||ship > An Urgent Call to Christian Perfection (Part IV) Complete: Our Salvation from Sin
An Urgent Call to Christian Perfection
An Exposition of the Doctrine of Christian
by Tom Stewart
||Complete: Our Salvation from Sin
he question can be legitimately asked: "To
what extent does God cleanse us from sin?" Again, "What
saith the Scripture?" (Romans 4:3).
"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." How
much sin? All sin. What kind of sin? All sin. To be cleansed from "all sin"
is to be perfectly clean. Who cleanses? Christ cleanses. How does Christ cleanse?
With His blood.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful
and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." To whom is the Apostle John writing? "My little children"
(2:1). What will the LORD do when His little children confess their transgressions?
Forgive and cleanse. How completely will He cleanse? He will cleanse us from all
unrighteousness. Can we claim a child of God is honestly confessing his sin, if he
is still knowingly harboring other unconfessed sin? Never! Only a hypocrite will
attempt to persuade someone that he is truly repentant when holding on to known sin.
Even so, when one truly confesses his sins, the result is: our faithful and just
God will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the
glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself
for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar
people, zealous of good works." Our Great
God and Saviour Jesus Christ gave Himself for us for a purpose: "that He might redeem us from all iniquity". What glorifies Our Great God and Saviour Jesus Christ
more: to reform us from a few bad habits or to "redeem
us from all iniquity"? Why do professed
Christians insist that they are not redeemed from all iniquity? Or at least, why
do professed Christians complain among themselves about "sin areas" that
have not been taken care of? As Brother Finney stated: "When we sin, it is because
of our ignorance of Christ."
"And ye know He was manifested to take
away our sins; and in Him is no sin."
Who was manifested to take away our sins? Christ, the Lamb of God (John 1:29). His
purpose was, and is, "to take away our
sins". All our sins. Are we to expect
our sins (plural) to be completely removed when we get to Heaven- if we should ever
get there? Surely, because "there shall
in no wise enter into it anything that defileth"
(Revelation 21:27). Can we expect our sins (plural) to be completely removed before
death? Certainly! Scripture affirms: "as
He is, so are we in this world" (1John
4:17). How is He? "in Him is no sin" (1John 3:5). If in Him is no sin, then so are we to be
"in this world"!
"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh
away the sin of the world." Obviously,
no one in the world will have any sin taken away if personal faith in Christ is not
exercised. The Lamb of God is effectual to whosoever will.
"Blot out all mine iniquities." David asked God to blot out all his iniquities. Would the
LORD grant such a request to an Old Testament saint, much less to a New Testament
saint? Listen to the Scripture. "The desire
of the righteous shall be granted" (Proverbs
10:24). David requested God to blot out all his iniquities with the full assurance
that it would be granted. "Purge me with
hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" (Psalm 51:7). How much more a New Testament saint should
assure himself from the Scripture that the LORD will treat him so!
"Thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He
shall save His people from their sins."
The name Jesus is inseparable from the idea of Saviour. Saviour of who? His people.
Save His people from what? Their sins. "Shall
we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead
to sin, live any longer therein?" (Romans
6:1-2). Jesus came, not merely to save us from the consequences of our sin, but also
to save us from sinning.
"Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness."
Christ has made His children free from sin and its consequences... death (spiritual).
Freedom from sin means we are now "the servants of righteousness". To not
walk righteously means to walk again as a slave of sin. It is plain that Christ "bare
our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto
righteousness" (1Peter 2:24). Christ not only saved us, but continues to sanctify
||What must we do to be free from sin?
ince our salvation from sin is complete, how does
God expect man to cooperate with Him in this salvation?
"Awake to righteousness, and sin not." The LORD never demands man to do anything halfway, if it
were possible. "No man can serve two masters;
for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the
one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Matthew 6:24). There is no duality to man's moral choice. The choice
is either sinful or holy, but never both. There is, in the truest sense, a unity
of moral action. [Please
read "Unity of Moral Action" ---New Window by Charles
If we awake to righteousness, we will not be sinning. If we sleep to righteousness,
we will be sinning. Notice that 1Corinthians 15:34 does not allow the following
duality of moral choice:
(1) Awake to righteousness and sin, or
(2) Awake to unrighteousness and sin not. Both combinations are absurd!
"Let us lay aside every weight,
and the sin which doth so easily beset us."
How are we to "run with patience the race
that is set before us" (12:1)? This is
of faith. We cannot run with the weight of sin. To weigh ourselves down with sin
is to stop the running of the race of faith. Either we "lay
aside... sin" and "run... the race",
or we weigh ourselves down with sin and cease to run the race. Do one or the other,
but never both. There is, and must be, a unity of moral action.
"Follow peace with all men, and holiness,
without which no man shall see the LORD."
Holiness is a voluntary choice. Sin is a voluntary choice. Choose sin, and you must
cease to be holy. Choose holiness, and you must cease to be a sinner. Obviously,
a man cannot be sinful against his will any more than he can be holy against his
"According as He hath chosen us in Him
before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before
Him in love." Christ hath chosen us before
the foundation of the world to "be holy
and without blame". Christ hath chosen
us so that we would choose to "be holy
and without blame". "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed
to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29).
His predestination and choosing of us in Him, before the foundation of the world,
is based upon His foreknowledge that we would choose to "be
holy and without blame". Only God has
foreknowledge. Christ's choice of us is praise to His sovereignty, while yielding
us the benefit of taking away our sin.
"Be ye holy; for I am holy." Why are we obliged to be holy? Because God is holy. The
foundation of moral obligation is... as He is, so ought we to be. "Because as He is, so are we in this world" (1John 4:17). "Because
Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps" (1Peter 2:21).
||Compare those who commit sin to those who commit righteousness.
hat should we understand about those who do, and
do not, sin?
"Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not:
whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him." Whoever walks, remains, and continues in Christ is not committing
sin. Whoever is sinning has not seen or known Christ. How can these things be? To
answer that, we must study the purpose for the writing of 1John.
1John was written "that ye may know that
ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God" (1John 5:13). What is the basis upon which we can know
that we know Christ? "Hereby we do know
that we know Him, if we keep His Commandments"
(1John 2:3). If we walk in obedience, the Holy Spirit testifies that "we know Him".
On the other hand, "He that saith, I know
Him, and keepeth not His Commandments, is a liar, and the Truth is not in
him" (1John 2:4). If we claim to know
Christ, while walking in disobedience, the Holy Spirit testifies that we are a liar
and the Truth is not in us. "But the fearful,
and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murders, and whoremongers, and sorcerers,
and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth
with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Revelation
Assurance of salvation is only given to those who walk in obedience. "For if we sin wilfully after that we have received
the knowledge of the Truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain
fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries" (Hebrews 10:26-27). "For
the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin
at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the
righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" (1Peter 4:17-18).
"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." Whoever is born of
God is not sinning. No man who is sinning can claim to be born of God. The Holy Spirit
does not testify contrary to the Word. The "Spirit
of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father... beareth witness with our spirit, that
we are the children of God" (Romans 8:15-16),
if we "are led by the Spirit of God" (Romans 8:14). A backslidden Christian will deprive himself
of the testimony of the Spirit of God that he is "born
of God". All that a backslidden Christian
will have left to testify of his salvation will be his comfortless memories and memorabilia
of salvation, that both lost and saved show about. All that the Word of God and the
Spirit of Christ will testify to the backslider, is a sense of God's anger and righteous
judgment... "a certain fearful looking
for of judgment and fiery indignation"
(Hebrews 10:27)... "except ye repent" (Luke 13:3).
"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." Strong language. One properly cannot do what he will not
do. Take the example of God and His unwillingness to lie. "God
is not a man, that He should lie" (Numbers
23:19). God wills not to lie. Paul writes to Titus... "God,
that cannot lie" (Titus 1:2). God cannot
lie because He will not lie. In the same way, whoever is born of God cannot sin because
he is unwilling to commit sin "for
His Seed remaineth in him".
"He that doeth righteousness is righteous,
even as He is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil." True righteousness is committed by those who are righteous.
Commit one act of true righteousness, and you are righteous. Commit one act of true
sin, and you are of the devil. Is this a hard thing to hear? Our pattern for righteousness
is Christ, for "he that doeth righteousness
is righteous, even as He is righteous" (3:7).
"Whosoever doeth not righteousness is
not of God." Just as he that doeth righteousness
is righteous, he that doeth not righteousness is not of God. This follows to reason
with the Spirit's testimony of His Word, especially John's epistle.
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