by brother Mike Desario
The great dilemma in the present day Church is at WHAT point does the sin have to stop in order for real salvation to take place? Must it stop before pardon can be granted or after, or does it NEVER stop? Unanimously the Church preaches that God ‘saves you in your sins and cleans you up later,’ BUT the actual stopping of sin remains in question. If the person cannot of his own power stop sinning when he comes to God, WHY is he STILL unable to stop after salvation has supposedly taken place (since everyone will agree that NO ONE EVER stops sinning)?
Here is the Doctrinal Statement of Wesleyan Theology:
We believe that man’s creation in God likeness included ability to choose between right and wrong, and that thus he was made morally responsible; that through the fall of Adam he became depraved so that he cannot now turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength and works to faith and calling upon God. But we also believe that the grace of God through Jesus Christ is freely bestowed upon all men, enabling all who will to turn from sin to righteousness, believe on Jesus Christ for pardon and cleansing from sin, and follow good works pleasing and acceptable in His sight. We believe that man, though in the possession of the experience of regeneration and entire sanctification, may fall from grace and apostatize and, unless he repent of his sin, be hopelessly and eternally lost.
The major problem with all of this, is that it is IN REVERSE of the SCRIPTURE! In the Bible repentance CLEARLY means a STOPPING of sin BEFORE pardon can be granted. Note the following:
Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. Isa. 55:7
Now therefore, amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; then the LORD will relent concerning the doom that He has pronounced against you. Jer. 26:13
CLEARING of the wrong doing MUST take place BEFORE God can abundantly pardon or relent from His wrath. This follows throughout Scripture without exception. The message of the Bible ASSUMES that man is FULLY CAPABLE of obeying God and DOING what God has said to do, namely repent, STOP what you’re doing, and SEEK His mercy! All the Prophets preached in this manner as did the apostles in the book of Acts.
Again, let’s see what the Bible has to say:
“So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish? Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.”
Here is a clear-cut case of the preaching of repentance and the manner in which the mercy of God is dispensed on the people. NO ONE assumed that their stopping meant anything more than the POSSIBILITY of God sparing them from destruction. They DID NOT need some special grace or even the Holy Spirit to come in and reveal to them the evil of their doings. They knew ALREADY they were in the wrong by the VERY fact Jonah came preaching to them to repent. The Prophet told them the consequences of their actions and gave them the way of escape through repentance.
This should settle all the arguments anyone may have about repentance, but the church ignores it and CONTINUES to preach COME IN YOUR SINS! They insist that you must have the Holy Spirit’s presence to reveal the error of your ways bestowed through some special operation of grace BEFORE you can turn to God and believe. And if you were able to STOP sinning (as the people of Nineveh did) you would NOT need Jesus because you could save yourself. They just can’t seem to connect the dots.
The entire fallacy of coming in your sins is based on being born a sinner. Therefore man is not responsible for his sin, but only receiving Jesus as the remedy for it. Then as the Holy Spirit liberates his free will and reveals wrong doings to him he becomes responsible to forsake those things as a Christian. That’s why NO ONE preaches against or about sin or sinful behavior in the church because it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to clean the people up, not the preacher’s responsibility to point anything out. This mission of the church is to compel people to ‘Receive’ Jesus, not Seek a clearing of wrong doing (2 Cor. 7:10-11). So real repentance NEVER takes place.
Why is sin committed in the dark or covered by lies? The Bible says that men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. (Jh. 3:20-21) They know adultery is wrong. If they didn’t, why lie to cover their tracts? The Holy Spirit doesn’t have to indwell them BEFORE they are aware these things are evil in the sight of God and must be abandoned. That’s why the ONLY way real conversion has any possibility of taking place is through the preaching of repentance and faith PROVEN BY DEEDS! Man ALREADY knows he is responsible for his sins, his own conscience either accuses or excuses him.
The PROBLEM is when the Church gets into the mix and convinces them they can be SAVED in spite of what they DO! Once a person buys into the Big Lie of being born a sinner, they can no longer conceive the possibility of stopping their sinning. It is simply a foregone conclusion of the message that you come to God in your sins, therefore He cannot possibly hold you accountable for continuing in them since it was NEVER your fault to begin with! Man’s accountability begins and ends with ‘receiving Jesus’ as his remedy. NO ONE is able to say that the sin has to STOP because they hold firmly to the doctrine of man born in sin. No matter how good they can make it sound or how much they try to back it up with Scripture, the bottom line remains: You CANNOT stop sinning (or even have the possibility of stopping) UNTIL He saves you, fills you with His Spirit and works the sin out of you by process.
Here’s a perfect example of what I mean. The following is written by a Holiness preacher who believes you can lose your salvation by sinning:
“It takes a work of salvation in the soul to cease from sin. God gives us that power when we are saved. Prior to getting saved, one is under conviction and will bring forth fruits meet (or fit) for repentance, meaning they will be trying to stop some things as much as they can, and discontinue going to places they know are wrong.”
Notice that is has an element of truth to it and speaks of the power of God, conviction and fruits. All Scriptural terms. It seems to fit into the common salvation experience people are having in the churches. But he is extremely careful to point out and ‘strongly suggests’ that the person CANNOT STOP doing what is wrong until God comes in and helps him. (This is the common type answer from pastors.)
Now using your own sense of reason and understanding, DOES THIS match what happened in Nineveh? Were the people UNABLE to stop the evil of their doings until God saved them or did they Do it BEFORE anything happened? Did anyone in Nineveh ASSUME that their stopping of sin meant they no longer needed God’s mercy extended to them? Or did they obey the command to repent, come before God, PRESUMING NOTHING, and seeking His mercy! Unless you’re blind, the answer is obvious.
WHY then does EVERYONE THINK it happens in REVERSE? It HAS TO BE because of the presupposition that man is Born a Sinner and CAN’T stop sinning! So back to our question:
“When Does the Sin Have to Stop?”
What This Means:
We asked: “If a person is a child molester does he have to stop molesting children in order to receive Jesus?”
One pastor answers:
Absolutely not. A person does not need to stop anything, start anything, or do anything at all to have God or Jesus in their life.
It is just the opposite! Rather than stopping molesting in order to receive Jesus, it is receiving Jesus in order to stop molesting!
Answer from another pastor:
To answer your question. I think you can ask Jesus into your heart while still engaging in behavior that does not honor the love of Christ.
“Do we have to stop sinning to be loved by God?” I think not. I am always going to be sinning. So the answer is yes, a child molester can be forgiven without doing anything The truth is, a person does not have to stop his sin. Being saved does not depend on a person stopping all willful sin. God does not expect us to stop sinning first, and then seek salvation. Second, God does expect us to stop sinning after we are saved.
These pastors were honest about what they believe. Most try to conceal it behind a lot of fluff and make sound as though they are not in favor of sin. But there are no exceptions. NONE of them will say outright and plainly the sin has to stop. At best they may say you must be ‘Willing’ to stop, have a ‘Desire’ to stop, even ‘Hate’ the sin, but NEVER ACTUALLY stop!
Think about it:
The man committing adultery on his wife seeks her forgiveness while still attached to the other woman! The thief is granted forgiveness for his crime WITHOUT returning what he has stolen! The liar is granted pardon for his lies without telling the truth! And the fornicator is Spirit filled and forgiven BEFORE he returns to chastity!
All this because of the fallacy that man is Born a Sinner, and the delusion is so strong that it’s inconceivable for anyone in the Church system to think otherwise! They ALL believe God has SAVED them IN THEIR SINS and that NO ONE EVER stops sinning. (Including as you see, flagrant sins of the flesh.) But the real human tragedy of this entire mess is that these people REALLY DO THINK they are going to heaven when they die! And NOTHING you can say to them or show them in the Bible can persuade them otherwise.
“He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.” Rev. 22:11