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The Price of Law

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  • The Price of Law

    There are two things that have to be taken account of in communicating truth. Not merely should there be certainty that it is truth from God, but that it must also be suited truth to those whom you address. They might have needed it all, but they were not in a condition to receive it; and the more precious the truth, the greater the injury, in a certain sense, if it is presented to those who are not in a state to profit by it.

    Supposing persons who are under law*, what would be the good of bringing out to such the hope of Christ’s coming, or of union with Him above? There would be no room for such truths in such a spiritual condition. When persons are still under law, not knowing their death to it in Christ’s death and resurrection, they require to be established in the grace of God for growth. There requires to be first the understanding of the complete putting aside of the law, and of our introduction in Christ into a new place and atmosphere altogether.

    The Lord had many things to tell the disciples when He was with them, but they were not able to “bear them,” nor understand them, then (Jhn 16:12). Likewise the writer tells the Hebrews that they had “need of milk and not of strong meat” (Heb 5:12): “for every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe; but strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb 5:13, 14). But they needed to be taught “the first elements” (5:12) over again; yet the Epistle was written not long before the destruction of Jerusalem.

    Nothing hinders the progress of saints so much as legal principles*. The Corinthians had not been long converted, so that their ignorance was not surprising. But the Hebrews had been many years saved, and yet they were only occupied with the alphabet (first elements; basics—NC) of Christianity. So that the real reason which hindered these Hebrew believers was, that they did not enter into their death to the law*, and union with the Lord Jesus in glory*. They were not even steadfast on the full foundation of Christian truth—the complete, eternal putting away of sins in the Blood of the Savior. They were not above the condition of spiritual babes.

    The soul that has to do with the law never realizes its deliverance* from the power of sin; on the contrary, the law, merely detecting evil, and not raising the soul above it, leaves the man powerless, miserable and condemned (Rom 7). Some people talk of “a believing sinner,” or speak of the worship offered to God by “poor sinners.” Many hymns indeed never bring the soul beyond this condition. But what is meant by “sinner” in the Word of God is a soul altogether without peace, a soul which may perhaps feel its lack of the Savior, being revealed by the Holy Spirit, but without the knowledge of redemption.

    It is not truthfulness to deny what saints are in the sight of God. If I have failed in anything, will taking the ground of a poor sinner make the sin to be less, or give me to feel it more? No! If I am a saint, blessed with God in His beloved Son, made one with Christ, and the Holy Spirit given to eternally dwell in me, then I say, “What a shame, if I have failed, and broken down, and dishonored my Father, and been indifferent to His glory! But if I feel my own coldness and indifference, it is to be treated as baseness, and to be hated as sin*. Whereas, to take the ground of a poor sinner*, is really, though it may not be intended, to make excuses for evil.

    - Wm Kelly




    Poster’s opinion:

    *”who under law”: That is, in their understanding but not in their actual state, if they are in Christ (Rom 6:14). Being within the category of a Covenant of Law (Israel in the prior dispensation after the grace Abraham was in, which was prior to the Law for four hundred and thirty years – Gal 3:17) intends an agreement between the children of Israel and God, in that to be in fellowship with Him required obedience to His ordinances. This assumes the pre-established union which they had from His Calling to them, for where there is no union there can be no fellowship (but the inverse is true, there can be union without fellowship). Union establishes salvation and fellowship establishes growth in the union.

    The Law Covenant involved agreement between man and God; the Grace Covenant involves agreement between God and His Son, in that God would raise the Lord Jesus from the dead after He suffered and died for man (Heb 13:20), which now is the sole means of union with God in the present dispensation, thus it obviously remains a matter of differentiating between the two Covenants.

    *”legal principles”: attaining a right standing due to meriting it by obedience (law), instead of obedience manifesting that a right standing has been attained other than by merit.

    *”they did not enter into their death to the law”: that is, did not yet understand this principle, even though their position and condition became so upon their faith in Christ.

    *”union with the Lord Jesus in glory”: nor did they yet understand their present place with Christ, even though He is not on earth, but in glory (in heaven – Eph 2:6).

    *”never realizes its deliverance”: one can be delivered from condemnation (as one is upon faith in Christ) and yet not understand it fully. There are many truths within Soteriology that require time to understand, but this does not void the believer’s standing in them, i.e. one does not need to understand the full meaning of eternal salvation to be eternally saved, for it is not by explanation that faith operates, but just by believing the truths concerning attaining salvation. This is similar to one who is “living in the Spirit,” who desires, but has not yet learned, to “walk in the Spirit” (Gal 5:25).

    *”hated as sin”: (Luke 14:26) and John 12:25: “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life (his old self; old man or sinful nature) in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil. . . .” (Pro 8:13; Amos 5:15).

    *”the ground of a poor sinner”: Scripture’s usage of the word “sinner” is never in reference to a child of God and I believe this is because it is defined as one who, not merely sins (as all do), but one who because of the Spirit within (Gal 5:17), never sins willfully nor does so out of desire to sin, i.e. “sinneth not.” Though saints still sin, it is done against the will and desire, which answers to Paul’s awareness as a “captive” (Rom 7:23), e.g. against his will; unlike those sinning willfully and not against their will.

    It must be mentioned here concerning the meaning of Paul’s admission of being the “chief” of sinners (1Tim 1:15), which in my understanding is a humble confession concerning his past. Which could properly intended “of whom I was chief,” for to intend was instead of “am” would conflict with Scripture’s references to the word “sinner.” A note of what I believe to be significant, the Greek meaning in this usage can design the intention of “I was”; had or have been:

    Lexicon :: Strong's G1510 - eimi
    εἰμί
    Transliteration
    eimi
    Pronunciation
    ā-mē' (Key)
    Part of Speech
    verb
    Root Word (Etymology)
    The first person singular present indicative; a prolonged form of a primary and defective verb
    Dictionary Aids
    Vine's Expository Dictionary: View Entry
    TDNT Reference: 2:398,206
    KJV Translation Count — Total: 146x
    The KJV translates Strongs G1510 in the following manner: I am (with G1473) (74x), am (55x), it is I (with G1473) (6x), be (2x), I was (with G1473) (1x), have been (1x), not tr (7x).
    Outline of Biblical Usage
    to be, to exist, to happen, to be present

    G1510 - eimi - Strong's Greek Lexicon (KJV)


    AbideAbove anthology: None But The Hungry Heart

  • #2
    Originally posted by NetChaplain View Post
    Scripture’s usage of the word “sinner” is never in reference to a child of God and I believe this is because it is defined as one who, not merely sins (as all do), but one who because of the Spirit within (Gal 5:17), never sins willfully nor does so out of desire to sin, i.e. “sinneth not.” Though saints still sin, it is done against the will and desire, which answers to Paul’s awareness as a “captive” (Rom 7:23), e.g. against his will; unlike those sinning willfully and not against their will.

    It must be mentioned here concerning the meaning of Paul’s admission of being the “chief” of sinners (1Tim 1:15), which in my understanding is a humble confession concerning his past.
    You are correct. Christians are not sinners and it's inappropriate for anyone tho believes himself to be saved to refer to himself as a sinner. Paul called himself the chief of sinners, but Christians who call themselves sinners ignore that Paul's explanation is in the past tense. And, that the style was to use current tense to emphasis something that wasn't current. The Bible makes a clear distinction between saints and sinners. The Bible also explains that Christians have had their sins washed away.

    I frequently hear professed Christians call themselves not just "sinners", but the "chief of sinners". That's self-righteous self-deprecation. Saul knew scripture better than any man alive today, yet he still persecuted and killed Christians. "Oh you", chief of sinners, can you beat that in your boast of being the chief of sinners.



    Last edited by Cornelius; 09-17-2015, 07:41 AM.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Cornelius View Post
      People who hold any false doctrine rarely see themselves has having any obligation to address verses that contradict their claims
      Hi C - Thanks for such an instructional reply, in which I find pleasure and support in the truth.

      Concerning others who hold false doctrine, you may probably agree that the reason for at least most is more due to ignorance than desire, which of course God eventually reveals as they spend more time in Scripture (esp. the NT). I also suspect that due to ignorance of truth, one is more susceptible to accepting a lessor Christian walk and hence, as you mentioned, it's found easier to present excuses because they know no other present conclusion.

      Originally posted by Cornelius View Post
      Christians who say Christians are sinners won't bother themselves with Paul's use of the past tense in explaining why he called himself a sinner. They'll just dwell on his one use of the current tense. And,of course, they'll ignore that it was the style to use current tense to emphasise something.
      Yes I agree. and as I'm certain you know, nearly all words have more than one meaning, that's why the variations are listed when referencing their usages, and that's why I chose to accept "was" or "have been," in order to attempt to be consistent with Scripture’s usage of the word “sinner,” for nowhere is it used to refer to one who is right with God. Thus the example used (1Tim 1:15) would at best present a single possible support, which Scripture never allows.

      As you’ve mentioned, I believe Paul was being hyperbolic (which is often the usages in Scripture among the writers) to express humility, for among man there is no worst (chief sinner) sinner (but there are varying degrees of sin), because all are equally guilty due to all having the “old man” (sinful nature), which could not be any worse than it presently is in all, and has always been. Some tend to interpret that this message advocates a sinless life, so as we see in my OP, I addressed it in the last comment in my opinions.
      Originally posted by Cornelius View Post
      Christians have their sins washed away and only someone counted as being without sin can belong to God.
      I would say only believers are counted as guiltless, but never sinless (Ecc 7:20; 1Jhn 1:8), and I suspect this is what you meant.

      God's blessings to your Family!
      Bob
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      • #4
        Originally posted by NetChaplain View Post

        I would say only believers are counted as guiltless, but never sinless (Ecc 7:20; 1Jhn 1:8), and I suspect this is what you meant.
        (I had edited my previous post to tone it down)


        If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

        If we deny he have sin, then there is no repentance and forgiveness. Being made righteous, through Christ, starts with admitting our sin. This is the before vs. after states of Salvation. How can we be both sinners and righteous at the same time? How can we be charged as sinners when we are guiltless? How can we belong to Christ if sin is still our nature?

        Yes, apart from Christ, we are sinners. But, in Christ, we are saints. Christians aren't apart from Christ.


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        • #5
          Originally posted by Cornelius View Post
          How can we be charged as sinners when we are guiltless? How can we belong to Christ if sin is still our nature?

          Yes, apart from Christ, we are sinners. But, in Christ, we are saints. Christians aren't apart from Christ.
          It's just a matter of knowing that the saint still possess the old man (sinful nature), and also the "new man" or new nature, which I believe the Spirit uses in us (Eph 3:16) to live by. Though the old man still "dwells within," and often affects us (Rom 7:17, 20), the life of a believer will manifest more of God's work than that of the old man.

          It's common and understandable that you question how the sin nature can (old man) still be in the believer, but we are not considered to be in the old man (flesh - Rom 8:9), though it is in us, because we live by the Spirit (Gal 5:17) and not it. Thus the majority of our ways are after God and not self. Paul in his old nature sins, but he in His new nature doesn't, which answers to 1John 3:9, which is that we in our new nature cannot sin, because it is created after the image of Christ (Col 3:10). This is also how Christ "is our life" (Col 3:4).

          We were "crucified with Christ" (Gal 2:20) and "died" (Col 3:3), then arose with Him (Col 3:1). Our old man (sin nature) was and remains "crucified" (Rom 6:6) and is retained on the Cross from "ruling" us (Rom 6:14, 16), but nowhere does it show that the old man died. We are dead to it (Rom 6:2, 11) but it is not dead to us. If it were, Paul wouldn't have become aware of its presence (Rom 7:14-25), and the Spirit would not need to oppose it (Gal 5:17)

          Hope my reply wasn't excessive or seem to rattle on. Just taking advantage of sharing as much as reasonable acceptable.
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          • #6
            NetChaplin, in accordance with what you learned from Scripture, simply put, are believers still sinning? Did not Jesus die for all our sins, past, present and future?
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
              NetChaplin, in accordance with what you learned from Scripture, simply put, are believers still sinning? Did not Jesus die for all our sins, past, present and future?
              Christ's sacrifice was to address the guilt and dominion of sin, not self's source of sin (old man) and its presence. The difference between the sins of the saved and unsaved is the believers sins are not "willful" (Heb 10:26).
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              • #8
                Romans 5:8 "We were sinners"
                1Tim 1:15 "I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent..."
                1Cor 6:9-11:"The sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you are washed..."

                I'm still trying to understand how a Christian, without sinning, can refer to himself as a sinner. The Bible does not refer to saved people as sinners, but as former sinners. That's easy to understand; our sins are washed away and we are sanctified. It's not enough to insist we're sinners because are still [unwillfully] commit sins. The Bible calls us former sinners, even though we still commit sins.

                The KJV about 61 times refers to Christians as Saints, from a Greek word meaning Holy, pure, or blameless. Saints are, by definition, not sinners.


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                • #9

                  I'm still trying to understand how a Christian, without sinning, can refer to himself as a sinner. The Bible does not refer to saved people as sinners, but as former sinners. That's easy to understand; our sins are washed away and we are sanctified. It's not enough to insist we're sinners because are still [unwillfully] commit sins. The Bible calls us former sinners, even though we still commit sins.

                  The KJV about 61 times refers to Christians as Saints, from a Greek word meaning Holy, pure, or blameless. Saints are, by definition, not sinners.


                  ​I think I see what you are talking about. In God's eyes, we no longer sin, but in the flesh, we still do sin, though we do not want to because we have the Holy Spirit. Thus, we are saints. Is that a correct assessment?
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cornelius View Post
                    Romans 5:8 "We were sinners"
                    1Tim 1:15 "I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent..."
                    1Cor 6:9-11:"The sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you are washed..."

                    I'm still trying to understand how a Christian, without sinning, can refer to himself as a sinner. The Bible does not refer to saved people as sinners, but as former sinners. That's easy to understand; our sins are washed away and we are sanctified. It's not enough to insist we're sinners because are still [unwillfully] commit sins. The Bible calls us former sinners, even though we still commit sins.

                    The KJV about 61 times refers to Christians as Saints, from a Greek word meaning Holy, pure, or blameless. Saints are, by definition, not sinners.
                    The putting away of sin (Heb 9:26), sin taken away (1Jhn 3:5), sins washed away (Rev 1:5), etc. designs the intention of the removal of sin's guilt and rule, not its presence and tempts, until the redemption of our body. We ourselves in our spirit have been fully and eternally redeemed, and will not be any more redeemed in our spirit in the resurrection. We will just learn more, finally being without the sin source (old man) and in the new body.


                    God regards the Christian according to the like manner He regards His Son. "As He is, so are we in this life" (not including His deity and sinless state- 1Jhn 4:17).

                    For any man to conceive a sinless state is ignorance and error; but for the believer to conceive a guiltless state is wisdom and truth!

                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      Originally posted by NetChaplain View Post
                      For any man to conceive a sinless state is ignorance and error; but for the believer to conceive a guiltless state is wisdom and truth!
                      I think a lot of the confusion comes from a common sense definition of sinner rather than a biblical definition with regard to context. We sin, therefore, common sense says we are sinners. However, in the context of these Scriptures I have been reading, Sinners are synonymous with "unbelievers".

                      Would you agree or disagree with that statement?

                      God bless,
                      William
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
                        ​I think I see what you are talking about. In God's eyes, we no longer sin, but in the flesh, we still do sin, though we do not want to because we have the Holy Spirit. Thus, we are saints. Is that a correct assessment?
                        [FONT=Open Sans][SIZE=12px]"We no longer sin, but in the flesh": "It is no longer I who do it, but sin (flesh, not physical body but sin nature) that dwelleth in me" (Rom 7:17, 20). No longer Paul in the new "I" (new nature) but in the old "I" (old man or nature). His sins after rebirth were only from the sin nature, not from his new nature (no longer I in his new nature). We still admit and confess it is from our old nature, but this does not hinder us in God in the new nature--because the new nature is "created after the image of Christ (Col 3:10). This is how John could say we do not sin with that which is born of God (new nature - 1Jhn 3:9).

                        It's still sin but there is an infinite difference between willfull and unwillfull sin. Sin from the old--godliness from the new (Rom 7:25), and it's only the godliness that God regards; in His forgiveness He disregards the sin, so we can lay it aside (Heb 12:1), e.g. maintain a clear conscience concerning our sins.[/SIZE][/FONT]
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                        • #13
                          Hi NetChaplain,

                          I hashed this out sometime ago in the forums when we were engaged with a Perfectionist:

                          The teaching of the secessionists can be inferred from the letters of John by a judicious mirror reading of the text. Included in their teaching were claims to sinlessness that the author alludes to and rejects in 1:6-2:10. The author portrays authentic Christian living as that which involves honest and ongoing acknowledgment of one’s sins, God’s forgiveness of the same, and the cleansing of believers from all unrighteousness (1:8-9).

                          First John repeatedly sets forth criteria which, when applied to the secessionists’ teaching, show that their claims to know God, to have fellowship with him and have eternal life, were spurious. The author’s purpose, however, was not to correct the secessionists (the letter was not written for them), but to show his readers that the secessionist claims were false. By doing this he wanted to prevent them from being deceived by secessionist teachings.

                          Round and round we go:
                          • In 1 John 1:8: They claim to be sinless
                          • In 1 John 3:9: They claim to be born of God
                          • In 1 John 1:8: Their claim is denied, because they continue to walk in darkness
                          • In 1 John 3:9: Their claim is denied, because they sin

                          Both claims are denied on the same grounds - They sin.
                          • In 1 John 1:8: Their understanding of sin is not orthodox (implicit).
                          • in 1 John 3:9: Their understanding of sin is corrected, and the reason is found in 1 John 3:4

                          The same people are being addressed/or dealt in both 1 John 1:8, and 1 John 3:9.

                          The author is approaching the same subject with a circular method from different angles.
                          • Christians do not sin as "an absolute view" is in line with the context found in 1 John 3:9
                          • Christians do not sin as "a habitual view" plays havoc with the author's intent and argument in 1 John 3:9
                          • Christians do sin as "a realistic view" is found in 1 John 2:1, compared to the idealistic view found before others.


                          The same people are being dealt in both 1 John 1:8, and 1 John 3:9. "To have sin" must be taken to mean "guiltiness". The author's point in 1 John 1:8 is not to make impossible "the assertion", but rather point out the falsity (e.g. "if we say") of such statements by those walking in darkness and committing sin, but CAN MAKE THESE CLAIMS because of a non-orthodox conception of sin altogether different than that of a Christian.
                          What I also consider is that some have defined sin in a rather non-orthodox way. Therefore they reject being a sinner, they are in turn guiltless. Another words, their delusion causes them to deny any unrighteousness in among themselves. Also, we may become numb or callous to the Holy Spirit's convictions or promptings.... Just something to consider when asserting that saints are simply guiltless, because, there are many reasons why people hold to the view that they are guiltless or sinless.

                          I'm sure you know better though.... just desired to write out my thoughts on the subject.

                          God bless,
                          William
                          Comment>

                          • #14
                            Originally posted by William View Post
                            What I also consider is that some have defined sin in a rather non-orthodox way. Therefore they reject being a sinner, they are in turn guiltless. Another words, their delusion causes them to deny any unrighteousness in among themselves. Also, we may become numb or callous to the Holy Spirit's convictions or promptings.... Just something to consider when asserting that saints are simply guiltless, because, there are many reasons why people hold to the view that they are guiltless or sinless.

                            I'm sure you know better though.... just desired to write out my thoughts on the subject.

                            God bless,
                            William
                            Hi Will - Thanks for your input! Yes, many confuse guiltless with sinless. I also believe there is no unrighteousness with the believer, for it always is descriptive of the unbeliever.
                            Comment>

                            • #15
                              Originally posted by William View Post
                              I think a lot of the confusion comes from a common sense definition of sinner rather than a biblical definition with regard to context. We sin, therefore, common sense says we are sinners. However, in the context of these Scriptures I have been reading, Sinners are synonymous with "unbelievers".

                              Would you agree or disagree with that statement?

                              God bless,
                              William
                              Strongly agree, that's why I stated there are no Scripture references to the believer as a sinner, and that Paul's admission that he was "chief" was just a hyperbolic expression of humility, it also being an isolated instance.
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