. “I did not forgive you to sin again, but to walk free from it.” Our goal each day should be to sin no more.
The way to stop sinning is not to vow never to sin again or stomp our feet, stand on a Bible and make a commitment to God not to sin anymore. The flesh cannot clean up the flesh. The way to stop sinning is to grow up. Maturity in the word and maturity in our walk in the Holy Spirit is the answer to putting down the lusts of the flesh. “If we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” And, the word was given to us “that we might not sin against God.”
Satan is not bigger than the Holy Spirit living in us and he is not bigger than our renewed mind filled with God’s word.
Peter’s Word to Us
Second Peter is Peter’s final words before he died. He had come a long way from the disciple who was rebuked by Jesus for listening to the voice of Satan and for his foolish statements. And he has come a long way from the one who denied the Lord before the crucifixion. Peter has now become a strong and mature believer able to instruct other ministers and believers. Chapter one of 2 Peter is a monument to the importance of the Word of God. Peter leaves his growth and understanding in the Word as a testimony. Whether people remember Peter or not is not important. Peter only wants them to remember these “exceeding great and precious promises.”
For if these things (exceeding great and precious promises) are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble (2 Peter 1:8-10).
Peter makes some amazingly powerful statements in these three verses. He first says that if the promises of God are in us, “they make us” not to be barren or unfruitful. We are not self-made Christians, but word made. When the Word of God controls your thinking, you become fruitful and productive in the world God has left you in. The world needs more disciples, not just Christians. A disciple indeed is one who “continues in God’s word” after salvation (John 8:31, 32).
But Peter also goes on to say what happens to the believer who does not continue in the word but follows after his own thinking and reasoning when confronting the world’s point of view, Satan and demons. “He who lacks these things (promises of the word) is shortsighted, even to blindness.” Not only is a sinner considered to be blind, but so is a believer who is ignorant of God’s word. He has no guidance or spiritual sight in this world of darkness. He is considered a carnal Christian, a stupid believer. Peter also says, “He has forgotten he was cleansed from his old sins.” A spiritually immature believer thinks he has lost his salvation, or perhaps was never saved in the first place. He is never sure from day to day if he truly is born again. So he runs from church service to church service trying to recommit himself to the Lord.
I never wonder if I am born again. I do not need another dedication service to know I am a child of God. I am born again because the word says I am born again. If I ever doubt my salvation, I go to God’s word because “these things I write to you that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). In the face of doubt, I simply say to Satan what Jesus said to him, “it is written.” I doubt my doubts. I do not doubt God’s word.
Finally, Peter said, “therefore brethren, give more diligent to make your calling and election sure, (daily growth), for if you do these things (follow the promises) you will never stumble (sin).”
How would you like to live a life where you never fall? How would you like to set this as your daily goal and fulfill it by the end of the day? You can. Set you goal high. God will be proud of you. If you fail to hit your goal, repent, get back up and keep on going. Every hero of faith failed but got back up. The way to fall less is to get back up and keep on moving. Practice helps you quit falling. A child falls many times, but by getting back up falls less and less each day. He may even fall as an adult, but it is so rare, it takes him by surprise. Wouldn’t it be nice that if you failed and sinned, you were surprised? “When was the last time I sinned. I can’t remember.” What a nice way to live. It is possible because God said it is.