The Christian Walk
I. Conviction of Sin
"I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter
the sheep pen by the gate,
but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and
a robber." John 10:1
There are many who claim to be Christian, but it seems have only
become so by climbing through the window. For to accept the gift of eternal
life without dealing with the issue of sin is to enter God's house as a
thief. Like Israel leaving Egypt, they joyfully accept his promise, but
when it comes to obeying His commandments, they preferred to make God into
an idol that they could control. "Christians" often make God in their own
image whenever the God of the Bible conflicts with their chosen lifestyle.
Though they agree with some parts of the Bible, they reject or ignore other
parts. Obedience and submission never really become an issue until our
own desires conflict with the desires of the one we claim to be submitting
A man once came to Jesus asking "Good teacher,
what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Luke 18:18
By such a casual use of the word "good", Jesus recognized his problem.
This man thought that "being good" was an easy thing and that he could
obtain eternal life based on his performance. So Jesus first dealt with
the issue of sin.
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered.
"No one is good-- except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not
commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony,
honor your father and mother.'"
But the man answered:
"All these I have kept since I was a boy,"
Jesus was using the law to help convict this man of sin, for that is
the purpose of the law. "Therefore no one will
be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through
the law we become conscious of sin." Rom 3:20. Here was a man
who lacked the conviction of sin.
Real Christians call sin for what it is and admit that they are
sinners, for it is written:
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves
and the truth is not in us.
If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out
to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives." 1John
II. Practicing Righteousness
A. With Respect to Sin
"No one who is born of God will continue
to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because
he has been born of God."1John 3:9
There is an inevitable effect of a person being born of the Spirit of
God. The word "cannot" here is the greek word "dunamai" where we get the
word "dynamite" and indicates that a real Christian simply does not have
the ability to sin in the manner spoken of here. Try as he might, the Christian
does not have the ability to live a lifestyle of sin.
I say "lifestyle" because what is missing in the translation is the
significance of the present tense of "sin". In greek, the present imparts
a much more continuous sense than in the English, as they have a separate
tense (the aorist) which is used if the sense of continuity is not stressed.
This is not to say that Chistians do not sin at particular points in time,
for that would contradict the point of 1John 1:8,10 mentioned above as
well as the common experience of all Christians. For I have never met a
Christian who never sins and those who claim such often have a conscience
which is so corrupted by sin, that their sin is usually quite obvious even
to the non-christian.
Though a Christian falls into sin at particular points in time, when
it comes to his overall lifestyle, he simply cannot sin. Those who have
sin as a characteristic of their lifestyle or profession will not go to
"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile,
the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the
idolaters and all liars (or is it "all lawyers"?)--
their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second
death." Rev 21:8
Does that mean that if a Christian lies at a particular point, or is greedy
one day, or perhaps gets drunk one time, or slanders someone at some point,
that he will not inherit the kingdom of God? No! But rather if these are
characteristic of the person's life, such a person will go to hell regardless
what he calls himself.
"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit
the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor
idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will
inherit the kingdom of God." 1Cor 6:9,10
"If you know that he is righteous, you know
that everyone who does what is right has been born of him"1John
Practicing righteousness is not only calling sin for what it is, but
B. The Mindset of a Christian
"Those who live according to the sinful nature
have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in
accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires."
Does the Christian have the ability to "live according to the sinful nature"?
No! Because just a few verses later it says:
"You, however, are controlled not by the sinful
nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone
does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ."Rom
"Controlled by" is more literally translated "in" ("en" in the greek).
Notice that being in the Spirit is not a function of your will or desires,
but simply a function of whether you have the Spirit of God in you. And
you are not a Christian if you don't have the Spirit. This is not something
that comes and goes. A real Christian is continually in the Spirit. But
what does that mean?
One difference between an amateur and a professional is how they define
themselves. An amateur may go outside at night an look at somes stars.
He doesn't then call himself an astronomer! A professional has made a lifestyle
decision to define himself a certain way. So the Christian makes a conscious
decision to conform his life according the Spirit. (Though no doubt he'll
fall short of a perfect standard). The non-Christian, not having the Spirit,
does not do this. For the true Christian, God is the boss. For the nominal-Christian
and non-christian, someone else is the boss. Though amateur Christians
and non-christians may try to imitate him at times, the true Christian
is one who makes it his profession to submit to the Spirit of God and the
Word of God (regardless of whether he gets payed for it).
The mindset of the Christian is when it comes to lifestyle decisions
- (how he defines himself, what he considers his meaning and purpose and
life, how determines his moral standards) - he submits himself to the Spirit
C. Christian Love
"This is how we know who the children of God
are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what
is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother."1John
This verse occurs right after the one that says the Christians don't have
the ability to live a lifestyle of sin. Practing righteousness has two
aspects. Abstaining from sin is one application. There are things that
Christians should not do, and then there are things that Christians should
One of the primary identifying marks of a Christian is whether they
love other Christians.
"By this all men will know that you are my
disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35
This is so characteristic of the true Christian, that according to Jesus
in Matt 25, God will allow only those who have this characteristic to enter
"We know that we have passed from death to
life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in
death." 1John 3:14
"All men will hate you because of me,
but he who stands firm to the end will be
saved." Matt 10:22
The true Christian never falls away. For if a Christian falls away,
it is only an indication that he never was a real Christian.
"They went out from us, but they did not really
belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained
with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us."
The reason being quite simply that being born of the Spirit of God, he
becomes a new creation (2Cor 5:17) and it is innate with him to always
return to the Shephard of his soul as a sheep naturally returns to his.
The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources