23 June 2001, Saturday


EPHESIANS Chapter 2, Verses 2,3 KJV

 By Dr. Ken Matto

Oh, well. Okay, we’re going on with our study of Ephesians. Last week, we looked at Ephesians Chapter 2, verse 1. And we saw how we were dead in our sins, dead in our trespasses, and God has made us alive. We who were dead --"nekros." We were useless. We were lifeless. We had nothing to give God, nothing that we could use for the Kingdom of God-- because just like dead people, [we] can do nothing but rot. That’s all we were to the Kingdom of God. But today, we’re going to look at Ephesians Chapter 2, verses 2 and 3. And we’re still on that good part of Ephesians where we’re looking at the resurrection of the believers’ soul.
In Ephesians Chapter 2, verses 2 and 3, we read this:
"2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."
Now, these two verses go together. They’re one continuing thought, and we’re going to see some mighty truths come out of these verses with three sets of verses tonight, which [are] going to help us understand what we’re looking at here in Ephesians Chapter 2, verses 2 and 3 -- of course, [with] the Bible being its own interpreter. So let us just look at some of the words in this particular verse.
First of all, in Ephesians Chapter 2, verse 2, we’re looking at verse 2, two words that says: "…time past." Now, when we look at the word, "…time past," this is biblical language, which means that sin was your past life, but not your present or your future. So when you and I were still unsaved, God in His mercy --as being part of His elect--granted us salvation. And now, we no longer walk in sin, because he said, "…in time passed, ye walked." And that word, "walked" means that we lived or we conducted ourselves according –of course, that’s a preposition, "according"— to the course of this world. In other words, what we were doing was, as unbelievers, we were conducting ourselves or living according to the principles in concert with the evil of this world. In other words, before we were saved, we agreed with the world and Satan. And that’s what continues to happen today with the unbeliever. But before we were saved, in times past, we agreed with the world and Satan. And of course, when we agreed with the world, we agreed with not only the evil parts about it, but we agreed with it that even when we took a vacation, that it would give us peace and bring our blood pressure down, [that] it would give us inner peace. Or if we drank or smoked or something, it would somehow satisfy us. And so we agreed with everything the world was telling us -- that the world could give us what we looked for, what we crave, what we needed. Now, when it says when we walked in the course of this world, that word "course" can be translated either "age," "era," or period of time. So in times past, we had our conversation –or our conduct— in this world.
So let’s take a look at verse 3. It says: "Among whom also we all had our conversation {or our conduct or our lifestyle…and there’s that word again…} in times past…" God is emphasizing VERY carefully that you and I, IN TIMES PAST, walked according to the world. Now, since we’ve had our newness of life --our resurrected soul-- we don’t walk according to the world anymore.
Let’s go on to verse 3, where it says: "…in times past in the lusts of our flesh,…" And that word, "lusts" can also mean VERY strong desires. It really means a desire, that is, like a craving…something to that effect. And it says, "…fulfilling the desires of the flesh…" And of course, it was easy for us to fulfill the desires of the flesh. I know for me, it was easy. All I had to do was go to the liquor store, get a six-pack, and I was fulfilling the desires of the flesh. And it says: "…And of the mind;…" You know, before we became Christians, our mind would dictate to our flesh what to do. We would think of something to do, or we would think of something evil or some kind of plan, and we would take our mind and we would put it into some kind of plan… and then when we would plan, we would execute that plan, and that’s how we would fulfill the desires of the flesh and of the mind.
And he says: "…and were by nature the children of wrath,…" Now, there are some who are proclaiming that there is going to be a tribulation period on this earth [for] seven years, and of course, three and a half is going to be good…and three and a half is going to be EVIL…and [that] there’s going to be a lot of bloodletting and everything like that. But that’s not what God is talking about. He’s not talking about that wrath. And I believe that verse is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:9. It says: "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,"
And when I was a pre-tribber, they used to use that verse saying God has not predestined us or destined us to be part of the great tribulation that’s coming upon the earth to be under the physical anti-Christ that was going to come upon the earth. Now, we, of course, used to believe that, because we used to interpret the Bible by the prophecy books. But what wrath is God talking about? Turn with me to Revelation Chapter 6, verses 16 and 17. And of course, the passage of Scripture begins at about [verse] 12, but just for brevity, I’m going to read these two passages. In Revelation 6:16-17, the Bible says: "16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?"
Now, of course, this is not talking about some tribulation period, or something like that. THIS is talking about Judgment Day, because the universe and the world is beginning to fall apart, because they now see the Lord Jesus sitting upon His Judgment Throne. The great day of His wrath has come. And now He’s going to pour out His wrath upon all the unbelievers, and they shall spend an eternity in hell. And that is the sad condition of the unbeliever today who cares nothing about the things of God. They care nothing about their soul. They care nothing about their future. All they care about is today. How many [are] so concerned about, you know, Social Security running out in twenty or thirty years, not realizing that we may not be here in twenty or thirty years… because the way that everything is going, it seems that the end is very close. The end is upon us, because of the exponential rise in sin --the boldness of sin-- especially the sin of homosexuality. Every great kingdom, like Rome, or even Sodom and Gomorrah, right before their end, there was a great boldness of homosexuality coming out of the closet, and then the destruction came. And we saw that plainly in Sodom and Gomorrah, and the teachings, and the great day of His wrath is come.
Now, back to Ephesians Chapter 2, 2 and 3. And then what we’re going to do is divert to a couple of passages of Scripture. And then we’re going to be looking at a subject that I love to talk about, because unfortunately, there is a lot of misunderstanding in the body of Christ about it.
Now, the spirit of evil now works in the children of disobedience. Alright, now these children of disobedience are sinners according to the Scriptures. God sees them as sinners. And He says here… now, notice the difference here in language when we talk about the believer. For the Christian, we walk in sin in time past, OR before we were saved. But the unbeliever continues to walk in sin. Now, can the Christian walk and the world’s walk be the same? And the answer is of course, no. The Christian walk and the world’s walk cannot be the same, because the Christian and the world are in total opposition to each other. When you compare the two lifestyles, Christianity is a lifestyle unto life and the worldly lifestyle is a lifestyle unto death. And that is the great difference between Christianity and unbelievers.
Now, there are many, MANY preachers out there from the pulpits who pound the pulpits on Sunday morning and still claim that Christians are still sinners without explaining it. And you know something, I don’t think they understand it enough to explain it, to be honest with you… because I have sat under teachings of MANY preachers --both Free-Will preachers and preachers that are Reformed-- and I hear them saying that we’re still sinners, that we are just sinners saved by grace. In fact, there’s even a hymn out there that says: "This is my story, to God be the glory, I’m only a sinner… saved by grace." [end of song]. Now wait a minute, I’m only a sinner saved by grace, huh? Well, let me tell you something, if we had time, we’d develop that whole thing. But we don’t have time to really go into that. I would just suggest that you go to my website, and I have a study on there called, "How Does God View the Believer" …and you’ll see how God views His children. And nowhere –NOWHERE— in the Bible does God ever refer to His children as sinners, because Christ did not go to the Cross to make us sinners. He went to the Cross to make us Redeemed Saints –the Redeemed Elect. And we need to start thinking like that.
Now, see, sin leads to death, and is the believer heading to the second death? And the answer is no, no… because as we read in Ephesians 2, verse 6, where he says that He raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. And then He says in Revelation Chapter 20, verse 5 and 6, blessed are they that partake in the first resurrection over which the second death has no power. ["5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."] And that second death has no power, because since we are saved to newness of life, that particular second death is reserved only for those who are unregenerate, and who are going to be paying for their own sins.
Now, there are no Scriptures in the Bible which continue to call Christians sinners. The Bible makes a CLEAR distinction between the camp of Satan and the camp of the LORD. At this point, I want us to go to a couple of passages of Scripture, which is going to help us understand a little bit, and we’ll clear up the distinction that we need to have between the body of Christ and the kingdom of Satan.
So turn with me to Romans Chapter 7, verses 14 to 25. And I’m sure you are all familiar with all these passages. We’ll start on verse 13, and we’ll go to Romans Chapter 8, verse 1. It’s very important that we look at these passages of Scripture, because it opens up a TREMENDOUS truth that I think a LOT of people miss when we glean over these passages. Now, this particular set of Scriptures seems to be speaking of a personal conflict that the Apostle Paul had. Now, the Wesleyans teach –those who are in the Arminian churches— teach that this was Paul’s conflict before he got saved. And I remember being at Zeraphath Bible Institute, and they are Wesleyan Arminian. And they believe that you can become absolutely perfect in your Christian walk, and that you can never, ever, ever sin. I’m talking about in the flesh, as well as in the Spirit. So they believed that this was talking about Paul before salvation, not after salvation. But you know, there’s nothing in Scripture here that says that this was Paul’s struggle before he became saved. You see, before I became saved --and I’m sure before each of you became saved-- you didn’t have much of a struggle with sin. For me, it was easy to go along with the crowd. You know, have a beer, do this, cheat a little bit here and there, cheat a little bit there and here. It was fine, because we were going along with the world. But NOW, we don’t walk with the world, so now we have a conflict. We now have a conflict in our Christian walk.
Now, in verse 13, Romans Chapter 7, we read this: "Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful." Now, there’s one thing you must realize in this verse. The law reveals the nature of sin, okay. Now, if you and I were traveling, let’s say, in the deserts of Arizona somewhere, and there was absolutely NO Speed Limit signs. And if we were doing 100 miles per hour, we would be breaking no law. But if there was a sign there, Speed Limit 55mph, and we were doing 100mph, we would be breaking the law. So the commandment came, or the law came, and showed us how exceedingly sinful we really are, and how much we needed a Savior. Okay, so in verse 13, we saw the law reveal the nature of sin.
Alright, verse 14: "For we know that the law is spiritual:… --{but of course, because we know that God Himself wrote it}— "…but I am carnal, sold under sin." Verse 14 reveals to us that the law reveals sin in us. Every one of us has that sin nature. And until the day that the LORD calls us, or until He returns, we are going to have a struggle in our life between sin and righteousness.
Now, in verse 15 and 16: "15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good."
Now, [in] verse 15, he says here that for that which I do, I allow not or I do not know for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. And he’s saying [in] the last two words, "do I" means that ‘I practice.’ In other words, here’s the Apostle Paul saying, ‘What I HATE, I DO. And what I love, I DON’T do.’ You see, this is the hindrance that sin has in the life of the believer. We want to do something to the glory of God perfectly, and we won’t do it, because sin is always crouching at the door. Remember what God said to Cain, that sin is crouching at the door. Whenever you have a good work, sin is always crouching at the door to hinder that good work. Always. That’s why we have to be on the lookout.
And he says in verse 16: "If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good." In other words, what he’s saying here is that the law is proving God correct. -- That we are such sinners, that we have to have a Savior. We need to be saved by God Himself. Now, verses 17 to 21.
Now verse 17 is probably the pivotal verse: "Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me."
Oh, what does he mean? --"…no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me." Well, first of all, when he says ‘no more I that do it,’ he’s saying that the real him is now the regenerated Paul. Paul is not doing the sinning, it is the FLESH: "…but sin that dwelleth in me." In other words, the sin principle is in our flesh, and that’s one of the problems that we face. We are saved people. We are Saints in bodies that are still unsaved. And so this is what he’s saying, ‘I’m not doing the sinning, because I have a new Spirit. God has given me a new Spirit. And He saved me. I have the Holy Spirit living in me, and that’s the real me. But when I sin, it’s because of the flesh --the weakness of the flesh.’
Verse 18: "For I know that in me –{and God points it out}-- (that is, in my flesh,)…" Now you see, here is the great dichotomy. Preachers need to detail these things for their people listening, because what’s happening is that "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,)…" –some people say that it’s my Spirit, unfortunately… you know, that I’m sinning in my Spirit. Well, you’re NOT. If you’re a true believer, you CAN’T sin in your Spirit. And he said, "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not."
Verse 19: "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do." Here, Paul again is saying that unfortunately, ‘The things that I want to do, I can’t, and the things that I don’t want to do, I’m doing.’ This is the great problem with sin. You see, the key to these four verses is that sin is the source of sin in the believer’s life. Okay, SIN is the source. The sin that dwells in our flesh is the source of why the believer sins.
Verse 20: "Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me." There’s that great distinction again. The Apostle Paul is saying it is not HIM that’s doing the sinning. It is the FLESH that’s doing the sinning, because we have that new resurrected nature, that new Spirit that God has given us, the new life…the new fulfilled life in Christ.
Verse 21: "I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me." Evil is always going to be on the back of good, until such a time that the Lord Jesus Christ returns, evil is always going to be there. Satan will never give up, because that’s his job. He’s not supposed to give up. We have to remember, Satan is Satan. He’s our adversary. And as a result, he is going to try to harass us, heckle us, and hinder us, as best as he can.
Now, in verse 22, it says: "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:" What does he mean he’s delighting in that law? Remember what the Bible says, ‘The outer man perisheth, but the inner man is renewed daily.’ [2 Corinthians 4:16 – "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day."] What’s that inner man? That’s the Spirit, that’s us, that’s the real us. That’s why the Apostle Paul delights in the law of God according to the inner man. In other words, he’s delighting in Grace, NOT in the Law. And you have many Messianic Jews who are rejoicing in the law --that they’re keeping one out of 618 commandments. They think that’s going to buy them heaven. And that’s NOT going to buy them heaven. Nothing can buy them heaven. Only [by] the blood of Christ.
Then he says in verse 23: "But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind,…" --{Now he says the law of his mind. And the law of my mind is the mind that is Christ. You see, we have the mind of Christ…}-- "…and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." So you see, Paul is telling us that sin can drag us down. And when sin drags us down, unfortunately, what it does is it drags the Spirit with us. And that’s why the Bible says do NOT quench the Spirit. Do NOT grieve the Holy Spirit by which we are sealed. So that’s what he’s saying here. So basically, verse 23 is saying the law of sin remains in the believer’s mortal body until such a time that He brings us home.
Now, in verse 24, it says this: "24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." [Note: PalTalk disruption from entering member ‘EvilMatt’ –bounced out of room]. There we go. Now, could that not have been better timing? --Where the Bible says that wherever you try to do good, evil is right there? Ahaaaaaaaaa! So there, the LORD gave us a tremendous point.
Okay, so anyway, verse 24 says: "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Now, when we talk about the body of this death, it’s interesting to note that back at the time of ancient Rome, when someone killed somebody, and it was determined that they were to die for their crime, many times they didn’t crucify him, they didn’t flog him. What they did was they took the dead body and they tied that dead body, and of course, they put that dead body right against your body, and they tied it together. So as the body of the person that you killed --the flesh started to ROT-- what happened was, it started to rot YOUR flesh. And the Apostle Paul, being of course in Rome probably saw this, and he says, ‘Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?’ That is basically what the body –the physical body, the dead body—that he’s typing here is to the Spirit. The physical body actually hinders the Spirit in doing the work of God. How many times you want to do something, [but] you’re so tired, you can’t? The Spirit is willing, but the body --the flesh-- is weak. So this is what he’s telling us.
And then in verse 25, he says: "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." So here again is the great distinction, because of the regenerated mind, we are not serving sin in our Spirit, but in our flesh.
And then let’s go to Romans Chapter 8, verse 1, where he says: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." And the word "condemnation" there is the word "katakrima" [Strong’s #2631 – pronounced kat-ak'-ree-mah]. And that particular word means there’s no judicial penalty or sentence for my sin. And even though the Apostle Paul is saying that he has the struggle with sin, he’s thanking God because of the inner man, and that there’s therefore NO condemnation to them, which are in Christ Jesus. And I think that’s a TREMENDOUS principle that God is sharing with us.
Now, turn with me in your Bibles to 1 John, Chapter 3. And I want to look at some of these Scriptures which seem to almost contradict when it talks about Christians as sinners-- things like this-- because these are the kind of verses here that the preachers look at and say, ‘See! God still says we’re sinners!’ Well, let’s see if He does.
In 1 John Chapter 3, we’re going to look at verses 3 to 10: "3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. 4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." Of course, that’s an excellent definition of sin. We like to say, ‘missing the mark’ and things like that, and those are legitimate definitions. But here, God is plainly saying, ‘for sin is the transgression of the law.’ Verse 5: "And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin."
Okay now we read like in Psalm 103, where He says as far as from the east is from the west, He’s removed our sins. [Psalm 103: 12 – "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us."]. God even says in Isaiah, I believe in Isaiah somewhere, I’m not sure, in Isaiah 43, where He says. ’I, even I am the LORD and I have removed your sins.’ [Isaiah 43:25: "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins."]. And I believe it’s Isaiah where He says He’s taken our sins and put them behind His back. [Isaiah 38:17 – "Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back."]. You see, so He was manifested to take away our sins. And of course, in Him, is NO sin, because He’s pure. He’s the Lord Jesus.
Now, verse 6: "Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him."
Now, I once heard Jack Van Impe say something to the effect of: ‘Every time you sin, you lose a reward.’ Uhh, he’s NUTS, plain English. Okay, well, anyway… In verse 6, he says, "Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not." Now, you and I, as Christians, are abiding –or existing— in the Lord Jesus Christ. And as a result, he’s saying that whoever abideth in him doesn’t sin. But on the other hand, "whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him." So what do I make of this? I mean, on one hand, he’s saying if I’m abiding in Christ, I’m not sinning, but if I sin, I don’t know Him. You see… so let’s continue on and see if we can make some sense out of this:
7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil;…"
Now wait a minute, you mean to tell me, if I sin today, that means I’m of the devil? But God saved me, I can’t lose my salvation, so I can’t go back. I can’t go back, and go back to the kingdom of Satan and be saved all over again.
So he says, "8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." Okay, and we saw that. The Lord Jesus Christ came, fulfilled God’s salvation plan. He brought it to a consummation on the Cross. He said it is finished, then He died. He became the sacrifice for the elect. Now, verse 9 is a key verse: "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."
You and I, as Christians --if we’re truly born again, we cannot commit sin. "…for his seed remaineth in him:…" Who is the seed? A couple of weeks ago, we went through the seed of Abraham, that Christ is the seed. He dwells in us. And it says here, "and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." Now, always keep in mind, the word "cannot" is the word of ability. For example, if I was a 5-year-old kid, and I said to my mother, "Mom, can I go to the store by myself?" And she says, "Yes, you can." So I go to the store, and I come home, and she puts me over her knees and tans my hide. I said, "Ma, I asked you if I can go." And she says, "Yes, I know you said if you asked if you can go, but you did not ask permission. You did not say, ‘May I go to the store?’" You see, the little kid, 5-year-old, [with] two legs, and he could run to the store and come back. He had the ABILITY to go to the store, but he didn’t ask for permission. You see it is the same with us, because we, as Christians who HAVE the regenerated Spirit within us –the Holy Spirit living within us— CANNOT sin. And when we sin, we are sinning out of our flesh. In other words, every sin that we ever committed… every sin, no matter which sin it is, it has already been atoned for. This is why God says we cannot commit sin. We cannot commit sin that is not atoned for already. Now, you ask a question: But what about the sins of the future? Well, let me ask you this. Where were YOU when Christ went to the Cross? You were still two-thousand years in the future. So EVERY one of your sins was in the future –every single one. And that’s why he’s saying here in verse 10: "In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother."
Now, keep in mind --as believers-- that in our spirit, our spirits are perfect before God. He even says in Revelation 14:4,5 that we don’t even have guile [Rev. 14;4,5 – "These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. 5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God."]. We don’t even have craftiness in our mouths. That’s how TOTALLY the Lord Jesus has purged us of sin with His atonement. And so when we look at verse 10, it says the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil are manifest. The children of the devil are manifest because they live in sin, and we saw that. They’re walking according to the course of this world. And the believers in times past walked according to the course of this world. But now, we have a spirit that is regenerated of God.
Turn with me to 1 John Chapter 1. 1 John Chapter 1, verses 6 to 10. Of course, these are passages that are also used to quote, "try to prove that Christians are still sinners." You see, when I say a Christian is not a sinner, what I’m saying is, in the eyes of God. And that’s how you have to look at the Bible. Nowhere does the LORD ever call us sinners. He doesn’t call us that. He calls us Saints. Faithful. He calls us His children. God doesn’t have sinners as children. Keep that in mind.
In 1 John Chapter 1, verses 6 to 10, He says: "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:"
Alright, there’s another key verse. If I say that I am a Christian--anybody can say that they’re a Christian--And we have fellowship with Him, and I go to church, but come Friday night and Saturday night, well, I’m out there on the streets, you know, doing it with the world. Then I’m walking in concert with the world. And if I say I have fellowship with Him, and I walk in darkness, I’m lying. I’m lying.
Verse 7: "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
And this idea that we have to stand before the Lord Jesus Christ at the bema seat [judgment seat] for rewards is ludicrous, because we have no rewards. God is our reward. We can’t get any bigger than that as a reward.
Then he goes on in verse 8 and he says: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."
Now, here is where people get confused a little bit. We have sin, the apostle Paul stated. You see, this is the great thing about comparing Scripture with Scripture. The apostle Paul said the sin is in his members –or in his flesh— NOT in his spirit. And so if we say that we have no sin in our flesh and our spirit, then we’re being deceived. But if we say we have no sin in our spirit and we have sin in our flesh, then we are being truthful. And this idea that we can become perfect like the Wesleyans believe we can is error, because to say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. And this is what happens, when people say, ‘Well, I don’t need Christ. I mean I never robbed a bank, or I never smoked dope or anything like that. You know, I’ve been good all my life.’ --Hey, good? You mean, evil-y good.
Then in verse 9, he says:"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
--Every sin you’ve ever committed. Confessing our sins, saying the same thing as God. And by the way, you can only say the same thing that God says after you’re regenerated, not before. This is not a verse where, you know, we confess our sins --you know, like they say the Sinner’s Prayer. That’s a misuse of this verse, because if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all righteousness.
Then in verse 10, he goes on to say: "If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
And he’s building on verse 8. If we have not sinned, we make Him a liar. Every believer has sinned. Every believer will sin. And that’s gonna happen, as we continue to go on in this world. But it’s ATONED sin. That’s the difference. The unbeliever has UN-atoned sin, and so you see, one of the problems we face in studying the Scriptures, [is that] we’re not pulling out all the Truth. We’re pulling out half-truths and preaching it as Truth. And a half-truth is just as much as a lie as a full lie.
So whenever anytime you look at the Scriptures, and you see what God says about His children, you’ll never find the term "sinner" in there. He says we’ve sinned, we confess our sins, and if we say that we have not sinned, then we are deceiving ourselves. But you notice even passages like this, He doesn’t refer to His children as sinners. And anyway, when you look at verse 10, if we say that we have not sinned –past— we make Him a liar. Yes, we sin, absolutely. Believers sin. BUT…Christ has atoned for ALL that sin.
So you see, go back to Ephesians 2:2,3. He says:
"2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:"
You see, anytime somebody comes up to you that you knew before you got saved, and they say to you, ‘You know, I remember you when…’ You just tell them, ‘Yes… but my when is still your now.’ And that’s the danger.
"3 Among whom also we all had our conversation --{or our lifestyle}-- in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."
But God redeemed us. God redeemed us. And He saved us. And we walked in times past in the flesh. NOW we walk in the Spirit. And that’s the great distinction, and the great difference between the body of Christ and the body of Satan. So now when we take those 1 John passages [and] link them back to the Romans passages, we now have a good understanding of when it talks about that the believer does not sin because they’re born of God, and we CANNOT sin because we have the Holy Spirit living within us.
Yet in Romans, it tells us that the sin that we do suffer in this world comes out of our flesh. So you see, the atonement was full. God completely took our sins away. He wiped our sins away. He removed them. He sees us as if we’ve never sinned. Isn’t that a wonderful thing? Isn’t that something when we think about it? And how unworthy we were. But you know, Christ made us worthy. He made us accepted in the beloved. He made us accepted in Him. So now, this is why we can come before the throne of Grace with boldness. Not arrogance, [but] boldness, with confidence. [And] we can come to the LORD for anything, because [each one of His elect is] His redeemed child. His child. His sinless child. Isn’t that amazing?