There is this debate that is gradually gaining ground among certain believers as to whether sin is dead or not. Some believe that Jesus killed sin, sin died and there isn’t any such thing as sin anymore. They make reference to where the Bible says that Jesus is the lamb of God which took sin out of this world. But let’s see what the Bible say
“And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” – 1 John 3:5 KJV
I don’t want to be identified with both party of “Sin is Dead” or “Sin is Alive”, I had remained silent on the issue watching with keen interest the debate, the arrogance that manifests in the course of the debate, the feeling of superiority from both parties who feel they are authority above the scripture.
I even heard one person say that the scriptures are not as valid as the words Jesus spoke Himself and on another note where it seemed the words of Jesus wasn’t favouring his stand, he said some words of Jesus before His death isn’t feasible anymore.
All I see is arrogance and not even a single passion to bring people into the knowledge of the truth. It’s only for this sake that I have made haste to harken to the instructions God laid in my heart a long time ago in writing to address the issue.
What is sin in the first place? Without understanding this we might also not understand what Jesus did. How did sin enter the world? The Bible says
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way, death came to all people, because all sinned—” Romans 5:12 NIV
We are conversant with the story of Adam and the fall of man. To avoid narrating the entire scene, we know God instructed man not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and bad. This means the same tree would produce good and bad, we understand it would produce good if God gives the go-ahead order and would produce bad if it was eaten in disobedience.
By listening to the serpent which is the devil and going ahead to eat of that tree, Adam and Eve became submissive to the will of Satan rather than the will of God. Their disobedience to God was immediate obedience to Satan. This is how sin entered the world.
What is sin? Sin means being without righteousness which started in man by the violation of God’s command and obeying Satan who gave birth to the nature of sin.
People often argue that fornication wouldn’t be an act of sin if the man hadn’t fallen but the truth is there wouldn’t have been a disorder in the first place. Man would have only and always expressed the very nature of God in the way God had wanted it without any urge to do what isn’t right.
The disposition of the man before the fall was to always do what was right, man was created perfect until man corrupted his heart by hearkening to the voice of Satan.
Of course, that was what Satan wanted to achieve, to use the gift of multiplication God has given to man to multiply his kind. He wasn’t just interested in man-eating of that tree, he also planned leading man to the tree of life where the man would immortalize that sinful nature and become perpetually like the devil.
God had to put a stop to that agenda by saying “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever:” Genesis 3:22 KJV
When God said, “man is become as one of us, to know good and evil…” He wasn’t saying man has become like Him in nature. The King James Version and other versions maybe a little deceiving when we don’t read carefully. After all, the man was created in God’s image and likeness. What God said here is correctly communicated in the Amplified version which says
“And the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), knowing [how to distinguish between] good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take from the tree of life as well, and eat [its fruit], and live [in this fallen, sinful condition] forever”–” GENESIS 3:22 AMP
The man was never created to distinguish between evil and good. The man was created to only see good and practice good. It was in a bid to make man redeemable that God took the man out of the Garden so that man cannot live in the fallen, sinful condition forever.
I hope this clearly tells us something about sin and how sin entered the world. Sin is simply the nature of Satan and the actions that followed that nature is the fruit of sin or what some call the actions of sin. It was sin that brought weakness upon the flesh. The law came later to define sin, sin had always existed before the law but the law defined it and made it bare!
Sin came by an offence and through sin, death reigned. When the Bible talks about death, it’s talking about the spiritual state of man after the fall. Man became spiritually dead and by the grace and gift of righteousness, man can receive life and start reigning in life, in the sense that sin and death will not have dominion anymore over man. (Romans 5:17)
That is what Jesus came to do. This will take us back to the very first verse that was quoted in the opening paragraph.
“And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” – 1 John 3:5 KJV
I will like you to underline something in your Bible, Jesus was made manifest for a reason! He was made manifest not just for the forgiveness of sin but to take sin away! When the Bible talks about taking sin away, it means to deal with that nature of sin and take it away!
The Bible also records something very important, it says “…and in Him is no sin.” It’s present continuous tense. In Jesus, there is no sin and the only way to be entirely free from the effect of sin is to be in Him.
Despite what Jesus has done, it is only of benefit to a particular class of people. People argue that everyone is already saved. There are universalists who say everyone is saved already, they argue that whether people believe the gospel or not, that they are already saved because Jesus came to take away the sins of the world. It seems they are reading a different book or it is a demon talking through them because that isn’t the Spirit of God speaking.
The only requirement necessary for receiving the salvation that Christ offers is by believing with our heart. You can’t be in the new when you aren’t out of the old. Spiritually, sin is a nature and in the physical, sin is identified by actions. A lot of people still identify with sin in the flesh. The Bible says
“Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV
Look at this carefully. The Bible didn’t say everyone is a new creature! The Bible says “IF” any man be in Christ, only then can old things be passed away and only then can all things become new! So everyone isn’t saved, salvation has been offered for everyone but not everyone has received God’s offering of salvation.
Sin is also part of that old thing that has either passed in the life of a believer or has not passed in that of the unbeliever. The unbeliever still identifies with the sin nature. It is in Jesus that there is no sin, not in the world.
Death reigned through sin, right? Sickness came through sin, right? The ultimate conquer of sin was done in the Spirit, the effects of sin are still in the world. People still get sick, people still die and people still practice sin because they are not in Christ and because some Christians have not worn off the clothes of the old nature.
How did God save the world from sin? He did so by offering a place! That place is Christ and outside Christ man is still lost! If there is nothing like sin anymore, why did God call us into the ministry of reconciliation? Why reconciliation in the first place?
The Bible says in Romans 3:23 that all sinned and came short of God’s glory. It is that shortcoming that made man become distant from God, man loosed fellowship with God but God offered us a way to get back in fellowship which is Christ.
You cannot be part of what Christ came for if you don’t identify with it. Concerning God’s project of reconciling all men, it’s not a finished job, He is doing a continuous work through us as the Bible says
“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;” – 2 Corinthians 5:18 KJV
Do you see that? He reconciled us and gave us the ministry to continue doing what He did with us. It is Him reconciling the world to Himself through us and He is still doing it today.
Any man who isn’t in Christ is a spiritually dead man! Oh, I am sounding like an extremist now but there is no way to truly be a Christian and not sound extreme. The Bible says in John 3:16 that it is those who believe that will not perish but have eternal life. If death reigned through sin and some people are still dead, it is sin that kept them dead. They can only become alive when they believe and find their place in Christ.
Saying that “sin is dead” is not scriptural, not as though we are giving sin any relevance but to say sin is dead is to make a mockery of the continuous work of redemption. If sin is dead, then there is no spiritually dead person anywhere in the world and there will be no need to go on evangelism and reach out for souls.
What Jesus did on the cross was to offer salvation and now what do we do? We go out there and keep hunting people, bringing them into God’s marvellous light. Sin is the nature of the devil and the devil is not dead even though he is defeated. This is why in Christ we reign in life but outside Christ, one is prone to the schemes of Satan.
The Bible says “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” – 2 Corinthians 5:19 KJV
What God was doing in Christ has He committed to us because we know that by the Holy Spirit, Christ lives in us now. There is still an ongoing work of redemption which God is doing through us. We can’t question why God has chosen to do it that way, I don’t even want to start looking for the answers but what the word of God says is that the same thing God was doing in Christ, He has asked us to do, committing unto us the word of reconciliation.
In verse 20 of where we just read, the Bible makes it clear that Jesus who knew no sin was made sin on our behalf so that in Him we would become righteous. There is no righteousness outside Jesus and where there is no righteousness, there is sin. What does it even mean to be righteous? It means to be in right standing with God and what does it mean to be a sinner? It means not to be in right standing with God.
Remember we saw earlier that sin is the nature of Satan and anyone who lives in obedience to Satan is dominated by sin. How then can we say sin is dead? Sin isn’t action and there are surely sinful actions which are the result of the sin nature or the result of identifying with the old habits of sin.
Did the Bible say sin is dead? I’d like us to stick to how the word of God expressed it rather than try configuring things with our own perceptions. Death is a result of sin, many are still dead and can only come alive when they allow themselves to encounter Jesus. This is what I have always believed because this is what the Bible says
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” – Romans 6:1 KJV
What does the above verse suggest? There are people who are in sin but not the believers in Christ Jesus! Yes, a believer cannot and will not remain in sin because they are already saved out of it and they have dominion over it. Paul continued in verse 2 “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” – Romans 6:2 KJV
Paul didn’t say we can’t continue in sin because sin is dead, he rather said “we are dead to sin”, this means we don’t exist to sin anymore. There is no connection between the believer and sin. In this regard, sin is of no effect to the believer in Christ Jesus, sin has no say and has no right on the believer. The believer lives in continuous victory over sin. There is something else those saying “sin is dead” need to see.
The Bible says “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.” – Romans 6:6-7 KJV
The problem with those clamouring sin is dead is that they tend to claim they are glorifying Jesus by saying Jesus killed sin and therefore sin doesn’t exist anymore but they are indirectly saying there isn’t any need for the continuous work of redemption. We were saved from sin so that we don’t serve sin any longer and this means anyone who isn’t in Christ is still serving sin but we were dead with Christ that we may exit from the trace of sin and this is how we became alive in Christ.
The Bible also says
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” – Romans 6:12 KJV.
When it says “let” it means “don’t allow”, so the Bible is saying we shouldn’t give room to sin! If sin doesn’t exist anymore, why ask us not to give room to it! Surely, the Bible is talking about identifying with sin here. A believer isn’t a sinner, not at all! But a believer can still identify with sin by engaging in sinful activities, this happens often when a believer is not matured, they make mistakes, stumble into error and conform to the world!
However, the more we know who we are, the more we live victorious over sin. But if sin doesn’t exist anymore, how is the Bible asking us not to allow sin reign in our flesh? Sin can’t reign in the Spirit of a believer but it’s the believer’s duty to shield it from reigning in the flesh.
I read in one of the assertions that unbelief isn’t sin. Concerning unbelief Jesus said
“Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:” – Mark 3:28-29 KJV
It will be very dumb to say these words ended on the cross. John 3:16 was also spoken before the cross? The words of Jesus are the words of God and Jesus didn’t come teaching the law, He is grace and truth personified! Unbelief is a sin that can’t be forgiven not because Jesus hasn’t forgiven all sins but because unbelief hinders one from accepting salvation.
God has offered all salvation there is to offer but He made man to accept it by choice since it also took choice to introduce sin in the world. Now, sin against the Holy Spirit simply means rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit which is to reconcile men to God. You can’t enjoy what you don’t have and the only way to have it is to accept it. To say unbelief isn’t sin means God has forced His gift of life on everyone but God doesn’t do that. If it was so, Jesus wouldn’t need to die.
For those who would still want to argue that the words of Jesus before the cross is not valid, John reechoed what Jesus said by writing “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” – 1 John 5:5 KJV
If sin isn’t in the world any longer what else are we overcoming in the world which God has created? We overcome the world daily and the Bible says he who overcomes is he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God. He also wrote that God’s command isn’t grievous! What is that command? We can find it in John 3:16 which says whosoever believe shall not perish but have eternal life.
In 1 John 5:15, we that see that there is a sin which leads to death! That is the sin of unbelief, it is the sin against the Holy Spirit and John wrote there is no kind of prayer for this sin because it a willing disregard of the gospel. Disobedience to the gospel is sin against the Holy Spirit. I mean, an outright rejection of the gospel which happens when one rejects Jesus and maintain their stand on that rejection till they depart this earth.
What is the motive of people clamouring sin is dead? They’d sound convincing, they might also sound very arrogant and unrepentant but their motive isn’t right. I will leave you with the admonition of John.
“Little children (believers, dear ones), guard yourselves from idols–[false teachings, moral compromises, and anything that would take God’s place in your heart].” – 1 JOHN 5:16, 21 AMP
The Bible didn’t say sin is dead, the Bible says we are dead to sin and alive in Christ. We moved, we were delivered from darkness into God’s marvellous light. We are dead to sin, sin cannot lord itself over us anymore and we are reigning in life abundant! Glory to God!
God bless you!