Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Is it possible to not sin?

Last summer I decided that I was going to read straight through the Bible for my quiet time. Once I had read through the entire thing, I would start at the beginning once again and do a study of each chapter. It's been an interesting and challenging goal so far! I just finished up with the book of Proverbs this morning, which means that I am totally halfway done with the Bible! Crazy!

As I read through the book of Proverbs, I often felt like I was drinking from a firehose. There is so much wisdom seeded throughout that book! I feel like I could read a single verse everyday and I'd still be constantly learning something new. Many of the proverbs that are in the book deal with ways to avoid living in a sinful and foolish manner. Applicable to everyone, no?

Well last night at the young adults Bible study that my parent host, we talked about sin. My dad proposed the question, "is it possible to not sin?" As I'm sure you could guess, everyone's reaction to that was a resounding no(!), but lets stop and think about that.

Of course we all are already sinful from the moment we are created. We come into the world with a sinful nature with makes us separate from God. But despite my sin nature, from this moment on could I no longer sin? Hypothetically the answer is yes. If I became the closer to God than any other human ever has, somehow became extremely disciplined, and avoided all temptation I could not sin. In 1 John Paul expects for the christians to be aiming toward "no sin", not "less sin".

As we discussed this one of the fellows that was at the Bible study said something that I think is true and completely sound. he said, "the true mark of a christian is their reaction to sin." Think about that for a minute. I think that is true!

Whenever a christian hears the gospel for the first time, they become aware of the weightiness of their sin. What will they do with that knowledge? Some repent and become awestruck by the grace of God while others shrug their shoulders and keep living in a sinful manner. What happens when a christian falls back into sin? They repent of the sinful actions that they have committed and work proactively to change how they will react to that temptation in the future. Now this isn't something that is completely based upon the christian: God still has the biggest hand in this reaction to sin.

Where would a believer run to if they wanted help from sin? They would run to Christ. When a believer want to act proactively in dealing with a temptation next time, they begin leaning upon Christ more for support. Christians go out and evangelize because of the grace they were given. They were given grace because of how they reacted to their own sin. I never had looked at christianity from this angle, but I think it stands up underneath our faith.

What do you guys think?


steven stevens said...

That IS an interesting angle to look at sin. You are correct in that a true mark of a Christian is their reaction. I think it is quite remarkable that you are reading the whole Bible. I think God is going to reveal a lot to you, keep yourself open to what he has to say. Miss you JB.

super_dustin said...

Jordan, I always like your blogs. They make me ponder. I also finished Proverbs just two days ago so I can voice what you are saying about an overabundance of wisdom!
On sin. I remember when we were in Alabama over spring break and you posed the question "Did Jesus have a sin nature?" (Or something like that). I thought about that a lot. Jesus is often compared to Adam through the Bible (NT) and so I compared them more. This is what I came up with: God created Adam without a sin nature, yet He gave Adam the ability to chose sin (in order for God to create a being truly and utterly perfect He'd have to recreate Himself. Yes?). As we know Adam botched and sin came to man. It seems from different references that I don't recall like that sin nature is passed through the fathers, so that is why when Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary (not from an earthly father) God was creating Him without a Sin nature - thus, the new Adam. But that is what separated Jesus the man from us: He was born with the ability to make a choice - for us that choice was already made and although yes, as Christians we are a new creation and we are "born again", we still have that sin nature and I think at least that while we still have these earthly bodies and though we strive daily, we won't be able to attain perfection. Maybe that is part of the reward we do attain when we are given new bodies after the second coming? That our sin nature is lost then?
Maybe though the question "Is it possible to not sin?" is like the question "Is it possible to not have war?" Theoretically, maybe it is possible- but in the reality that we live in within this fallen state, it just won't happen until Jesus comes back a second time to overturn everything.
Hmmm, so many possibilities...

genwind52 said...

Great answer Dustin...I think that time period you are reffering to which we are currently in is best described as the "Now and not yet." Although "Now" we are born again we have "not yet" attained the promise of sinlessness and complete righteousness. We are righteous in Christ but the fulness of His return is the not yet. It I the same with a bunch of principles and promises that God has for us. new earth and the returning of ALL creation to hi
Self..We understand the Not yet and should try to create that inthe Now but it is impossible to see the fulness of the not yet in the now..hope that makes sense:)...
Dan W

David Hausknecht said...

I believe it was John Wesley (correct me if I'm wrong) that believed in the idea of "Christian perfection." That is, he believed Christians could come to a point where they did not sin. However, he clarified to say that it is possible not to sin outwardly (i.e. lying, stealing, slandering, etc.), but inwardly we will still sin (i.e. pride, lust, or other sins of the mind). Therefore we can be sanctified to the point where our actions will never betray our faith, but our thoughts and inward being will still slip up and lead us into sin.
I thought this was an interesting idea. I do believe that sin is equal, whether inward or outward, and you can read James 2:10 for biblical support. But I also like the thought that I can attain to a life free of outward sin (or "action sin" in a sense), while still maintaining the humbling thought that I can never be perfect as the Lord Jesus Christ. I will still have to approach the throne of grace for forgiveness, not for willful sinful actions, but rather for my betraying mind.
Or, at least that's the hope. We'll see if that can be a reality.