Testimony

I’ve never done this before, so bear with me, please. :)

As you may have seen, the idea of whether or not Christians sin is very important to me. But it wasn’t always. For years (at home and in church), I was told that Christians would still sin now and again. It was okay, we all had a sin nature, and we weren’t going to be freed from that until we went to heaven. I believed it, since I hadn’t heard anything different.

Then, what is it, a year ago? Or longer, I can’t remember. Anyway, a man whom I now consider to be my mentor and dear friend began to share his beliefs with me. He said that he hadn’t sinned since he became a Christian, and that he didn’t think Christians sinned. As you can imagine, I was put off by the whole thing. How dare he say I wasn’t a Christian? Sure, he wouldn’t go out and say it, but wasn’t that what he was implying? It angered me, and for a while I dismissed what he said. Then when he brought it up again, I started looking in the Bible for myself, to show him where he was wrong. I knew I was a Christian, and I still sinned! Same with many people I knew!

But the expected didn’t happen. The more I searched the Scriptures, I found in me a small, gentle push to listen to this new, ridiculous (to me) doctrine. As time passed, I found myself thinking it would be nice if what he said were true, then wanting it to be true. Keep in mind I had no idea these changes were happening to me at the time; it wasn’t until I looked back and saw that my mind had indeed changed. Then it came time for the ultimate step: would I accept the sinless Christian doctrine, or would I continue to resist it?

The answer was obvious. That day I fully embraced it and told God that my life was His–crucify this sinful flesh and make me a new creation! I didn’t say it exactly like that, of course, but that’s what I meant.

The next few days, oh! how I wish I could describe them. I felt different. Now, I’m not one to trust feelings, and I fully expected the feeling to pass, which it did eventually. But I knew something had changed in me. Paul said that believers are no longer slaves to sin. Jesus said that those He frees are free indeed. I didn’t have to sin anymore! I was freed from the bondage of sin! What a joyous thought!

And then I started reading the Bible like never before. This isn’t to say I read it more often, but that I read verses in a whole new light.

My views were quickly denounced by my family and friends, and they still don’t agree with me. My parents hope that it’s “just a phase,” that in a few months I’ll be back to normal. I just have to think this through, that’s all. But they don’t understand. God gave me a taste of a sinless life. He showed me that through His power indeed all things were possible. He promised that He would provide a way of escape in every temptation. How can I fall back? Why would I WANT to?

Now, it is not through my own efforts that I no longer sin. It is only God, who is abundant in grace, who saved me from sin! Some misunderstand, thinking that one has to keep his mind so focused on not sinning that he becomes preoccupied and becomes useless, not helping people in need, like we’re supposed to. That is not the case! It does not take the forefront of my mind, it is not a conscious effort. Living right comes naturally! I am truly a new creation in Christ Jesus!

That said, can you not see why I have to talk about it? Too many people don’t know the joy of being free, and I want desperately to show them! I know people will resist me, ridicule me and tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about. And several of these are pastors! It saddens me to see them like that. :(

11 thoughts on “Testimony

  1. hewhopaysthebills

    Thanks for verbalizing your thoughts. It is the first time I have truly understood your thinking on this subject. It gives us more to talk about.

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  3. Concerned Servant

    Kreig, have you considered the fact that the ones who are pastors may have far more experience in this subject than yourself? I would suggest that instead of accepting this theology outright, that you go to someone who is of the opposite opinion and see what they have to say about the various points you and Mr. Davis discussed. Salvation is, as you know, an extremely important subject. I think that it’s a mistake to go by only your own judgement in this matter, and what you were able to find in the Scriptures. For your own safety, your own Spiritual safety, I would direly encourage you to go to someone else and discuss all of these points with them. I’ve seen that Mr. Davis has a theological background, and he says that he has been a promoter of this for 25 years and seen every argument against it. If that’s true, then there had to be people with just as much, or more experience, arguing against him and providing the arguments. Please, please, even if you end up believing the same is truth, don’t sign yourself over so easily on a topic so very important. It will not be a sin to investigate this. If in fact your current position is right, it can only strengthen it. If you are afraid it would shake your faith, then I would suggest doing it even more, because it would lead me to believe that perhaps your current stance is not so solid as you would like to believe. I write this out of love and concern. Please don’t brush it away as someone merely posting nonesense who doesn’t know what they are talking about. I’m not going against this simply because I disagree, although I certainly do not hide the fact that I do not agree with it. This is written to help you be wise in what you do, and I do not believe you have been wise in this.

  4. Kriegel, I know this may sound like a good thing, but from what I just read, it sounds more like something that can lead to problems with pride. And pride comes before the fall. I would hate to see that happen to a Brother. I agree with what “concerned servant” said, as well.

  5. Dad–

    Indeed, it does give us more to talk about, no? See you tomorrow!

    I should be getting to class now.

  6. To Anonymous:

    You took the quote out of context and failed to provide any evidence beyond that which is given by what is apparently your personal opinion.

    I did not sin by saying that, nor was there any pride hiding in those lines. If you will read the paragraph it is in, you will find that I was expressing sadness and not attempting to elevate myself in any way.

  7. Concerned Servant:

    Thanks for your comment. :)

    Let me explain: this was not a theology I accepted outright, and it’s my fault if what I wrote led you to that conclusion. On the contrary, I fought it for quite some time, and also attempted to use Scripture to show how he was wrong.

    I do wish to speak to someone who is of the opposite opinion, but so far that hasn’t happened yet. I do want to, though.

    I don’t understand what spiritual safety has to do with this. Care to explain? I know it is not a sin to investigate the matter further.

    Thank you for caring enough to post that.

    To Jared:
    Thanks for commenting. If you would like to discuss this over IM or some similar vein, I would be glad to.

  8. Concerned Servant

    Krieg,

    This has very much to do with spiritual safety because your salvation depends on it. 1 John, the very book that many who support Holiness Theology try to use as a proof text, says:

    “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

    If this Holiness Theology is wrong, then the truth “is not in you,” or at the least you are not practicing it and have been lead off. I would hope that it was the latter of the two, but only God knows your heart completely. What many proponents of this theology fail to mention is that 1 John was not written to just anyone in general, but to people that Paul very plainly expresses to be fellow believers.

    And herein is where I believe you have not been wise in what you’ve done. You say you have fought against this for a long time, but you have not fought as hard as you could, and you did not consider it important enough a matter to wait until you consulted others who are more experienced in the faith. You haven’t discussed it with someone of the opposite opinion, like one of the pastors you mentioned, and yet you went ahead and decided to believe it, despite the fact that you knew many would disagree with you. I make this charge out of compassion and concern for you, because even if you truly are saved, this thing if wrong as I believe it to be, will lead you into something that departs from God completely, even though it seems to worship the same God, and it will lead you to draw others along with you. Already, it’s rooted itself deeply enough in you that you do not want to let it go. You would feel that you were letting go of something precious, that had given you something which you wanted: perfection. And now to compound it, if you were to find it was wrong, you would have to admit it was wrong. If that thought truly does not frighten you, then search it out further. Please, please, please read what I have to say in all seriousness, and for just a moment, assume that you are a sinner saved by grace. Don’t judge things on the assumption that you are perfect, because if you are in fact wrong and you are not perfect, you will be defeating yourself.

    You see, there are many people who try to devote their lives to living perfectly, such as nuns and monks, who even largely isolate themselves from the world in order to avoid sinful thoughts. There are many who the world might consider “perfect.” I know the basis in which you believe you are now perfect is different, but my point is that anyone who has a mind to can create a “psuedo-perfection.” Their “perfection” is even based off of what would seem to both the world and them, “Good intentions.” They even claim a love of God, and they may believe themselves sincere in it, but they are not saved by their works. They still believe a lie. They can fight off temptation because their desire to do the “right” thing is stronger than their desire to do the “wrong” thing. That in itself, secularly speaking, is good. But as the Bible also testifies (by the hand of someone who would be an Old Testament believer), all of our good works are as dirty rags, and those who reject Christ’s gift of salvation are already basing their righteousness off of their love of themselves. They may love God, but not because they truly love Him. He is no more to them than an idol they adore, and is giving them something that they want, be it piety, righteousness, or what they hope is eternal life.

    Consider the fact that if you are in fact wrong, that you are believing a lie and are sinning against God, as 1 John says. Furthermore such a sin would lead to, and is rooted in, a pious pride. Don’t be fooled, because pride doesn’t always blatantly make you feel a sense of “look, what a good boy am I!” Pride is far, far more subtle than that. Its effects, and its symptoms are rarely so obviously seen and even more rarely by the person who is prideful, except by God’s convicting grace. That also should make you question this.

    I do not pray for you to sin; rather I pray that God will have grace and show you where this is wrong, however long that may take, for your own sake. Nonetheless, if you continue in this, there will come a time when you sin and you will not be able to deny it or give an excuse any longer, and how far reaching it goes will determine the devesation that follows. Please take that warning with all possible compassion, because that is the spirit in which it is written. This sin, as all sins, leads to more sin; that is the only road that sin takes. It’s nice to think of ourselves free from sin completely. It’s nice to think that we don’t have to struggle. We can even build that experience up in our hearts, but it is ultimately self-serving in nature. It leads to pride, because we consider ourselves justified in our thoughts, and since we are perfect, we can’t sin, we can’t think wrong thoughts, we can’t respond wrongly to people, so however we -do- respond wrongly, is justified.

    As harsh as anonymous may have been, I don’t think he was entirely wrong in his observation. I’ve seen pride in several of your statements. It’s true, it isn’t the blatant kind, but rather the more righteous kind of pride, and the results are already seen such as in statements of: “It offends the sense of Justice that God has given me.” Because you claim God as the author of your sense of Jutice, since you consider yourself perfect, you consider yourself justified in whatever might offend that “sense of Justice,” and it becomes the perfect excuse for all forms of arrogance and pride. Are you already claiming for yourself to have the authority of Scripture? This also should wave red flags for you if you have any humility. If you love God as much as you claim, you will be more concerned about not sinning against God, than you are about freeing yourself from the trouble of giving into temptation. In Christ, we are already free from giving into temptation, and we practice righteousness. Whatever freedom you believe yourself to have now, you had before, even if you did not realize and practice it. You have made for yourself this experience of freedom, but have done so by just switching the sin that you commit.

    It’s true, God gives us an escape where there is temptation. Yes, it is true that it is wrong to sin, and every sin deserves death. Yes, it is true that if we sin we need to go back to God in repentence, and it’s also true that as we grow closer to God, we will be less likely to give into those temptations, because honoring God will be far more important to us than satisfying our desires. Indeed, our desire will be for God. All of that is true, but it is not true that we are without our sin nature, and it is not true that we will be perfect, because we still struggle with that sin nature, and we will sin in our hearts.

    Does giving up Holiness Theology mean that you will “start sinning” again? No. It means that you will admit your weakness to God, so that He can show Himself strong. You don’t “need” to give into sin any more once you are saved. You are free from bondage to it. Remember what Paul said in Romans 7:

    Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
    21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 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? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
    So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

    We have several other places in Scripture where Paul speaks of correcting a fellow believer who is sinning(2 Corinthians 2:3-11,1 Corinthians 5:9-12,1 Corinthians 6:12-20), and settling disputes between believers among themselves (1 Corinthians 6:1-11), rebuking them because they had taken their disputes before unbelievers. We also have a place where Paul is harshly correcting Peter for his conduct which he saw as wrong(Galatians 2:11-13). We have case, after case, after case of believers committing sin. Galatians 4:6-10,Galatians 6:1-5,Romans 9:10-13,)

    Can you see how so dangerously foolish it is to just accept such a thing? Can you see the peril in believing this? Can you see why it is dangerous to believe something that is so deceitful? If there is any question in your mind, read Galatians 2:11-13, and remember that this is after Christ had declared Peter a follower and a believer, and even said that on him He would build his church.

    I’m speaking out of concern; I believe that you are a Christian, but one who has been fooled just as those who were in Galatians. Do I consider myself better than you? No. I do believe, however, that you are offending God with your belief in this matter, and that you have shown disregard for God’s word in the fact that you would so easily adopt something such as this, without making sure that you could consult someone with more experience in this than yourself.

    This small essay that I’ve written is hardly a scratch on the surface of what could be written. I again encourage you not to simply accept this, but to test it against what others have to say. Don’t let yourself be convinced that to question Holiness Theology is to sin, because to seek the truth is not sin, especially when this belief so deeply impacts your faith, and how you treat other Christians, and in fact, whether or not you view them as Christians. If Christians did not sin, Paul would never have needed to write all of the corrections and admonitions that he did; to say that Christians do not sin is simply a lie. We should not practice sin, and it should not be the focus of our hearts, but we are not perfect. It is not “ok” to sin every once in a while. It’s as wrong as it ever was, and ever will be, and we should be broken over our sin, but to say that anyone who sins is not a brother in Christ is false.

    I hope that you have read through this and consider it seriously.

  9. Concerned Servant

    P.S. When I said “Paul” expressed it was written to Christians, please scratch that. After all, John wrote the books of John. It was around 3 AM when I wrote it, heh.

  10. The problem with your use of verse 8 is that it is taken slightly out of context. Look at the preceding verse. It tells us that believers have been cleansed of all unrighteousness. It follows logically that if believers continue to sin, then Jesus didn’t really cleanse them from all unrighteousness, which means John either lied or thought Jesus did a better job than He really does. Verses 8 and 10 are specifically talking about the state of the unbeliever who does not think he sins, and therefore does not need to be saved.

    And I could debate your stance that 1 John was written specifically to Christians. It’s my opinion that it was written to a church. But either way, it doesn’t matter.

    You say you make this charge out of compassion and concern for me, which is not something I can argue very well, as we don’t know each other. However, it is very arrogant of you to say that I came to accept this doctrine because I didn’t fight this as hard as I could have. How do you know? Were you with me during this time? How do you know I didn’t consult with others?

    Perfection? Who said anything about perfection? I know I’m not perfect; my short-term memory is horrible, and I sometimes have a hard time verbalizing my thoughts. This doesn’t have anything to do with the argument. I know I was a sinner, and that I am saved only through God’s grace. Again, that doesn’t add to your argument.

    I don’t mind entertaining the idea that I could be wrong. I don’t think I am, but show me where I am in error, and I will be glad to engage in discussion with you. As it stands, your posts are largely content-less. For example, that paragraph of yours about people trying to attain a state of pseudo-perfection, and then somehow managing to fit that in with the statement that all our righteousness is as filthy rags. You would perhaps have some merit if you were addressing a person who did believe works saved you, but I don’t believe that. It is only through grace we are saved. I get the impression that you would rather tell me I am wrong without really showing me where I am in error.

    I love that defeatist attitude you have. You say that there will come a time when I do sin, and I will not be able to deny it any longer. But anyway. I’m afraid I won’t be able to take your warning the way you wish, because unfortunately the sense of arrogance I get from you is overwhelming. I know that’s not a feel-good thought, so let me say why I get this impression. You claim that I have to fall and refuse to be open to the idea that perhaps Christians do not sin. And pride? What about what you have said? You claim to know a complete stranger’s thoughts. You say that the Spirit leads you to tell me this, but instead of “rebuking a brother,” you have instead “browbeaten a stranger.”

    What do you mean, claiming to have the authority of Scripture? If you mean, “I think my beliefs are supported by the Bible,” then yes. But then again, so does everyone. But if you are saying that I think I have placed myself on an equal pedestal as Scripture, then no. That is false.

    You show how much you do not understand about my beliefs. It’s not about freeing ourselves from the trouble of giving into temptation. My belief is that Jesus has already set believers free from sin, meaning we are no longer slaves to sin and no longer commit sin. That doesn’t mean we won’t be tempted, just that believers don’t fall into sin. You say yourself that in Christ we are already free from giving into temptation, and we practice righteousness. Well, yes. But it sounds like you are saying that believers still sin. If so, how much righteousness do we have to practice to counteract our sin so we’re still seen as practicing righteousness? I would say committing one sin counts as practicing sin, not righteousness.

    The thing is, once you have repented of something, you will not return to that deed. That’s what repent means. You have seen the horror of your actions and will never go back to them. And sin nature? All of that old nature we had was crucified when we were saved, so it no longer exists in the Christian. The nonexistent cannot influence a Christian’s thoughts.

    First of all, the Romans 7 passage is talking about Paul’s bondage under the law, before he was saved. Now let’s go to the passages you mentioned. There’s no evidence that the person in 2 Corinthians 2 was a believer. The person in 1 Corinthians 5 is most certainly NOT a believer. 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 never mentions a specific circumstance, nor does it say that anyone had been involved in that. It tells us that believers have been bought at a price, so we need to remember that. That’s why we do not engage in sexual immorality. Now the first part of that chapter? It mentions brothers, but not specifically believers. In Galatians, you’ll find that Paul never accused Peter of sinning. In Galatians 4, you will find Paul is concerned because these who are supposed to be believers aren’t acting the way they should. Paul doesn’t call these people believers. There’s no evidence that the man overtaken in Galatians 6:1 is a believer. And the rest of that passage is talking about bearing one another’s burdens, not about sinning Christians. And Romans 9:10-13? That has absolutely nothing to do with believers committing sin.

  11. Kriegel … you have no idea how much your recent post has helped me. I’ll try to call you during my next break :)

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