Why do I still sin?

            When a person genuinely trusts in Jesus Christ as his Savior, he becomes a child of God (John 1:12).  The Holy Spirit regenerates his life and he becomes  a new spiritual creation (2 Cor. 5:17).  He is baptized (identified) into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13) and indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9). If that is true, then why does he still sin?  Why can’t he just do things right? Continue reading


Stages: Spiritual Infant: I’m a Christian, now what?

            Your decision to trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior is the most important decision you have ever made.  There is no single decision more important than accepting Jesus Christ’s work on the cross for your sins. But after that decision to trust Jesus, now what happens?  This is the beginning of a great adventure and Scripture has several important key principles for you to know. Continue reading

How can I be like him (her)?

Most people try to copy, imitate and be like someone else.  There is something about his voice, his looks, his ability, his humor, his…whatever, that makes one person want to be like the other person. The challenge is that parents will point their children to role-models early in life, but then forget to train their children to the real issue. Continue reading

Question: Can a Christian be delivered to Satan?

Can a Christian be delivered to Satan?
Today, a Christian can be delivered over to Satan, but not by another Christian. The principle is derived from two passages that describe a Christian believer who is delivered to Satan for punishment in time. How is it possible, when a Christian believer is indwelt by the Lord (John 14:20; 17:20-23; Rom. 8:9) to be delivered to Satan? Continue reading

Question: Can a Christian not sin?

Can a Christian not sin?


Jesus did not sin. John writes, “ And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.” (1 Jn. 3:5)  Peter is more specific,

  • 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
  • 22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; (1 Pet 2:21-22)

The Lord Jesus Christ did not sin in His humanity, or any other time, but what about you and me? Can a Christian not sin?

An interesting passage is the second account of sin.  Abel and Cain made offerings to God and God accepted Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s.  The purpose of this article is not to analyze why God did not accept Cain’s offering, but to note that He did not accept it and to look at the Lord’s counsel to Cain.

  • 6 So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?
  • 7 “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” (Gen. 4:6-7)

Notice that God does not rebuke Cain on the specifics of the offering, but challenges him to reflect on what he should now do. 

Cain had not repented or realized he was thinking independently from God. So God asks Cain the questions, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?” not because God does not know the answers, but to help Cain consider his actions.  God did not accept his offering, but Cain also did not approach God and ask God why he did not accept the offering.  Cain was acting independently from God and God’s questions were designed to reveal to Cain his failure to humble himself and submit to the Lord.

Then God changes the course of the questions.  God asks, “If you do well…” That is the key in life – to do well.  To do well is to please God.  It doesn’t matter what we do or not in our own eyes, but doing well in God’s eyes does matter.  Then God explains what must happen for Cain to do well – to be accepted by God. In order to do well, you must recognize there is an enemy.  God says, “Sin lies at the door.”  The door is Cain’s heart.  Sin is personified as having a desire to control Cain.  That is always the desire of sin.  It wants to control and not just a little or in just a few areas, but all the time and in every area. 

Sin has one focus – it wants to control you.  It will look for your weaknesses and start out small.  It will often gain a foothold in your life in small things, for example in doubt or worry, or about whether you will be accepted or rejected.  It may start in small secret areas of life like pornography or material lusts in desiring more clothes or maybe in seeking the status of having a boyfriend.  It starts small and then seeks to gain ground.  Sin is like a fire, it is never satisfied, until it controls every area.  Sin is like a grave that is always looking for its next victim.  Sin is like a parched desert that never gets enough water. It’s stated best in Proverbs,

  • 15 The leech has two daughters– Give and Give! There are three things that are never satisfied, Four never say, “Enough!”:
  • 16 The grave, The barren womb, The earth that is not satisfied with water– And the fire never says, “Enough!” (Pro. 30:15-16)

Sin desires to control, so God clarifies to Cain, “…but you must rule over it.”  With that admonishment and challenge, Cain leaves the presence of the Lord.  The question is, “Will he rule over his sin, so that sin does not control him?”  What does the next verse say? “Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.” (Gen. 4:8)  Can you believe it? In the very next verse, God shows that Cain does not control sin. In the very next verse, Cain is not just tempted, but he falls headlong into sin and murders his brother.  Maybe Cain thinks he needs to remove the competition, so that God would “have” to accept what Cain did.  

Cain cannot control sin, because he was not completely dependent on the Lord.  Cain does not control sin, because God never intended that we could control sin apart from His presence in our lives.  Cain does not control sin, because only God’s work in our lives through His power, the Holy Spirit, can a believer successfully rule over sin.

Can a believer not sin?  NO and YES.  A believer cannot control sin in his own power.  He will succumb to temptation every time and reveal the ineptness of his flesh to function in dependency upon the Lord. He will fail just as Cain failed.  Yet, the believer can control sin, when he is dependent on the Lord and filled with the Holy Spirit. 

Is that important to understand?  Absolutely, because it reveals that a believer will be fleshly, except when he is dependent on the Lord.

Question: Does a Christian have to endure to be saved?

Does a Christian have to endure to be saved?

This is a basic question that many Christians struggle through in their Christian walk.  It comes from a passage in Matthew which says, “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” (Matt. 24:13) Does this mean that if a Christian does not endure, in some way, he will not make it into heaven? This is an example of Christians who may know considerable Scripture, but do not know how God divided Scripture into dispensations.

What is a dispensation?  A dispensation is a period of time, from God’s perspective, where God shows that man, no matter how much truth or blessing is given from God, will choose to rebel and be separated from God’s presence, unless he humbles himself to God’s will.  There is no way you can rightly divide God’s truth and harmonize it from Genesis to Revelation without an understanding of dispensations.  Most Christians are dispensational, but many do not admit it.

Matthew 24 is called the Olivet Discourse.  Jesus had taken the disciples out of the city of Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives and was describing what would happen during a specific period of time.

  • Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple.
  • 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
  • 3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
  • 4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. (Matt. 24:1-4)

Note several things about this passage.  First, it is right after Jesus’ rebuke of the Pharisees (Matt. 23). Secondly, Jesus prophesied that the stones of the city, in fact, the temple, would be thrown down (Matt. 24:2) For this reason some have attempted to define this chapter to the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D., but that is a misunderstanding of Scripture. Thirdly, the disciples want to know what will happen at the “end of the age.” (Matt. 24:3) The disciples did not fully understand the ages as they reveal their lack of understanding as recorded in Acts 1:6.  The end of the Age will be the last segment of the Jewish Age in which they were living.  This will be described in a future article related to Daniel 9:24-27 and the seventy weeks that Daniel describes. Fourthly, Jesus tells them to listen and be alert, because there will be many who will try to deceive them.  In fact, the enemy, Satan himself, wants nothing more than to deceive, confuse, divide and destroy those who are pursuing the Lord Jesus Christ.

            Then Jesus begins to describe what the end of the Age will be like. Jesus said,

  • 7 “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
  • 8 “All these are the beginning of sorrows.
  • 9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.
  • 10 “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
  • 11 “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
  • 12 “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. (Matt. 24:7-12)

The end of the age will be filled with nations warring against nation, with famines, with earthquakes and tribulation. Notice that Israel, “you,” will be the target of the enemy in the tribulation.  Notice there will be many false prophets, that is, there will be great confusion and deception. And notice that the love of God will grow cold, because people will not remain faithful to God.

            That is a description of the last seven years of Israel’s history.  That period of history is so destructive, because it is the last opportunity for the enemy, Satan, to destroy the Jews.  He wants to destroy the Jews, because if he can destroy the Jews, then God cannot fulfill His covenants He made to Abraham and David.  Those will be fulfilled at the Second Advent when Jesus returns.  If there were no Jews, then the covenants could not be fulfilled.

We are experiencing troubled times today, but it will intensify during that period.  So, in the middle of describing that tribulational time, Jesus made the statement, “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” (Matt. 24:13) Every word has meaning. 

The basic meaning of the word “saved” is “delivered.”  When a person is saved at salvation, he is delivered from condemnation.  When a person is “saved” in the Tribulation, it means that he is delivered from the coming wrath of the Lord Jesus Christ and subsequent torments when he returns at the Second Advent and delivered into the new age called the Millennium.  Hence, the verse means that the person who endures, that is, he holds onto his faith in life, he will be delivered into the Millennium. 

It is not talking about “saved from eternal condemnation.”  Once a person genuinely trusts in Jesus Christ as his Savior, he has eternal life.  He is eternally secure.  He did nothing for salvation.  He can do nothing to lose his salvation.  His salvation did not depend on him.  His eternal security does not depend on him.  It all depends on the mercy and sovereign will of God.


Question: Can a Christian be a carnal Christian?

Can a Christian be a carnal Christian?

Recently, I had a discussion with a fellow-believer, who said that Christians cannot be carnal Christians. Said in another way, a Christian cannot be considered carnal or act carnal, because he is spiritual.  He said that a carnal person is really just an unbeliever.  A Christian is one who may sin, but would not live in carnality.  Is he right?

Unfortunately, while this believer knows the Scriptures well, he doesn’t interpret them well.  He imposes his theology on the Scripture and interprets it according to his theology rather than according to correct rules of interpretation.  If you approach Scripture with presuppositions (statements that imply a truth taken for granted), you will tend to read meaning into the Scripture.  For example, if I say, “I no longer drive Chevy trucks.” The presupposition is that I used to drive Chevy trucks. That is a true statement.  If I approach Scripture with presuppositions, I will work the Scriptures to mean what I want them to mean.

When someone says that a Christian cannot be carnal, they try to explain away a very easy-to-understand passage of Scripture. The passage is 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 where Paul writes,

·       And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.
·       2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able;
·       3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? (1 Cor. 3:1-3)

Some try to explain this away by taking the culture of the church today and inserting that back into the culture of the church in Corinth. That is called eisegesis, which means to “read the interpretation into Scripture.”  Today, there are unbelievers who attend church.  In Paul’s day, those who were not believers did not identify or attend church. What does Paul say in his letter to Corinth?

·       To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: (1 Cor. 1:2)

Paul is writing to the believers in Corinth and they were saints.  The culture in Paul’s day was far different than today.  Churches were house churches, because Christians were not welcomed.  They were hated because they did not give allegiance to Caesar.  They were used by Nero as torches for his garden parties.  They eventually hid and met in catacombs, because they were so despised.  Those who were not believers did not identify or attend church.  Christians didn’t invite friends to church to hear the gospel.  They gave the gospel to their friends and those who believed looked for a church family to identify with for nurture and growth.  Paul’s letter was intended to be delivered to those were “sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints” and therefore believers.

Then notice in the first passage of 1 Corinthians 3 how Paul describes them.  What does he say?  He calls them “brethren.”  In other words, they were believers.  Now in that context, what follows describes Paul’s audience of believers. 

Paul writes he could not speak to them as spiritual people.  That phrase does not define a Christian, but rather one who is filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit.  Paul uses similar phraseology in Galatians 6:1,

·       Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. (Gal. 6:1)

Paul is writing to those who are “spiritual” that is those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit, not merely Christians.  If you are not controlled by the Holy Spirit, you will create more division in your admonishment and correction, because you will not examine yourself.  In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul describes them as not “spiritual,” but rather “carnal.” Both words, “spiritual” and “carnal” are adjectives. The word for “carnal” means one who is characterized by the flesh.  He is a fleshly-like person.  At that moment, he is living according to the flesh instead of the Spirit.  He is a carnal person.

Paul continues by writing, they are babes in Christ.  This is a common expression for someone who is a new Christian and has not grown up.  A spiritual baby does not know how to fulfill God’s plan and is concerned more for self, than for others.  He is a Christian, but he acts very fleshly or carnal.  He has not learned spiritual disciplines.  He is not very concerned about others.  He is focused on himself. God doesn’t condemn spiritual babes for being fleshly.  They just need to be discipled so they can grow up to be a spiritual child, a spiritual young adult and then a spiritual parent.

Can a Christian be carnal?  Of course, he can act very fleshly.  He can and is carnal, that is, he acts according to the flesh, rather than according to the Spirit.  He is fleshly, because he has a sin nature inside of him, which he acquired at birth from his father (Rom. 5:12).  That sin nature stays with the believer until it is removed at death.  Paul says it best,

·       23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
·       24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Rom. 7:23-24)

Paul is describing the sin nature that still can control him, if he chooses to let it.  As long as he remains filled, or controlled by the Holy Spirit, He will not be acting according to the sin nature.  The challenge is that in this lifetime, it is impossible apart from humble submission to the sovereign will of God.

Always take the natural interpretation and develop your theology from that, rather than choose a theology and then interpret Scripture.  That can easily result in spiritual pride.