Can You Live FREED From Sin?
That might sound like a trick question, but I promise you it's a very important question. It's a foundational question. An identity question. And it's one we too often get wrong in the church. This issue is
That might sound like a trick question, but I promise you it’s a very important question.
It’s a foundational question. An identity question.
And it’s one we too often get wrong in the church.
This issue is sometimes phrased this way: I’m just a sinner, saved by grace. We think it’s honorable to boast in our weakness, in our ability to sin. We think that’s somehow humble.
The only problem with that is it’s not at all biblical.
Our restored identity through the cross is restored sons and daughters. Our identity is children of God! Our identity is something Jesus dies to redeem. So when we say “oh we’re just sinners, it’s a good thing God loves us” it’s putting the focus on sin, when Jesus calls us to live FREE from sin!
There is a huge difference.
But don’t take my word for it. Check out these verses. Verse after verse after verse that makes clear we are intended to live FREED from the bondage of sin, through Jesus. Take a look:
Romans 6:17-18: “But thanks be to God that, though you once were slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were committed. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”
Romans 6:22: “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”
Romans 8:1-4 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
These are just three but you get the idea. The theme is clear: we have been set free from sin, so we should no longer live under it! We should live according to righteousness! Our identity is as righteous sons and daughters, not people who are always doomed to sin.
How can you see yourself as doomed to sin, when the Bible says over and over that we are FREE from it? Not just someday in heaven, but look at the verses above….live free from sin, live according to righteousness!
Now it’s at this point when people will usually say, “hold on, what about 1 John? That says if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves!”
That’s definitely what part of it says. Let’s look at the entire chapter in context.
1 John 1English Standard Version (ESV)
The Word of Life
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our[a] joy may be complete.
Walking in the Light
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Here’s where he starts: If we walk in the light as he is in the light, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from ALL sin. Ok, that’s pretty bold and clear.
The next verse is the flip side of the same coin: If we say we have no sin (if we say we’ve never sinned and have no need for Jesus) we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us! That’s very clear too. Yes, there is a need to see our sin and see our need for a savior. That’s a moment in time. But once you see that and are “Born Again” the Bible is very clear…..don’t go back to living that way! Don’t go back to bondage! Don’t go back to a sin identity! Live free.
Galatians 5:1: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
The theme is constant throughout the Bible. Once you are set free, stay free! Live in righteousness!
Back to 1 John. In the very next chapter, he makes clear how we are supposed to live. When we quote just that one verse, we make clear we haven’t read the entire book. Here’s 1 John 2:
Christ Our Advocate
2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
Look at the very first line! Why did John write what he did in Chapter 1? Was it so we could say “we’re just sinners, saved by grace….we’re always going to sin brother, just accept it!”
Look how incredible this is. “I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin!” There it is right there. We are called to live a life of righteousness. John knows your very next question, so he goes right into it in the next verse: “But if you do sin, we have an advocate — Jesus.”
So we’re called to wake up in the morning not expecting to sin, but expecting to look more like Jesus each day. Why? Because he now lives in us! He’s restoring us to our original created value. Our original image. We were, after all, created in the image of God, isn’t that right? Your Bible does say that, right? That image was lost in the garden, but the entire Bible points to Jesus redeeming us and restoring us to this original, created value!
It’s not humble or right to wallow in our ability to sin. And we need to stop it.
Now, if this all has you intrigued, please enjoy this amazing message from Dan Mohler, which does a better job than we ever could on this topic. You’re not going to want to miss this.
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Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
But to Your name be the glory
Because of Your love and your faithfulness!