How many times must we forgive? Not seven times Peter seventy times seven.
In order to understand sin and its effects on a believer we need to examine the book of Romans Ch 5- 8. Can we be assured without a doubt that we are divorced from the law over our spirit? Is it possible that we are now married to the Lord Jesus Christ and thus mutually share in His righteousness? Let’s examine these questions and attempt to better define ourselves as Christians according to Paul the Apostle.
First of all, we need to agree that, whether we like it or not, once a Christian becomes saved they still can sin. Agreed? My question then would be how many sins does it take for you to be in “backslider” status? Ten lies? Twenty impure thoughts? What point do we cross to officially label someone as a “backslider”?
According to the bible it only takes one sin to be guilty before God.
James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
So if we can agree that it only takes one sin to transgress the law, then we must admit that even before or after we are saved it technically takes only one sin again to officially declare ourselves “backsliders” again. It makes no difference because once again we have transgressed the law. Guilty in one point of the law, guilty of all. (James 2:10)
The problem with logic of backsliding presents itself when the following event occurs all within the same day. What happens to your soul if you die and you’ve previously sinned and you had no time to repent?
Now if we die in our sins and we stand before God, we are guilty, and there is no excuse we have before our savior because we know God is holy and he cannot exist in the presence of sin. Please hold this thought because the question is the judgment of God for entrance into the kingdom of God. That is the context where this discussion must center “a single believer” around while we make these points. We are placing ourselves before Jesus, not just after we die but during and including the judgment of God.
Romans 6:1-4 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
First point: COVENANT (Through the new covenant we are now free from the law.)
Romans 7: 1-4 (paraphrase) The law has dominion over us in marriage as long as the husband lives, and when the husband dies we are loosed from the law of her husband. Therefore, she is free from the law to marry to another man.
Here Paul uses the covenant of marriage to demonstrate the strength of our contract with God that we have received through Christ. Here there can be no mistake that we are not only married to Jesus once we become saved (Paul is speaking to Jewish and Gentile believers in Rome), but now we are also dead to the law.
Romans 7: 4-6 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
So now since we are dead to the law through Christ does that make the law useless? No it does not. Here we will see the beginning of the purpose of the law for everyone, and how now the law affects the believer and even Paul himself, so now there can be no doubt that the law still affects everyone including the man himself, The Apostle Paul. Verse 9 below makes the point that the law’s purpose is to define sin.
Romans 7: 9-14 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. 12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
So now which is it? Are we “dead to the law” or has the law been “made death unto me?” It cannot be both. This is a very difficult choice for a believer to make, and this is where many believers give up trying to understand Paul here. The key here is to understand that Paul is not totally ignoring the law under ONE condition. The law is spiritually over the flesh now, not over the believers born again spirit, because the spirit is dead to the law and the power thereof. (Romans 7:4) Our spirit is born again when we accept Jesus...get it? Ye must be born again. The enlightenment by God conveyed to Paul is this; he is introducing the fact that we are all triune beings. The Carnal Body or the flesh ( You under the law), The Soul mind will and your emotions (You as an individual) and The Spirit of God, ( You in Christ Jesus).
When we die, the flesh and the spirit must be separated from each other, we cannot take our flesh and the sin and death over it and enter Heaven. Paul speaking as a believer has made the point that his flesh is “carnal, sold under sin.” Sounds like there’s not much we can do about that.
Second point: The flesh is under the law of sin and death.
Romans 7: 15-18 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
This finalizes an important point, we are all technically backsliders. If sin dwells in Paul (in his flesh), and he does what he should not, and what he wants to do he does not, there is a huge problem here. Paul is not just debating the struggle of the flesh versus the spirit, but he is also saying that he struggles because sin is in his members, not saying it ONCE but three times within two or three statements of each other.
If we have a bad day, month, or year as a Christian, and we sin a few or many times, we are now under the condemnation of cheap grace? For ANYONE to say we no longer have a place within the Kingdom of God is very shaky ground to place a Christians unto.
In summary, realize where the "true" war is, it's not you personally it's the law of sin and death over our flesh, learn how to crucify it and you will excel. Fear God and honor His word and you will excel even more. It all begins with learning to walk in forgiveness towards yourself and others.