Here is what someone wrote (not sure if he got this from someone else or if he made it up himself):
”Did you know even if you had never sinned you would still be a sinner? The act of sin is only a result of what we are. Did you know that if you never did anything right you are righteous in Christ. In Christ righteousness is not a result of what you have done it is who you have become”
I can’t think of a more dangerous teaching than this, but I can very well imagine that this message is incredibly POPULAR in our churches today. I’m sure this IS what people would like to HEAR, so the chances are high that they would also choose a church with this type of convenient teaching.
2 Tim. 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.
It might be soothing for your conscience to be told that you can have your sins and your salvation too, and this is what the statement above (not the verse) is actually teaching us – even if the person who wrote this might not be aware of it. This type of message in the wrong ears could absolutely be soul-damaging and that’s why we must react. When we DO react, it’s a risk we will be charged for ”causing a division” but it’s the one with unbiblical doctrines who is the one causing a division even if he has lots of fans who praise him. What if someone who battles sin starts to take this message at face value and take it to heart? There is a HUGE risk he will feel comforted in his sins and become less motivated to let go of certain sins he has often battled with. Moreover, during various tempting situations in his life he might be more prone to give in for the temptations due to this type of message ringing in his ears. Do we really help a person who lives in sin, by patting him on his back while assuring him that he is still righteous because Jesus has been righteous for him, and that ”we are all sinners anyway and no one can be perfect”? He might subconsciously start to be convinced of this:
- We are apparently always sinners no matter what we do, so what would it matter if I told a little white lie once in a while, or stole a few minor items from work that no one would be missing anyway, or slandered someone who really deserves it? I mean, when the temptations are too hard to overcome? I’m not more than human, and we are all sinners…
- It’s a good thing to know that no matter how much sin I do, I’m always righteous in Christ! Of course I don’t seek to sin but it’s good to know that my soul is always secure even if I would give in for temptations once in a while and sometimes the temptations are indeed very tempting… I’m really glad that my pastor tells us (albeit in between the lines) that we can serve two masters and still be saved. Not that I seek to sin (of course not) but I can still afford to if the going gets tough, and sometimes I feel it gets very tough….I’m not more than human, and humans sin! My pastor tells me so.
- I’m glad I can also afford to refuse to forgive a mean and nasty brother, deny Jesus if I would end up in tribulation and even take the mark of the beast without risking my soul (or perhaps not that last thing because my pastor tells me I will already be raptured away before I have to deal with the mark of the beast). Of course I will strive to NOT sin in such a way (I’m a christian!) but it’s good to know that Christ will still accept me the way I am despite my disobedience and I will not lose my salvation in any way. My aim is of course to never sin, but at the same time my pastor repeats that we are ALWAYS sinners no matter what we do, so a few extra sins could not possibly change this status. I can’t be more than a sinner and I already am! Whether I do good or whether I do bad, I’m always a sinner. So doing good works is only connected with the upcoming rewards in heaven and has nothing to do with my salvation – if I only believe in Christ.
And don’t say that ”A true Christian would never reason in such a way! True christians don’t seek for loop holes or excuses for sins”. Even King David (a man of God’s own heart) sinned severely for about a year, so true believers DO risk to fall for temptations and sin – for weeks, months or years. Some might repent sooner or later, but some won’t.
Even if you are a person who side with the statement in question and still succeed to live righteously and show lots of good fruit, what about OTHER Christians who are weaker than you? Do you think that perhaps a weak christian might be more prone to give in for temptations if he knows he is always eternally secure no matter what he does? I truly believe that is the case. If a weak christian understands that sinning is actually not a big deal (because we are always sinners no matter what we do, and we are always righteous in Christ no matter what we do) then OF COURSE it’s even more tempting to stick with his sweet sins, and of course it could be a slippery slope into sinning even more! He trusts in his fire insurance and that he can live in his flesh once in a while on earth, and still make it to heaven. But what if this is nothing but a big DELUSION? As christians, we wouldn’t want to be part of equipping others with a false sense of security, but we would want to guide people away from sin so they can save their SOULS. Not leading them TO sin by sugar-coating the gospel! Temptations are hard enough as they are, and sinners don’t need our help whispering in their already very itching ears that ”Jesus is righteous for you so you don’t have to be”. It’s the devil who tries to convince us that sinning will not make us die, but the truth is that sinning does lead to death, even for christians.
I pray that we will be stay alert and encourage each other to be obedient to Christ and to expose teachings that suggest that we cannot live holy but must continue as sinners until we die when DEATH finally comes and saves us from our sin. It’s true that some people with this type of dangerous teaching are simply deceived themselves, but the problem is that they will still deceive others (who in turn will deceive others) so we must help them out to see how and where they have misunderstood the scriptures. We all need to be encouraged because this world can be very tempting and we need to stick close to God in order to get the strength needed. I’m confident of that we would see more victory when it comes to preaching and evangelizing if we spoke more about the need for true repentance and that sins separate us from God. Most of us long to see huge revivals but what if sins are in the way?
Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
Jesus started out his ministry by speaking about repentance, and so did John the Baptist before him. Here is also what Jesus said while giving us the commandment that we must go out in all the world and make disciples:
Matt. 28:19 Go ye therefore, and TEACH all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:20 TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
And what is it that Jesus has commanded us to do – which he here asks us to teach others? For instance this:
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.—21 He that hath my commandments, and keeps them, is he that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and manifest myself to him.—23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son WILL NOT SEE LIFE, but the wrath of God abides on him.
Matt. 7:21 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
John 5: 28Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29And shall come forth;they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation
Jhn 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and DOETH HIS WILL, him He heareth.
Matt. 16: 24Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
So we are told to go out and preach the gospel and to TEACH people to obey the word of God, and they are all included in the ten commandments. Jesus also tells us who the greatest in heaven will be, and they are the ones who obey the commandments and teach others to do the same:
Matt. 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
To get back to the statement in question. We are not born sinners (that is originally a gnostic teaching popularized by Augustine) and Jesus righteousness is not imputed into us (that is a teaching from Martin Luther). We are sinners IF we sin, and we are righteous if we live righteously. First we must of course be cleansed from our sins in the blood of Jesus and that happens when we repent for our sins. But it doesn’t say ”once righteous always righteous”. There will be a falling away, and immorality is getting worse.
1 Tim. 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron
Finally, it’s also true that some christians might sit at home, reading lots of theology books, getting increasingly wiser and possessing all the right doctrines but STILL decline to be a fisher of men, whereas other christians might believe in all kinds of incorrect doctrines but THEY GO OUT AND MAKE DISCIPLES. The best combination is of course to go out and make disciples AND having the right doctrines 🙂 That’s the winning concept!