Sin Among The Saints and Its Consequences



1 Corinthians 6


8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that [your] brethren.


9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,


Galatians 5


10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.


19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,


20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,


21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.


Ephesians 5


3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;


4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.


5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.


We have in the above passages a long list of persons who shall have no inheritance in the Kingdom of God.  To whom do they refer?   To the unregenerate?  To the regenerate?


The interpretation of most commentators accept that these referred to are the unregenerate, but we find ourselves unable to go in with this.   After a long and diligent perusal of the Scriptures and comparing them with other Scriptures, our conclusion is that these spoken of are believers in the Lord Jesus who have deliberately and wilfully sinned whilst enjoying the state of grace.


This immediately raises the question — "How is it possible for a believer NOT to have a place in ‘the Kingdom of God’?"  Before this question can be answered a considerable number of other questions and Scriptures will have to be asked and considered; so although we intend to deal frankly with the question posed, yet we shall cover a lot of ground before we finally do so.


A question that is pertinent to this study is an elementary one, yet it is necessary to ask it in order to bring home the truth behind the question.  "Can a believer sin?"  We believe one has but to search his own heart and the answer MUST be in the affirmative.  Admitting then that a believer can AND DOES sin, we ask, "How does this affect him ‘in Christ’?"  His position "in Christ" remains unchanged — his life is hid with Christ in God and nothing, but nothing, can alter or change this.  Positionally then, he is unaffected because of the atoning work of Christ.  Conditionally, however, it is another matter. He has sinned and his sin is a barrier between God and himself (Isaiah 59:2).  He is out of touch and cannot commune with God, and will remain so until the sin is confessed and repented of.  Once this is done, then the advocacy of Christ intervenes on his behalf and fellowship is restored once again (1 John 1: 9; 2: 1).


Sadly though, we cannot end the matter here, for there is yet another aspect to be considered.   Admitting once again that the believer can and does sin — what then if the sin remains unconfessed and unrepented of?  Scripture assures us that such cases occur (Matthew 18: 15-18) — how then do such stand before God?  Well, we have seen that their sin is as a barrier between them and God, and as the advocacy of Christ is not called upon this barrier remains.  That a coldness will soon envelope the believer can be easily appreciated and we subsequently have what is termed a "backslider."  To be filled with such stubbornness concerning confession and repentance implies that the sin committed was wilful and deliberatea path chosen to walk upon, and with the mind steadfast on not returning.


There are two very significant passages in Hebrews which deal with such people, but unfortunately the effect of this teaching is lost through watering it down and relegating it to the "unregenerate" or "false professors."  We refer to Hebrews 6: 4-8 and 10: 26-31; and we shall deal with these at length later on in the series.


We are convinced that much of the erroneous ideas that are present in our Christian beliefs today begins with man’s conception of God’s salvation.  For instance, it is generally taught and commonly believed that when a sinner is regenerated by the Holy Spirit that he is "entitled" to all that God has laid up for those whom He has redeemed.  This is not quite true.  It would be more accurate and Scriptural to say that he has "title" to all the blessings of God through the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ — whether he receives the fullness of those blessings at the end of the journey will depend on his attitude to God’s (conditional) promises.  The blessed work of Christ brings the redeemed sinner into a new relationship with God — it makes him a child of God (not a son, for he must grow to be a son), he is now a member of the household of God, a subject in God’s Kingdom.  His position is similar to that of the children of Israel after the Passover in Egypt — they had been redeemed under blood, and before them stretched the long journey through the wilderness with all its associated perils before they would reach the promised land.  The way would be fraught with peril and they must learn utter dependence upon their Redeemer.  They would very soon learn the hard way that in their own strength they would be unable to complete the journey and that their every dependence would have to be upon Jehovah.


Prior to their redemption at the Passover, God had to take the initiative in calling their leader, Moses, and equipping him with power to overcome him who held them in bondage.  All they had to do was to slay the lamb and shelter under the blood; and when the mighty work was done that night of the Passover, to step forward in faith depending on the word of Jehovah their Redeemer.  We find that from this moment forward, Israel is given conditional promises; and in effect, God says to them, "If you do this...then I will do that" (see Deuteronomy 7:12; 8:11these examples can be repeated over and over).  God is faithful to His word, and in the few instances the people did do the will of God, they were blessed with much blessing; but when they became stubborn and stiff-necked, they felt the effects of His chastisement.


Our position is similar to that of the Israelites.  At our conversion, we found ourselves with our backs to Egypt and facing toward the wilderness journey — utter dependence on every word of God assures us a place in the promised land; but stubbornness and sin will bring chastisement and exclusion.  It is well to remember that although there were over half a million men redeemed in Egypt, and who set out on the perilous journey, yet ONLY TWO — Joshua and Caleb — enjoyed the fruits of the land.  Today, as we march through the wilderness of the world we see the pathway littered with many bodies of those who have already fallen — they have lost [in] the race they had once set out on with such vigour to win.  At one time they were full of energy and zeal in the service of the Lord and look at their useless bodies now.  Given over to sin and the ways of the world in lust and in self gratification, they are dead and useless to the service of God. They have dropped out [of the Race for the Prize] because of [wilful] sin [and disobedience] and shall never taste the fullness of the blessing of the land.  However, because of the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus and their exercising of faith and trust upon it, they shall not be condemned with the world (1 Corinthians 11: 32) but will be resurrected and have their place among God’s redeemed — but where or what part of God’s domain they will spend eternity will be at the discretion of Him Who is the Righteous Judge.