What Happens When We Sin?
By Ryan Bridgeo
One day I was speaking to a lady in our community about salvation. She believed that we are initially saved by grace through faith, but it was our job to maintain our salvation through good works. Therefore, if our good works outnumbered our bad works, we would be saved. However, if our bad works outnumbered our good works we would go to hell. She had basically been taught that there is a large scale in Heaven constantly remembering and weighing everything we do or don’t do.
Growing up I was taught that we could lose our salvation, so I had very little confidence or assurance of my salvation. I remember one day while I was at a youth conference, I was speaking with a young lady during one of the breaks. I mentioned in passing that I had probably been saved 100 times. She looked stunned and said, “You can’t get saved 100 times. Either you’re saved or you’re not.” I walked away thinking, that girl didn’t know what she was talking about. But after much study, I believe that she did.
So, what happens when we sin?
1 John 3:9 says, “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” And 1 John 5:18 (NAS) says, “We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him.” These verses make it sound like Christians can never sin again. However, we know from experience and from other verses that sometimes we do. For example, 1 John 2:1 says, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” So here we see two verses implying that Christians will never sin again and another saying that if we do sin, Jesus will speak to the Father in our defense. So how do we rectify the two as they seem to contradict one another? One way to rectify them is by adding the word “practice.” A Christian doesn’t practice sinning anymore. I think this is fair and accurate, but I also believe there is more in these verses.
Notice in the second half of 1 John 5:18, “but He who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him.” This is referring to Jesus being born of God, and He keeps us. The word “keeps” means to attend to carefully, to take care of, and to guard. This says that Jesus carefully attends to us in such a way that He guards us and protects us so that the evil one cannot touch us. But we have all been touched in one way or another at some point by the evil one, so what does this mean?
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 says, “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us [is] God, 22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” Ephesians 1:13 says, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.” Notice you were sealed, past tense, when you believed.
Imagine that I had you over for dinner one evening and I offered you a nice big, juicy piece of steak. But then I told you I had previously dropped it in a mud puddle and before I had a chance to pick it up, my dog took it and ran off with it. I chased him all around the house and finally caught him in the driveway. The steak had gravel, hair, and dog salvia all over it, but I washed it off. Would you still want to eat this steak? I think most people would say no. Now if the same scenario happened but the steak was vacuum sealed in thick plastic most people would still eat it.
That is what happened to our born-again spirit. It has been vacuum-sealed by the Holy Spirit and sin cannot penetrate our spirit again. Jesus keeps us safe and the evil one cannot touch our spirit. When Adam sinned one time he died spiritually, and his nature changed. He now had a sinful nature and was totally contaminated and defiled. When we sin today, because we have been made righteous, because we are born again, with a divine nature, because we have been sealed by the promised Holy Spirit as God’s purchased possession, the evil one cannot touch us. He cannot get to our perfected forever spirit. He cannot change our divine nature. Just like this meat or a bottle of jam that has been preserved until the day we want to eat it, so we have been preserved.
So, are we only sealed until the next time we sin? No! Ephesians 4:30 (KJV) says, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Our spirit is sealed until the day of redemption, until the final day of judgment. That is why 1 John 4:17 says, “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.” We can have confidence, boldness, and assurance today of our salvation because our spirit has been sealed, protected from sins contamination, never to be touched by the evil one again. We are saved and Jesus keeps us safe in Him.
Ryan Bridgeo is the Pastor of Plumtree Church in Avery County, NC. If you would like to know more or how you might become involved in this ministry please reach out to Pastor Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 828-765-6919.
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