Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Abiding in Christ - Day 27 - That You Might Not Sin

In Him there is no sin.  Whoever abides in Him does not sin. ~1 John 3:5-6
Jesus took away our sin by His work on the cross.  He is the propitiation for our sin - meaning He satisfied every requirement for justice by paying the full penalty in our place.  He is our Saviour Who by His life, suffering and death made atonement for our sins and allowed us to be reconciled to God.  Clearly, that is cause for rejoicing and praise!

But wait, there's more!  (I feel like one of those TV salespersons)... But there truly is MORE:

Christ also has delivered us from the power of sin, so that the believer does not practice sin any more.

In Him there is no sin.

Whoever abides in Him does not sin.

Believer, if you remain rooted and grounded in Christ, abiding in Him moment by moment, you will not sin, because you are rooted in Perfection.

If the root is holy, so are the branches.  ~Romans 11:16
How is this consistent with what the Bible teaches about our sin nature?

We have a sin nature.  We have sinned.

  • having sin - If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.1 John 1:8
  • practicing sin - If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. v10

The holiest believer must admit these truths - he has sin within; his sin has broken out into sinful practices.

"The deepest confession of sin in the past, and the deepest consciousness of still having a vile and corrupt nature in the present may coexist with humble but joyful praise to Him Who keeps us from stumbling as we abide in Him."~Andrew Murray, Abiding in Christ, p.164

Look at Paul.  He acknowledged he'd been a persecutor of the church.  He was deeply conscious of being the Chief of Sinners.  Yet for him, to live was Christ; to die was gain.  He walked through life abiding in Christ in close and unbroken fellowship.

In Him there is no sin.   Whoever abides in Him does not sin.

There are degrees of abiding, my friends.  When the abiding in Christ is weak and intermittent, sin continually rears its ugly head and defeats the soul.

Yet the Bible promises...

Sin shall not have dominion over you.~Romans 6:14

And the Bible commands...

Do not let sin reign in your mortal body.~Romans 6:12
A believer who claims the promise and obeys the command, walking by faith in the Son of God and in His power to keep him, trusts Jesus to keep sin from overpowering him.  But weak believers who are ignorant of the promise or careless about sin's power if they do not remain abiding in Christ live a life of continual stumbling and constant sorrow and regret.  Satan wants to keep you defeated. But Jesus will keep you from yielding to your sinful nature, as you abide in Him.

Andrew Murray illustrates this with the story of a lion tamer who was in control of a young lion.  When the keeper was near, the lion would crouch and tremble at his master's feet, no matter who approached.  But if anyone approached the lion when the keeper was not present, it was instant death!

"In the same way, we can have sin and yet not practice sin.  The evil nature, the flesh, is unchanged in its rebellion against God, but the abiding presence of Jesus keeps it under control.  In faith the believer can entrust himself to the keeping, the indwelling, of the Son of God; as he abides in Him, he can count on Jesus to be there for him.  It is union and fellowship with the Sinless One that is the secret of a holy life:  "In Him there is no sin.  Whoever abides in Him does not sin."" ~Andrew Murray p.166, Abiding in Christ.
Do not despair or fall into the pattern of thinking that it is not possible for you to have this kind of life.  You can abide in your Saviour, Jesus.  He never changes.  His promises never fail.  As you rest in Him, acknowledging that you cannot keep yourself, but He can keep you, you remain IN HIM.  The key is to remain humble and helpless before Him.

Glory to God

"By keeping us on a daily basis humble and helpless in our consciousness of our evil nature, watchful and active in the knowledge of its terrible power, dependent and trustful in the remembrance that only His presence can keep the lion down-- this gives all glory to Him and not to ourselves.  O let us believe that when Jesus said, ":Abide in Me, and I in you, " He meant that, while we were not to be freed from the world and its tribulation, from the sinful nature and its temptations, we were at least to have this blessing fully secured to us-- the grace to abide wholly; only, in our Lord.  Abiding in Jesus makes it possible to keep from actual sinning; and Jesus Himself makes it possible to abide in Him."
Faith only has to deal with the present moment.

Can Jesus, right now, as you abide in Him, keep you from sinning and doing those things that have stained and wearied you?  Surely He can.

In the moments between your activities, in the middle of your busy day, can you stop and say, "Jesus, keep me now.  Jesus, save me now.  Help me to resist temptation and yield to Your will for my life, right now."?

Let failure drive you to Him.

Regard it as HIS WORK to keep you abiding in Him, and His work to keep you from sinning.  He is the Vine, you are merely the branch.  He must bear and hold you and keep you in His love and power.  All you have to do is surrender.  He will keep you from sin, but even better, He will purify you and use you as a channel of blessing to others, to demonstrate His power and His glory on the earth.

In Him there is no sin.

Whoever abides in Him does not sin.

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