BY: JOHN STOLWYK
That to live IN CHRIST and be sin-conscious is a contradiction to the Truth. We desire to expose this stronghold and bring the believers thoughts inline with the True Freedom found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In this article we want to see that a sin-consciousness Christian is a contradiction to the Truth. That having an inordinate affection with the law is denial of Faith in Christ. This wrong thinking has produced a tremendous stronghold in the mind of the average Christian. It is the objective of this article to shed light on this false concept and bring deliverance to the captives.
Before we start exploring this phenomenon of the present day church, I want to preface by saying that I do not condone a sinful life style in any shape, way or form and believe that we should have a life that is rich in faith and works. I believe that well meaning religious people believe the same thing but never attain it because they do not seek it by faith but as it is by the works of the law and not by the hearing of faith. We are not the creators of the kind of life that God desires us to live anymore than we are our own saviors. This does not minimize works in any way but never as a means of gaining God’s favor, or as originating from us. All things are from Him through Him and to Him. We are only the vessels of that expression not the creators of it. The Lord Jesus Himself stated that He could do nothing of himself and that whatever He saw the Father doing these are the works that He did. The works that He did he did not claim as His own but the expression of the Father that lived within Him. These works that originate from heaven make God to shine through us as the transparent city of God that we already are.
Man from the time of the fall has been living in the realm of his soulish abilities. The soul relies exclusively on the five senses of what it can see, hear, taste, smell or touch. It cannot reach outside of that dimension. Almost every religious person would agree with me that they accept God on faith and that they have not seen Him personally. This is a step beyond the soul in unchartered waters. The word says the just shall live by faith (Rom 1:17, Gal 3:11, Heb 10:38). As a matter of fact without faith it is not possible to please God. (Heb 11:6) that even the Word of God if it is not mixed with faith will not profit the hearer of it (Heb 4:2). The source of faith is not our feelings it is THE WORD OF GOD being breathed into us!
A person that has not been born from above (born again) will only be able to see the Word in its letter form on tablets of stone. He/she will approach the Word strictly with the mind seeing it only as a set of rules and laws to keep or break. The law brings the knowledge of sin (Rom 3:20) and produces sin-consciousness and a separation between God and the sinner. The question is: What does one separated from God do? The religious man says lessen the gap by doing good and reaching to God, recommitting your life, trying harder etc. Paul tells us that these people are concentrated on the works of the law as bringing them into right relationship with God. He also says that they are ignorant of how God’s declares and imparts right standing in relationship to Himself. It is not through works but by faith in Jesus Christ Romans (10:1-4). To work to attain or maintain righteousness and rid yourself of sin is a denial of the work of the Lord Jesus.
This is the natural man’s (soulish man) way of approaching the Word of God. This is using the law for a purpose other than it was designed for (Gal 2:21, 3:21 and 24, 1Tim 1:8) by God, it is an unlawful use. The law’s purpose is twofold – to show the exceeding sinfulness of sin and then to lead us to Christ the Savior. It was never left us as a means of gaining or maintaining righteousness before God. The law is like a mirror it can show you your sinfulness it can do NOTHING TO HELP YOU! It screams YOU NEED A SAVIOR! The law was made for the sinner (1 Tim 1:9) There is nothing wrong with the law it is holy and just and perfect.
When the law has brought a person to the end of themselves they will be ready to receive the Life of God, the word of God, the seed of God. This is because the law has done its work. Law not only brings the consciousness of sin it actually gives sin its strength (Rom 7:7, 1 Cor 15:56). The way it does this is it shows man a holy standard, man says this is what I should do he tries it and fails, he tries harder and fails again. That point of contact with the law is different for every person. To one it might be drinking, the other cursing, etc. The point being the harder this person tries, the more they will find themselves in the grip of sin’s power. The law will either produce hopelessness in you and you will turn to the Savior or you will try harder giving sin more victory. A vicious cycle of up and down emotions.
Why does this not work? It does not work because the law is not of faith (Gal. 3:12) and whatever is not of faith is SIN. (Rom. 14:23) What we are saying is, that to try to use the law as a way to please God is in and of itself sinful! Without faith it is impossible to please God. Or lets put it this way. Living by the law makes it impossible to please God!
I have heard many people say that the Holy Spirit convicts them of sin. There is no biblical support for this false teaching. One verse that is often misused is John 16:8. He says the Spirit will convict the “world” of sin he is not talking to the believer’s. (John 17:14, 16) The sin (not sins) He convicts them of is that they do not believe on Him! The only way that the Holy Spirit can convince someone of sin is through the law! But a believer is not under the law (Rom. 6:14) nor under the dominion of sin but under grace (God’s empowerment from the inside). People who are trying to attain, maintain, or retain their walk apart from trusting God’s life in them, are filled with a sin-consciousness that separates them from God in their minds. (Eph. 4:18) This is what Adam experienced when he fell, when he lost the dominion that God had entrusted to Him. Jesus redeemed (bought back) us with His precious blood.
The deception that produces this state of sin-consciousness is the thought that we have within ourselves the ability to do good apart from His Life. Jesus once confronted a man and said why do you call me good there is none good but God. What he was saying is unless you acknowledge that the good you see in me is God’s life in me you are missing it. The answer he gives him is astounding, keep the law. He knew if the man was a true seeker he would come to the end of his own abilities and call out for a savior. He was not saying try a little harder, for by the works of the law there shall no one be justified in His sight. (Rom. 3:20) I believe this is the only true foundation for repentance and makes a clear cut distinction between our abilities and God’s salvation that only He can provide.
True repentance speaks of a change of mind. Many people focus on sin and say that is what we should repent from. I believe this is not the case. We can turn from sin only to be faced with another or the same one again. The repentance that the Word speaks of is a repentance toward God. God wants us to turn to Him to change our minds concerning Him and to put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). Paul said that the Thessalonians had turned to God from idols. (1 Thes. 1:9) When we turn to face God we turn our back on everything else. The Word also speaks of a repentance that does not need to be repented of (2 Cor. 7:10). Many people live in a cycle of repenting that is a closed loop. They fail, they feel sorry, they try again they fall, they feel sorry. All the while they sense they are getting farther and farther away from God, they feel separated, they feel like they are dying.
There is a Divine triad in the Word of God (1) Confession (2) Repentance (3) Faith. Confession is an acknowledgment & agreement, Repentance is a turning, Faith is trusting. If any one aspect is eliminated or overlooked the result will be a closed loop of endless frustration and deception. The deception, “If I try hard enough, find the right steps, read the right book, hear the right sermon I will conquer this thing” The answer: a Romans 7 experience continually. Some people believe this is a “normal” Christian life. This is not Christ’s life, it is you trying to change your old life by the power of your soul. Jesus told us those who seek to save their life (Lit. soulish life) will lose it. Those who lose their soulish life will find it. Finding life is finding God, or better yet finding God living in YOU! Salvation not only speaks of being delivered from my inability to save myself but also of my inability to keep myself.
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Col. 2:6
Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh? Gal. 3:3
The old saying, It is not how you start but how you finish may hold true. But if you start with the wrong understanding of salvation you won’t even be in the race! The triad we mentioned above speaks of three ingredients Confession, repentance, Faith. In the person who is seeking to “live godly” by keeping the law all three of these will be centered on ‘sin.’ I need to keep confessing my sin, if I don’t and I slip up and die I will end up in hell. I need to keep repenting of my sin, if I don’t it will get a stronger grip on me. If I could only get a little bit more faith I am going to win over sin. My friend if that is your view of God’s deliverance I am sorry to say you are without hope and without God, you are living as a sin-conscious religious person.
I am not condemning you, for I lived there a long time myself, I am encouraging you that there is a bright hope waiting for you that your heart cries out for, a true deliverance from the power of sin that Jesus died for, to give all of us.
A sin-conscious believer is really a contradiction. Because God wants us to believe in Him wouldn’t you agree? If I am sin-conscious guess what is going to be on my mind all the time. The book of Hebrews speaks of the sacrifices of bulls and goats as never being able to cleanse the believer from the conscience of sins because there is a reminder of them ever year. Some religions remind the people once a week, Christendom has pushed it to daily and some sects to a moment by moment experience. How dis-empowering and degrading this is to a perfect sacrifice offered once forever. Religion has the Holy Spirit reminding us of our sins while the Word says that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself not imputing their sins unto them! (2 Cor 5:21) Is God divided or opposing Himself in the God head!? There is only one sin that the Holy Spirit is convincing the world of, and that is that they have not believed on Jesus! That is the world not the believer! The believer is continually being flooded with God’s amazing Love and Grace – and Sonship as a child of the King. Who are we listening to? The god of this world who seeks to separate us from our source of life or the Spirit of grace crying out in our own hearts beloved NOW are you the sons of God!
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Heb 10:22
The triad we looked at should be centered in God, confession meaning agreement with what God says about our sins, they are GONE they are forgiven and forgotten. If you can still see them, agree with God and see that the blood of Christ has cleansed your soul. Repentance change your mind on how God views you. He sees you as His child and cries out in your heart your are my son. Faith is your grain of mustard seed that you where born again with it is all you will ever need. When the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith, you know what He said,
So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things, which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. Luke 17:10
Sons living as slaves is what sin-consciousness brings upon the believers. We don’t owe the flesh ONE SIN! The Bible makes NO PROVISION TO SIN only FOR SIN. Solomon saw an evil in the earth that bothered him, Princes walking, while slaves rode on horses. That is what a sin-conscious believer is, a prince living like a slave. In Luke 15 there were two prodigal sons, the one despised his sonship and the other one lived like a slave. If we live to please God by our best effort of keeping the law. We will always see ourselves as slaves conscious of our sins and unworthiness. My friend this is not the good news of the gospel it is a counterfeit that shows itself by its own fruit. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy and peace. His kingdom is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. I pray that you will become so conscious of His goodness and His presence in you as the “Spirit of Grace” that you will soon find yourself living the life that you have always dreamed of. Immersed in a love that consumes your every thought and action.
BEYOND SIN-CONSCIOUSNESS [John Stolwyk] 1