Question & Answer Part 12

Pastor Jackson can you explain I John 3:9 which says:

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. 

Does this mean that once you have been born again you cannot sin? If so, I am in real trouble.

Last week I stated that the Lord uses the Holy Spirit’s work of judgment to cleanse us from all sin. This week I am going to going to go into more detail as to how the Holy Spirit’s work of judgment cleanses us from all sin. I will start with what Jesus said in John 12:30-33 which reads as follows:

12:30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.  12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.  12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.  12:33 This he said, signifying what death he should die. (Emphasis supplied).

The Bible makes it clear that the prince of this world is Satan (see Ephesians 2:1-3). But to fully understand what Jesus meant when He said, Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out, we must look at what Jesus said in John 16:7-8:

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.  16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (Emphasis supplied).

This makes it clear that when Jesus said now Satan would be cast out through the work of judgment that He was not saying that Satan would be cast out of the world at that time but rather that it is now guaranteed that Satan’s power over His followers would be fully cast out because His death would ensure the coming of the Holy Spirit who would convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.

We have already discussed the Holy Spirit’s work of conviction of sin and righteousness in parts 10 & 11 of this series. Therefore, I will focus this discussion on the Holy Spirit’s work of judgment and how it cast the prince of this world out of our lives.

Notice what the apostle John had to say about the Holy Spirits work of judgment in I John 1:5-7:

1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:  1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (Emphasis supplied).

Only those who abide in Jesus through daily surrender of the will have true fellowship with God (see John 15:1-1-6; Luke 9:23-24 & Galatians 2:20). In order to abide in Jesus we must walk in the light that the Holy Spirit sheds that convicts us of our sinfulness and our need of Jesus’ righteousness. If we walk in that light the Holy Spirit then does the work of judgment which cleanses us from all sin: In I John 1:8-10 we are told what we must do in order to walk in that light:

1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (Emphasis supplied).

In order to walk in the light we must surrender our will to the Holy Spirit’s convicting work of our sin and our need of Jesus’ righteousness. This may sound easy but it is the greatest battle we will ever have to fight because it requires us to take up our cross and lose our lives for Jesus’ sake (see Luke 9:23-24). Here is an enlightening quote which explains the struggle of surrender taken from page 87 of the devotional book entitled The Faith I Live by:

By nature we are alienated from God. The Holy Spirit describes our condition in such words as these: “Dead in trespasses and sins;” “the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint”; “no soundness in it.” We are held fast in the snare of Satan; “taken captive by him at his will.” Ephesians 2:1; Isaiah 1:5, 6; 2 Timothy 2:26. God desires to heal us, to set us free. But since this requires an entire transformation, a renewing of our whole nature, we must yield ourselves wholly to Him.                                                                                  The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of God, requires a struggle; but the soul must submit to God before it can be renewed in holiness(Emphasis supplied).

Surrendering to the Holy Spirit’s conviction is the greatest battle we will have to fight because our flesh naturally wants to be in control of our lives. So when the Holy Spirit reveals to us our sin, that area of our lives that we must release control of and let Jesus become Lord of, it requires a struggle. But submit we must because we cannot be renewed in holiness until we do.

Notice again what we are told in Galatians 2:20&21:

2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness [come] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

This tells us that daily surrender is the key to being cleansed from all sin: It is the key to being born of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. The reason we are cleansed from all sin the moment we surrender to the Holy Spirit’s convicting work is because it allows Jesus to take full control of our lives and live in us so that the life we live in the flesh is no longer controlled by our flesh but rather it is controlled by Jesus through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, there is no condemnation because we now walk in the Spirit and not the flesh and as long we abide in Jesus through daily surrender of the will this will be the case.

In summary we conclude that our righteousness or holiness does not come from our obedience to the law but rather as a result of our faith in Jesus which leads us to give Him control of our wills daily. Without this daily surrender of the will we frustrate the grace of God because as far as we are concerned Jesus died in vain. This is exactly why we are told:

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.

There is one final issue that I must cover before I go to another topic and that issue is expressed in this question:

Does that fact that Jesus cleans me from all sin mean that I do not have any more sin to be cleansed from?

Next week I will deal with the issue that this question raises. Until then I leave you with this God inspired quote written on May 16, 1906 in the 4th paragraph of an article written in the periodical entitled The Review & Herald:

Holiness is constant agreement with God. Shall we not strive to be that which Christ so greatly desires us to be–Christians in deed and in truth,–that the world may see in our lives a revelation of the saving power of truth? This world is our preparatory school. While here we shall meet with trials and difficulties. Continually the enemy of God will seek to draw us away from our allegiance. But while we cleave to him who gave himself for us, we are safe. The whole world was gathered into the embrace of Christ. He died on the cross to destroy him who had the power of death, and to take away the sin of every believing soul. He calls upon us to offer ourselves on the altar of service, a living, consuming sacrifice. We are to make an unreserved consecration to God of all that we have and are.  {RH, May 16, 1907 par. 4} (Emphasis supplied).