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How Can Professing Christians Live In Sin

Pastor Richard Owen
(Posted 11/18/2004)

Midway Bible Baptist Church Doctrinal Conference
October 2004

In Titus 1, the Apostle Paul is writing to his son in the faith, and training a preacher boy in the ministry. I asked the Lord for a chapter to really deal with the subject matter that I wanted to deal with. I'm going to try to deal with the thought of "Why Christians Live Comfortably in Sin." At least professing Christians, people that profess to know God. How can they profess to know God, but yet they live in sin? I've said many times before, that in order for you to live in sin and not get rid of it or confess it, you have to do something to your conscience. You have to work on yourself. You have to tell yourself some things. In fact, you're going to have to deceive yourself. You're going to have to lie to yourself. James said that if you see yourself in the mirror of God's Word, and you turn and go your own way, you have deceived yourself. Now, if you see a sin in your life, and you keep going, unrepentant, then you have to lie to yourself.

I want to deal with these lies people tell to themselves. I want to deal with how they can convince themselves that they can live in sin, and at the same time say that they know God. Now that's quite a claim to make - that you know God, but yet you have no problem living in sin. So, you've got to do a number of things to yourself. I'm going to try to deal with that in a way that maybe will answer some questions. I'm going to deal with some "sacred cows," and I'm going to do it on purpose. You're going to have questions as I go through it, so just bear with me, just please listen to me all the way through. If you don't, then you're going to have trouble with what I have to say, and I know that, so I'm telling you ahead of time. I'm going to make some statements that are going to deal with things that we've held onto. Something has told this generation that you can live sinful and be a Christian. Some doctrines have permeated our faith to cause us to believe that. I believe Paul writing to Titus helps us to take a look at some of these things.

Titus 1:1 "Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;"

The truth will always lead you to godliness, always! That's what Paul is establishing here, this fact with Titus, the truth which is after godliness, it'll always lead you in that direction.

(v.2) "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;" (v.3) "But hath in due times manifested His word through preaching…"

That verse is very important, and preaching is so important. I don't believe in a lot of these home churches and a lot of these things where nobody preaches. I believe God calls a preacher, "…how shall they hear without a preacher?" If God didn't need preachers He wouldn't call them. He wouldn't need to establish the church, but God did set up the church as an organized body, where they would be preached to, and where the Word of God would be taught through preaching. There it would be manifested, and there it would be understood. So, preaching opens the Word of God, and makes it understandable. There are a lot of times when you read your Bible, but just don't understand it until somebody who is anointed of the Holy Ghost, after study, meditation, and being led by the Holy Spirit of God of God, preaches and deals with the subject, opening it up to you. God ordained preaching, and it is one of the ways we understand, grow, and are grounded in the Word of God and the house of God.

(v.3) "…preaching, which he hath committed to me according to the Word of God our Saviour;" (v.4) "To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour." (v.5) "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting…"

Straighten some things out, correct some things, and he'll tell him what he needs to correct, and then he wants him to ordain elders in every city. Then he tells who he should anoint, or appoint as these elders.

(v.6) "If any be blameless, the husband of one wife…" - that excludes all women preachers,

"…having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly." (v.7) "For a bishop must be blameless…"

That's hard to be if you are carnal. Nobody can be a preacher according to the doctrines of our day, because nobody qualifies. You can't have a sinning nature and be blameless.

"For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;" (v.8) "But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;"


(v.9) "Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers." (v.10) "For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially thy of the circumcision:" (v.11) "whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought no, for lucre's sake."

That is going on today, and they must be stopped. Preachers ought to stand and stop them.

(v.12) "One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies." (v.13) "This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;" - You could never build a mega-church on that doctrine.

(v.14) "Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth."(v.15) "Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled." (v.16) "They profess that they know God;"

They profess that they know Him - they think they've got him figured out. They think they know what He's like. They think they know what He requires. They think they know how to work Him. They think they can use Him to their advantage. They think they can put Him in a bind, and control Him. Because they think they know God, they're not concerned about how they live. They think they know exactly how to handle Him, and keep Him at bay, and how to keep Him from dealing with them. They think they know how to live the life that they want to live and at the same time have a spiritual relationship with Him that makes them children of God. They profess that they know Him, but the Bible says about their works, "…but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate."

I want you to know that regardless of how much they study, they never will know the way. You can study the Bible in the Greek, study it in the Hebrew, get all the word study books, get all the different commentaries, or go to college seminaries, but if you don't obey the Bible, then you're not going to know it. God will not reveal it to you, unless you willing to obey it. He's not going to reveal it to you just so you can deal with other people, He's going to reveal it to you, so YOU will obey it. Jesus said if you would obey His words, you would know of His doctrines. When you live a reprobate, abominable, sickening, putrid, defiled life, you are not going to know what the Bible teaches about salvation and the things of God. This is a troublesome truth that needs to be exposed in our day.

Why is it that people profess to know God, but in works they deny Him? Their life shows that they really don't know God. Your life really does give evidence and your works tell whether you're telling the truth or not. It's not what you say - it's what you do, that tells whether or not you really are a Christian. It's not what you know, it's what you do. Let's pray.

Father, I need you, I need you, I need you, and I pray that you'd sanctify me. Allow me to deal with these thoughts, I don't want to hurry, but I need to move on. I pray you'd give me wisdom, and not let me miss the things that you've given me. Help me to be careful and sensitive to your Spirit, and I pray you'd lead me through these thoughts and help me to deal with these subjects. In Jesus name, amen.

A person that says they know God, and their works deny Him, shows that there are a lot of things they deny. If they live a sinful life, they're denying the power of God in salvation. Salvation really does deliver, and they deny the power of God. The preaching of the gospel, the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us is the power of God. What does the Bible say? "Unto salvation" - unto deliverance, setting free. So, it's a denial of that power in salvation, a denial of His Word and the power of His blood. This crowd that lives a sinful lifestyle are living a life that denies the work of God, and brings reproach on it. I am going to deal with some things that show how a person gets to this state.

How do you get to this state, that you can feel comfortable to live in sin, but yet, say you know God? Here's a crowd that "professes" that they know God. They say they know what's right, and what the Bible teaches, but yet they live a wicked, vile, abominable, disobedient life. They've learned how to work God to their advantage, and figure they can back God into a corner and hold Him to his Word, and then they can live like they want to live. They "profess" that they know God, that they claim Him as their God, and that they have done what He told them to do - they made a profession of faith. So they think they know what to say to God, and what He requires to be said in order to please men, and for the ears of men to receive it. They know exactly what a profession is, and how to profess. They also know, if the profession is right, they've got God backed in a corner - pinned down. He HAS to live up to His side of the covenant, He HAS to perform His duty. He HAS to watch over them. He HAS to take care of them no matter how wicked they live, no matter what they do. They've GOT Him, and He HAS to take them to Heaven! They think they're safe, sealed, sure, permanently fixed. God said, "If you'll do this…I'll do this…" so they think they know what to say to get God into that bind.

"If you believe God's Word, that's God's promises," they say "He's got to do what He said, God can't go against His Word, God can't lie, He's got to do it!" So they think they're secure, safe, sure of Heaven, Heaven bound, sure and sealed, regardless. They think it doesn't matter how they live, all their righteousness is filthy rags, so there's nothing they do that's really right anyway. They've made their profession, their claim, done what God's told them, so they have God bound to His Word. He's going to HAVE to let them come to Heaven.

If you can convince your mind of that, and defile your conscience until you think that you can bind God to a sinful lifestyle by using His Word like that, then you can sear your conscience to believe that you can live like you want to, and that you're going to Heaven no matter what.

They say, "What's He going to do? He can't back out or un-birth me. I'm His child, He can't do that. It's impossible. His Word binds Him. I'm sealed, heaven bound, and sure, He can't go back on it."

There are millions of people that are living that way. They can point the Bible verses out to you and tell you what needs to be said, they are just as sure as can be. Any security that gives you security while living a life of sin, is not Bible security.

Take this thought and meditate on it. You'll never bind God to a covenant until you make an honest covenant with Him. You won't bind Him to a phony covenant and you won't trick Him into some kind of binding contract. You do know the word testament means, "covenant"? He's going to make a new covenant with you, salvation is a covenant, it's what you agree to do, and it's not a one-sided covenant. Calvinism makes it one sided so that God does it ALL. That's where lascivious grace comes in. But, if you're going to have God honor His Word, you're going to have to honor His Word too. So, some feel safe with this false security, but they have deceived themselves.

He was dealing with the Jews here a lot of the time, but this passage of Scripture incorporates the church also. He was writing to a preacher boy from this dispensation. The Jews said, "We be of Abraham's seed."

Let me just say, you can't say you know God, and then not obey the Bible. 1 John says that if you say you know God, and walk in darkness, you lie, and do not the truth. That's what he said, don't say you know God if you are walking in darkness. You're lying! You do not know God! You don't know His ways, you don't know His person, and you don't know His holiness! You do not know Him of you walk in darkness! You are lying! You're lying to yourself and everybody else! You don't know God and walk in darkness - or live in disobedience to the Bible. "He that saith I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." A person that lives habitually in sin is a liar, they do not know God. That's Bible, if you want the verse it's I John 2:4.

Another reason people feel comfortable living in sin while claiming they know God is that they are fairly well convinced that what the devil says is true. There are some things that are not new, certainly the tricks and devices of the devil are not new. One of the devices is, that he will tell you that sin will never hurt you. He came to Eve and asked her why she didn't eat of the tree, she told him because the Lord had forbidden them. The very words of the devil were, "ye shall not surely die". He told Eve that it wouldn't hurt her to rebel against God, that a little sin will never hurt you. He told her to go ahead and see - that she wouldn't die. Eve goes over, takes of the fruit, eats of the fruit, and she thought, "I didn't die, I wasn't struck dead, I'm still living, I'm not sick, the devil is right. Look Adam! I'm still okay, give it a try, it won't hurt you."

That's been the devil's temptation from the beginning. He's playing on the mercy of God, he knows God is not going to judge you immediately. God is merciful, He'll give you a space of grace. God will give you time to judge yourself and repent of your sin, and I'm thankful that He does. Can you imagine if He judged you the second you sinned? Who would stand? If God dealt with us according to our sin, who would stand? Who would have a chance? Eve said, "Look Adam! Nothing happened, it'll never hurt you, take another one."

"Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil…", they think they get by.

The only reason we sin is we figure it'll never cost us, it'll never catch up with us, we'll never get caught, or we'll never have to face the circumstances for it. If you knew exactly what you were going to face for every sin, you'd never sin. Never! If God said, "Look out there! If you sin, that's what I'm going to do," you wouldn't do it. "Sin when it is finished, bringeth forth death." "The wages of sin is death…", but who believes that? A little sinning will never hurt you? One drink, one cigarette, one lie, will never hurt you? People say, "I'm still here, I rebelled against my parents and I'm still getting around."

"Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily" they think God is a softy and will let them by without judging them. Let me ask parents something, if you knew that if you fell one time in front of your children then it would cause them to go to hell, how careful would you be? The righteous falling in front of the wicked is as a troubled spring and a polluted fountain. One time might cause your children to never want a drink of what you've got, one time. Just wait. Sin will always cost you, hurt you, destroy, and effect you. You'll always pay the consequences, you'll pay a wage, and it IS going to cost you. You will never sin without it costing you.

Some say, "Here I am, I sinned today, I'm still here." I want you to know, people think they know God and can push Him around. They think they have God figured out and that He's going to wait and wait for them, and isn't going to cause them to reap what they sowed. He's going to give them a pass, let them off and not require it of them. They do not know God. They deceive their mind, they have a perverted conscience.

I remind myself often of the prophets of old and how all that is written for our admonition. I think of Moses getting mad - and I don't preach this to show the faults of these men, but I preach it to myself for admonition. If God dealt with him, surely he'll deal with me, surely He will. I remind myself of that, I instruct myself, and warn myself in that. God doesn't let you by. Man thinks he gets a pass because God doesn't judge him right off the bat.

If I wanted to preach a whole message on one particular thought, this is the thought I'd preach on. Look at this thought carefully, it's very important. Romans 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,…" What is after Jesus? A comma - NOT a period. A college professor wrote about me ten years ago, he was going to correct me, and in his correction, this is what he says: "The Bible says in Romans 8:1: 'There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.' Apostle Peter warned that people would wrest the words of Apostle Paul, as they do other scriptures. This scripture is wrested to build an entire doctrine that will deliver you from any fear of judgment.

I'm going to quote statements from a few books now. James Stiffler's book says, "The verse '…in Christ Jesus', here the verse should end. The Revised Version correctly omits, 'who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit'. The rest of the verse is not genuine, and is omitted by all modern editors of the text."

John Phillips preaches in pulpits across America, and he is a very widely accepted preacher. His book says, "The eighth chapter of Romans begins with no condemnation, and ends with no separation, 'there is therefore no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus…' The words 'who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit', are an interpolation of this verse. The word interpolation means a spurious word or passage inserted in the genuine writings of an author." He's saying somebody put those words in there and their not supposed to be in there. And John Phillips is one of the most recognized, acclaimed, and popular independent Baptist preachers across America. These are men that preach the King James Bible, and they're telling you that the best manuscripts, which are Catholic manuscripts, are correct, and they are the ones saying that "…who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." is not supposed to be in there.

Now we'll go to the older men's books. Albert Barnes rightly deals with this verse. He says, "'No condemnation.' This does not mean that sinning believers are not to be condemned as anywhere, for the contrary is everywhere taught in the Scriptures. But it means that the gospel does not pronounce condemnation like the law." In this book you'll find a man that edited this book. This is the commentary by Albert Barnes, but another man inserted his own thoughts. This is what the other man said about Barnes' commentaries, "…to them there is no condemnation whatever, not only no final condemnation, but no condemnation now." You do understand that the word condemnation means judgment, don't you? That's the modern and liberal thing. The old man said that you would be judged for your sins. This liberal Calvinist that edited the old man's book had no right even writing in it, and he said, "no, there is no condemnation now or ever."

Matthew Henry says, "They walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Observe the character is given from their walk, not from any one particular act, but from the course of way. The great question is what is the principal of the walk? The flesh and of the spirit, the old or the new nature, corruption or grace? Which of these do we mind, or for which of these do we make provision? By which of these are we governed? This great truth laid down illustrates the following verse and shows how we come by this great privilege and how we may answer this character that '…we walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.'" He says there's condemnation.

Here's my point: If I keep telling you, "you're saved, you're in Christ, you will not be judged. Don't ever worry about being condemned. Jesus was judged on the cross for your sins and you will not be judged for your sins. He took your place on Calvary, He bore your sins, you received His atonement, so you will never be judged for your sins, past, present, or future. Your sins were pinned on the cross of Calvary, you're free from the judgment of sin. I don't care what you do, every sin is already forgiven, already on the cross, you'll never be judged for it." Then why should I worry if I sin? This is what 99% of Baptist preachers are preaching. Ask them!

Here's what it does to you, it makes you think you don't have to fear God. Why fear God judging you when you have a claim of no condemnation? You're in Christ Jesus, and your sins are already forgiven. Don't worry about it? It delivers you totally from a fear of God. Do you know that the fear of God is what keeps you from evil? When God struck Ananias and Saphara, the people weren't shouting. They weren't saying, "Whoopee, get another one!" They were scared they might be next. The Bible says they were trembling and shaking, and "none dost dare join them." They were scared to death, they were trembling, saying, "My, what if God judges me right now!"

This doctrine is prominent, and is one of the most taught doctrines of our day. All these men that wrote these books I read from support this doctrine that there's no condemnation whatsoever, no judgment - past, present or future. Isn't that what they say? You say, "I don't hear that here, Preacher?" That's because I don't want it preached here. It isn't true!

The Bible says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." You might as well take the verse out of the Bible that talks about judging yourself, so that you'll not be judged of God. (1 Cor. 11:31) Did you know you've got to judge yourself? You've got to recognize, admit, and acknowledge what you are before God. You have to confess and forsake your sin in order to find mercy, and you don't find mercy without it. You don't find mercy because of your position. What a wicked doctrine! But it sounds so good. Who wouldn't like to really believe it - if they wanted to live sinful?

Another reason people live in sin and profess they know God is they just don't love Him, and that's the bottom line. If you cared about Him at all, if He were really precious to you, if His work were sacred and holy to you, if He were a sweet savor to you, your precious Lord, your Redeemer, your God, and you loved Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, you'd never want to sin against Him. You'd hate every sin that ever came out of your life. You'd be embarrassed, ashamed, and godly sorrow would grip your heart. You would say while weeping, "Oh, I've sinned against my God, after He loved me that much, and has done so much for me, and I've been unfaithful to Him." Paul said, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema." Let him be cursed with the greatest, most dreadful curse that ever could come on a man. Let him be cursed when Jesus comes. Jesus says, "If you love me, you'll keep my commandments." There won't be any problem with that, you won't have any trouble with it, or fight against it. You won't try to find an excuse, His Word won't be grievous to you, it won't be hard, and you will want to obey and love His Word. It will be precious to you. You'll never want to break it, if you really love Him. You won't argue about it, pick at it, find excuse and reason to sin. No! You will hate sin, because you know He hates sin! You know what sin did to Jesus, and why He came to get rid of sin, and deliver you out of sin. You know what sin was doing to your life, so you never want to sin! You may sin, but you hate it! You'll never be comfortable in it. You would say, "I hurt my Savior! I let Him down! I failed Him!"

Every sin ought to break your heart. "The sacrifices of God are a broken and a contrite heart…" You know what people think of God when they boast of their sin, and are proud of what they ought to be ashamed of? They really don't care about Him. The song says, "I will serve Thee, because - I love Thee…You have given life to me. I was nothing when you found me." I was nothing, heading for destruction, wasting my life, living the life of a fool, and you saved me, delivered me, lifted me out of the miry clay, set my feet on the solid rock, and established my goings. Would I want to sin against somebody that did so much for me? Is that reasonable? Would I be proud of that, and fight for the right to sin? Would I search my Bible for reasons to justify my sin, and at the same time say I love my Lord? The Bible's answer is, "He that loveth not, knoweth not God."

Bottom line. If you love Him, you'll do the best you can.

Apostle Paul had been with God a long time, and what does He write in the book of Philippians? "That I may know Him." I still want to know Him better and get closer to Him. I don't understand it all, but I want to know more about Him. The people that say they've got it all figured out, don't have anything figured out. Mark it down.

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