Are you a Sinner or a Saint?
“Everyone is a sinner,” and “There are none righteous,” are statements that we continually hear from “Christians” and from the modern-day pulpit. Because of this constant drumbeat, many are falling prey to this lie. After all, if one repeats something enough times and long enough, eventually there will be many people who believe it, no matter how credible or non-credible the story is. (Some politicians and the secular media know this secret all too well). Believing that all are sinners has resulted in such a light attitude towards sin in the modern church, and a church-world full of sinners. Sin is God’s number one enemy. We have become desensitized to the one thing that God hates the most - Sin.
This desensitization of sin has also affected the sinners of the world. After all, if “all are sinners,“ then why should they repent and be saved? What are they to be saved from – Fun? According to the modern day church’s gospel, the only differences between a sinner in the church and a sinner in the world is that the sinner in the church may not sin as much, their sin may be more secretive, and they may feel guilty after they sin. The sinner of the world looks at this and says there is no real difference. The only difference they see is that the sinner in church doesn’t have as much fun as they do.
Despite what many are hearing and believing, throughout the New Testament Scriptures there is a distinction between a sinner and a saint. When Christ returns to judge the world, we also see two kinds of people. There are, and will only be two kinds of people standing before a holy God on judgment day. When He returns or when you die, contrary to some teachings, it will be too late to receive anything else from the Lord as pertaining to righteousness.
Ponder the following Scriptures:
“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.”
“The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
(Matthew 13: 41-43)
“So shall it be at the end of the world: the angles shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
(Matthew 13: 49,50)
“And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.”
“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
(Matthew 25: 33,46)
It therefore behooves us, that when we leave this life we not find ourselves among the unjust, filthy, wicked sinners, but instead amongst the just, holy, and righteous saints.
For Revelation 21:8 also tells us where all sinners will end up:
“But the fearful, and the unbelieving, and the abominable, and the murderers, and the whoremongers, and the sorcerers, and the idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
At the end of the Apostle Paul’s second epistle to the Corinthian church, he exhorted them to – “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?”
Again we see two types of people – Either they are “in the faith” and Jesus Christ is “in” them, or they are reprobates. There were some in the Corinthian church who were reprobates. They were allowing adultery to continue in their church. One of their members was committing adultery with his father’s wife, a sin, as Paul said, that is “not so much named among the Gentiles.” (1Corint. 5:2) Instead of repenting, and mourning, and properly dealing with this sin, they were “puffed up.” Paul goes on to warn them (1Corint. 6:9), “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived…”
In testing ourselves to see whether we be in the faith or not, one must not look to ourselves or to others as the measuring stick. Paul told these same Corinthians in II 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.” If one seeks to compare himself with his fellow church-member, or neighbor, he may feel that he is doing all right.
The measuring stick that we are to use in determining whether we “be in the faith” is the Word of God. The authority of the Scriptures is what we are to look to and rely upon. We are not to look to man’s teachings, to Denominational Catechisms, or even to the Reformers or Reformed Theology. It is such things that are blinding the minds and eyes from receiving the truth of the gospel. We need not look to man or church doctrine as an “end all,” but instead look into the Scriptures and seek to see what the early Apostles saw.
We are also not to look to our own experience. Many today stumble at the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ because they put their experience above the Word of God. These are they who believe that freedom from sin cannot be maintained in this life because they believe that they are saved and still sin, at least, every now and then.
A saint is simply a child of God. There is no special lower class of God’s children called “carnal Christians,” or no special upper class of God’s children called “super saints,” in the Scriptures. All of God’s children are born again of the Spirit of God through repenting of their sin and believing the gospel of Jesus Christ. In many of the epistle’s salutations, Christians are simply referred to as the “saints of God.”
Every man, except for Jesus Christ, was born a sinner with a sin nature as a result of Adam’s transgression, and was part of the old creation. When Adam sinned against God, he died spiritually, and death reigned in the heart of every man thereafter. (Romans 5:14,17) Man, as part of the old creation, is now called the “old man.” The “old man,” according to Ephesians 4:22, is “corrupt according to its deceitful lusts.” The word “corrupt” in the Greek means, “morally decaying, on its way to final ruin.”
Every saint is born of the spirit of God and is a new creation in Christ, and is what the Scriptures call the “new man.” Jesus was the first-born of the new creation of God. He is referred to as the first begotten from the dead (Revelation 1:5), and the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29) This firstborn and begotten comes from the same Greek word and it simply means “first-born.” When we are begotten of God, we are born of God, and born of His same Spirit. When the Scripture talks about the child of God being “begotten,” it is the same Greek word for “born” as in, “Ye must be born again to see the kingdom of God,” in John 3:3.
II Corinthians 5:17 tells us that “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things become new.” Ephesians 4:24 tells us that the “new man” is “created in righteousness and true holiness.”
2.) The sinner walks in darkness and the saint walks in the Light.
John tells us in 1John 1:6, “If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.” What a man says and what a man actually “walks” in, could be two different things. Jesus said that on judgment day “many” shall say to him, “Lord, Lord…have we not…in thy name done many wonderful works?” He will say to them, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity [sin].” (Matthew 7:22,23)
Paul describes the character of them who walk in darkness, in Ephesians 2:2-3:
“Wherein, in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Among whom also we all had our conservation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
Paul establishes the fact that those who were now saved had once (in time past) walked according to the course of this world, under the power of Satan, and were controlled by the same spirit that works in those who are still the “children of disobedience.” “In times past,” they also walked in the lust of their flesh and of the mind, and were “by nature the children of wrath.” That “nature” is the “corrupt” sinful nature that Paul describes in Ephesians 4.
Peter, in 1Peter 4:3, also talks about “time past…when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries.” In 2 Peter 2:9,10, he talks about the unjust being punished on the “day of judgment,” and refers to them as “them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness.” 2 Peter 2:10, talks about those “walking after their own lusts.” Also, Jude 18 mentions those who “walk after their own ungodly lusts.”
On the other hand, a saint is one who walks in the Light. John talks about the message that was heard from the beginning. He says in 1John 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.” He goes on to say in verse 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.”
Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:6, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
The light of the gospel shines into the heart of the sinner who repents and believes the gospel. He is then placed in Christ and walks in that Light, where there is no darkness at all, and where he is cleansed from all unrighteousness and from all sin. Paul says in Romans 6:4, “Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk
in newness of life.” John also says in 1John 2:6, “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.”
3.) The sinner is dead in sin, and the saint is dead to sin.
The sinner, as part of the old creation, the old man, and part of those who are walking in darkness, is therefore dead in sin. Death has passed unto all men for all have sinned (Romans 5:12), death reigned over all men (Romans 5:14,17), and sin now has dominion over all who are still a part of the old creation. (Romans 6:14)
The saint who was “dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1),” and “dead in your sins,” as Paul says in Colossians 2:13, has been quickened together with Christ. (Ephesians 2:1, Colossians 2:13) He is no longer dead in sin, but is now dead to sin through the baptism into the death and resurrection of Christ by “the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ.” (Colossians 2:11)
1Peter 2:24 says, “Who His own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes we are healed.”
In Romans 6:11, Paul exhorts those believers to, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
In Romans 6:2, Paul, in responding to those who believed that they could continue in sin that grace may abound, responded, “God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”
He continues in Romans 6:6 – “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
The saint is dead to sin and alive unto righteousness and God, because his “old man” and “body of sin” and “body of the sins of the flesh” was nailed to the cross and crucified “with” Christ. Just as Jesus Christ bore our sin on the cross (1Peter 2:24), and died to sin and now lives unto God (Romans 6:10), likewise the saint of God reckons himself “dead indeed unto sin” but alive unto God through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:11).
4.) The sinner is unrighteous, and the saint is righteous.
Every sinner was born with a corrupt nature and is unrighteous. There is nothing that the sinner can do to please God, because his very nature is in enmity with God, and is contrary to everything that God is. One does not struggle to teach their children how to do bad. A child already knows how to throw temper-tantrums, and how to lie to get his way. A parent strives with and disciplines their children to teach them to do good, until they can reach the point of repentance in Christ.
Anyone who has read the classic, “The Lord of the Flies,” knows that this book exemplifies man’s corrupt nature. In this novel, a large group of children were shipwrecked on this desert island with no parents who survived. Without any parental supervision, the children slowly digressed into acting like wild animals. They worshipped a pig’s head on a stick as “Lord,” and became bloodthirsty murderers, until an adult finally showed up to rescue the one boy, who did not totally succumb to their madness, from their murderous pursuit.
This classic book has more truth in it than many people would be willing to accept. Man, apart from civilization, can become worst than an animal. In fact, when sin entered into the world because of Adam’s transgression, not only did every man acquire a fallen, depraved, sinful nature, but also all of creation fell. Not only was Adam’s first son a murderer, but everything in all of creation and in nature changed. This is one major reason why evolution is impossible. Every mutation in nature is bad, not good. Every mutation is defected in some way. Over time, nature tends to spiral downwards into disorder, not progress upwards. When was the last time you had to fight to keep the good grass out of your lawn? Even in civilized America, we are the murdering, violence, stealing, and drug capital of the world.
Also, every sinner, no matter how good he may try to be according to the civilized world’s standards, is still corrupt in God’s eyes. Isaiah 64:6, tells us that “all our righteousnesses is as filthy rags” before God. Sinners are known in the Scriptures as children of disobedience, children of wrath, enemies of God, unholy, ungodly, unjust, filthy, wicked, and unrighteous.
Romans 3: 10-18 also tells us about the sinner:
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one.
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
There are all gone out of the way, they are altogether become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no not one.
Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips.
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.
Their feet are swift to shed blood.
Destruction and misery are in their ways.
And the way of peace have they not known.
There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Many in the modern church start and stop quoting with the very first line of this description of the sinner. “There is none righteous,” is one of the main statements, besides, “We are all sinners,” that we constantly hear from the modern church whenever any kind of a holy standard is mentioned.
However, in these frightening verses of Scripture, Paul is describing the sinner only. He continues in verse 19:
“Now we know that whatsoever the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”
The law was given to bring the knowledge of sin (vs.20), and to convict man of his sin and utter hopelessness so that he could come to Christ. The above description is describing those who are still “under the law,” and still “guilty before God.”
But, Paul continues in verse 21:
“But now the righteousness without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe.”
For those who repent of their sin and believe the gospel, the faith of Jesus Christ is imparted “upon” them and they are “made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2Corint. 5:21)
Romans chapter five deals with the comparison between the fall of man and how death reigned upon all through sin, and the abounding free gift of the grace of God that is much more powerful than sin and reigns unto life and righteousness through Jesus Christ. Romans 5:19 capsulates the chapter in one verse:
“For as by one man’s disobedience [Adam’s sin] many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one [Jesus’ death upon the cross] shall many be made righteous.”
The sinner is made righteous when he is born of the Spirit of God. He does not eventually…maybe…over a period of several years…reach a point of holiness through the process of sanctification, as many teach today…if they mention sanctification at all. The “new man…after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24) See Creation vs. Evolution. Once the sinner is made righteous, he then does righteousness. The Apostle John also says in 1John 3:7, “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.” John warns, just as Paul warned, not to allow the deceivers who say that you cannot be saved from sin in this life, deceive you. A saint has the very nature of God, which is righteous. He that does righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous!
Many today view salvation as just a forgiveness of sin, and an ultimate saving from the fires of hell. However, the heart of the gospel is freedom from sin. Those who are not saved from sin and made righteous now, will never be saved from the fires of hell. The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9) Jesus’ death on the cross was for much more than just forgiveness. As discussed earlier, our sin nature died “with” Christ on the cross. His baptism unto death was our “old man’s” baptism unto death. His resurrection unto life was our “new man’s” resurrection unto newness of life. His “divine nature,” is what we are now “partaking” of.
Consider these other Scriptures that deal with the purpose of Calvary:
“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people [God’s own special possession], zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:14)
“…even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27)
“Who gave himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” (Galatians 1:4)
“And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreprovable in His sight.” (Colossians 1:21,22)
“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate.” (Hebrews 13:12)
“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh;
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3,4)
5.) The sinner is a corrupt tree that produces evil fruit, and the saint is a good tree that produces good fruit.
“Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” (Matthew 7:17,18)
There were two trees in the Garden of Eden – the “tree of life,” and the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” When Adam transgressed and ate of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” he died spiritually, and he and all of mankind acquired a sinful nature. That “corrupt tree,” or “tree the knowledge of good and evil,” may do “good,” but even its “good” is evil in God’s sight, because it is coming from a corrupt sinful nature. That “corrupt tree” cannot produce good fruit, but only evil. This fruit is what Paul spoke of in Romans 7:5, “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.”
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Galatians 5:19-21, and Ephesians 5:3-6, Paul tells us of the “works of the flesh,” which the “unrighteous” commit. In 1 Corinthians 6:9 he says, “be not deceived,” and in Ephesians 5:6, he warns, “Let no man deceive you with vain words.” He says that they, which do such things, shall not inherit the kingdom of God. The fruit that the unrighteous commit includes: Adultery, fornication [which includes all types of sexual sins, including lusting in the heart and masturbation], thievery, covetousness, drunkenness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and uncleanness. These are the “fruit unto death,” that Paul speaks of in Romans 7:5.
The good tree, on the other hand, produces good fruit only. For those who repent and believe the gospel, the “corrupt tree” was cut down at Calvary, and a good tree begins to grow. Isaiah prophesies of the “good tree” in Isaiah 61:3, where he calls them “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” Paul, in Romans 6:5 says, “For if we have been planted in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.”
Paul, in Romans 7:4-6, compares the saints present walk and fruit, to their former lives.
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”
The good fruit is known as the fruit of the spirit. Right after listing the “works of the flesh,” in the very next verse in Galatians 5:22, Paul says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such things there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Also, after listing the corrupt fruit in Ephesians 5:7, he continues, “Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.”
In the saint, that old corrupt tree has been cut down though the crucifixion “with” Christ, and a new good tree has been planted, and he is now producing good fruit. As Paul says in Romans 6:22, “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”
6.) The sinner cannot cease from sin, and the saint cannot commit sin.
Just as Jesus taught that a corrupt tree could only produce evil fruit, Peter, in 2Peter 2:14, describes those who, “Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin.”
Also, just as Jesus taught that a good tree cannot produce evil fruit, John, in 1John 3:9, declares, “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.”
In fact John uses even stronger language in the previous verses:
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.
Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him.
Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.
He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1John 3:4-8)
The sinner cannot cease from sin and can only produce evil fruit because that is what he is – a sinner with a corrupt sinful nature, and a corrupt tree. A constant life of slipping and falling and repenting is not the Christian experience. However, a common thought in the modern church is that with the help of the Spirit, one gets victory over certain “sins” over a long period of time. What is the difference between this and any other religion and philosophy of the world? Man, through many religions all over the world, can “train” himself not to do certain things. The monks can separate themselves from the world, and through philosophies and various religious practices, train their bodies not to manifest outward acts of sin. However, inside, he is still corrupt, and still “full of dead men’s bones,” as Jesus told the Pharisees.
Christianity does not result in a man that is subdued from committing certain outward “sins.” Christianity deals with a change of heart that is then reflected in the life. It deals with the death to the inner sinner man, and being made alive through the divine nature of God. No other religion can do this, or even claim to do this. The New Testament definition of grace is - The divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life.
A saint cannot commit sin because he is a new creation in Christ with a holy and righteous divine nature, and a good tree.
In order to see what Jesus, Jude and John taught, we have to understand, as shown in point 5, that the “works of the flesh,” is what the corrupt tree commits and the good tree cannot commit, and that the “fruit of the spirit” is what the good tree possesses and the corrupt tree cannot possess. These are two different trees with two different natures controlling them, which produce two different kinds of fruit. A saint does not have two natures. As discussed earlier, his sin nature was destroyed at the Cross, and he is now partaking of the divine nature. It is only natural for a saint to do good and to do “righteousness,” because that is what he is. As John said, “He that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.” (1John 3:7) If the righteous One lives in us, it is natural for one to be righteous. It is unnatural and against nature for a saint to commit the sins of the flesh. He that commits sin is of the devil. (1John 3:8)
A saint may have a lack of the fullness of the fruit of the spirit, but he cannot produce both good and evil fruit, as Jesus taught. A saint is exhorted to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2Peter 3:18);” to not to be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of their minds (Romans 12:2); grace and truth is multiplied unto them through the knowledge of Him (2Peter 1:2); and peace and love is multiplied unto them (Jude1:2). A saint grows in grace and in the fruit of the spirit, but it is impossible for one to grow from wickedness into righteousness over a period of time, as many teach today through progressive sanctification.
The reason why I believe many today stumble at the glorious gospel promises, is because they are not hearing the truth of the gospel, and are in fact hearing just the opposite – that we are all sinners and that we sin everyday. Sin comes from a nature and it is contrary to everything that God is. Do you think God would leave such a thing in His children? A thousand times NO!
This misunderstanding of sin and its consequences has resulted in a warped understanding of what sin is. It has also resulted in a “giving up” to sin, because if “all are sinners” then why fight it? People have told me that getting a speeding ticket is a sin. They believe that not witnessing for Christ is just as bad as committing adultery, because, as they say, “A sin is a sin.” This has also resulted in such carelessness in what God hates the most. If not witnessing is a sin and is comparable to committing adultery or murder or drunkenness, and “all are sinners,” then all anyone has to do is ask for forgiveness and everything is all right, no matter how vile the sin is. They can continually ask for forgiveness for the same sins over and over, and still feel that everything is fine, because, after all, “all are sinners – God understands – we are only human – no one is perfect – no one is righteous.”
In 1John 5:16, John talks about a “sin not unto death,” and a “sin unto death.” The “sin unto death” is the sin that the saint cannot commit. These are the sins of the flesh or the “works of the flesh” listed above. This is the evil fruit that Jesus and John said that the saint of God cannot commit. John said that if one commits sin he is of the devil. These sins come from an evil heart. Jesus taught that sin comes out of the heart. In Matthew 15:19, He says, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” A common misconception among the “sinning Christian” advocates is that the body of the Christian is evil and can and does sin, but the spirit is holy. But, the body is called the flesh in some Scriptures, the outward man, and the tabernacle. The body can only do what the inner man tells it to do. Jesus taught that sin comes out of the heart, not the body. Out of an evil heart proceeds sin. Some sin, such as lust, hatred, and covetousness may not have an outward manifestation, but they still flow from an evil heart.
Also, in Matthew 12:35, He says, “A good man [good tree] out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things [fruit]: and an evil man [corrupt tree] out of the evil treasure in his heart bringeth forth evil things [fruit].” We know He was referring to the good and corrupt trees, because two verses before, in the same discourse, He says, “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.” In these verses, He again reiterates the fact that there can be no hybrid or mixture of fruit on the two kinds of trees. You cannot have both good and bad fruit being produced or manifested on the same tree. A good tree cannot produce evil fruit, and neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit. (Matthew 7:18) A good man, out of his good heart, produces good fruit unto holiness. An evil man, out of his evil heart (not body or flesh), produces evil fruit unto death. How much clearer can Jesus, Peter, Paul, and John be?
The saint of God may have a lack of the fruit of the spirit, and he may lack in many areas. God does prune and chastise his children so that they can bear more fruit. He may miss the perfect will of God in his life, as even the Apostle Paul did at times. In fact, there is not a saint alive, who has not had to repent over certain things, and who has not missed the perfect will of God in many areas. But these things (sins, if you must, but not a sin unto death) do not proceed out of an impure or unholy heart. The saint needs to constantly abide in Christ, set his affections on things above, and pray often with “all manner of prayers and supplications,” and grow in grace and in the knowledge of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and strive to become more Christ-like in their walk. However, a saint cannot produce evil fruit as long as he remains in Christ. John said that if one abides in Christ he sinneth not. In fact, as long as the saint of God abides in Christ, he cannot even lust after another, as Jesus taught that if one looks upon another with lust they have already committed adultery in the heart. (Matthew 5:28) He also cannot even hate another, as John taught that if one hates he is a “murderer,” and “abideth in death,” and that “no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” (1John 3:14,15) Also, John, in 1John 3:14, states, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.”
Do you remember the story of the Samaritan village that rejected Jesus, and James and John wanted to command fire to come down and destroy the village? (Luke 9:52-56) Jesus rebuked them and said, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.” When John got saved after Calvary, he no longer wanted to destroy others. He had “passed from death unto life,” and could no longer have hatred in his heart. He was no longer “abiding in death,” but he had “passed from death unto life, because [he loved] the brethren.” This was part of the evidence that John used to “prove” to himself that he was “in the faith.”
The Scriptures do teach, however, that one can “fall from grace,” and be eternally lost, unless they repent. The Calvinistic doctrine of the “Perseverance of the saints,” or better known today as “once saved, always saved,” is a false doctrine that is causing many to be eternally lost, because of the false security that it produces.
James 1:14-15 speaks of how the saint of God can sin and fall from grace:
“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Then when lust is conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” Sin brought death and all of creation fell into disorder through Adam’s one transgression. How can “Christians” take sin so lightly and proudly say that all are sinners? Sin also brings death to the saint of God. The very “fruit” that a sinner commits is called “fruit unto death,” as discussed earlier in point 5. The saint can also be in danger of losing his salvation through unfruitfulness (Matthew 5:13, 13:22), and through hardening their heart through the deceitfulness of sin and turning from the living God in unbelief. (Hebrews 3:8, 4:12,13)
The New Testament Scriptures are full of conditions, warnings, and examples of how a saint of God can fall from grace. A full study will not be done here, however we will re-introduce a Scripture quoted in point 4 about the purpose of Calvary, followed this time by its stipulation and conditional sentence.
“And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreprovable in his sight:
continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope
of the gospel…”
7.) The sinner is a slave to sin, and the saint is a slave to righteousness.
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed and; And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.
They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house forever, but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:31-36)
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” (Romans 6:6)
“What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: For as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
What fruit had ye then in those things which ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life.” (Romans 6:15-22)
These Scriptures make it abundantly clear for all those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, that the person who commits sin is a slave to sin, and is a servant to sin and unrighteousness.
They also make it abundantly clear that the saint’s sinful nature was destroyed at Calvary, and that he no longer commits sin, so therefore he is no longer a servant to sin, and that he is now free from sin and serving God, and has become a servant of righteousness unto holiness.
The apostle asks the question, “What fruit had ye in those things which ye are now ashamed?” The modern church is not ashamed. Many proudly say that they are sinners and that there are none righteous. Some use the term “Sinner” as a badge of honor. They think they are being humble by proclaiming such. Instead, what they are actually doing is dishonoring God and the work of the Cross of Jesus Christ by not believing what was accomplished in the Cross for them. They choose to identify themselves as sinners, than to simply believe the multitude of Scriptures that proclaim otherwise. Jesus spoke of knowing the truth that makes free from sin. How can one who is made free from sin and who is “made righteous,” still be a sinner? How can someone who commits sin, still be a saint? They cannot, because according to Jesus, “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin,” and according to John, “He that committeth sin is of the devil,” and according to Paul, “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”
What about you? Will you set aside what church tradition has taught you? Will you look to your experience after your salvation, and conclude that these things cannot be true? Will you put your experience above the Word of God?
The Holy Scriptures are absolute and are “a more sure word of prophecy (2Peter 1:19),” and “are able to make thee wise unto salvation through the faith which is in Christ Jesus (2Timothy 3:15).”
If you find yourself lacking while reading these Scriptures, does pride well up in your heart, as it did for those Jews who “believed on Him,” as recorded in John 8? They rejected His message of freedom from sin because of their spiritual and national pride, and at the end of the discourse, those same Jews that believed on Him, took up stones to try to kill Him. Many accuse us of spiritual pride because we dare to believe the Word of God by saying that the saint of God is free from sin. But, could it be just the opposite? Could there be spiritual and denominational pride in their hearts because they believe that they are saved, yet they still struggle with sin? They refuse to deal with these glorious Scriptures because if they do, they must admit that they are not saved. Therefore, they twist and take the power of the gospel out of the Scriptures, and thus make the Scriptures of none effect unto them.
Paul said in 2Corinthians 10:17, “But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” Paul, in all of his ministry and writings, kept his central message upon Jesus Christ and what he accomplished on the Cross for us. He was simply bragging on Jesus. And that is what we strive to do in all of our writings. Our central focus is on the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ that is “the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” The gospel has the power to make a sinner into a saint. It is all of Him, and none of us. We could not save ourselves, but we rely exclusively upon Him and what he accomplished in His death, burial, and resurrection.
The following are absolutes that cannot be disputed from the Scriptures:
The sinner is part of the old creation, and is an old man who walks in darkness, is dead in sin, has a corrupt sinful nature, is a corrupt tree producing evil fruit, cannot cease from sin, commits the works of the flesh, is a slave to sin, a child of disobedience, a child of wrath, an enemy of God, of the devil, unholy, ungodly, unjust, filthy, wicked, and unrighteous.
The saint is part of the new creation of God, and is a new man who walks in the Light, is dead to sin but alive unto God, is partaking of the divine nature, is a good tree producing good fruit, cannot commit the works of the flesh, possesses the fruit of the spirit, is a slave to righteousness, is a child of God, is at peace with God through the blood of the Cross, is holy, godly, just, without spot, blameless, redeemed from all iniquity, purified, sanctified, justified, washed, cleansed from all unrighteousness, cleansed from all sin, made free from sin, and made righteous.
If you have tested yourself to see if you “be in the faith,” and have found yourself lacking, then simply repent and believe the gospel.
If you have found yourself in the faith, then “continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel (Colossians 1:23),” and “hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end (Hebrews 3:14),” and “hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised (Hebrews 10:23).”
If you are a saint of God, do not let the modern church-world convince you that you are a sinner. For, by the authority of the Scriptures, you cannot be both. There are no sinner/saints or “sinning Christians” in the Bible. You cannot even be 90% saint and 10% sinner. You are either 100% a sinner in need of a Savior and a Redeemer, or 100% a saint and abiding in the Keeper.
“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life…
“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jude 21,24,25)