What is the greatest problem of men and humanity in general? It is sin! Well, Adam was not the first man on the earth, but he was the first sinner on it. And Jehovah formed Adam. The sacred text says: “Jehovah God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7). We have two things to consider in this text:
1. Man was made a living soul; the animals were, too (Gen. 1:24). The living soul is the being made of flesh, with its movements, inclinations, and appetites. The fact that the breath of life was breathed into man’s noses is what differentiates him from the animals. This breath of life, in Hebrew, is the spirit, the discernment, and the intellect; in short, reason. This one was the man formed by Jehovah. This man was a sinner from the beginning, for he had sinned. Paul says: “Therefore, as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin; and so death passed to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12). Jehovah himself declared: “the soul who sins, he shall die” (Ezek. 18:4). Man’s condemnation is death, because of sin. Paul says: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
2. After man believes in Christ and receives eternal life, does he keep on sinning? Remember that the wages of sin is death. How does that go? Does the Christian sin or does he not? Remember also that Adam could eat of the tree of life while he had not sinned. On the day that he sinned he was forbidden to eat of the tree of life (Gen. 3:22-23). In the New Testament we have some revelations about the nature of the true Christian.
- Man has to be born again, in order to be saved. Jesus was the one who said that in John 3:3. Nicodemus asked: How can this be? Jesus answered: New birth is to be birthed from the water and from the Spirit (John 3:5). The water is the public confession, by baptism (Rom. 6:3-6). The Holy Spirit is the one who operates the regeneration (1 Cor. 6:10-11). If the Christian continues to sin, he was not born again and remains in the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21).
- Paul says: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). If the Christian persists in sin, nothing was made new; everything goes on in the same addiction, in the same routine, in the same bondage of the devil.
- If I persist in sin, I am still walking under the law, for it is the law that gives shape to sin. Paul says: “For sin will not have dominion over you. For you are not under law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:14). Now, John, the beloved apostle, declares: “He who sins is of the devil” (1 John 3:8). The addiction to sin is a devil’s imposed bondage, and that is why Paul says that he was sent by Jesus with the following mission: “To open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive remission of sins” (Acts 26:18). No one stops sinning by resorting to his will power, but he has to be delivered. Paul says: “Being made free from sin, you became bondservants of righteousness” (Rom. 6:18). If the Christian is not delivered from sin after his conversion, the Christ he knows is false (Matt. 24:4-5,24).
- The one who voluntarily sins after having the knowledge of the truth cancels out the sacrifice of Christ (Heb. 10:26), for Christ died for our sins (1 Cor. 15:3).
- John declares again the doctrine of the heavenly: “We know that whoever is born of God doesn’t sin, but he who was born of God keeps himself, and the evil one doesn’t touch him” (1 John 5:18). This word, “KEEPS HIMSELF”, is to remain away from sin, for if one returns to sin, the evil one will touch him with disgraces, sicknesses, curses, plagues, disasters and vengeances, according to the law.
- The slaves of the flesh and of sin affirm that every man sins, and that it is impossible for man not to sin. They use 1 John 1:8-10 as evidence and, confident of their belief, they modified the Bible. In the original translation of Almeida, we read: “whoever is born of God doesn’t sin”. They put in the updated Bible: “whoever is born of God does not live in the practice of sin”, as if to say: “Sins once in a while.” They have done the same with 1 John 5:18. But we read in the universal epistle of James: “For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all” (James 2:10).
- If I keep on sinning after I am born again, I practice spiritual suicide, for James says: “But each one is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. Then the lust, when it has conceived, bears sin; and the sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death” (James 1:14-15). Now, all men are spiritually dead before they believe in Jesus (John 5:24). If James declares that when man gives birth to sin he dies, then he was not saved, for before he believed he was already dead.
- We read above: “He who sins is of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Sin makes us children of the devil (John 8:44). John says about this issue: “You know that he was revealed to take away our sins, and in him is no sin. Whoever remains in him doesn’t sin. Whoever sins hasn’t seen him, neither knows him” (1 John 3:5-6). It is obvious that Jesus cannot accept as his those that are of the devil and sin.
- The true Christians constitute the body of Christ, which is the Church (1 Cor. 12:12-13). If the Christian belongs to the spiritual body of Christ and sins, what in fact sins is the body of Christ, in other words, the very Christ. Now, sinners form the body of the devil, which is the body of sin. Paul reveals that the body of sin is destroyed in baptism, and so the one that is baptized enters the body of Christ (Rom. 6:3-6).
- Lastly, we come to know that the body of sin is the body of Satan. And sin is intimately connected to the flesh. Paul says: “For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwells no good thing. For desire is present with me, but I don’t find it doing that which is good. For the good which I desire, I don’t do; but the evil which I don’t desire, that I practice” (Rom. 7:18-19). If sinning would cause pain, no one would sin, but sinning brings the pleasure of the flesh, and we are made of flesh, lured by our own flesh; so that only those who abhor their own flesh are delivered, something I have not yet seen. How will they want to take to the cross the flesh they loves so much? (Gal. 5:24). And if they do not take it to the cross, they do not belong to Christ.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira