Someone made this comment on my post Does Jesse Morrell Claim Sinless Perfection? & Can Homosexuals Be Christians?:
When a person accepts Christ as savior they inherit eternal life. If that can be lost at a later time then apparently they DIDN’T inherit ETERNAL life, but some other kind of life that was obviously NOT eternal.
Also note that NO flesh is justified by works of righteousness. We have none within ourselves. All we have of ourselves is our inherited sinful nature which we do not lose as long as we are in these bodies. The new nature we are given can’t sin, but is constantly at war with the old nature. Only by yielding to the new nature can Christ live the victorious life through us. But if we ever say that we have no sin in us in this life then the truth is not in us. Sinning doesn’t make us sinners. We sin because we ARE sinners.
This was my response:
1. Eternal life is a gift that is given to us by God by His mercy and grace but receiving it and keeping it is conditional. The Bible says that we must repent, believe, and persevere unto the end. Just because you can forfeit eternal life doesn’t mean that it wasn’t eternal. Adam and Eve were given eternal life in the garden of Eden, so long as they obeyed God, but they forfeited it by their disobedience. God never wanted sin to be eternal. So too while believers have been given eternal life, the Bible still warns that we must continue or persevere in holiness and faith unto the end. We must not return to our sins. The Bible warns that believers can neglect their salvation, fall from grace, be cut off, depart from the faith, etc. And if we are justified by faith, we no longer remain justified if we depart from the faith.
2. Justification is not by works of the law, as Abraham was justified by faith long before the Torah was ever given. So Gentiles do not need to be circumcised to be justified or perform any work of the Torah. But the faith that justified Abraham was a faith that resulted in obedience. The Bible says, “by faith Abraham…obeyed.” Biblical saving faith includes repentance. If a person has not repented, they evidently do not have saving faith. So we are not justified by works of the law or by merit. While salvation is unmerited it is not unconditional. We must repent of our sins and believe the gospel. Justification by works of the law is not the same thing as repentance for the remission of sins. Those who repent of their sins are saved by God’s grace and mercy. Those who repent are saved by grace through faith.
3. Abraham was justified by faith long before the Torah was given, in the same way we are made righteous by faith, not works of the law. It is faith that God imputes or considers as righteousness, not works of the law. A person can perform works of the law like circumcision and still be morally wicked in their heart. So God does not consider a person righteous just because they perform works of the Torah. The Pharisees are an example of those who obeyed outwardly but inwardly were full of iniquity. Our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees – the righteousness of faith in Jesus Christ. And by faith in Christ, we obey the commandments of Christ, which are even stricter than the law of Moses that the Pharisees were under. When we are justified, we are justified by God’s grace through our faith. It is our faith that God imputes as righteousness, not works of the Torah. And that justifying faith is also sanctifying faith. Faith will result in faithfulness or good works as the book of James says. That is why God imputes faith as righteousness, because it is the seed of all real obedience to the Lord.
4. The nature that we are born with is a gift from God. God forms us in the womb and He certainly wouldn’t give us a sinful nature. That is why the Bible says that sin is against human nature. Homosexuality, for example, is “against nature” because it is not the “natural use” of the body Paul argued. But the Gentiles “do by nature” the things contained in the law. Conscience is the supreme faculty of our nature and it is against our conscience to sin. Therefore, it is against our nature to sin. Our flesh, which is also given to us by God, is our lower nature and while it is the source of the devil’s temptations, it is not a sin itself. Your body is a tool Paul said that you can yield as an instrument for righteousness or an instrument for sin. Your body is not in and of itself sinful as Jesus Himself came in the flesh and our flesh is given to us by God. But we can, by free will, use our body in a sinful way.
5. Sin is not a substance of the body but a choice of the heart. Jesus said that sin comes out of the heart. The Bible says that God searches and judges the heart, not the body. The command to “be ye therefore perfect” is in reference to the moral, not the physical. It is a perfection of the heart, not a perfection of the body. The Bible speaks of those who were “perfect in heart” in this life in their flesh. So you don’t need a physically perfect body to have a morally perfect heart. If you love God supremely and your neighbor equally, your heart is morally perfect even if your body is not perfect. So we can’t confuse sanctification and glorification. Sanctification is the perfecting of the heart, glorification is the perfecting of the body. One is moral, one is physical. One is in this life, one is in the next life. So while we cannot have a glorified body in this life, we can have a sanctified heart. Jesus himself was morally perfect before He was resurrected with a glorified perfect body.
6. The idea that you cannot live a holy or sin free life until you get a new body is rooted in Gnostic philosophy. The Gnostic’s believed that the flesh was sinful. Therefore they denied that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. The devil no doubt tempts us to gratify our natural desires in unnatural and unlawful ways. This is how Eve was tempted. She was not given a sinful nature or a sinful body, but the devil appealed to her lower nature of sensibilities to tempt her to sin. While our body is what the devil appeals to when he tempts us, our body itself is not a sin, neither does our body force us to sin, and therefore you don’t need a new body to be free from sin. You can present your body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God in this life. God can sanctify you wholly spirit, soul, and body, in this present life.
7. Our higher nature, or conscience, affirms the law of God. Our lower nature, which was not designed by God to be used for sin, is what the devil appeals to when he tempts us. It is against both our higher and our lower nature to sin, but people choose by their free will to sin against their nature. But instead of our will submitting to all of the desires of our lower nature, our will is supposed to be in submission to our higher nature and consequently keep our lower nature in control and use it the way God intended. And by the grace of God, or His divine influence upon our heart, we can choose to do that every day. So by His grace and our free will we never have to sin again.
8. None of us can say that we have never sinned, but we can say that Jesus Christ has saved us from sinning. To say that Jesus Christ cannot save us from sinning is to make God a liar. It is to deny the power of His grace and to deny the power of His grace. To say that we have to sin every day and can never have real victory is to say that the power of sin is greater than the power of God’s grace. But the Bible says He never allows us to be tempted above our ability, so we never have to sin but can always escape the temptation. And the moral influence of the gospel is so powerful that it can cleanse us from all sin.
9. A sinner, by definition, is someone who sins. If a person never sins, they are not a sinner. Therefore people do not sin because they are sinners, they are sinners because they sin. It is a man’s own fault that he is a sinner. The Bible says all we like sheep have gone astray, we have all turned to our own way. And since it is your free choice to be a sinner, God rightfully blames you for it, threatens eternal punishment for it, and calls you to repent of it. If it wasn’t your free choice to be a sinner, but a necessity of your birth, then it is not your fault, you can’t be blamed, you can’t be justly punished, and it makes no sense to call you to repent of it. Paul said that you are the servant of whomever you yield yourself to. So if you are a servant of sin, it is by your own free choice! You do not sin because you are the servant of sin, but you are the servant of sin because you choose to sin. Take full responsibility for your sinful condition. You choose to be a sinner by giving into temptation. Now, instead of choosing to be a sinner, choose to be a saint. Choose to follow and obey Jesus – to obey the gospel. Allow the influence of the gospel and the power of God’s grace to keep you from ever sinning again. If you live a holy life, the credit goes to the grace of God. If you sin again, the blame is on your own free will.