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Why do I still sin?

stressedChrist in you (part 2)

In the previous article  ‘Christ in you’, I made a radical statement. I said Christ in you cannot sin.  What do I mean by that? Does it mean that a born again believer never sins again? John in his first Epistle seems to indeed say that:

The believer cannot sin?

1 John 3:9 “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

1 John 5:18 “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.”

Indeed, he also say that if you commit sin you are of the devil! You can’t get much more black and white than that!

1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

However we do sin?

However, we all know from own experience, that even after we are born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, even though we desire to live holy, a completely sinless life is not a reality and is probably not even possible. Indeed, John himself a few verses later seems to contradict himself and confirms this by the following verses:

1 John 1:8 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

1 John 2:1 “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, (aorist tense, one off) we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”

So, what is John saying. Does he really mean a believer cannot commit sin?

A believe does not practice sin

Firstly, a better translation of 1 John 3:9,  1 John 5:8 and 1 John 3:8 would be ‘practice sin’ as translated in the ASV. This is because the tense of the verb ‘sin’ is not ‘aorist’ (sinning in a moment of time, even once – see verse above 1 John 2:1), but ‘present active’ or sinning continually.

Therefore, John is saying that a true believer may sin in moment of time but doesn’t sin continually – or practice sin. In fact, if he or she does sin continually, then there are grave doubts that they ever knew Christ in the first place!

1 John 3:6 “No one who sins (present active)  has seen him or known him!”

A believer practices righteousness

However, I don’t believe the above explanation, although technically correct, is the complete answer because John not only talks about practicing sin, he talks about practicing righteousness. See the following scriptures:

1 John 2:29 “If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of him”

1 John 3:7 “Little children, let no one deceive you, the one who practices righteousness is righteous even as he is righteous”

1 John 3:10 “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious, anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God”

Now this is problematic, because John uses the same present active tense to describe righteousness! In other words, a believer practices righteousness –  he or she doesn’t just do occasional acts of righteousness, like an unbeliever might. No, they constantly and continually do righteousness.

Now, we can easily cope with the idea that we occasionally sin but can we honestly say that we practice righteousness day in day out? Well, John says if you don’t then you’re not born again! There must be a more complete answer – and there is!

I believe, that in context, the Apostle John is describing who we are in the spirit. In other words our spirit man (christ in us) practices righteousness and cannot sin.

So, why do we still want to sin?

So, if we have christ in us and we have a brand new nature inside of us as we believe, why do we still want to sin as well as want to do whats right? Have we got two natures now, a sinful nature and a christ like nature that are locked in some sort of mortal combat or tug of war? Or, are we schizophrenic with some kind of weird personality disorder because for many of us that’s certainly what it feels like?

No, I don’t believe that is the case. You don’t have two natures. You have one new nature. However,  the scripture does indeed suggest that there are two opposing forces – the flesh and the spirit at war inside you!

Gal 5:17 “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”

The conflict of desire

Paul describes a similar conflict of desire in Romans 7:

Romans 7:15 “For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do but I am doing the thing I hate. 

Romans 7:16 “But if I do the very thing I do not wish to do I agree with the Law confessing that its is good.”

In affect, what he is saying is that even though he doesn’t want to do bad things, he has no power to actually stop doing bad things – even if he wants to. So, becoming monk, hiding away from the world and from all temptation to sin, will not change the fact – that even in a monastery sin is with you. The war carries on relentless:

Romans 7:23 “I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members”

Unfortunately, even though you are born again, you still carry around the body of death, your mortal flesh: mind, memories, emotions, will, sexual drive and so on.

Romans 7:24 “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

As Paul says in an earlier verse: Romans 7:14, we are sold in bondage to sin:

“For we know that the Law is spiritual but I am of the flesh sold in bondage to sin”

Its not me its this darn flesh!

In verse 17 and 20 of Romans 7 though, Paul comes to three important realisations:

Firstly, there is no good in his sinful flesh (note he is careful to say in his flesh because he knows that his spirit man is good and desires good)

Romans 7:18 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”

Secondly, that he has no power to do the good that he (his spirit man) wishes.

Thirdly, he realises that if he doesn’t want to do it, then it’s not really him doing it. In other words, it’s sin in the flesh. His true identity therefore, is not in the sinful behaviour but in the new man.

Romans 7:17 “Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

Romans 7:20“But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me”

For example. Imagine you are driving your kids to school and they are behaving very badly in the back seat, fighting, screaming and even trying to distract other drivers. You can’t do much about it because your trying to keep your eyes on the road. Do you just ignore the behaviour and pretend it’s not happening? No, of course not, because if you don’t deal with it soon, you’re likely to have an accident!

This is very much like sin in the flesh. It’s a like big bad dog straining at the leash. We need someone to help us and fast! Who is going to deliver us from this body of death? Who do we turn to?

Most people of course turn turn to Mr Law. Yes he’s Mr Perfect, he knows the rules absolutely but he’s no teacher or coach. All he does is point out to you that your children are misbehaving, and he even finds time to comment on the inadequacies of the driving! Thankfully we are no longer married to Mr Law!

Therefore, the Law, rules, church attendance, determination, self-help, education, self-discipline, even prayer, all may help for a while and even manage the sinful flesh but they will never control it.

A positive note

Romans chapter 7 ends though on a positive note: he maybe stuck, in needs of help frustrated and unhappy in this struggle against sin but he’s seen the light at the end of the tunnel.  He has grasped two important positives:

Firstly, he knows now there is only person who can help him get free from the law of sin and death – he’s given up himself and on Mr Law!

Romans 7:25 “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! 

Secondly, he’s now has a clear revelation of who he is in Christ (I MYSELF). He understands now beyond a doubt, that his sinful flesh is not his identity even though its his responsibility.

Romans 7:25 “So, then, on the one hand I MYSELF with the mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, WITH MY FLESH, the law of sin.

To conclude therefore and to answer our original question: “why do we still sin?” We still sin because we have the sinful flesh!

Further articles:

Previous article: Christ in you

New birth (Audio)

You must be born again

The law of christ

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Christ in you (Part 1)

Colossians 1:27 “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:”

christ in youGod lived in a box

Where does God live, where does he reside?

Acts 7:48  clearly says: “Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?

However, under the Old Covenant God graciously dwelt or tabernacled with man. In fact, for a while he came to live in a box (the ark), hidden in a tent (the tabernacle), in the desert. Unfortunately, to go in and meet God, you had to be an Israelite, a Levite and also the high-priest that year. The chances of meeting God and even surviving therefore were pretty slim! Moses, who saw the back-side of God was a very privileged individual!

Under the Old Covenant therefore, God’s presence was external. It was as Graham Cooke calls it: a ‘visitation mentality’. In other words, God came and he went. King David could say in Psalm 51:11:

“Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.”  

Therefore, the Holy Spirit came upon people, indeed he filled them but he didn’t indwell them. In other words, he didn’t reside there, he just came to stay for a bit and one day he was gone. His presence was always temporary. By the way, the prayer above is not appropriate for believes today because his presence in the believer is permanent – but we will get to that later!

God lived in Jesus

God’s ultimate plan and desire though, was always ‘habitation’. In other words, he desired to live with man permanently. The title of the Messiah, Emanuel, or God with us expresses this perfectly. Through the event of incarnation, 2000 years ago, God came to dwell amongst us in the person of Jesus Christ.

John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

Access was limited

The problem was, that even though God was manifest in the flesh, access was still limited: you actually had to be living in Israel, the crowds were big and technically salvation was available only to the Jewish people – Gentiles were excluded. So, even though Jesus was the temple of God, the access was not universal and was limited to the brief time that he was actually alive and walking the earth – a mere 33 years before being brutally murdered!

The Holy Spirit’s coming!

Jesus himself though, hinted  privately to his disciples shortly before his crucifixion, that a mystery was going to be unveiled. He revealed, that he was leaving and his replacement was soon coming – the Holy Spirit. This meant that the presence of God was coming and it would be personal and permanent to his followers. Not just a visitation but a habitation.  Indeed, they would literally carry the presence of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit everywhere they went and worship would no longer be in a physical temple but by the spirit.

John 14:23 “Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves me he will keep my word and my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our abode with him”

The disciples get born again

However, it awaited the resurrection though, before the disciples could be born again and indwelt with the Holy Spirit. This event is recorded in John 20:22,  when the living Christ Jesus breathed into them his own spirit (the spirit of christ), mirroring Genesis 2:7 when God breathed into Adam and he became a living soul.

John 20:22 “and when he had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them Receive the Holy Spirit”

Why Jesus had to leave

In order for the Holy Spirit to be sent from heaven however, Jesus had to ascend back into heaven to his Father – that is why Jesus tells Mary not to touch him in John 20:17 because he no longer wanted her to relate to him in the flesh but by the spirit.

“Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”

Jesus had to leave in order for the Holy Spirit to come.

John 16:7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”

Pentecost

On the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came, he came to indwell the church, the body of Christ and tongues of fire settled on each of the 120 believers gathered there in that upper room.

Many years before, when King Solomon dedicated the temple (2 Chron 5:13), 120 priests sounded trumpets and the priests were unable to stand to minister because of the glory cloud of the Lord.

At Pentecost however, believers individually and collectively became the temple of the Holy Spirit – and that permanently.

1 Cor 3:16 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

So, each believer, a member of the body of christ, is a little christ, an anointed one or Christian  – a nightmare for the devil because everywhere we go, the presence of God goes – a moving temple!

Ephesians 2:21 “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

The revelation of the Apostle Paul

The full extent of the revelation of this magnificent truth though, awaited the conversion of the devil’s righthand man – the Apostle Paul. Paul, unlike the other Apostles, had never met Jesus in the flesh (as far as we know), only meeting him dramatically in a ‘heavenly vision’ at midday on the Damascus road.

What the Holy Spirit revealed to Paul, was that even though you might have known Jesus in the flesh and even touched and talked with him, now by the spirit every believer had far greater access to God the Father by the Holy Spirit.

2 Cor 5:16 “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.”

Really close to God!

In fact, now you as a believer, are so close to Jesus that there is not a hairs breath between you and God!  

1 Cor 6:17: “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit!”

Christ’s Spirit is in you

Not only that, the truth is, that a christian is no longer in the flesh with a dead human spirit your born again spirit is the spirit of Christ.

Romans 8:9 “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. “

Christ now dwells in the heart through faith. We have the Spirit of Christ.

“….so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” (Ephesians 3:17)

Our spirit is alive and righteous

And, because it is Christ’s Spirit that lives in us, even though our bodies and souls are still affected and damaged by sin and death, our spirit is alive and is righteous and holy just like Jesus!

Romans 8:10 “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”

Eph 4:28 “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

Hebrews 12:23 “To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect”

A new nature

In fact, new birth means your nature has been completely changed. Before, it was natural to sin because you were of Adam’s fallen spirit – the old man. Now you have the new man Christ Jesus inside and you have a new nature, a divine nature just like Jesus. What is God’s nature? It is love.

2 Peter 1:4 “Wherebye are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

Laws written on the heart

This new nature therefore wants to do what’s right. Through new birth, God has written or programmed his laws, (this is not the ten commandments but the commandments of God, his desires on our hearts.) This means, that new birth also affects the will, mind and emotions – the whole person.

Hebrews 8:10 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God and they shall be to me a people;” Hebrews 10:16

It affects everything

So then, this new creation miracle, is not restricted to just to the spirit. This new life, eternal life, resurrection power, works from the inside out, affecting and transforming both our emotions, mind, heart and even the physical body itself:

Romans 8:11 “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

The new nature does not sin

In addition, this born again christ like and righteousness nature cannot sin!

1 John 3:9 “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

Of course, this doesn’t mean we don’t sin but Christ in us cannot sin! There has been an identity change and the I the real I is who your are in Christ:

Romans 7:7 “Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”

Therefore, you have a new identity. A new name. You are no longer called a sinner. No you are called a holy one or a saint.

A new identity

That is your new identity and like Paul you can identify yourself fully with Jesus in his crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection. After all, that’s what baptism is all about!

Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I (the old identity) . but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh (the physical existence)  I live by faith in the Son of God; who loved me, and gave himself for me”

Lastly, to finish, the real test of whether you are a christian and you are in the faith is that Christ is in you. If Christ is indeed in you, then outwardly you may not look like Jesus but your spirit is identical. You are like Christ!

2 Cor 13:5 “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

Next article: why do I still sin?

Further articles:

New birth (Audio)

You must be born again

The end of law

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I hate failure!

i hate failureI hate failure. As a professional driving instructor though, I have to help people deal with it because it is part of life – even the best and gifted fail! Therefore, failure is not always a bad thing as long as its not catastrophic and we learn from it.

As believers are we going to fail? Yes more than likely? Are we going to sin? Probably. Do born-again and spirit filled Christians get deceived, duped and even bewitched into believing all sorts of rubbish and even heresy? Yes, unfortunately!

It’s a fact, that even the early New Testament church was not perfect and immune to heresy and failure.

“Remember the height from which you’ve fallen! Repent, and do what you did at first. (Rev 2:5)”  – The letter to the church at Ephesus.

However, before this gets too depressing let me ask this question. Is the grace of God big enough to cover all these eventualities? Can all things (including failures) work for good for those who love God and are called according to purpose? Yes and Amen. As Paul said somewhere, your grace is much more than enough. The wonderful truth is, that even though the church fails, and we fail spectacularly, Jesus still loves his church and He still loves us. That is amazing grace!

In fact, the Bible is full of examples of failure. It doesn’t cover up the mistakes, sins and stupidity of the saints. Look at Jonah for example. What an idiot! Did God use him powerfully though? Yes, in fact he was one of the greatest evangelists ever – I mean the whole of Nineveh repented! What a revival!

Then there is: Gideon the fearful; Sampson the lustful; Jacob the schemer; Abraham the liar; Moses the murderer; David the adulterer;  Solomon the polygamist and shall we go on!

Is grace an excuse for failure?

It’s important though, not to make excuses for our failures. Oh well, it doesn’t matter because Jesus loves me and forgives me. Indeed, yes He does but He is also going to teach you and discipline you like any good parent would a child! God’s desire is that we are perfect as He is. He doesn’t want us to sin. He wants us to know the truth. He wants us to be more than a conqueror. He wants us to overcome, flee temptation and resist the devil.

Learning to succeed

The Father wants us to grow and mature. He doesn’t want us to stay baby and carnal christians drinking only milk. He wants us to succeed.

For example: as a driving-instructor I am not expecting perfection the moment my pupil gets in the car for his or her first lesson. I’m not expecting them to drive straight to the test centre! No, that would be crazy and extremely dangerous! In fact, in the first few lessons I expect the pupil to make mistakes! If they don’t, then they are probably not learning! However, if they have had 40 hours of lessons and they still don’t look in their mirrors – then there is going to be some strong words spoken by me!

The Holy Spirit – your personal trainer

The fact is, it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to ensure that we get to the end of the journey and enter heaven safely. My objective as a driver trainer is to get my pupil from “learner-land” to the “heavenly gates” of the test-centre and a life-time of safe driving. That is my mission. Similarly, the Holy Spirit’s mission is to deliver you in one piece to heaven!

2 Timothy 4:18 “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

What you need to know is that you can’t do it on your own. No, God has graciously given us the Holy Spirit as a coach to help us navigate through the minefield of our brand new spiritual life. I’m convinced, without His help to guide us, none of us would make it!

“the Lord knows how to rescue the ungodly from temptation”  2 Peter 2:9

This is because, there are many dangers and hazards on the way, as we navigate this uncharted territory. Similarly, as a learner driver we have to learn to read the warning signs, cope with other unpleasant drivers and navigate our first roundabout!

The Christian life though, is even more difficult than this – its like learning to drive in Iraq with IED all over the place! The reality is that,  we are opposed by a wily and dangerous terrorist and enemy in the devil, who is out to trip us up and kill us if he can! So yes, we may stumble and fail but the promise of scripture stands:

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 1:24).

Psalm 37:24  “Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.”

You’ll make it!

Therefore, the blessed Holy Spirit is the guarantee or earnest of our inheritance. He is a down payment guaranteeing final payment. In addition, the package is sealed by him personally so it’s not going to get tampered with or damaged on the way!

2 Cor 1:22 “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. “

Ephesians 1:14 “Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

The good news is, that Jesus not only starts us off on this adventure of faith, He’s there at every step of the way and he ’s there at the finishing line cheering us on!

Hebrews 12:12 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; “

Phil 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”

In addition, as we run this race of faith, a huge crowd of saints who finished their journey are cheering us on!

Hebrews 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us”

As an instructor though, I love the end of the journey when the pupil passes the test. I rejoice with them! What an amazing day its going to be when we see Jesus face to face!

Expecting to fail

Its a fact though, that some people expect to fail – they have faith for it! They expect not to make it. Some even torpedoe their own success because they believe they are a failure.

When I’m teaching driving, a common issue is that of the pupil being frightened of stalling the car. Most of the time they are fine, but as soon as they are at a traffic lights with cars impatiently waiting behind, then they start to think thoughts of fear. They start to believe that they are going to stall when that traffic light changes. Guess what happens? They are so fixed on the fear of failure that they don’t concentrate, the light changes, in panic the clutch comes off too fast with not enough gas and guess what – they stall!

Fixated on sin

Some believers are like that. They are so fixated with sin and failure that they end up sinning all the time because that’s all they ever think about. How do you overcome sin? You look to Jesus and his perfection. In God’s eyes we are already perfect so performance comes out of who we already are. When teaching driving, if you remove the fear of failure and allow mistakes, then suddenly the pressure is off and the pupil moves off perfectly.

Likewise, thats what grace does for us: it allows failure but does that produce sin? No it produces holiness!

Similarly, if the pupil is conscious of the close scrutiny of the instructor, then they become self-conscious and guess what happens? Lots of mistakes! Fear is actually a carnal emotion. It is focusing on ourselves and how we feel. Pupils are nervous because they are self-conscious rather than road-conscious!

So we failed – again!

So, what happens when we fail, blow it? Does God shake his head and say to himself: “well I never expected that. I am totally at a loss to know what to do.” No of course not, his grace already has the supply ready. He’s going to make sure you get what you need to learn the lesson. Its up to you to listen and learn. If you don’t , then the Holy Spirit is the most patient instructor you’ll meet! He won’t shout at you but neither will he let you give up. He may use the dual-controls occasionally or reach over to steer and stop you clipping the kerb but generally you just get to try again until you get it!

If you want to know how the Father reacts when you sin and fail, then read the parable of the prodigal son. When the son returned what was the Father’s reaction? Was it anger? No it was open arms, gifts and a party! That is grace.

Jesus is our defence

Likewise, when we fail and sin, the Bible says we have an advocate (defence lawyer) with the Father.

1 john 2:1 “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”

Jesus is on your side. Many of us think that when we sin, the lights of heaven dim and alarms are flashing and ringing everywhere, angels are scurrying around in a panic. Well, Jesus is on your case but guess what’s coming your way – more grace! It’s only the devil that is the accuser of the brethren. He’s going to point out all your failures and his best weapon is a perfect weapon – the law! However, the Law won’t help you change at all.

I think that many of us are too hard on ourselves, we think we should be able to live holy and get very upset with ourselves when we fail again and again. I’ve got pupils like that who are perfectionists and it hurts their pride when they can’t do something!  Likewise, how are we going to learn to be holy and righteous unless we learn from the master – Jesus Christ the righteous!

Persistence

The Bible has a simple antidote to failure: repentance or a change of mind. As Graham Cooke says: if you don’t like that thought – have another thought!  So if we fail, we get to have another go!

Therefore, persistence, patience and endurance are great qualities. The pupils I have that succeed, are not necessarily the most gifted. No, its the ones that are determined, have counted the cost and don’t give up whatever happens. Likewise, in the spiritual life the Bible says:

Proverbs 24:16  “A just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again:”

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Why Cessationism Is Wrong

What is Cessationism?

Cessationism is a teaching that claims that the gifts of the Holy Spirit died out after the era of the early church. Some Evangelicals even label the gifts strange fire!

In this short article I want to clearly show you why from scripture this is false doctrine and is a philosophy invented to justify unbelief in the truth of God’s word.

Don’t be ignorant concerning spiritual gifts

Firstly this subject is important as the Apostle Paul wrote that he didn’t want Christians ignorant or uninformed concerning spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1).

If the gifts are no longer available then you can get your scissors and cut this verse from your Bible as it no longer applies to you

Why seek them?

The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:1 says: “Pursue love, yet desire earnestly (lust) spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.”

If the gifts have been taken away then get your scissors and cut this verse

1 Corinthians 14:39 “Desire earnestly to prophesy and do not forbid to speak in tongues.”

Get your scissors and cut this verse + its now ok to forbid tongues

Gifts Of Grace

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are gifts of grace. You don’t earn or qualify for these gifts so therefore how can they be taken away?

The scripture is clear: The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. Romans 11:29

Maybe you should cut this verse from your Bible?

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

1 Corinthians 12:7 “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

Exception –  Christians living after XX AD!

If the gifts have ceased then get your scissors and cut this verse because it no longer applies to you

Maybe if the gifts have disappeared then the operation of the Holy Spirit has as well?

Maybe the rapture took place in AD 70 and he who restrains left along with the gifts? Maybe the Jehovah’s Witness’s are right!

People talk about the kingdom being rejected and the gifts ceasing so exactly when was the date of transition and a transition to exactly what?

Did God make another “new” covenant again?

Gifts & the operation of the body of Christ

1 Corinthians 12: 11 -27 clearly links gifts and individual members functioning. Take away the gifts and you have a body with no life!

Historically this is what much of the church has done in the past with the invention of the clerical system and one-man ministry.

Look in your history books and you will find the church becoming less supernatural as the church became institutionalized around 300 AD. Do persecuted Christians in China today have a problem with spiritual gifts?

No Need!

 1 Corinthians 12:28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administration, various kinds of tongues

Please cut out the gifts in red only the rest now apply!

Please cut Ephesians 4:11 -12 from your Bible!

We no longer need these people as we don’t need edifying, there is no work of the ministry and the saints are perfect!

Please cut Romans 12:6 from your Bible!

So which gifts have ceased?

Was it all of them or was it just say healing, prophecy and tongues?

How do you decide?

Has the gift of teaching become less supernatural?

What about the gifts of helps, and administration? The gift of teaching?

No Power

I believe the devil loves Christians to believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not for today. Why? Because then what have we left? All we have is our own natural gifts and talents.

This doctrine was invented by lukewarm, theoretical and worldly Christians in order to explain why the church was so lacking in power.

The Sadducees had a similar philosophy :

Acts 23:8″ For  the Sadducees  say  that there is no  resurrection , neither angel , nor  spirit : but  the Pharisees  confess  both.”

In conclusion to be a Cessationist you have to be a pretty good scriptural juggler! 

© Paul Noble Sep 2012

Further Reading:

The Power Of The Holy Spirit

Patrick Apostle to The Irish

Healing Of A Slipped Disc

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Free Bible Teachings

Have a listen to some free Bible teachings I preached on a variety of subjects:

free-audio-messages

Enjoy and tell me what you think

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Self-Consciousness

self-consciousnessI used to hate public speaking. Why? Because I was self-conscious and afraid of saying the wrong thing, of looking stupid in front of others. When I was even younger I was also very shy, easily blushing when anyone looked at me.

As a driving instructor I get to watch my pupils perform under the pressure of the driving test. Many pupils really struggle with their nerves because they become focused on the fear of failure rather than just driving. Often, when they begin to forget themselves then they begin to drive so much better!

Surrounded by dead people!

Around us in the world today we are surrounded by dead people. These people are not physically dead but they are spiritually dead. In other words, their spirit is dead – they have no life towards God, their telephone line to God is cut! Consequently, they are no longer God-conscious at all just self-conscious and aware only of the physical world.

Ephesians 2:3 “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

How did this happen? When the first man Adam sinned, he died spiritually and eventually physically. He became self-aware, afraid and naked. Desperately, he tried to cover his nakedness with fig leaves. The sons of Adam around us today are still trying the same trick as they struggle to cover up their nakedness with religion, good works, success, drugs, or improving their self-image.

Bold as a lion!

However, when we hear the Gospel of grace and are born again of the spirit, a dramatic change happens.  Suddenly, we have a live wire to God. Immediately, we become aware of the presence of God and Christ living within us; by the spirit we are now conscious of the law written on our hearts and our righteousness before him. This righteousness consciousness makes us bold as a lion.  Proverbs 28:1:

“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion”

Look at Peter preaching on the day of Pentecost: New birth and the baptism of the Holy Spirit transform him from a coward unable to speak up for his master in the face of questioning from a servant girl to a spirit filled powerful preacher convicting three thousand persons! (Acts 2:41)

Indeed, the filling of the Holy Spirit gives the Christian extraordinary boldness and courage: as in the natural the intoxication of alcohol removes peoples inhibitions and fear, likewise, the filling of the Holy Spirit removes self-consciousness and enables naturally fearful people able to speak boldly for Jesus.

Acts 2:3 “Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine”.

In a similar way people in love are annoyingly unselfconscious. The only one that is filling their thoughts and attentions is the object of their love. They are totally unable to see each others faults! Likewise, Christianity is not really a religion it’s a love affair!

Looking at yourself

Unfortunately though, the devil manages to trick many believers to start looking at themselves! The man of Romans chapter 7 under the Law is struggling with his sinful flesh (soul and body). Notice how many times he used the word ‘I’. He is self-conscious of his failure and inability to win against the flesh even though his new nature within him desires it!

Romans 7:21 “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man”

What he needs is not another method, self-help book or even a special scripture –  what he needs is to be saved from himself!

Romans 7:24 “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

Romans 8 verse 1 begins with a joyful declaration:

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

A man who is feeling condemned and guilty doesn’t feel forgiven or justified. He feels self-conscious of his failure and sin. Therefore, the Holy Spirit comes to give us experience of another realm, the uncontaminated fresh air of heaven. As we learn to walk by the spirit we can be freed from self-consciousness and sin-consciousness!

Romans 8:6 “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace”

So, miserable and carnal Christian, stop looking at yourself and your flesh! It is never going to be anything but a disappointment. The Holy Spirit is not accusing you he is trying to get your attention outside of yourself onto Jesus – that’s his mission!

Go away right now, get filled with the Holy Spirit.  Like Paul and Silas in a filthy prison start praising God and watch the miracles happen!

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