Partakers of His Nature

When Jesus comes into our hearts, He makes us partakers of His divine nature. He gives us victory now, in this present life. He makes it possible for us to overcome temptation.

“Satan declared that it was impossible for the sons and daughters of Adam to keep the law of God. … Men who are under the control of Satan repeat these accusations against God, in asserting that men cannot keep the law of God.”3S T 264

“Satan is jubilant when he hears the professed followers of Christ making excuses for their deformity of character. It is these excuses that lead to sin. There is no excuse for sinning. A holy temper, a Christlike life, is accessible to every repenting, believing child of God.” DA 311

Many look forward to His second coming to change their characters. I must tell you earnestly that the change must be made now! To believe otherwise is dangerous.

“When He (Jesus) comes, He is not to cleanse us from our sins, to remove from us the defects of our characters, or to cure us from the infirmities of our tempers and dispositions. If wrought for us at all, this work will be accomplished before that time. When the Lord comes, those who are holy will be holy still” (2T 355)

The belief that it is impossible to overcome sin in this life is “a sophistry of Satan” (GC 489). God has promised “to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory and with exceeding joy.” To deny this is to contradict God’s word and limit His power to change our lives (Jude 24).

God admonished us to “be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (2 Pet.3:14). Paul says that Christ gave Himself to the church “that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph 5: 26,27).

Consider this: the church is composed of individuals. God saves us as individuals. How can His church collectively be without blemish if the individuals who make up the church are spotted and wrinkled and blemished with sin?

John wrote it this way: “Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteous is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For the purpose of 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; he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1 Jn.3:6-10).

Victory is Essential

If we find it difficult to accept as truth the idea that we must gain the victory over sin in this life before Jesus returns, it is probably because we have tried and failed so many times. We have come to believe Satan’s fatal sophistry that it is impossible to overcome. This, of course, pleases Satan. But God does not require us to do what for us is impossible. That is why He supplies the divine strength that makes us more than a match for Satan. Christ overcame and obeyed as a human being. If we attribute to His human nature a power that is not available to us, we destroy the completeness of His humanity.

Jesus did not come to this planet as a lesser God, to give obedience to a greater God; but He came as a man to obey God’s holy law. He is our example. He came to our world, not to show what a God could do, but to reveal what a human being can do through faith in God’s power to keep him from sinning. In the same way, man through faith is to be a partaker of the divine nature and to overcome every temptation that besets him. The law now demands that you and I, through faith in Jesus Christ, obey Him in the human natures we have. Jesus, by bridging the gulf sin has created, made it possible for us to do just that. (See OHC 78; 7 ABC 929).

Non-practising Sinners

There is a vital difference between being sinners by nature and practising sin. If Christ is in our hearts, Satan cannot force us to sin against our wills. Satan cannot control our minds unless we yield the control to him. He cannot control our wills or force us to sin without our consent. He can distract us, but he cannot contaminate us; he can cause us agony, but he cannot defile us. He can tempt us; he can make sin appear pleasant and enticing; but it is up to each person’s choice to decide as to whether or not he will yield to the temptation. (See AH 402; 1T 301; GC 510).

Wearing His Yoke

Jesus spoke of our taking His yoke (Matt.1:29). A yoke is a joining together to bear a common burden – a joint enterprise – if you will. Just as God will not save us against our wills, so He will not force us to stop sinning against our wills. By linking our wills with His, His will becomes ours. “Thy will be done becomes our prayer” (Matt 6:10). So long as we want to sin, so long as we cherish sin more than we cherish God’s approval, we will continue to sin. But when we learn to hate sin because it is sin, and because of what it did and what it does to the Saviour, when we have Christ in our hearts and when we will to stop sinning, God will enable us to overcome every temptation.

We are not to think or to say that we cannot overcome every temptation or remedy our defects of character. If we come to this conclusion, we will never experience the everlasting life God has made available to us (COL 331). God has made provision that the Holy Spirit shall be imparted to every repentant soul, to keep him from sinning (DA 311). Satan is jubilant when he hears professed followers of Christ making excuses for their sins. It is these excuses that lead to sin. There is no acceptable excuse for sinning.

To believe that we can live above sin in this life requires faith. But faith is the thread from which the fabric of the Christian life is woven. “Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe (have faith) that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6).

Both the Old and the New Testaments teach that the just must live by faith. “The just shall live by his faith” (Hab.2:4). Paul attached enough importance to this statement under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to quote it in Romans 1:17 and again in Galatians 3:11. This statement is quoted a third time in Hebrews 10:38. We do not yet fully appreciate how great an element faith must be in our lives if we are to be overcomers.

Christ has sufficient grace and strength to make us more than conquerors in our warfare against Satan. He came to this world and lived a sinless life so that in His power His people might also live sinless lives. But we must reach out by faith and claim that grace and strength which Christ has made available. Otherwise Christ’s ministry and sacrifice will avail us nothing. Now notice this statement:

“ He who has not sufficient faith in Christ to believe that he can keep from sinning, has not the faith that will give him entrance into the kingdom of God” (RH, March 10, 1904).

We never appear more helpless, yet really are more invincible than when we realise our nothingness and depend entirely on the merits of Jesus Christ. At that time God will send every angel in heaven to come to our aid rather that to allow us to be overcome by Satan. (7T 17). Only when we have the divine strength which Christ’s presence supplies can we exercise any really determined resistance to sin.

Bumper Sticker Religion

During the last few years bumper stickers have become quite popular. Recently I saw a sticker which read,“It’s O.K. not to drink.” The message does state a truth, but it is a pretty weak protest against the use of alcohol. More recently I noted a slight change in word order. It now reads, “It’s not O.K. to drink.” What a difference! It is not a recommendation. It is a warning!

Satan, too, plays word-games. His bumper sticker reads, “It’s O.K. not to sin.” Satan implies that sin is not a big issue, It’s O.K. not to sin, but don’t worry about it if you do. This is deception.

God’s sticker has never changed. His always reads, “It’s not O.K. to sin” This is not a recommendation. It is a clear warning. Satan’s bumper sticker is weak and enticing. God’s is true and faithful: “It’s not O.K. to sin”

In His love, God has been fair to us. He has clearly warned: “Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it lest ye die” (Gen. 3:3). “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Eze. 18: 4). Death is not an arbitrary decree on the part of God. Sin is deadly; It kills! Death is the wages that sin earns. (Rom. 6:23).

Can We Live Above Sin?

This book (Victory on the Battlefield, Setting the Captives Free by Vaughn Allen) is written in the faith that Christ came to set us free of sin – not partially free – all-the-way-free. The victory over Satan is total. The victory over sin is total. If this is not true then the plan of salvation falls short of being adequate. If it is inadequate in the slightest degree – then it becomes totally inadequate. The death of Christ in our place, and His presence in our hearts through the Holy Spirit make it possible for us to gain complete victory over sin. Notice this significant sentence:

To everyone who surrenders fully to God is given the privilege of living without sin in obedience to the law of heaven” (RH 9/27/06).

All that has been written by Bible writers and God’s messenger to the remnant church about the possibility and necessity of living sinless lives is true. But there is a corollary to all this which is also true. The corollary is this: Never, until these corruptible bodies become incorruptible, can we have a claim to perfection. The clearer perception we have of Christ’s spotlessness and purity, the more conscious we will be of our own imperfections in contrast. Those who catch even a fleeting glimpse of the loveliness and exalted character of Christ will never say,” I am sinless.” By grace, God may write that word in His books, but we should never speak it about ourselves.

Think of Moses and Daniel, Joseph and Elijah. No sin is recorded against these men, but none of them claimed to be sinless. Daniel’s prayer was, “We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have rebelled, even departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments” (Dan. 9:5). This is not the prayer of one who considered himself sinless. The soul in closest relation to Jesus, beholding His purity and excellency, will fall before Him in humility as did Daniel.

Looking to Jesus and meditation upon His goodness, mercy, and love will create in our souls an utter abhorrence of sin. The more distinctly we see Jesus, the more clearly will we also see our own defects of character. As we confess these faults to Jesus, and with genuine humility cooperate with the divine power, the Holy Spirit will enable us to put those things out of our lives.

For it is the Holy Spirit who changes our characters into the image of Christ, and when this has been done we shall reflect His character. The character of the one who thus beholds Christ will become so like Him that those looking at him will see Christ’s own character reflected as in a mirror. Imperceptibly to ourselves we will be changed day by day from our ways to the ways and the will of Christ. Thus we shall grow up into Christ and unconsciously we will reflect His image.

Only when the battle with Satan is over, when the armour is laid at the feet of Jesus and we have been transformed from the kingdom of grace to the kingdom of glory, can we claim to be saved and sinless (3 SM 353-356).

In the meantime – while we retain our sinful natures, we have stopped practising sin. We must never confuse these two concepts. At His second coming, it is our natures that will change – not our characters. Before our Lord’s return we must become non-practising sinners, if you please. He has made this possible for us. If this is not true than the salvation of the Cross falls one step short of being fully adequate. But here is the good news! By His grace, we can have complete victory over Satan and all his angels. Total victory is possible on this Battlefield by the grace of our triumphant Lord. To Him be the glory!

“Victory on the Battlefield, Setting the Captives Free”

 

by Vaughn Allen

 

1993