Sin or iniquity is missing the mark of righteousness. Jesus is coming for a Bride that is holy and blameless, not given to the sins of the world. A sinner is said to be a sinner because he is born a sinner, not because he has committed sins. The distinction is important but not as an excuse, it is my heredity, my parentage, I sin because I am a sinner. It is a matter not of my behavior however, unless I will myself to do it, there is a way to holiness. Since we came in by birth we must go out by death, deliverance from sin comes by death to oneself. When Christ was crucified we were crucified, His crucifixion is past giving us power in the future.

Objectively the Blood deals with our sins but we must now go a step further in the plan of God to understand how He deals with the sin principle in us. Holiness is the key to the power of the Holy Ghost. The Blood of Jesus can wash away our sins, but it cannot wash away our old nature. Through obedience, we must press on to the mark of the high calling. I need the cross of Jesus to crucify me and I need to first carry it to die to myself. Our sins are dealt with by the Blood, but we ourselves are dealt with by the cross. The blood procures our pardon and reconciles us from the Adamic nature; the cross procures our deliverance from what we are. The blood cannot take us out of Adam, the penalty is gone but the nature remains for us to trust the Holy Spirit, confess our sins and walk worthy of the higher calling. All that is evil in man is inherited from Adam but at the same time, all that is good comes from Adam who was created in His image, who is all good. A man is essentially harmed neither by doing many things or by not doing them, but by the lack of genuine, unselfish love in his innermost being.

It is not a sin to be tempted, it is sin to give in to the temptation. Much of what is counted as sin is not sin but the sin of self-righteous fools judging what is sin. Love covers a multitude of sins. That we have died in Christ is not merely a doctrinal position, it is an eternal and indisputable fact. We enter into that fact in the name of Jesus and the faith and resolve to walk in newness of life. As we take on the character and the mind of Christ, the power of the Holy Ghost will rebuke the devourer for us and it becomes easier to become holy. We continue in the faith to die to self in order to live in holiness. He died that we might die to ourselves to live. He died as our representative. In his death He included you and me. Now through faith, we make a choice to resurrect ourselves to the holiness of life through the deliverance from sin.

The Bible teaches that we are not to sin. It also teaches that we would be a liar if we say that we are without sin. This is pretty much the same thing that St. James wrote when he mentioned that faith without works is dead, being by itself. Since we all sin, we cannot judge others who also sin. Judgment as to salvation is not ours to make. We can see obvious sin in another and recognize it and know that the person may need deliverance but for us to judge whether someone is saved is not our responsibility, it is God's. When Jesus said that you shall know them by their fruits, it is a good guide, we should be able to know how to recognize good fruit. That means that the elders, those that are mature, have the responsibility to lift others up to the image of what Jesus would have us. Let Jesus do the work as we bring the message and that includes identifying sin. Everything, however, should be in love and the spirit and not in condemnation, we are to lift others up, not put them down.

What is enough sanctification? I don't know, good question. For myself, I do not need to know, only press on toward the higher calling and never get to the point that I think I have arrived. This was Paul's attitude. The Lord should be able to save us at any point in our Christian experience. Can we lose it? Another good question, one that has divided opinions, that's for sure. I know that the fact that the mere mention of being erased from the book of life is in the Bible could give us a clue but that could be open to interpretation and misinterpretation. I believe that when Christians die in the body that some sleep, but not all, some are translated directly "in a twinkling of an eye." There will be a future judgment resurrection of those that sleep, many to eternal life and many to damnation. There are clear distinctions here that I have not yet worked out. It may stay a mystery but I want to be ready, I want to overcome the world and I want not just to be called but among the chosen. i am sure that we all want the same so it is incumbent upon us to "work out our salvation in fear and trembling."

The subject of holiness is not complete without discussing sin. We find holiness by knowing and enjoying God, and by being known by God and entering into fellowship with Him and taking upon us His holy nature. This is the difference between positional holiness and practical holiness, God forgives and cleanses us from sin by His grace and from a grateful heart, we do what we can with His help to stay cleansed. One is not complete holiness without the other.

There is a curse involved from sin that is mentioned in Malachi. I have not done any kind of study on it but I think that the curse would be as a result of our own actions as much as what God is sending. The curse is brought on by our own selves. When the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children, it is like sin adding upon sin until the generation is cursed. Sin has the result of exacting payment. If it is not paid through repentance and forgiveness, it is paid in whatever result that the sin results in. In the case of divorce, it is in the destruction of the family, in the case of free sex, it is sexually transmitted diseases and hurtful relationships. I guess what I am saying is that much of the curse is in the absense of the Holy Spirit and the denial of blessing rather than any active aggression on the part of the Father. God is withholding His pleasure, He is cutting His people off. Rather than the curse coming directly from God, we are cursed with the curse itself that results in the natural course that the sin takes. Like Pogo, we have met the enemy and it is us.

We must, of course, initially have forgiveness of sins, we must have justification through grace, we must have peace with God. The saints move on to something more and that is the constant desire to walk in the spirit, free oneself from sin and take on the holy and sanctified nature. Sin first exists in the mind and our heart's desire from an external or internal stimulus. We make provision for sin when we do not clean up what is around us. The temptation involved gives us space to make the choice to entertain it and give in or to resist before it is an overt act. Sin is therefore potentiated weakness or potentiated defiance. Victory is sweet.

The early church did not command very much abstinence; loving God, loving others and walking in the spirit is generally sufficient for us. What they did command is that we must abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. Idolatry and the suggestion of witchcraft could be argued as to an interpretation here but fornication is very clear. Paul also taught that fornication should not be named among us, we should abstain and flee from it. On the issue of homosexuality, it is immoral and a sinful lifestyle but so is any sexual relations outside of the sanctity of marriage. For myself, I am disgusted and repulsed with the idea of a man being with another man. The problem that I have its that of the hypocrisy that heterosexuals have with this issue. I am married so adultery is forbidden but if I were to fantasize, it would be with a woman, not a man. This, in even thinking of fornication is sin, or at the least temptation to sin. Jesus teaches that fornication is sufficient cause for divorce. That would of course be fornication with a man or a woman by either a man or a woman. He did not make a distinction here.

This is the problem in that so many in the church want to be a gay bashing heterosexuals and not care of speaking out of the immorality plaguing our young people, free sex in advertising, movies, TV, pornography, music, even video games. The double standard of adultery being wrong and sex with consenting adults is OK is ruining the moral fabric of the entire world. Homosexuality is singled out as being not an acceptable lifestyle while immoral heterosexuality is? Can you tell me why? The answer is ignorant pride and prejudice, which is also sinful.

Jesus when confronted with those that wanted to cast stones at the women caught in adultery did not condemn her but told her to sin no more. He told her how to live right and to forsake the wrong. He loved her. The religious people were the ones that wanted to kill her. Are these prejudice heteros so without sin that they would cast stones and ignore the bigger problem of fornication in all of its forms? Apparently.

Once the present nature of the world has been identified as sinful, Christian love is then framed as a struggle to eliminate sin from the world and deliver those in bondage. Today that situation is marked by the great injustice and inequity in the distribution and enjoyment of the world's common resources, and by the fact that the vast majority of the world's people and nations are subject to unjust domination and exploitation. Because of these sins of ommission and commission, the Babylonian Christian world in choosing mammon have looked away from sin and consciously or unconsciously became part of it.

I hope that I never stop learning or think that I have it all together. I know that I do not know many things, nor do I ever feel that I will. John Wesley taught absolute perfection as being in our grasp. I may not have understood him correctly but this is one of the doctrines he had to defend most vigorously. Maybe we can get to the point of absolute perfection but for us to do it, we would have to be all of Jesus and nothing in ourselves and i can't yet do that. I have never been to that point so it is hard for me to accept the fact that it is even possible. As a painter that took pride in my work, for a time I was a perfectionist. The problem was that I could never attain to what I thought was perfect so I quit trying. I kept on doing the best I could but to be perfect was not ever something that I could attain, so it just frustrated me. If I were to expect that within myself, I would have to expect it from those under me in my employ and that would not be right. We are however told to be perfect, so we do the best we can in what we do and at least have perfection in mind even though we fall short.

Grace is different. With grace, God makes us perfect when we are not. Paul had that thorn in his flesh, whatever it was is not important but it taught him about grace. We are perfect in God's sight but for me, I do not think I ever will see it until Jesus comes for me. Maybe, I should think differently and of course there are times in my life when I do sin and have to ask for forgiveness. God is faithful to forgive me and I can only praise him for it. I am not glad I sin and we know that grace is not excuse but then I am glad that I can identify sin in my life, if not just to think of my imperfection and be able to humble myself, at least to be able to know what i should be delivered from and that I have a Father who gives me grace to make up the difference. Praise God.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have told you in times past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Aristotle: "And therefore we must study the man who is in the most perfect state both of body and soul, for in him we shall see the true relation of the two; although in bad or corrupted natures the body will often appear to rule over the soul, because they are in an evil and unnatural condition."
Kierkegaard: "before God, or with the conception of God, to be in despair at not willing to be oneself, or in despair at willing to be oneself."
Paul again, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

Early twentieth-century preacher Wilbur Chapman told this story of Leonardo da Vinci's painting The Last Supper:

Leonardo was eager to find a young man of pure life whose face he could use as a model for that of Christ. After much searching, he found a youth name Pietro Bandinelli, who sang in the choir of one of the churches in Rome. His beautiful and radiant face became the face of the Christ in the painting. Some years passed, during which the artist painted the 11 faithful disciples, using other models, but without finding a model for Judas. He wanted someone whose face was hardened by the ravages of sin. One day in Rome he encountered a ragged beggar with a repulsive countenance and promptly hired him as a model for Judas. Upon completion of the work, da Vinci asked, "What is your name?" "Pietro Bandinelli," the man replied, "I sat for you as the model for your Christ. The man whose face had originally inspired Leonardo for his Christ had become hardened by sin, and the record of his debauchery was etched in his face.

[134, 189, 201, 10, 378, Galatians, I Corinthians, 400, 415]

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