The Question of Stopping Sin
- WHAT COMES FIRST: A) Stopping all sinning, OR B.) Being regenerated (born again) by coming to Jesus in true repentance (laying down your life-the cross)?
- What is the Bible’s Prescription for total victory over all sin?
- What is the biblical approach to lost sinners?
There is a whole generation of street preachers who are going to the streets to tell lost sinners to “stop sinning!” Is this the biblical approach? While it is a blessing that men go to the streets to reach the lost, it’s also of the utmost importance that we are walking in divine truth in our approach and in our disposition. Approaching Sinners with Compassion
——-HOW COULD A LOST SINNER POSSIBLY “STOP SINNING” before being born again? He simply can’t. Was “stop sinning” the message of Christ and His apostles? Was that the totality of why God sent His only begotten Son to die for us?
Biblical truth tells us that we are born in sin, we have a fallen nature and it’s only the cross that causes overcoming – not denying we have a fallen nature or telling ourselves or others to “stop sinning.” First and foremost, a human being “must be born again” and then and only then would the topic of overcoming sin even matter. Paul speaks of that nature in Romans 7 and then tells us how we overcome and dominate that old nature in Galatians 2:20 and 2 Corinthians 4:10-12 and 1 Corinthians 9:27, etc. The Holy Spirit tells us how to overcome and grants that victory through the daily cross Jesus told us to take up to follow Him (Luke 9:23-24). Denial is a smokescreen – the cross is the divine truth and solution to total victory.
EVEN the saved saints of Christ can’t overcome sin without coming to the cross afresh (daily Jesus taught). So where does that leave the lost?
The LORD’s stated priority for His people is that they “abide” in Christ and when they do, all sin will be put away from their lives. As is obvious from the lack of biblical references, His foremost will is not that we “stop sinning” which is impossible outside of a true, repentant abiding fellowship and daily communion with Him in His cross. See John 15:1-16. Listen closely to this:
“And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” 1 John 3:5-6
Please pour prayerfully over this above passage beloved saint. Jesus came to put away sin and He does this exclusively through the abiding relationship He ordained us to live with Him. “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not.”
So, don’t seek to wrestle with your temptation and sins, just repent and seek the face of the LORD – this is the biblical prescription. The only reason a child of God sins in the first place is that he has distance himself from the LORD – his fellowship with Christ is not as it should be and he is in need of repentance and to have Jesus back as his “first love.” (Revelation 2:4-5). Memorize Psalms 27:4, 8; 63:8; 1 Chronicles 16:11b.
God gave His Son in order to give us a relationship with Him first and foremost (John 17:3). After He finds and saves us, He grants us the blessed privilege of an abiding relationship with Him through which the fruit of holiness and much more is born (John 15:1-16).
In 2 Corinthians 5:11 Paul said he persuaded men but not by telling them to “stop sinning.” He never used those words, nor did the other apostles, especially not when addressing lost souls. Jesus told the woman He FIRST forgave to “go, and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11). That’s as close as it gets to the message of “stop sinning” and notice what came first and foremost – forgiveness which represents redemption, regeneration, being born again.
Go read John 8 and notice how Jesus does and does not treat this sinning woman. He never condemns her which is unlike the self-righteous street preachers today who yell at lost souls and tell them to stop doing something they can’t possibly stop doing until after Christ saves them which comes with a changed nature whereby we “might be partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:4) It was never the LORD’s design for His people to tell unregenerate lost sinners to “stop sinning.” Such a privilege which includes living out of a clear, blood-washed conscience is exclusively the gift of God to His own children (Hebrews 9:14; 1 John 1:9). Anyone who has a basic knowledge of the fallen nature of sinful mankind, and has truly experienced regeneration themselves, should understand this. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 comes to mind as being central in this discussion.
“When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, NEITHER DO I CONDEMN THEE: go, and sin no more.” John 8:10-11
For you and I, unworthy to be redeemed and forgiven ourselves, should never take up the self-righteous standpoint of condemning sinners – in attitude nor in action. See Titus 3:5-7.
We should ask: What is the underlying motive of going to the streets and telling other men to “stop sinning”? Is there self-righteousness and pride under girding this? Is self-righteousness and pride being fostered due to this activity?
Also, are we placing a stumbling block in the way of sinners when we bring our own mean-spirited disposition of condemnation to them? What does James 1:20 tell us?
It was only AFTER He forgave this woman caught in adultery that He instructed her to “go, and sin no more” which is a picture of our need to be born again, forgiven, first and foremost. Then the divine ability is present in us by the Holy Spirit to overcome sin. Never before. 1 John 3:6 says: “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” Only those who know and are able to abide in Him are blessed to please God and overcome. Those who live in sin “hath not seen him, neither known him.”
If it were even possible, God could care less if lost souls in futility attempted to “stop sinning” (an impossibility) when they don’t even know Him. Jesus came that men could repent and know Him and then and only after that fact will He give them His grace to overcome sin. Note whom our LORD tells us are those whom He blessed to “overcome” the flesh, the world, and the devil”
“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?” 1 John 5:4-5
Never lose site of the fact that it’s only “whatsoever is born of God” that can “overcometh the world.”
It would be wise to cease the ridiculous “stop sinning” protest and just preach from a heart of true concern, letting God’s holy Law convict the sinner and bring them to Christ (Galatians 3:24). Win them (Proverbs 11:30). Why don’t we get them saved the Bible way – by Christ alone – and HE (not you!) will give them the divine grace and power to overcome sin! I mean WHY did Jesus even come to die if sinners could “stop sinning” BEFORE He saved them? Isn’t it time for us to learn the true Gospel? It is unwise to think that Jesus yelled at and condemned the rank sinners. No, He didn’t condemn them but rather was “moved with COMPASSION upon them.” (Matthew 9:35-38) God will scale the fish (get them to stop sinning) once you and I allow Him to bring them in the boat! In Matthew 4:19 Jesus says to His own disciples: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.” Matthew 4:17-20
When men repent they are born again and become Christ’s fishermen for souls. They follow Him and He teaches them to win souls. Listen to this:
“And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.” Luke 5:10
Notice “thou shalt catch men” – that is, get them in the boat. Yet not only is the LORD Jesus the sole Savior (the One who saves) but also the One who sanctifies or scales the fish after He catches (saves) them into His kingdom.
Read the Gospels and please tell me where Jesus ever blasted a regular sinner? Was He not “moved with COMPASSION upon them”? (Matthew 9:35-38) Was our sinless LORD and Savior not the only One who had the right to condemn sinners and yet He didn’t? Jesus DID condemn the rich and the religious, but never the rank, everyday, unsaved heathen. We need a fresh, thorough reading of Scripture. One of the many benefits will be that we see more clearly and cease following the grudge-filled dispositions of other mere men who are possessed by an unwarranted anger at sinners. Memorize James 1:20. Do we not have the need to come away with Christ and to be settled at His feet, listening following His example? Do we need to reconsider ceasing to follow the willingly misled street preacher posse who are following the evil ways of false teacher Charles Finney?
God bless us to live out of the same unmerited mercy and compassion He showed by coming to die for us “while WE were yet sinners.” (Romans 5:-8)
—– IT’S a blessing to preach the Word of God on the streets or anywhere people are for that matter …. yet it’s not a blessing to have hatred in our hearts toward those for whom Jesus died and was raised again. Is that what won you to Jesus? Is hatred from condemning “Christians” what wins lost sinners into Christ’s kingdom? Never. Yes, preach the Word and only the Word and yet God is the Judge, not me or you! (2 Timothy 4:1-4) We must never confuse our place in the LORD’s kingdom economy and realize that we are but servants and are called by Him to be humble in disposition (Colossians 3:12-14, etc.). We have NO righteousness of our own (Romans 7:12). Christ is our ONLY righteousness, period and end of story (2 Corinthians 5:21). He has and still today shows His “great mercy” upon us unmerited by anything of our own. Check this out: “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (Ephesians 2:3-5)
Preaching divine judgment, hell, and the lake of fire are biblical and yet doing it with hate in our hearts for those sinners we are harshly condemning, is sin (James 1:20; 4:8-9, etc.).
WHY would we view and treat lost sinners Jesus wants to save as our enemies? Did they sin against US?!??!??!!! Are we “Holy, holy, holy,” or is the LORD alone “Holy, holy, holy”? (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8) Arrogance. Soul damning SELF-righteousness.
The fact that the LORD is “angry with the wicked” does not mean that He gave mere sinful men (us) the permission or instruction to go angrily yell at and possess hatred toward the lost. Beware of those who run around with hatred in their hearts toward the lost and misuse Psalms 7:11 as a license to do so.
There are those who misuse Psalms 7:11 to justify their own self-righteous hatred for sinners.
“God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. 12 If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.” Psalms 7:11-12
This passage must be taken in conjunction with the whole of Holy Scripture. There is no hint of an instruction for us to be angry with the wicked in Psalms 7:11. I merely says God is angry with them and wants sinners to turn to Him before it’s too late (v12).
When John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostle Peter preached “Repent,” it was just that – “Repent.” They didn’t say “Repent and stop all sinning.” Why? Because stopping sinning is not possible until one repents. It’s only then that the new creature in Christ can “bring forth fruit meet for (consistent with) their repenting (Matthew 3:7-10). It was only AFTER Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery that He commanded her to “Go and sin no more,” right? Yes. First He forgave her which repents salvation (John 8). Of necessity, in the divine economy, repentance is a gift from God and comes before a holy life. Such divine order must be kept in tact or the original Gospel will be perverted (Revelation 22:18-19).
Today, we have a whole cult of street preachers who somehow justify hating sinners. When they say “Repent and stop all sinning” it’s with no concern in their hearts that those sinners repent. In the inflection, the attitude of their voice, it seems apparent that they desire those sinners they’re yelling at to go to hell and feel self-righteous by harshly reminding them of such a horrible, irreversible fate. When Jesus called men to “Repent” it was in utter concern of heart that He did so, weeping, longing, and desiring for those precious eternal souls to be saved because He is “not willing that ANY should perish.” (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9) … “The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20) Today some among us want to call down fire from Heaven to destroy lost souls who are currently in rebellion. This is what Christ’s own disciples did in their early days of immaturity. Listen to Jesus please:
“And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. 50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us. 51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, 52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. 53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? 55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.” Luke 9:49-56
Jesus rebuked His 12 when they possessed this unwarranted, hateful disposition toward others.
“I think of the sweet lady and my sister and one of my best friends telling me about Jesus! They knew this wonderful person who knew everything they had ever done! Could this be the Messiah? They told me about Him in concern for my soul, in concert with the one they trusted! How this must break God’s heart! It breaks mine! See how Satan operates? The counsel of hell goes something like this: ‘If compassion is working for true preachers let’s send out false preachers to confuse and anger the masses!’ Thank you for sharing this brother!” CK
Stop Sinning? How?
Where’s the compassion though with these sign waving, yelling preachers who never actually WIN souls… but rather just condemn them by telling them to do something they cannot possibly do – “stop sinning”?
Knowing Christ is what pleases God, not just trying to stop doing the mechanics (transgression, actual act) of sin.
The main point of this post is to confront the “stop sinning” protesting ….. Even if a rank sinner or backslider possibly could “stop sinning” …. that would not please God. “The LORD looketh on the heart” 1 Samuel 16:7 …. It’s about relationship says Christ (John 17:3, etc.)
STREET PREACHER CONFRONTED FOR TELLING SINNERS TO “STOP SINNING” BEFORE THEY GET SAVED OR IN ORDER TO BE SAVED:
“Tell Jesus to stop condemning people in the Bible then Todd.
I have nothing to prove to you Todd.
Talk to you again in another four years Todd good night.
I trust Jesus as my Lord and Savior and you know different?
You keeping count?
I agree without the Holy Ghost no one can be cleansed…
you are still stuck in the same gear brother…
We had this extended chat four years ago, you don’t remember?
Why would God command them to cleanse themselves?
I preach Luke 13:3,5 all the time Todd…
is repenting a work? Is cleansing your hands you sinners a work? Is surrendering a work?
I never said they weren’t.
I would say some not many…
His sacrifice requires our obedience Todd.
Who are you to say I or Finney are not in Christ? How do you judge that righteously?
Well, I have verses that say it does. And you have verses that say that it is the way you stated. But, could we agree that it would be both according to the Bible?
Todd, we had this discussion years ago. Repenting and stopping sinning is all part of the same Gospel.
If I am an heretic as you falsely accuse, you are not winning my soul hypocrite.”
See what you think …. food for thought if nothing else ….
The Gospel command begins with one word – “repent” and God changes the hearts of men AFTER that fact. Standing out saying “Stop Sinning” is not the way the LORD and His apostles and early church approached sinners …. they have to have a regenerated spirit before they can “stop sinning” …. we must allow God to clean the fish He uses us to catch ….
It doesn’t begin with “stop sinning” but “repent”
John, you have no verses that say sinners are to “stop sinning” before or in order to get saved. There are none friend.
One must be in Christ to “stop sinning” or else He came in vain. I pray God open your eyes to this truth …. Finney was a false teacher
I didn’t say you aren’t in Christ …. finney taught falsely and yes I said it … standing on two feet – on the Rock of divine authority – the Holy Scriptures.
the fact that you are reacting to finney being called out is concerning
“Finney told sinners to present THEIR righteousness to God. But in the gospel God does some presenting too. He has presented Christ as a propitiation, Romans 3: 25. Finney insisted, that Christ “could not … obey as our substitute”, yet he repeatedly said that Christ’s death was vicarious.” Charles Finney, Lecture 8, “Obedience to the Moral Law” p. 364
eternal life was earned by Christ, not on our “merit”
well many of those in street preacher circles today are largely influenced by his false teachings
the initial obedience is “repent” according to the record of Scripture, not the futile attempt to “stop sinning” …. ones nature must first be changed by the LORD
Stop sinning by your own will? No one can stop sinning until God saves them. And no sinner can cease being a sinner in spiritual state until the LORD makes them a new creature in Christ, regenerating them (2 Corinthians 5:17-18; Titus 3:3-7).
yes repentance is an essential and yet it precedes the fruit of good works
after they are saved not before
you are John – stuck in heresy
how many have you actually WON to Jesus?
“He that WINNETH souls is wise” (Prov 11:30 … not he that condemingly yelleth at them
well give me a round figure?
do you ever lead anyone to Christ?
the Bible counted them … Pentecost 3,000, 5,000 etc
You are not dealing truthfully here
or are you just yelling at people out of a self-righteous heart?
“BUT, BUT, BUT Jesus said ‘Go and Sin No More!” “Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” John 8:11 (KJV) NOTE THE ORDER lest you put forth an imbalance as some are doing. Jesus FIRST forgave the woman and THEN and only THEN did He tell her to “Go and sin no more.” (John 8:11) God first has to do a work – the work of regeneration – in men, before they can fulfill His will and please Him.
John, we both know that you are not winning souls …. in fact you may be moving them away from God …. but you are not actually winning them as Scripture tells us to do …. When Jesus saw the lost multitudes, was He moved with condemnation and contempt or with compassion? Matt. 9:35-38 …. Jesus harshly rebuked the rich and the religious never the rank heathen. If we are going to be biblical, we must approach sinners with compassion and allow the law to convict them … “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” James 1:20
i know you don’t want the truth John, that’s obvious …. you are full of pride and arrogance …