February 15, 2011
In 1 John 1:8 we read, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Aside from Christ, everyone who has ever drawn a breath is born a sinner and is born with a natural desire to sin. Even when we are saved, and a “new creature” in Christ, our flesh still desires the pleasures of sin. But does that mean that we must continue to sin? With the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Though we are Christians – Saints of God, we are not yet in our glorified bodies. Our spirit has been quickened and made alive, yet our flesh still wants to sin. Despite our temptation, as Christians, we also have the ability within us and the tools available to us to choose whether we will sin or not. Sadly, we exercise our right as a Christian to choose to sin. Though we are not automatically made immune to the temptation of sin, we can choose whether we will sin or not. From the moment we are saved, through the remainder of our lives, we can choose to be perfectly pure.

To be perfectly pure is the goal to which we, as Christians, should all aspire. Though some disagree, perfect purity, or living without sin, is possible and should be the goal of every saint of God. No, I am not disregarding scriptures which tell us that we have all have sinned (Romans 3:23, Romans 5:12, 2 Corinthians 13:2), but in all of these verses, notice the tense. In each case, the verb sin is in the past tense such as, “…all have sinned…” However, the fact that we have all sinned in the past does not mean that we are all doomed to sin again. Any sin we commit is the result of a choice we have made to sin. In fact, Jesus Himself, when dealing with the woman in John chapter 8, told her to go and sin no more (John 8:11). Jesus clearly set a standard for her as well as all mankind: He wants us to lead a life where we choose not to sin through the grace and power of the Holy Ghost and the knowledge of the Word of God. Was Jesus setting a standard too high for us to reach? Of course not!
Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (2) God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Romans 6:1-2 is just as clear as Jesus’ command to the woman in John 8. We who are saved should not be subject to sin, we can choose whether we will sin or not.

There are several tools we have at our disposal which we can choose to use to defeat the temptation of sin. The first tool we have is a prerequisite we must have to obtain the other tools. This tool is salvation. Salvation is a free gift offered by God. The gift of salvation is accepted by faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary alone. Without Christ’s work of salvation, the other tools we have are simply unavailable or are meaningless to us. The second tool we have is the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit of God fully indwells the believer at the very moment of salvation. This is the same Holy Spirit of God that stood on nothing and spoke the world into existence. This Holy Spirit lives within the believer and the power of the Holy Spirit is available to the believer. Third, we have the Word of God. How powerful is the Word of God? Christ, when He was on Earth walking in the flesh of man, was subject to the same temptations we all face. Christ was tempted by Satan himself. Each time Satan tempted Christ, Christ responded with simple answers from the Word of God, and each time, Satan was defeated. Psalms 119:11 says plainly, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Fourth, we have the protection of God. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 we read, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” The promise of 1 Corinthians 10:13 combined with Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” should show us that we can truly live a life without sin. When, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote Philippians 4:13 and said that he could do all things, he included overcoming the temptation to sin.

What does it mean to be pure? There are several definitions of pure. To be pure is to be free from dust, dirt, or taint; to be free from what weakens or pollutes; to be free from moral fault or guilt; to be marked by chastity. Given these definitions, everyone should aspire to a state of absolute purity. While it is true that we should all try to live daily with the aspiration to be sinless through the power of the Holy Ghost, here we are speaking specifically of physical and emotional purity. In our society today, we are bombarded by the media portraying sexual standards that are entirely unbiblical even to the point of being vile. Today’s world is plagued with sexually transmitted diseases, has so many illegitimate children that many high schools now have day care centers and, as a society, sees the murder of an unborn child as an acceptable form of birth control. All of these problems are a direct result of the culture of sexual impurity that is promoted in our society. The clearest indicators of the decline of sexual morals are the statistics. In 1950, only 30% of the population was sexually active by the age of 19 (Please remember that this includes a great deal of people who were married before the age of twenty). The Centers for Disease Control report that today, nearly 75% of the population is sexually active by the age of nineteen while the average age of those who are married has risen to over thirty years.

In the context of sexual purity, many would say that to be pure is to be a virgin. The statistics above are based upon the definition of sexually active as “no longer a virgin”; they do not take into account other activities that are clearly sexual); In fact, many teens only consider one act to be “sex”, however this is not the attitude of the Word of God. Jesus said in Matthew 5:28 that it is possible to commit adultery in your heart just by looking at someone. If this is true, then it is equally true that you can commit sexual sin through other physical activities. Pop culture tells us anything is ok so long as you are ready, but what is ready in their definition? Some say you are ready when you can make a commitment, others say marriage, others have no standard at all. In this text, we will show you how far is too far, and how you can determine when you ARE ready – based on the Word of God.