Many Christians and churches believe that a sinless life is not possible, but the Bible is clear that the ability to overcome all sin is possible, and it is necessary for our salvation. Jesus said to the man whom He had healed, “Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” John 5:14. Jesus did not say, start sinning less than before; no, He said, “sin no more.”
“We may talk of the blessings of the Holy Spirit, but unless we prepare ourselves for its reception, of what avail are our works? Are we striving with all our power to attain to the stature of men and women in Christ? Are we seeking for His fullness, ever pressing toward the mark set before us—the perfection of His character? When the Lord’s people reach this mark, they will be sealed in their foreheads. Filled with the Spirit, they will be complete in Christ, and the recording angel will declare, ‘It is finished.’” –The Review and Herald, June 10, 1902
“(John 14:15) Reaching the Condition of Sinlessness.—Those only who through faith in Christ obey all of God’s commandments will reach the condition of sinlessness in which Adam lived before his transgression. They testify to their love of Christ by obeying all His precepts.” –The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1118
“He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” 1 John 3:8–10
Now we understand why so few are saved. In the time of Noah, from the millions of people on this earth, only eight were saved. From over 600,000 men of the people of Israel who left Egypt, only two entered into Canaan’s land. Uzzah touched the ark and died that moment. Nadab and Abihu brought strange fire to the temple and they died for this sin. Ananias and Sapphira spoke a lie and died immediately. None of these were given time to repent and confess their sins. Their sins were with knowledge, and they were not forgiven; they were sins against the Holy Spirit.
Millions of Christians have continued in a lifestyle of sin knowing that it is wrong; they trusted that God would continue to forgive them, but they may be lost forever. If they do not change their ways, there is no more salvation for them. The Bible is clear that if they continue in a lifestyle of sin with knowledge, eventually there will be no more forgiveness. “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” Hebrews 10:26
After we are born again and converted, mistakes may be done. Moses hit the rock when God had spoken to him to speak to the rock, but his sin was forgiven. David knew the law of God, but he committed sin with Bathsheba. This was a sin of weakness and it was forgiven.
“Cannot sin. Or, ‘is not able to go on sinning,’ or ‘is not able to go on habitually sinning.’ This does not mean that the Christian is incapable of committing a wrong act. If he were unable to sin, there would be no virtue in his being without sin, and there would be no true development of character. John has already implied that he will make occasional mistakes (see on ch. 2:1). The passage means that, having been born of God, and having God’s life-giving power dwelling in him, he cannot continue his old patterns of habitual sin. He now follows the sinless ideals that have been implanted in his soul by the new birth.” –The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 652–653
In order to overcome sin we must put out a great effort to overcome. God will help by providing His power. Then a victory over sin is gained. “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Hebrews 12:4
“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Luke 13:24
We must learn to hate sin so much that we will put out a supreme effort to overcome, realizing our inability and helplessness in overcoming and calling upon God for help. Then it is possible to overcome all sin. Idle time is dangerous for us. We must spend our free time wisely by doing God’s work—missionary work, Bible reading and prayer. Then Satan has no opportunity to tempt us into sin. Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” John 9:4
We sing in our gospel hymn, “Work, for the night is coming; work through the morning hours; work while the dew is sparkling; work mid springing flowers. Work while the day grows brighter, under the glowing sun; work for the night is coming, when man’s work is done.”
The Bible says that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah had much free time; their slaves and servants did all the work, and this free time led them into a sinful life.
God said, “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work.” Exodus 20:9. To occupy our time in labour is a blessing to us; it keeps us from sin and vanity.
The common thing is to spend free time watching television or the Internet, also going to movie theaters and dance halls. The Bible tells us that in beholding we change to the image of what we are watching. Eve was beholding the forbidden tree, and this beholding made her eat of it. When we are beholding forbidden things, Satan is beside us to tempt us to do the things that we are watching, and also change our thoughts to sinful things.
We find people in the Bible who were overcomers. Job was one. “And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” Job 1:8. Yet Job said of himself, “Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:6.
The parents of John the Baptist were faithful and blameless before God. “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” Luke 1:5–6
It is written that, “Everyone who by faith obeys God’s commandments will reach the condition of sinlessness in which Adam lived before his transgression.” –In Heavenly Places, p. 146. Yet, no true follower of Christ will claim to be sinless. “Why is it that so many claim to be holy and sinless? It is because they are so far from Christ.” –Selected Messages, bk. 3, p. 354. “Those who are truly seeking to perfect Christian character will never indulge the thought that they are sinless. The more their minds dwell upon the character of Christ, and the nearer they approach to his divine image, the more clearly will they discern its spotless perfection, and the more deeply will they feel their own weakness and defects.” –The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, p. 302
Only in Christ is it possible overcome. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13. Jesus said, “For verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Matthew 17:20
The greatest joy and happiness is with those who have overcome all sin. They have been promised eternal life and a home prepared for them in the New Jerusalem. May the Lord help us to overcome every sin; then we will meet each other in heaven. Amen.