Continuous Forgiveness Vs. The Sin-free Life

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Deeper and wider, quicker, and more difficult, were the principles of forgiveness that Jesus brought to the table. Cleansed of our sins, and moving forward with a clear conscience, can a Christian continue to grow and grow until they finally outgrow their need for forgiveness?

1 John 3:4 – 9: Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.  And you know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abides in him sins not: whosoever sins has not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for his nature remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Is the message noted in these scriptures a requirement for a born-again follower of Christ? Shall we believe that it is actually possible to attain to such heights as the sin-free (or stain-free) life suggests?

Paul’s Letter To The Romans 7:17-19:  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

If we read and find Paul’s message more agreeable with our own convictions, we’ll understand why we need to go to the Lord in prayer, and ask Him to forgive us for everything we need be forgiven for. I don’t see the need for bringing in particulars. That kind of prayer could last all day. Jesus kept it short when asked how we should pray. Matthew 6:16 – And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Jesus didn’t tell them every day to get out their list of 100 sins and check off the one’s that applied. No, He did not. This is what I mean by the daily grace of continuous forgiveness. We only need to ask for it. I find it easy to sympathize with Paul, who clearly understood.

I confess, because of this disparity in perspectives, I do have a bone to pick with the author of 1 John 3:4-9. He appears to say otherwise in Chapter 1. So much so, that it sounds to me like a different author.

1 John 1:8-10: If we say that 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 say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

If the same author was responsible for this letter to ‘children and friends’ (meaning no one in particular), and he sees this as a paradox inherent in the theology of religious discourse, then I’ll agree with him.

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Paul seems to understand salvation as being an act of grace. Paul realized his sinful nature, and knew he would continue to sin as long as his Spirit housed itself in a body of flesh, blood, and bones. John seems to believe that salvation can only be redeemed, or proven to one’s self, by living a life free from sin. The proof is in the pudding for him, so to speak. To me, that means a sinner who claims to have been saved, baptized, and forgiven for a lifetime of wrongs is actually fooling themselves if they continue to sin after having been saved. So, the way I read it,  John proclaimed that ever since he was saved, he no longer sinned. Not once. Not the tiniest one off the list below did he commit. How Bold! Or, how seemingly impossible! Keeping that in mind, allow me to bring this closer to home with a plausible example.

Paul hangs out with Jesus, who is perfectly sinless, and John, who by now is perfectly good. What a humbling experience that must have been. Imagine a sinner meeting up with the disciples, including Paul and John, when the personage of Jesus was absent. This sinner, who doesn’t like his (or her) life, nor the thought of death, wants to know all about it. Who best to inform the sinner? Paul would have been sympathetic and loving as he told the sinner about his own new perspective in life, thanks to Jesus. I don’t think he would have made a life with Christ sound like an impossible task. He would not have pulled out a list of 100 sins to avoid for the rest of their lives, I don’t believe. If there is a time and place for everything under the sun, then why would anyone attempt to bring out the worst in human nature, unless the author wanted to rub somebody’s nose in it?

Before you read this list (which doesn’t seem to be in any particular order of importance), let us also remember what James had to say,

James 2:10 – For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

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List: 100 Sins (author unknown)

1. Lying  2. Stealing 3. Gossip 4. Lewd Thoughts 
5. Profanity 6. Hatred 7. Anger 8. Wrath
9. Railing 10. Shameful Speaking 11. Passion
12. Covetousness 13. Sexual Immorality 14. Idolatry
15. Witchcraft 16. Jealousy 17. Selfish Ambition
18. Fits of Rage 19. Dissensions 20. Malice 21. Slander
22. Harshness 23. Idleness 24. Wrong for wrong
25. Grieving for Spirit 26. Quenching the Spirit
27. Pride in what is seen 28. Grumbling
29. Fault-finding 30. False Flattery 
31. Pride of Possessions 32. Despise authority
33. Lording it over others 34. Haughty eyes
35. Insult for insult 36. Scoffing 37. Immodesty 
38. Retaliation 39. Threatening 40. Selfishness
41. Disobeying Parents 42. Judgment of Others
43. Dishonor Parents 44. Evil suspicions 45. Impatience
46. Lose Heart 47. Callousness 48. Unforgiving
49. Perverseness 50. Meanness 51. Factions 
52. Envy 53. Drunkenness 54. Orgies
55. Hardening of Heart 56. Continual Lust
57. Deceit 58. Bitterness 59. Greed 60. Foolish Talk
61. Coarse Joking 62. Empty Words
63. Their God as their Stomach
64. Their Glory is their Shame
65. Hollow Philosophy 66. Tradition for Truth
67. False Humility 68. Worship of Angels
69. Carnality 70. Rudeness 71. Easily Angered
72. Keeping of record of wrongs
73. Lukewarmness 74. Stinginess
75. Loving to have Preeminence
76. Failing to discern the body
77. Shepherds who feed themselves
78. Stumbling block 79. Disrespect 80. Fearfulness
81. Disbelief 82. Praying to be seen
83. Not praying 84. Keeping Jesus Outside
85. Fornication 86. Uncleanness
87. Forgetting our cleansing 88. Denying our Lord
89. Seeking Justification by the Law
90. Arrogance 91. Faithless 92. Seared Conscience
93. Loss of first Love 94. Love of Money
95. Unkindness 96. Divorce 97. Filthiness
98. Unmerciful 99. Never yeilding 100. Always right
*
Later on down the road, Paul writes this to Timothy,
1st Timothy 1:15 – 17:  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. But for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for an example to them who should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever.
*
And lastly, we have this from John The Evangelist,
John 3:17  – For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
*
This is the good news! And it’s all we sinners need to know. To do the best we can is the best that we can do, and that is all He asks of us. May God bless you on your journey home.
*
*
(Here is an excerpt from my daily morning prayer)
Please, forgive me, Lord.
Forgive me for everything I need be forgiven for.
Thank you for forgiving me!
Thank you for continuously forgiving me!
Help me to continue to be caring, considerate, and forgiving of others.
Help others to be caring, considerate, and forgiving of me.
Help me to forgive myself,
and help me to forgive you, as you have forgiven me.
Amen
*

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39 thoughts on “Continuous Forgiveness Vs. The Sin-free Life

  1. 🙂 Thank you, Warrioress, for bringing that ridiculous list
    to my attention! Go in peace. It’s going to be okay. Hugz, UT

    Rule 101: Thou shalt not exceed the speed of light.
    Now, that’s the kind of rule I’d love to see broken.

  2. John 10:29 tells us that anyone God the Father gives to Jesus will stay with Jesus because no one is able to snatch them from His hand. That being the case, wouldn’t that mean, once saved always saved? I can understand asking forgiveness after accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior, but isn’t that rather like saying He isn’t capable of keeping you until the end?

  3. Coming from a small town Southern Baptist Church,
    I have to say, “Yes. That’s what I was taught.”

    If anyone changed my mind later on, it was me.
    Starting about the age of 14 and running straight through
    all those rebellious years of selfish freedom with
    little time for self-reflection. God is long-suffering, no doubt.

    Until the end, Mary, and then I’m sure we’ll go. 😉 Peace, girl.

  4. ‘Let that *mind* be in you that is in Christ Jesus’…..way to go!

    Yet that *mind* is fore given. The ‘sin’ is just a hold up as we slither, hither and thither about a grail, trying to accustom our ‘eyes’ to Jesus’ perfect ascension. God has fore given us all our time and our space in the world to ‘get it.’ We cannot escape our loving leash but we can shake ourselves to death from the equivalent of ‘metal fatigue’! Sin as a concept only appears from our kindergarten view. Strong meat is yet to be experienced, as said St Paul…. the ex-murderer!!
    Come in number one, your time is giving up 😉

    When the Bride is able to ‘see’ She seems to be ascending whilst the Christ seems to come back into view. But he only went away from kindergarten, I feel 🙂

    “Foregiveness is when you realise there is nothing to forgive.”
    ~A Course in Miracles~

  5. I’ll have to grok that, Ed. But thank you fore being! 🙂
    Yourself on a regular slithering basis of hithers and scissors
    that cut through the rough and tough rind that covers
    up me sprite, allowing him to frolic to and fro on z ladder that
    escalates to yonder haven ye have so finely pierced.

    Yo sap! UT

  6. Interesting points you take up here Keith, and well written. However, I would like to make an observation (or two) in the spirit of friendship.

    Quote from 1 John 3:

    ”Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for his nature remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God”.

    Unquote:

    Of all the disciples, it would appear that it was John who received a deeper insight into Christ’s teachings than all the others.

    The above quoted verse is one that has been the cause of controversy for ages – what is that verse actually saying?

    It is relaying the same information that Nicodemus found difficult to understand in John 3

    John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

    v.6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

    So verse 6 gives us the answer, as I interpret it.

    We are all born of the flesh, and as such we sin – even though we may strive not to – we being human sin (some more than others of course). Baptism, and even the receipt of the Holy Spirit, does not miraculously put an end to our sinning. Although there are those who genuinely believe (falsely in my opinion) that once they have been baptized, that they are immediately under grace and that the law no longer applies to them – they have already been forgiven for their sins? Such is the deceptive influence of false religions.

    To be brief – While in the flesh we are only BEGOTTEN sons and daughters – we are not pure spirit beings – although we do have a human spirit. To see the forthcoming Kingdom of God (which is not in heaven) one requires to be resurrected in spirit – BORN AGAIN

    A lot can happen between conception and birth

    Short answer that may not fall on fertile ground everywhere.

    John

  7. Uncle Tree, you are on a teaching stint. I love the way you contrast and compare scriptures to bring out your point. This , in my opinion, is how preachers should teach the gospel of Jesus Christ; instead of scaring off potential converts

    Yes, I agree with you that we need to ask God for forgiveness of sins. If that were not so, then there wouldn’t be any need to preach the gospel.

    Thanks for another wonderful post, teacher. God bless.

  8. Thank you, Noel! 🙂 Glad am I to know that I’ve made my
    thoughts understandable. We can only point to the way
    for others. If they were to follow me, I might lead them astray.
    Some folks don’t get into particulars. Some folks are better off
    standing back, back, back so far they more easily ‘see’ the
    big picture – not what Man is up to, but more like – what God
    had intended, and put in plain sight, where it is easily missed,
    passed over, or swept under the rug for safe-keeping. No need to
    wonder then, how stories of the magic carpet began.

    Hiding the truth provides but a temporary comfort for those
    determined to keep the status quo. When The Truth takes on
    airs, it’s up, up, and away we go! And then, “Look out below!”
    The sins of the sky fall like rain – quite easy are they to absorb.

  9. Hello there, John G! Let me see if I have this straight:

    Those who are born of God cannot go wrong.
    (I would say the author is referring to angels, but since that
    would also include Lucifer – I would conclude
    that the act of falling does not transgress the Law of Gravity).

    *

    If the unlearned sinner were to ask, “Who is God?” Or,
    “Which God are you referring to? The One, or the Many?”
    The God who is above The Law; The Creator; Father of All.
    “Then I am born of this God. We are all born of God. Yes?”
    In the beginning, yes. We were all Children Of God at first.
    “Then all of His children, in the beginning, were above The Law?”
    For as long as we remained in Him, yes. Above The Law.
    “Then why were we expelled from His presence in the first place?
    Why the separation? What did God need that He didn’t possess?”
    The God of All has no needs. There was no thing He did not have.

    “If nothing was left wanting, then every thing He had – He needed.
    You say He needed nothing, because, all in all, He was everything.
    Therefore every thing, if not needed, is most certainly necessary,
    other-wise, for all His well-intended purposes, it would not exist.
    I would not exist. But I am, I say, and I have a multitude of needs.
    Too many. That’s why I’m here. You men seem content. Can you
    feed me? I’m hungry. Man cannot live on words alone, you know.”
    Yes, yes. Here, have some. Rest your tongue. Have a seat.
    Our Lord should be returning soon. In Him, your answer lies…

  10. Ain’t no ‘stronger meat’ than that which gets nailed to a cross just for the Hell of it! Imagine.

    Greater Love has no man than he gives up his life for his enemies as well as his friends. Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven and even a close one, nailed for sharing its abundance, ie stealing from the kindergarten tuck-box, came to(o) 🙂

  11. You couldn’t have said it more literally, Ed.
    The picture you conjured up in my head wasn’t pretty.

    Only a teacher would think to make an example of themselves.
    I’m not so sure he knew. But in that last second – he finished it.

    Do you want to trade lunches? 😉

  12. You wrote, Uncle Tree:-

    ***I’m not so sure he knew. But in that last second – he finished it.***

    That would be my premise, too, Uncle…..and I don’t envy the task, even though He has let me off the hook….if I so choose!

    So, what were you choosing on for lunch? 😉

    I have the fore given sorted fore meself. The tough bit now is the ‘forsaken’ status. What on Earth is Our Father trying to bring Home to us about our basic premise?? We have barely a second to find out. I am eternally grateful that Jesus, with just a little mud, took the scales from my fishy eyes. Dang, there goes the Age of Pisces!!

  13. WoW! Dear Ed, we found something we could agree on. WoW!

    When we ponder – the greatest man – the historical Jesus –
    Mother Nature’s finest, and best – we must know that it was
    He who insured the Children Of God The Father – all of us.
    Jesus insured us with a deed that we might know, at last –
    Our Father knows what it’s like to be a mortal, a human.

    Self realization is the process of turning your self inside out.

    God bless your scale-less fish of justice, my friend. Eye2

  14. Wow, you two are simply amazing! What a journey this has been, and to watch this debate slowly unfold, wow. I have learned a lot just by your examples or ideas, no doubt. I am released. My head is spinning….dear Lord, I love these men!

  15. I wouldn’t want to to leave St Stephen’s stones unturned! Jesus scorched a pathway for him, no doubt. Poor old John the Baptist, being early for the truth party, lost his thinking apparatus! (Well, I would see meaning in that way, wouldna I 😉 I trust the *Divine* feminine will now be more lenient, having witnessed the turning point. Which brings me to the Age of Aquarius, The Water of Life Dispenser ! (A sign for you, Uncle Tree?)

    This old goat is off up the mountain, now, as a sign he’s gonna get turned on again 😉

    God bless us all.

  16. Yes, you know that, Ed. 😉
    My birthday is Monday – the 30th – my 54th
    turn at dispensing hard water to the bloody stones at hand.

    Is that old goat of yours a wave or a particle today?
    God bless your chinny-chin-chin! 🙂

    So, what is MOTHER up to now, ya think? Martyrdom?
    (Marty’s birthday is two days after mine)

  17. Knowing our own and other peoples human “foibles” increases our capacity for forgiveness.
    Forgiveness means we do not have to place ourselves in the position of having to judge others or ourselves. It lightens the
    load by getting rid of the baggage of our experiences. We are
    responsible for our own experiences after all.

    Forgiveness is the springboard to true compassion where as Ed
    says “Forgiveness is when you realize there is nothing to forgive”

  18. I like that view of yours, Bonnie. And I like Ed’s as well. But…but,
    baggage? Who? Me? What baggage? Oh, that baggage.
    The baggage on my back that’s weighing me down so much I
    can’t stand for much more than a minute at a time.

    Wish I didn’t take things so literally. Or, should I say,
    I wish things wouldn’t take me so seriously. Dang back stabbers! 😦

  19. Renewed prayers, Uncle Tree……gotta upwardly release this personal ‘coil’ that’s in pain from the compression of Life circumstance, but very gently does it, as you could imagine consequences. We don’t want you to lose that Crown! Yes, tis true for all of us in our inevitably different ways.

    You might get trampled in the rush, Bonnie Anonnie, if you exposed yourself suchlike 😉
    Seriously, I know there is great potential in this spiritual mesh that is to be humanly Divined 🙂 Astrology has me year-marked for some nimble foot-work….unless I nod off and miss it….damn! No insurance for old Goats 😉

  20. Ouch UT. Remind yourself that you are supported in this
    universe. In your prayers,allow yourself to ask for healing Light for your entire being. Give yourself and others permission to “lighten up.”

    Love and Hugs

  21. Thank you truly, Bonnie! 🙂 You and Ed are great supporters,
    and I dearly appreciate you both! There must be something I’m holding onto, and I have been attempting to write it out; stretch it out;
    push on it; pull on it; twist it; turn it…uh, yes. I do mean my lumbar region. 😉 Matter of factly (but unfortunately), Time is a slow healer.

    Hope all is well for you and yours so far this year. Knock on wood,
    but we’re still waiting for winter to arrive. Strangely warm, so far.

    Peace, luvz, and hugz, girl! UT

  22. Yo Ed
    From what I understand, you goats are in for a doozy of a ride
    from now until 2015. Hang on. 🙂

    I read somewhere that the learning and evolution of our species was designed to complement cycles. Astrologically, we are coming
    to the end of a grand cycle. All the negativity of the past 2000 plus years is now being collected so that it can be discharged and the
    next cycle can start fresh. We are being given another chance to choose how we will learn and evolve. This new cycle is about the birth of very different opportunities. Opportunities to release patterns that are no longer necessary in this spiritual mesh.

    But I digress from the theme of UT’s post. Except to say that I would imagine from a Divine viewpoint, everything and everyone are as meant to be, so there really is nothing to forgive.

    Be well
    B

  23. Hi Uncle Tree. I really like your prayer asking for forgiveness. I think I might adapt it and use it myself if you don’t mind. However, to me it means asking forgiveness for wrongs that I have done. Even with the best will and the best of intentions we all make mistakes, sometimes shameful ones. I think it is good for the soul and psychologically helpful in those situations to ask forgiveness of a higher power and to feel and know that we ARE forgiven. However, again to me we only need forgiveness for “wrongdoing” not for sin, because I don’t believe sin exists.
    Even from the selection of biblical quotes you have given above, sin is a tricky monster to pin down (as you said in my blog, it can be a vague and shady concept). To me it is just far more simple to speak in terms of right and wrong. I also don’t like the idea that sin is something like a disease that infects us all (good or bad) and the only cure is available through Christianity.
    I agree with what you say in your conclusion. In the end all we can do is the best we can. May our Gods forgive us when necessary and teach us how to forgive ourselves. Maybe they could shout in our ear loudly before we do something wrong in the first place!
    Blessings to you Uncle Tree for your kindness and thought provoking posts. 🙂

    http://justcassie.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/sin-verses-evil/

  24. Thank you, Cassie! 🙂 I’m really glad you stopped by.

    For the most part, what I was attempting to get across – my point
    that is – fore giving implies being beaten to the punch. Before we
    have the chance to take an action deemed wrong, He is there
    for us. He’s already paid the price. He paid our dues with His life,
    not with a coupon, nor with a free pass, but as our Redeemer.

    And so, we would do best by focusing our wavering attention
    on what we as individuals deem good – what feels good to us –
    our intellect alone cannot rightly judge – our heart knows better.
    And when we gain that heartfelt knowledge, we grow – up, and
    we reach – out, naturally – with a nice touch, and in good taste.

    Something this morning, your words perhaps, made me remember
    some of the sayings and teachings of J. Krishnamurti:

    “All ideologies are idiotic, whether religious or political,
    for it is conceptual thinking, the conceptual word,
    which has so unfortunately divided man.”

    For Jiddu, love was an act, not a concept:

    “The moment you have in your heart this extraordinary thing called love and feel the depth, the delight, the ecstasy of it, you will discover that for you the world is transformed.”

    “We all want to be famous people, and the moment we want to be something we are no longer free.” (This one disturbs my ego.)

    If I wish to be a knight…if I want to be a hero…a savior…a friend…
    Can I even wish to be myself under all circumstances, and in ev’ry
    case, and at all times? As a Westerner, I can can virtuously say,
    “Yes!” Because I cannot free myself from thoughts for the better.

    We all have crosses to bear – from which we wish to be free. But
    if we help each other…if I can lighten your burden, then I feel
    lighter, not heavier. And feeling lighter gets me higher – like that.

    Good blessings, I bestow on you, young lady. Peace and luvz, UT

  25. A very critical look indeed. The thoughts of each lend to wonder how one person could recognize all of these while a vast majority live in them without even so much as knowing they are in the wrong. Very complex Keith!
    Lots of room for thought here.

  26. Thanks, Stuart. It all started with the list –
    once saw it, I had to speak up and throw down
    “The Gospel According To Uncle Tree”
    He-he…no, really. This was no stab at do-gooders,
    This was aimed at those who lead via the mechanisms
    of guilt and fear. Who dwells in the house of the Lord
    forever? And once there, remains sin-free on Earth?

    There was only One, but He was all we needed –
    then and now and tomorrow as well. His perfection
    is ours to love, admire and mime, but not to have.

    Peace to you today, bro! 🙂

  27. You are quite welcome, liz. 🙂 Glad you like my thoughts
    on this particularly important subject — for all involved.
    Happy am I to be of service in any and every way. Luvz, Keith

  28. Hi Keith! I walked into your past and this is what I found! Forgiveness…yes…it can sometimes be so hard to come to. If we continually ask the Lord to forgive us…for all that we need to be forgiven for…I wonder how we would feel if that forgiveness was withheld because He couldn’t quite get over it!

    I have had a few occasions this week that desperately need my forgiveness. I believe that 2 out of 3 have been taken care of…one is a little harder. And it does not feel good to hang onto the pain associated with the “wrong doing.”

    So after reading your post I wondered how we would all feel if God withheld his forgiveness to us. I dare say that we would be shocked…mortified….possibly even horrified! It made me realize the fact that I am ONLY human…but it made me want to be more like GOD! And I feel my heart soften for the third…and final forgiveness of the week. Oh…did I say final…maybe I will reserve that for me!!!
    Much love ❤

  29. Sorry to hear of your troubles, Lorrie. Jesus taught that if the person we offended forgives us, then God forgives us. No more worries. But that does involve asking forgiveness from the one we harmed, or pained emotionally. That can be difficult at times, and even then, one must go on and allow oneself to forgive oneself. Hope by now, everything has settled down for you. Have a great week! Peace and luvz, UT 🙂

  30. Thanks UT! Yes…things (I) have calmed down. Any one or even two of the events would have been “doable” but it was a very bad energy pattern that seemed to escalate all week into a final crescendo! My bad!! Hope your world is full of love and laughter 🙂

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