Sin Can Be Prevented
by Tom Stewart
May 15, 2005
We live in a world, where two 8-year-old girls-- Laura Hobbs and
Kyrstal Tobias-- riding their bikes on a Mother's Day outing would be stabbed to
death near a bike path in Beulah Park in the city of Zion, Illinois. ABC News reported
on May 10, 2005: "Bodies of Missing Girls Found in Ill. Park"
---New Window. Perhaps the
unusual name of the park-- Beulah Park-- where the young girls were slain, may have
caught the attention of some. "Thou shalt
no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but
thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah
[literally, my delight is in her]: for the
LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married"
(Isaiah 62:4). Or, still others may have paused at the name
of the city of Zion, which is about 45 miles north of Chicago. "Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole Earth, is mount
Zion [another name for Jerusalem], on the sides of the north, the city of the great King" (Psalm 48:2). Worse yet, the father of one of the
girls, Jerry Hobbs, released only the previous month from prison, admitted without
remorse to killing both girls, because he was enraged that his daughter disobeyed
his order to go home. "The Earth also
was corrupt before God, and the Earth was filled with violence" (Genesis 6:11). Sadly, these two young girls are
additions to a long and growing list of young victims of violent crime, e.g., Jessica
Lunsford (age 9, murdered in Homosassa, Florida in February 2005), Sarah Lunde (age
13, slain in Ruskin, Florida in April 2005). "4 The wicked, through the pride of
his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. 8 He sitteth in the
lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent:
his eyes are privily set against the poor" (Psalm
If Lucifer, in a Perfect Heaven, and Adam and Eve, in a Perfect Paradise, could still find a way to sin, how can anyone say that sin can be prevented? In reply, if the Only Wise God did not have an active method to prevent sin here-- understandably-- He would have great difficulty in preventing sin from breaking out again in Heaven. But, He does have a plan that sin can be prevented now! God proclaims His prevention of sin to be the condition of abiding in Him. "Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not" (1John 3:6). Even from the Beginning, God communed with man in the Garden of Eden, i.e., "the voice of the LORD God walking in the Garden in the cool of the day" (Genesis 3:8). It was as impossible then as it is now to walk with God, while at the same time to abide in sin, i.e., "6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1John 1:6-7). And, long ago, in the Old Testament, God affirmed a Precious Promise from the Psalms that abiding in the Word of God prevents us from sinning. "Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee" (Psalm 119:11). Sin, like a raging fire, threatens to consume us, but the simplicity of a childlike abiding in the Love of God prevents us from falling into sin. "21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our LORD Jesus Christ unto Eternal Life. 24 Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 21, 24). Concerning any future outbreak of sin in Heaven, the God That Cannot Lie (Titus 1:2) has promised about the Heavenly City: "There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's Book of Life" (Revelation 21:27). Not only will the Faithful God not allow anyone to enter Heaven, who would ever again sin; but, we have it upon the authority of God's Holy Promise that "all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone" (Revelation 21:8) and that "without [outside of the Celestial City] are dogs [a symbol among the ancient Jews of an unclean animal], and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie" (Revelation 22:15).
As you can see, the problem with all the sin and sinning in the world, and especially in the Professed Church, is the entire neglect of truly abiding in the Living God. "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Luke 16:13). Somehow, we have falsely been given the impression that we can still be a Good Person even though we are presently engaged in evil actions. Jesus made the opposite abundantly clear. "16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them" (Matthew 7:16-20). "Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit" (Matthew 12:33). Our past failures to achieve the Good Fruit spoken of by Jesus has tempted us not to place such a rigorous interpretation upon Christ's words, but we did so at our own peril. "If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the Truth" (1John 1:6). If we allow ourselves to be deceived that Church Members can be considered Good, while engaging in all the selfish activities of lying, cheating, stealing, lust, fornication, adultery, divorce, gluttony, drunkenness, greed, bitterness, gossip, homosexuality, witchcraft, slothfulness, disobedience to parents, etc., then why should it be thought strange, when we find that the stalkers, serial killers, mass murderers, cannibals, sadistic torturers, pornographers, child abusers, drug kingpins, robber barons, and global demagogues, have or had a Church Background-- complete with a Bible in their hands? "15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the Will of God abideth for ever" (1John 2:15-17).
We must restore to the Church the certainty that Sin Can Be Prevented!
(1) Either sin will keep you from the Word of God, or the Word of God will keep you from sin. "Sanctify them through Thy Truth: Thy Word is Truth" (John 17:17).
(2) We do not need to go out of our way-- like a monk in a monastery, who would whip himself with cords-- to find built-in occasions to experience suffering, for since the Fall of Adam and Eve, God has designed our sufferings to encourage us to come to Him and be sanctified. "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin" (1Peter 4:1).
(3) True Love is God's appointed means to prevent sin. "And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins" (1Peter 4:8).
(4) Faith or confidence in God and His Word is a True Deterrent to Sin. "4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1John 5:4-5).
(5) As a Spiritual Man, walking in the Spirit always prevents sin. "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16).
(6) Sin Prevention has the defense of the Shield of Faith, which is God's Word coupled with our confidence in Him, i.e., "Every Word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him" (Proverbs 30:5). "Above all, taking the Shield of Faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked" (Ephesians 6:16).
(7) Overcoming the Enemy-- not sinning, in conjunction with positively obeying Christ-- is characteristic of those who are trusting in the Grace of God. "And the God of Peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The Grace of our LORD Jesus Christ be with you. Amen" (Romans 16:20).
(8) Actively trusting God's Promises not only cleanses us from past sins, but establishes us in Perfect Holiness. "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2Corinthians 7:1).
(9) God's Promises are not only a powerful antidote against sin, but they are the very means to make us more and more like Him. "Whereby are given unto us Exceeding Great and Precious Promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2Peter 1:4).
(10) Straightforward is the best path to prevent sin, when we choose and then actually "put on" and demonstrate mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, and longsuffering. Remember, you cannot be kind and sinful at the same time. "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering" (Colossians 3:12).
(11) Entire Sanctification, complete sin prevention, absolutely walking worthy of Him, and being wholly accepted in the Beloved are promised by the Faithful One, "Who also will do it"! "23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our LORD Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is He that calleth you, Who also will do it" (1Thessalonians 5:23-24).
(12) Since Pentecost, we can be assured that the Holy Spirit has been given to abide with men. Are we abiding with Him? "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions" (Joel 2:28).
(13) God has promised us both cleansing from sin, as well as a heart of obedience, since the time of the Old Testament prophets. Will we trust Him to fulfill His Promise to us today? "25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A New Heart also will I give you, and a New Spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My Statutes, and ye shall keep My Judgments, and do them" (Ezekiel 36:25-27).
(14) Must we demand God to bring about the Millennium before we will trust Him to work obedience in us today? "31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more" (Jeremiah 31:31-34).
(15) God will circumcise our hearts to cause us to love Him, only if we first begin to "return unto the LORD" (Deuteronomy 30:2). "And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live" (Deuteronomy 30:6).
(16) God's Holy Spirit sanctifies us when we believe the Truth of His Word, making us at that moment completely resistant to sin. "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the LORD, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the Truth" (2Thessalonians 2:13).
Too often, we have been tempted to think that we no longer have to be concerned about sin, if we trusted Him in the first place; but, all the Promises for Sin Prevention can only work, if we cooperate with the Living God by Constantly Abiding in Him-- trusting that if we give Him our finite 100%, He will give to us His infinite 100%. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). We must fail miserably, if we do not lean upon Him utterly! "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). Sin can be prevented, if we remember that God expects us to reach as hard as we can in Faith to Him, as He is willing to reach as hard as He can in Grace to us. "12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13).
May God grant us the Wisdom to cooperate with Him that sin can be prevented in us!
[For more understanding on this subject of how sin can be prevented, please see our article, "Must We Then Sin?" ---New Window.]
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