1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
This is a grace and mercy question. Grace is unmerited favor and Mercy is not getting what one does deserve. When we sin and repent some combination of grace and mercy go into effect. If the sin is moral the mercy of God exempts us from the price of sin.
Tony Cook relates the power of God's Grace in his book Grace: The DNA of God. He tell of a judge who pays the fine of a speeder and gives the speeder a new car as an act of Grace.
Luk 17:1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
Luk 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
1Co 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
When dealing with sin the major question isn't is it habitual but it is did you repent each time? As believers there are certain things which we must not do. They are listed a couple of places in scripture my favorite is Gal 5. I've heard it said by Kenneth W. Hagin at one of his camp meetings to the effect of that if you cause someone else to stumble you're not going to make heaven. He did not elaborate much on the point so this could be taken out of context. My guess is that he was taking scriptures from Luke 17 and Galatians 5 and merging them together. Most teachers in the Word of Faith movement teach that Galatians 5 is about practicing sins and that if you repent you are not practicing the sin itself. It also has been said that inheriting the Kingdom of God is something that happens on this earth rather than in heaven and that though one may lose their inheritance on this earth they will not lose their salvation.
This is exactly what Renner Teaches on the issue:
Do You Practice Sin in Your Life?
by Rick Renner www.renner.org
Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
- Galatians 5:21
When Paul says, "They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God," he uses the word "do," from the Greek word prasso, which means to practice. Had he used the Greek word poieo, which means to do, it would have referred to an occasional act, but Paul carefully chose to use the word prasso, which conclusively communicates the idea of something that is done repeatedly or habitually. These are the actions of a person who has put these things into practice in his life, performing them as a matter of routine. These actions are his ritual, his norm, his pattern of life. Thus, the verse could be translated, "Those who put these things into practice in their lives and do these things routinely as a manner of lifestyle shall not inherit the Kingdom of God."
For a review, let's look quickly at the following list of the works of the flesh that are not to be routinely practiced or habitually performed:
Adultery: The Greek word porneia describes any sexual relationship that occurs outside the sanctified boundaries of marriage. (See July 15.)
Uncleanness: The Greek word for "uncleanness" refers to lewd or unclean thoughts that eventually produce lewd or unclean actions.
Lasciviousness: This word in the Greek text describes excess, but it primarily refers to the excessive consumption of food or wild, undisciplined living that is especially marked by unbridled sex. (See July 15.)
Idolatry: The Greek word eidololatria depicts the worship of idols, or simply put, "idolatry." The act of idolatry transpires when an individual gives his complete, undivided attention, devotion, passion, love, or commitment to a person, project, or object other than God.
Witchcraft: The word "witchcraft" is from the Greek word pharmakeia, the Greek word for medicines or drugs that inhibit a person's personality or change his behavior. We would call these mind-altering drugs. The Greek word pharmakeia is where we get the words pharmaceutical drugs or the word pharmacy. This word was used in connection with sorcery, magic, or witchcraft.
Hatred: The Greek word echthra pictures people who cannot get along with each other. They have deep issues with each other, holding resentments, grievances, complaints, and grudges that go way back in time and have very deep roots.
Variance: The Greek word eris depicts a bitterly mean spirit that is so consumed with its own self-interests and self-ambitions that it would rather split and divide than to admit it is wrong or to give an inch to an opponent!
Emulations: The Greek word zelos is used in a negative sense to depict a person who is upset because someone else achieved more or received more; therefore, the first person is jealous, envious, resentful, and filled with ill will for that other person who received the blessing that he wanted.
Wrath: The Greek word thumos is used throughout the New Testament to picture a person who is literally boiling with anger about something. Although the person tries to restrain this anger by shoving it down deeper into his soul, it intermittently flares up.
Strife: The word eritheia describes a self- seeking ambition that is more concerned about itself and the fulfillment of its own wants, desires, and pleasures than it is in meeting the same needs in others.
Seditions: The Greek word dichostasia means to stand apart, as one who rebels and steps away from someone to whom he should have been loyal. Thus, the word "sedition" gives the impression of disloyalty. It is the ultimate act of defiance or disloyalty to an established authority. (See July 18.)
Heresies: The Greek word hairesis carries the idea of a group of people who adhere to the same doctrine or who ardently follow the same leader and are sectarian. The adherents of a sect are usually limited in their scope and closed to outsiders, staying primarily to themselves.
Envyings: The Greek word phthonos implies a deeply felt grudge because someone possesses what a person wishes was his own.
Drunkenness: The Greek word methe refers to strong drink or to drunkenness. The consumption of wine for the sake of intoxication was common in the first century due to many pagan religions that employed wine as a part of their religious practices.
Revellings: The Greek word komoi describes a person who can't bear the thought of boredom and therefore constantly seeks forms of amusement or entertainment.
And such like: Paul ends this list with this Greek phrase, which alerts us to the fact that this list of the works of the flesh is not comprehensive; it is just the beginning of the works of the flesh!
Remember, when Paul wrote, "They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God," he used a Greek tense that categorically means he is talking about those who perform these things as a manner of lifestyle or who are habitually controlled by fleshly thoughts or deeds. To such people, the works of the flesh are their ritual, their norm, their pattern of life.
As you will see in tomorrow's Sparkling Gem, it is impossible for a real believer to continue habitually in sin. If these works of the flesh are the norm, the pattern, the routine of a person's life, it may be an indication that he was never born again - thus providing the reason he will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
If you occasionally struggle with sin, then go to God and allow Him to show you how He sees your sin. Get a revelation of what sin is - how grievous it is to the heart of God and how damaging it is to your own soul. Then ask Him to forgive you and to cleanse you - and He will! But if you routinely do many of these things as a manner of lifestyle, I believe you need to go to God and ask Him to tell you the truth about your spiritual status! You cannot afford to make a mistake about this eternal question!
A True Child of God Cannot Continue To Habitually Practice Sin!
Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 1 John 3:6
A true child of God cannot continue to habitually live a lifestyle of sin! It is impossible! In fact, if someone claims to be a child of God but continues in a life of sin, it is more than likely that he was never genuinely born again in the first place. You see, the Bible makes it clear that it is simply impossible for a bona fide child of God to continue in a life of sin! Today I want to tell you the reason why this is impossible.
First John 3:6 says, "Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him." Do you see the word "sinneth" used two times in this verse? In both cases, the Greek tense indicates continuous action, which means the verse could be more accurately translated, "He who abides in him does not go on continually, habitually sinning as a way of life; he who continually goes on routinely sinning as a way of life has not seen him, neither known him."
I realize this is a very strong statement, but this is precisely what John said to us in this verse. According to this verse, anyone who continues to live in habitual sin does not know Jesus. It could be that this individual has come close to the Kingdom of God and has even tasted the powers of it. But the fact that he has continued uninterrupted in the practice of sin shows that he has never become a real child of God. The fact that his life never changed demonstrates that his nature was never changed. This is exactly what John wrote in First John 3:6.
John then goes on to tell us, "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" (1 John 3:9). The tense of the word translated "commit" again indicates continuing action, which means the verse could be translated, "Whosoever is born of God simply cannot go on continually sinning." And then John tells us why! John writes, "for his [God's] seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." The word "seed" is the Greek word sperma and yes, it is where we get the word sperm.
According to this phenomenal verse, God injected His own seed into you the day you gave your life to Christ! Just as the sperm of a human father carries the DNA of that father, God's seed the Word of God carries the life and nature of God within it. When that divine seed was implanted on the inside of you, it imparted the very nature of God Himself to your spirit.
Peter referred to this miraculous event when he wrote that you are "born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (1 Peter 1:23). This means the day you got saved, that divine seed came rushing into your spirit, carrying the life and nature of God within it to give you a new nature. Just as a human seed produces a human life, God's divine seed immediately began to produce the life of God inside you.
In Genesis 1, God declared a spiritual law that every living thing produces after its own kind (vv. 21,24,25): Humans produce humans; horses produce horses; plants produce plants, and so on. This principle is also true in the spiritual realm. The day that God's divine seed was planted in you, that seed transported the very nature of God Himself into your spirit, with the full expectation that His very life and nature would be reproduced on the inside of you. This is why your desires suddenly changed after you were born again. This is also why you felt so badly about sin that previously didn't bother you at all and why you became so driven to possess a holy life. You weren't the same anymore, because you had a new nature. The nature of God Himself had been planted in you!
This is the reason a genuinely born-again person cannot continue habitually in his past sinful patterns. His new nature will drive him to be different, to be holy, to be like God. His born-again spirit will grieve and sorrow if sins are committed, because such actions violate the new nature that has been implanted in his spirit. If a person continues in sin as though nothing happened inside him, then nothing is probably exactly what did happen! More than likely, he was never really born again, for if he had been born again, that new nature of God within him would not permit him to continue living habitually in sin.
What does this mean for you and me? If a person who claims to be born again continues uninterrupted in habitual sin, we can take it as a strong indicator that he has probably never really been born again. This person may have come close to the Kingdom of God; he may have even learned the lingo of the saints. But the fact that his actions are unchanged indicates that his nature has never been changed. If he had really been infused with the divine seed of God, that life-giving seed would have so changed him that he wouldn't be able to continue living as he had lived in the past.
This is why I say that people who claim to know the Lord but whose lives never reflect a change should question if they have ever really been born again. The great preacher, Charles Finney, once remarked that most people who attend church are probably not born again. When asked why he believed this, Finney remarked that it was impossible for true children of God to live in blatant sin as many believers do. Finney made this statement over 100 years ago. As I contemplate the amount of sin that is so prevalent in the Church today, it makes me wonder, How many people who attend church in our own day are not genuinely born again?
Could it be that many who claim to know the Lord really aren't born again but instead have only been "enlightened" by coming closer to the Kingdom of God?
If someone is really born of God, could he continue to blatantly live in sin, completely unchanged in his actions or attitudes?
Doesn't John tell us that it is impossible for a person to continue in habitual sin if God's nature genuinely resides in his heart?
Don't you think it is tragic that many people who come to church week after week, assuming they are saved, may not really be saved at all?
First John 3:9 plainly declares that an authentic child of God cannot routinely commit and live in uninterrupted sin. Because he has been "born of God," he is so inwardly changed that it affects him outwardly. He acts differently because he is different. Now God's seed resides in his spirit, and that seed is producing the life of God in him; therefore, he thinks, behaves, and acts like God's child.
On the other hand, if a person's life does not emulate God, perhaps it is an indication that he has never really received God's divine seed into his spirit. If he had been implanted with God's seed, that seed would have caused clear and visible changes in his life.
You must remember that in regard to the works of the flesh, Paul said, "They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:21). The word "do" is the Greek word prasso, which means to practice. The Greek expresses the idea of a person who performs these things as a matter of routine. These actions are his ritual, his norm, his pattern of life. It means the verse could be translated, "Those who put these things into practice and who do these things routinely shall not inherit the Kingdom of God."
This is not the story of someone who has lost his salvation; rather, this is the story of someone who thought he was saved but who never really possessed genuine salvation in the first place. If he had truly been saved, he wouldn't have been able to continue living a consistent life of sin. The apostle John made this point emphatically clear in First John 3:9.
There is nothing more important than your salvation, friend. If you make a mistake about your spiritual condition, it is a mistake you will regret for all of eternity. Because this is such a vital, eternal issue, I advise you to carefully examine your own life to see if you reflect the life and nature of God.
Does your life reveal that your nature has been changed?
Or have you continued uninterrupted in your old attitudes and sinful actions since the time you thought you were saved?
Does your daily life demonstrate clear evidence of your salvation, or have you just learned the lingo of Christians and how to behave among believers?
This question is too serious for you to make a mistake. If these questions disturb you, take the time to let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart and tell you the truth. If your life gives proof that you are saved, then rejoice! But if an honest evaluation reveals that you have only become more religious but have never really changed, perhaps you need to reconsider whether or not you have ever really been saved.
If you find that this last statement best describes you, it's time for you to make your heart right with God. Don't let pride hold you back from doing what is right. Many people will have an eternal destiny in hell because they couldn't bear the thought of publicly admitting they weren't saved. Don't let pride stop you from doing what is right. The question of where you will spend your eternity is too important to ignore! Determine to put aside your pride so you can do what God's Spirit is urging you to do!
Kenneth E. Hagin taught in I believe in visions: that one could go from being occupied with sin to be oppressed by sin to even losing one's salvation and become possessed. He received this revelation in a vision from the Lord. The account from I believe in visions is related bellow.
The woman who lost her salvation
"Now I will show you how these evil spirits get hold of people when they are allowed to," the Lord said to me. Suddenly in the vision I saw a woman. I immediately recognized her as being the former wife of a minister. I had been introduced to her and her husband on one occasion. Other than that, I didn't know either of them and I had no communication with either of them in any way. I only knew that she had since left her husband.
"This woman was a child of mine," the Lord said. "She was in the ministry with her husband. She was filled with the Spirit, and the gifts of the Spirit were operating in her life. One day an evil spirit came to her and whispered in her ear, 'You are a beautiful woman. You could have had fame, popularity, and wealth, but you have been cheated in life by following in the Christian walk.' The woman realized that this was an evil spirit and she said, 'Get thee behind me, Satan.' The spirit left her for a period.
"By and by the same spirit returned. He sat on her shoulder and whispered in her ear, 'You are a beautiful woman, but you have been robbed by taking this lowly walk of Christianity and living a separated life.' Again she recognized this as Satan and said, 'Satan, I resist you in the Name of Jesus,' and he left her for a while.
"But he came back again and sat on her shoulder, whispering the same things in her ear. This time she began to entertain these thoughts, for she liked to think she was beautiful. As she began to think along the lines the devil suggested to her, she became obsessed with that thinking."
Then in the vision I saw the woman become as transparent as glass, and I saw a black dot in her mind. "That dot represents the fact that she is obsessed in her thinking with this spirit," the Lord said. "At first she was oppressed on the outside, but as she allowed the devil's suggestion to take hold of her thoughts, her mind became obsessed. She wanted to think, 'I am a beautiful woman. I could have wealth and popularity, but I have been robbed in life.' Still, it wasn't too late. She could have resisted; she could have refused to think those thoughts. Then the evil spirit would have fled from her and she would have remained free. But she chose otherwise.
"Finally she left her husband and went out into the world, seeking the fame and wealth which the devil offered. She took up with one man after another. After a time that thing got down into her spirit." In the vision I saw the black dot move from her head to her heart, and then the woman said, "I don't want the Lord anymore. Just leave me alone."
I said, "Lord, why are You showing this to me? Do You want me to pray for this woman? Do You want me to cast the devil out of her?"
"No, I don't want you to pray and cast the devil out of her," the Lord answered, "because you couldn't anyway. She wants that spirit, and as long as she wants it, she can have it."
"Then why did You show this to me, Lord?"
"I have shown this to you for two reasons: first, so you could see how an evil spirit will get hold of a person, even a child of God, if they will let him; second, I want you to deal with that spirit who is operating through that woman and harassing and intimidating the ministry of her former husband."
"How do I do that?" I asked. The minister was in the same state I was in, but the woman was in another state.
"There is no distance in the realm of the spirit," the Lord said. "Simply speak to that spirit and command him, in my Name, saying, 'You foul spirit that is operating in the life of this woman [calling her name], that is harassing and embarrassing the ministry of the servant of the Lord [calling her husband's name], I command you to desist in your operations and stop in your maneuvers this moment."'
In the Spirit I said those words, and immediately that spirit ceased to operate through her to intimidate that minister. From that day forward the minister never again was troubled by her or that spirit.
"Lord, what will happen to her?" I asked.
"She will spend eternity in the regions of the damned, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth," He answered. And in the vision I saw her go down into the pit. I heard her awful screams.
"This woman was your child, Lord. She was filled with your Spirit and had part in the ministry. Yet You said not to pray for her. I cannot understand this!"
The Lord reminded me of the following Scripture: "If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it" (1 John 5:16).
I said, "But Lord, I always have believed that the sin referred to in this Scripture is physical death, and that the person is saved although he has sinned."
"But that Scripture doesn't say physical death," the Lord pointed out. "You are adding something to it. If you will read the entire fifth chapter of First John, you will see that it is talking about life and death— spiritual life and spiritual death— and this is spiritual death. This refers to a believer who can sin a sin unto death, and therefore I say that you shall not pray for it. I told you not to pray for this woman because she sinned a sin unto death."
"This really disrupts my theology, Lord. Would you explain some more?" I asked. (Sometimes we need our theology disrupted if it is not in line with the Word.)
Jesus reminded me of the following Scripture:
4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made par takers of the Holy Ghost,
5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repen tance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
"Yes, I know that Scripture, but my denomination said that 'those who were once enlightened' does not refer to Christians— it means lost persons who get under conviction."
The Lord said, "Remember, I told you this woman was my child. She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she had part in the ministry. You will notice that the Scripture says, '/t is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift....' I am the heavenly gift. A man under conviction is enlightened, but he has not tasted of Me.
"The Word of God says, 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life' (John 3:16). I am the heavenly gift, and the man under conviction has not tasted of the heavenly gift. He sees his lost condition and he sees that he can be saved. 'For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord' (Rom. 6:23). No one has tasted the heavenly gift, the gift of God, until he has received eternal life by accepting Me as Lord and Savior.
"Notice the words in this Scripture '.. .and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost [this woman had been baptized in the Holy Spirit], And have tasted the good word of God....' >(Heb. 6:4,5); or as the Phillips translation reads, '. . .who have known the wholesome nourishment of the Word of God....'
"In other words, baby Christians cannot commit the sin unto death. It is to be regretted that baby Christians live as they sometimes do, and they say and do some things they should not. But I do not hold these things against them any more than you would hold things a little child may do against him because he doesn't know any better.
"The person referred to in this Scripture — and that includes the woman I am showing you— has tasted the good Word of God; that is, he or she has grown beyond the baby Christian stage. One Scripture says, 'As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby' (1 Peter 2:2). This woman had grown beyond the sincere milk of the Word. >She had tasted the solid meat of the Word. She already had tasted of the 'powers of the world to come.' She had the gifts of the Spirit in operation in her life."
Jesus continued, "For one to commit 'a sin unto death,' he would have had all five of these experiences:
"1. Be enlightened (or convicted) to see his lost state, and to know that there is no way for him to be saved except through Jesus Christ.
"2. Taste of the heavenly gift, which is Jesus.
"3. Become a partaker of the Holy Spirit, or be filled with the Holy Spirit.
"4. Grow enough out of the babyhood stage to have tasted the good Word of God.
"5. Have the powers of the world to come— the gifts of the Spirit— operating in his life.
"This woman had all these qualifications. And my Word says it is impossible '.. .If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame' " (Heb. 6:6).
I asked the Lord, "What sin is this, then?"
The Lord referred me to the following Scripture:
26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
The Lord said to me, "The sin that this Scripture speaks about is that of the believer who turns his back upon Me. Notice the words in this Scripture, 'He that despised Moses' law died without mercy . . . Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God . . . . '
"Because of great persecution, the Hebrew Christians referred to in this passage were tempted to go back to Judaism, but if they went back, they would have trodden under foot the Son of God. They would have counted the blood of the covenant an unholy thing, for they were saying that Jesus is not the Messiah; He is not the Son of God. They turned their backs on Me. This is why Paul warned them that if they did that, it would be impossible to renew them unto repentance.
Forgiveness for Adultery
"It is sad that this woman left her husband for another man, but adultery is not the unpardonable sin. If she had turned back to Me in repentance, even though she might have had a hundred men, I would have forgiven her. Whatever she might have done, if she had asked Me to forgive her, I would have.
"Even if she had been a baby Christian when she said, 'I don't want Jesus anymore; leave me alone,' and didn't actually realize what she was doing, I would have forgiven her. If she had done that because she was tempted and pressed into it beyond measure, I would have forgiven her.
But she knew exactly what she was doing, and she acted willfully when she said, 'I don't want Him anymore.' Therefore I tell you not to pray for her. I merely showed you this so you might see how the devil can get hold of Christians if they will permit him to."
So the three major opinions about those who habitually sin in our group are:
- They are saved and need to repent again
- They are not saved and need to be born again
- They are saved but if they continue and are not a spiritual baby they will become unsaved