How Then Shall We Live Tonight it is my goal to stretch your minds, to challenge your theology. To open dialog for the truth of scripture. Tonights teaching is about the grace God has given us to live sinlessly. Some peoples idea is that in the new covenant age of grace God is all mercy, all love, and that the Old covenant God was law, wrath, and judgment. Well this is not the case. God is as holy as He has ever been and He still judges sin. God was just as loving in the old covenant as He is now, just a merciful then as now, and today as then He still wants us to live sinlessly, holy, perfected lives. The difference in the old and new covenant is not with God it is with us. The old covenant was weak through OUR flesh because we in ourselves cannot keep God's law, but now through grace God has given us the ability by the empowerment of His Holy Spirit that lives with us, to obey Him. I was thinking of what to call this teaching. ''Freedom from sin'', ''sinless through grace'' ect... Then the phrase how then shall we live came into my mind, so I googled the phrase, and the only place that phrase is used in scripture is in Ezekiel 33:10-11. ''Read it''. So realizing that we are held accountable for our own sins the question become ''How Then shall We Live?'' HOW THEN SHALL WE LIVE? Romans 6 1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? HOW THEN SHALL WE LIVE? Before we answer that lets define grace, because that will be vital to our discussion. GRACE (God’s ability working in you and/or thru you to do what you could never do apart from Him). Many define grace to suggest it blinds God to His Word or your sins. How absurd, grace wasn’t given to make God more like us but rather to empower us to be more like Him. Thank God for HIS AMAZING GRACE. We will wet back to that later. So how should we live? sinlessly, perfect, and holy. The question now becomes can we live sinless ly? Well lets start with the Apostle Paul, and then move to us CAN WE LIVE SINLESS LIVES? Did Paul attain a level of sinlessness? 1 Corinthians 11 1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ He would not have said to follow him as he follows Christ if he wasn't following Christ perfectly. 2nd Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. Paul tell us not to compare ourselves with each other, but to look at him as our example Philippians 3 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. 17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. Paul tells us to make example of him and others, so more than just he attained a state of sinlessness. He hadn't attained the resurrection of the just because he had yet to endure until the end, not because he wasn't sinless. I believe he had attained a level sinlessness Matthew 24 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved Mark 13:13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Hebrews 3 6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, IF we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end 14 For we are made partakers of Christ, IF we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; Revelation 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: Here we see Paul stating that he had in effect attained. 2nd Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Living sinlessly for 1 or 5 or 10 or 20 does not automatically give us eternal life remaining faith unto our death does. However living sinlessly is commandment from God to us. Furthermore God promises us that we are able to keep this command. God promises us through His word that we can defeat sin, if we look closely at the word of God. There are many many promises that deal with that fact. We are told that "in every temptation, God will make a way of escape that we will be able to bear it". God said "sin shall not have dominion over you". I literally can list twenty more...reckon yourself dead unto sin and alive unto God ''praise be to God who always causes us to triumph in Christ Jesus, lead me not into temptation but deliver me from evil'' and so forth. I firmly believe we have mistakenly missed why he has saved us (to set us free) "You shall call His name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins" (now, in this life) to preserve us blameless unto the coming of the Lord. In the Bible, we are told "He that commits sin is the servant of sin, and the servant abides not in the house forever. But whom the Son sets free is free indeed." We are told by Jesus Himself "Without me, you can do nothing." yet in the writings of Paul we are told "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.". Is this perhaps what Jesus meant when he expressed his deep concern that "when the Son of man returns, will he find faith on the earth?" Do we believe (have faith in) these promises of God for our lives? Personally speaking, the sins that make up my personal "Achilles heel", not unlike yours, are not small ones that God turns a blind eye at. However He has promised us freedom from these vices. I have found as that His promises are meant for even the most wretched...and they work. This faith of who we are in Christ is what constitutes our shield spoken of in Ephesians 6, "wherewith we shall quench ALL the fiery darts of the wicked one". I hope this explanation at least opens up the door for dialog. I fully understand the potential for controversy with this teaching. It goes against all that we have been taught, that we slowly change from the old man to the new by a lifelong, never ending process. I believe we can reach a point of sinlessness where we truly do partake of the divine nature of Christ, able to fully escape the corruption of this world. I contend that the only way the process can work as God intends is when we obey him and believe that "you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit if the spirit dwells in you.", and that ''it is not we that live, but Christ that lives in us'' I believe that if we are truly experiencing the new covenant, then we will have complete victory over sin. To be a full grown son, we must be made free. I believe Jesus has made us free, all we must do now is walk in our freedom. When people say that we are not to make sin a habit, but yet everyone sins, and will not be completely freed from sin until the resurrection. They do not truly believe (have faith in the fact) that the Son can make us free indeed. We are given the promise of freedom from sin how do we begin to walk in that freedom? By knowing Christ and who we are in Him and to Him. 2nd Peter 1 4 Whereby 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. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. EXCUSES FOR SIN ''We are saved by grace, not by works'' ''We live under grace not under the law'' ''Where sin abounds grace does much more abound'' ''There is no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus'' ''Even Paul could not do the thing that he would, yet did the things he did not want to do'' "If you say you have no sin you make God a liar'' ''All who believe will be saved'' ''I am a sinner saved by grace'' None of these statements (except the last one) in themselves are incorrect, they are indeed biblical. But when twisted by Satan to justify sin, they become very dangerous. ''We are saved by grace, not by works'' Ephesians 2:8-9 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God through Jesus Christ. 9 Not of works that any man should boast. This is not saying christians should or can commit sin. What this scripture is saying is that we cannot be saved by our own good works that we do outside of our faith in Christ. Faith in Jesus is what saves us. Romans 3:20-23 explains it best. Romans 3:20-23 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now is the righteousness of God without the law manifest, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference. 23 For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Simply stated, none of us are good enough within our own selves to qualify for Heaven, therefore Jesus had to fulfill the law and become our bridge back to God. As Galatians 2:21 says if we were able to be saved without Jesus' sacrifice then his death is in vain and also in Galatians 3:24 the law was a schoolmaster to show us our sinfulness and bring us to Christ. Galatians 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness came by the law the Christ is dead in vain. Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. So being saved by grace not works does not justify nor excuse sin. It simply states the fact that no amount of good works we do can change the fact that we have all sinned and are in need of redemption. Although our good works cannot save us, our evil works can condemn us, and as James states in his epistle we will not be justified through our faith without good works. James 2:24 You see then how by works a man is justified and not by faith alone. ''We live under grace, not by the law'' Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace. People use this scripture to claim we can continue in sin because we live in the age of grace. However what this verse is saying is just the opposite. Because of God's grace He has delivered us from our sin that we are no longer bound by it and free to live sinlessly. Grace did not replace the law it has through the Holy Spirit enables us to keep the Law ( I will give More explanation on this in a minute.) ''Where sin abound, grace much more abounds'' Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. Once again Satan has twisted a seemingly benign scripture and created a cancer. What this scripture is saying is from Adam to Jesus sin abounded, but the law of Moses made the sin manifest. Now that Jesus has lived, died, and rose again grace does abound, sin has been defeated. You can find the context of this scripture in the previous verses. Romans 5:12-19 12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed to all men for all have sinned. 13 ( For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded to many. 16 And not that is was by one that sinned, so is the free gift: for the judgment was by one man's condemnation, but the free gift is by many offenses unto justification. 17 For by one man's offense death reigned by one; much more they which received abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Christ Jesus ). 18 Therefore as by one offense came by one judgment came upon all men condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men to justification of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Now after this in context verse 20 states. Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. Jesus came so we can made righteous, and the righteous do not sin. There is no way this could be misconstrued. God's grace empowers us to overcome sin, not allow it. ''There is no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus'' Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no more condemnation to the that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. Hyper Grace teachers teach this means once you get saved you cannot be condemned for anything you do. Yet they leave out the condition of this promise. The condition is walking in the Spirit and not the flesh. Those that walk in the Spirit will not sin therefore they indeed will not be condemned. We can see just how perverse that teaching is when you read the entire passage Romans 8:1-8 in context, Romans 8:1-8 1 There is therefore now no more condemnation to the that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through our flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be Spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law God nor can it be. 8 So they that are in the flesh cannot please God. The whole purpose of this passage is to explain that we must not continue to be led by our own flesh, lust, and desire. But that we have to let the Spirit of God lead us into the freedom from sin that He sent His Son to give us. Yet there are those that would use 1/2 of one scripture to say just the opposite. If that is not inspired by Satan, then nothing is. ''Even Paul could not do the thing that he would, yet did the things he did not want to do'' Romans 7:19-21 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil that i would not, that I do. 20 Now if i do that I would not, it is no more I that do it but sin that dwells in me. 21 I find then a law, that when I would do good evil is present with me. This has to be one of the most misunderstood scriptures in all the Bible. The common belief is that Paul could not refrain himself from sin, therefore neither can we. The fact is it is through our own flesh that we cannot refrain from sin, but all of us through the Spirit of Christ that dwells in us can. Paul himself declared this in the following passages. (I will give this explanation when showing what we are saved from) ''If you say you have no sin you make God a liar. 1st John 1:10 If we say we have not sinned, we make God a liar, and his word is not in us. This says that is we say we have not sinned (past tense) then we make God a liar. Not that we are continuing to sin or must sin in the future Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. To use 1st John 1:10 to excuse sin, as many do is absurd especially with the scriptures that surround it. 1st John 1:6 If we say we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not know the truth. 1st John 2:4 He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. In 1st John 1:10 ''sinned'' is past tense it is not condoning future sins. If we claim to be Christians yet continue in unrepentant sin then we are liars; God's words tell as much. ''All who believe shall be saved'' John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believe in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Even Satan believes in Jesus, is he saved? James 2:19 Thou believeth there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. James also declares that our faith is useless unless we produce fruit. James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. When we confess Christ, with a truly repentant heart we are indeed saved. But that is not the end of our walk, it is the beginning. Matthew 24:13 But he that shall endure until the end shall be saved. Only those that continue in the faith until they die or Jesus returns that will be saved, not everyone that claims they believe in Jesus. Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. ''I am a sinner saved by grace'' This is not even a biblical statement. We do not continue to be sinners after salvation. We were sinners until we were saved by grace. After salvation, we become new creatures, we become the righteousness of God. 2nd Corinthians 2:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold all things become new. 2nd Corinthians 2:21 For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Once we get saved we are no longer sinners, we may not be perfect immediately, sanctification is a process, but if you are still a sinner, you are not saved. So what are we saved from? Well ultimately we are saved from Hell, but here and now we have been saved from self (or our flesh), and sin as Paul shows us when explaining how with in His own flesh He could not even serve God but that God had delivered Him from His flesh. Romans 7:24-25 24 O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with my mind I serve the law of God; but with my flesh the law of sin. Paul could not in his flesh keep God's law. Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is in my flesh) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. Yet he goes on in the very next chapter to explain, that we cannot continue to allow our flesh to led us but through the Spirit we can keep God's law. Romans 8:3-4 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through our flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. We cannot in our flesh keep God's law, but Jesus has delivered us from our flesh that we might walk in the Spirit enabling us to fulfill God's holy law. James says we are tempted by our own lust, but Jesus has saved us from our flesh James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Galtians 5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lust. He has also saved us from sin. Paul write that those who sin are servant of sin, not of Christ. Romans 6 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 know you not ,that whom you yield yourselves servant to obey, his servant you are whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or obedience unto righteousness? So if we sin then we are not free but still bound, but Jesus came to free us. John 8 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. Romans 6: 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life Whoever sins is a servant of sin, but Jesus came to free us, and if we are truly free indeed then we would live no longer in sin. Galtians 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. If this was true and we are dead to self and sin, and it is Christ who live in us then we would indeed live a sin free life.