The Bible says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
These words were written by the apostle John in I John 1:8. The Bible teaches that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and therefore all need a Saviour to reconcile them to God. John addressed this to those claiming they had no guilt, no pollution of sin, and no need of a Saviour. This is not referring to someone that has been born again through the blood of the Lamb and has been cleansed “from all unrighteousness” (I Jn. 1:9).
John said, “These things write I unto you, that ye sin not (I Jn. 2:1). This message is clearly declared throughout his epistles:
“ … the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” I Jn. 1:7.
“He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” I Jn. 2:4.
“And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins…Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you, he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 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. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin…In this the children of God are manifest and the children of the devil … ” I Jn. 3:5-10.
The apostle’s message is clear and is in accordance with other New Testament writers. Those who would try to use I John 1:8 to uphold their sinning religion, wrest it to their own destruction and contrary to the tenure of all the scriptures.
Even Paul said in Romans 7 that he did the evil he did not want to do, and we can’t expect to live better than he could.
If you read chapter 6 of Romans, you will see the apostle Paul also said:
“Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Rom. 6:1, 2.
“For sin shall not have dominion over you … ” Rom. 6:14.
“But now being made free from sin …” Rom. 6:22.
In these scriptures and many others, Paul clearly speaks of the Christian living triumphantly over sin.
He went on in Romans 7 to “speak to them that know the [Old Testament] law,” and, speaking in the present tense, described his unregenerate condition, wherein he did not have the power to overcome sin, before his conversion. Without salvation, no man is free from the law of sin and death.
Verse 23 describes Paul’s struggle with sin before he was saved. “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.” Therefore he cried, in verse 24, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” He joyfully answers this question in Rom. 8:2–“The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.”
He was now free from the condemnation of sin because, through salvation, he was empowered to live free from committing sin. Hence, he could also go on to teach others to “awake to righteousness and sin not” (I Cor. 15:34).
In Rom. 7:19 he had said, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” For sinning religionists to insist that Paul still lived like this after being saved, they would have to negate all that Paul testified to and taught in Romans chapters 6 and 8, and all of his other writings, as well as all the New Testament writers. The apostle John said, “Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.” When Paul was doing the evil that he would not, it was because he had not yet seen God; had not yet understood and experienced His great salvation.
But Paul said he was the chief of sinners.
“ …Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” I Tim 1:15. Again we have Paul speaking in the present tense, while looking back at his conduct as Saul of Tarsus, the religious sinner that desperately needed salvation. If we go to verse 13, he says, “Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious, but I obtained mercy … ”
Paul reminds his readers of what he used to be, using himself as an example to give others hope that they can have this same salvation and be transformed to newness of life, as was he. “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” Verse 16.
If he was the chief sinner among the congregations while professing, why would God entrust him with such an important work in the church and allow him to be their teacher and guide, if they were doing better than he was? And, if such were the case, Paul did not meet the standards of being a bishop, which he listed to Timothy.
Paul also had this victorious testimony, “I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day” (Acts 23:1), and stated in I Thess. 2:10, “Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe.” This does not sound like the testimony of a chief sinner!
Numerous texts could also be cited showing that Paul taught a glorious gospel which set the believer free from the bondage of sin.
What about the contention that arose between Barnabas and Paul … wasn’t that sin?
People looking for an excuse to continue in their sin, like to charge these two holy apostles with sin in this situation. Adam Clarke explains this argument thus: “Why is it that most men attach blame to this difference between Paul and Barnabas? Why is it that this is brought in as a proof of the sinful imperfection of these holy apostles? Because those who thus treat the subject can never differ with another without feeling wrong tempers. Then, as destitute of good breeding as they are of humility, they attribute to others the angry, proud, and wrathful dispositions which they feel in themselves, and because they cannot be angry and sin not, they suppose that even apostles themselves cannot.
Thus, in fact, we are always bringing our own moral or immoral qualifications to be a standard, by which we are to judge of the characters and moral feelings of men who were actuated by zeal for God’s glory, brotherly kindness, and charity. Should any man say there was sin in this contention between Paul and Barnabas, I answer, there is no evidence of this in the text.”
The Bible says, “There is none righteous, no not one.” Rom. 3:10.
Paul is expressing the natural, wretched state of all mankind in Rom. 3:10-18, whether Jew or Gentile, “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” as he states in verse 23.
Thank God, this is not a state anyone need remain in! Paul goes on in verses 24, 25 and 26 to present the plan of salvation, mankind’s deliverance from their sinful state.
Paul said in Romans 6:20, “For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.” When it comes to sinners, there is none righteous, no not one, that includes those professing to be sinning Christians!
“For as by one man’s [Adam] disobedience many were made sinners [for all inherited his sinful nature], so by the obedience of one [Jesus Christ] shall many be made righteous.” Rom. 5:19.
But it says in Proverbs 20:9, “Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?”
No man can make his own heart clean, and that is why the fountain was opened for “sin and for uncleanness” (Zech. 13:1). Now “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” I Jn. 1:7. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I Jn. 1:9. Glory to the Lamb, who “loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood!” Rev. 1:5.
So, who can say they are pure from their sin? Thank God, “Whosoever is born of God . . .!” I Jn. 3:9.
David was a man after God’s own heart, but he sinned.
Shame on sinning religionists for taking the example of one Old Testament man, as an excuse for propagating their cursed, “sin-you-must” doctrine in this New Testament time! Is there no difference between the old and the new covenants? Does not the Bible say, “For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did?” Heb. 7:19.
Since “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Heb. 10:4), Jesus, “the mediator of the new testament,” shed His blood at Calvary, opening up “a new and living way,” which was not yet in force in David’s day, for Jesus, being the testator (Heb. 9:15-17), had not yet died.
“For what the law could not do [for David] . . . God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us.” Rom. 8:3-4. In this New Testament time, we are without excuse. Jesus came to save us from our sins, “wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him” (Heb. 7:25).
The Bible forbids we should copy David’s sin—let none make it an excuse to continue in theirs.