Are We Authorized To Sin Continually?
Volume IX ~ Issue XV ~ January 4th, 2009
By: Brian A. Yeager
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As I write this article it is November (yes, I am a little ahead of schedule). I have finished a written discussion with Ethan Longhenry (preacher working with the church of Christ in Norwalk, Ohio). Ethan wrote an article arguing that Christians sin continually. In fact, in that article he says that I John 1:9 literally means this: “as we continually sin, we must continually confess our sin, and God is continually faithful to cleanse us continually” ( What the Lord really said is: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

I am amazed that even a young man in the faith could err so greatly. Ethan believes he is a Greek scholar. What he fails to realize is that a definition of a term cannot fly in the face of all that God says about sin. The word of God is in fact its own best dictionary and commentary. We simply cannot CONTINUE IN SIN (Romans 6:1-2). Consider Ethan’s re-translation of I John 1:9 against the words of the Holy Spirit:
“But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid” (Galatians 2:17)!

Dear reader, we cannot allow the message of repentance to be diminished by the new preaching we are seeing in our generation. Faithful Gospel preachers use to preach the message of repentance (Matthew 3:2, Matthew 4:17, Luke 24:47, Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19, Acts 17:30, etc.). To repent, one must turn away from sin (Matthew 3:8 and Acts 26:18-20), not continue in it (Romans 6:15-18). As another generation steps into the pulpit we are seeing more intellectual preaching, and a lot less Gospel preaching. We are seeing young men who think they’re smart wanting to “break down this word for us”. God’s word is simple, and able to be understood as is (II Corinthians 11:3 and Ephesians 3:4). Sadly, some older preachers have adopted this style of preaching too. The message of repentance has been replaced with a message of confusion. The truth is:

Repent or Perish As We Are COMMANDED Not to Sin

We should all recognize the words above as they are written in Luke 13:3; 5. These passages alone show us that we cannot continually sin. The only thing we are expected to do continually is to be obedient to the words of our Lord (John 8:31 and Colossians 1:23). The Lord expects us to “sin no more” (John 5:10-14; 8:1-11). Is this just an “ideal”? No! Cessation from sin is commanded. Notice:
“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity(II Timothy 2:19). The new preachers (and some of the old too), would want to spend forty-five minutes explaining away II Timothy 2:19. Some Greek dictionary would surely provide some loophole from this truth, no doubt. Brethren, plain truth is self explanatory.

From this point forward, notice how the Scriptures show us we are to be holy, worthy, perfect, without spot, blameless, and how we are to be just as Jesus was - WITHOUT SIN.

    • “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love (Ephesians 1:4).
    • “As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory (I Thessalonians 2:11-12). *These passages show that we do not continually fall short of the glory of God no more than we continually fall short of the kingdom.
    • “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy (I Peter 1:13-16).
    • “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:14-15).
    • “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).
    • “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless (II Peter 3:14).
    • “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God (I Peter 4:1-2).
    • “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked... For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (I John 2:1-6 and I Peter 2:21-22).


    There is no wiggle room in the verses above. Preachers who are preaching and teaching continual sin in the lives of Christians are telling you something about their character. Real preachers practice the truth (I Corinthians 9:27 and I Timothy 4:16; cf. James 3:1) rather than teach ways around it. Please consider these passages in closing: (Matthew 5:48, II Corinthians 7:1, II Corinthians 13:9; 11, Philippians 3:13-15, Colossians 1:25-28, Colossians 3:1-17, Colossians 4:12, II Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 6:1-3, and I John 3:1-10).