“Whoever remains in him doesn’t sin. Whoever sins hasn’t seen him and doesn’t know him.”
This is the primary mark of the true Christians person – that they stay away from sin, hating it for what it is and what it does. Those who have truly faced their sin and recognised its effect and consequences in their life, and come to Christ for salvation, will necessarily be set apart from that sin. Sin as disease will infiltrate the life easily and spread like wildfire. Once a sin has got hold of the person, it is a mighty fight to overcome it again and grow in holiness.
“… and some save, snatching them out of the fire with fear, hating even the clothing stained by the flesh.”
We must stay away from this moral disease and never let it take hold of us again. To be a backslider does not always involve gross sin, but just the toleration of it on a daily basis. The Spirit of God is grieved and we become weak and ineffectual. In all our difficulties and struggles, sin is usually behind it, somewhere. Either we are soft-pedalling on a hidden sin, excusing ourselves when our conscience is telling us something is wrong, or just being so used to thinking a certain way, speaking a certain way or going certain places that we hardly notice the sin at all. To be a holy person will require close self-examination and an honesty with ourselves that we cannot face up to without the forgiving power of God! Only the mercy of the Lord can help us to face it.
“Come now, and let’s reason together,” says the Lord: “Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
In our progressing Christian life we will be becoming increasingly close to our Lord Jesus and becoming more and more like Him. Holiness will be increasingly important to us and keeping the commandments at the centre of our thought processes. To stay in Christ means to stay away from sinning. We cannot call ourselves by His precious name and keep on with the staining effect of sin on our moral character.
People who can sin with impunity have never known Christ nor have they any recognition of Him in their souls. We cannot have a sinful lifestyle and yet think that we belong to God or have any security in His kingdom. If we have faced up to our sin and repented of it, turning from our wickedness, then we will be different people, godly people who love righteousness.
However, there are times and seasons that the Christian may fall into sinful habits and allow themselves to be overcome by a fault. The Lord is gracious and knows all our weaknesses and bears with us in our struggles with this issue. He will help us in the fight and as we continually strive to overcome, He will give us the victory. We put on the full armour of God in this fight and coach ourselves out of the dilemma. We fight with weapons of spiritual warfare that are always available to us and will give us the victory.
Surely, self is a most virulent and difficult foe and we use our armour to put it down every day and keep ourselves in the love of God. The Christian life is no cakewalk but a fight to the death of self and the victory of the life of the Spirit. Beloved, remain in Him and put to death the works of the flesh.
“Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts.”