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What happens to my future sin?

By: Scott Morton

This is an issue that has caused a lot of confusion for individuals during this dispensation. Many people who teach the Word of God rightly divided have been confused on this issue themselves and have taught individuals based on their confusion. It is often said that all of our sins were past from the perspective of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary, which is why they have all been paid for. It does not seem to make sense, but they are getting this from the following passage:

Romans 3:23-26

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

The Apostle Paul is speaking about the justification of a believer here. He has labeled all individuals as coming short of the glory of God because of the issue of sin. This is prior to salvation, where sin would be part of the equation for an individual.

The Lord Jesus Christ does function as a propitiation for us. This is a word that is not often used today. It is referring to a satisfactory payment which has been made for sin. The only payment which could do this was His blood, as there has to be a shedding of blood to take care of sin (Hebrews 9:22). There was no work which could be done by us to make this happen.

This passage also gives the clue on why people make the statement which was referenced above. Verse 25 states the sins that are past have been remitted. People want to know what happens to sins they do after their salvation, as it appears as if the only sins which can be remitted are those which are past.

False doctrines come from this line of questioning, as individuals take items, such as confession, and state these are in place today. Works are never placed anywhere in the doctrine for today as being necessary for us to complete for salvation. Works are only stated as something an individual should do because they are saved (Ephesians 2:10) and would lead to rewards being set given to us when we meet the Lord Jesus Christ in the air and appear before Him at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10).

This brings us back to the issue of the future sins of a believer. It is true we all mess up after our salvation. The Apostle Paul goes through a discussion of what happened in his life that shows the problem we have:

Romans 7:15-25

For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. [16] If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. [17] Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. [18] For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. [19] For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. [20] Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. [21] I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. [22] For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: [23] But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. [24] O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? [25] I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

These verses show the problems the Apostle Paul was facing in his life. There were things he did not want to do and he was doing them. He states there is something present with him (evil) which is leading him to do these things. The flesh is what he is making a reference to here. The Apostle Paul knows he is still walking around in a fleshly body and this is what is leading him to do these things. This is what he later on refers to as the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16-21), which is different from being able to walk in the flesh, as that would result in condemnation of the individual.

The Apostle Paul does label the issue as sin dwelling in him. This is probably going to be what those who state a person can still commit the sin referred to in Romans 3 will focus on. He is speaking of the sin nature of an individual, which is a part of us because of the fall of man in Genesis 3. We cannot escape this being part of who we are until we receive a redeemed body, as the sin nature dwells in the flesh. We still are walking around in a fleshly body, so we still have the sin nature with us.

The issue is do we commit a sin that would lead to us needing forgiveness. The answer to this is we cannot commit the sin Paul is referring to in Romans 3. This is because of what the definition of this sin is:

1 John 3:4

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

The first reaction of many people is why is the definition of sin coming from John and not the Apostle Paul. The reason for this is John is giving the definition of sin which would be leading to death (Romans 6:23) and would result in the wrath of God being poured out on the individual who has committed it. Therefore, we need to focus on the following equation as we are studying this:

SIN= TRANSGRESSION+LAW

This equation is going to be the focal point of speaking about the sin an individual can and cannot do. If this equation breaks down in any manner, it is clear then that an individual cannot commit the sin being spoken of. The Apostle Paul does say some things which show this equation does not work.

Romans 5:13

(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

The Apostle Paul is stating a simple fact of sin not being able to be imputed (placed to one's account) when there is no law. If the law is taken care of, there cannot be any sin in the life of the believer. The question then becomes, has the law been taken care of during this dispensation.

It is clear for us we have been removed from the law during this dispensation. The Apostle Paul clearly teaches us this:

Galatians 3:10-13

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. [11] But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. [12] And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. [13] Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Romans 3:28

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Romans 6:14

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Romans 7:1-6

Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? [2] For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. [3] So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. [4] Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. [5] For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. [6] But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

All of these passages show how a believer today has been removed from the law. The law is taken away the moment we put our trust in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) and does not have an influence on our life. In fact the Apostle Paul states in 1 Timothy 1 the purpose of the law, which is to point out to individuals their failures, not help people to live a proper life, as many people would like to use it today.

This shows the breakdown of the equation which was used above. The law is not in effect for us, which makes it impossible to commit this sin. This is why the Apostle Paul goes further in his explanation:

Romans 4:15

Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

It is impossible to transgress something that does not have an impact on our lives today. The law has been removed from our lives, as the passages listed above clearly state. Since this is the case, we are also not able to commit a transgression of the law.

This completely breaks down the equation which showed the definition of sin. We, as members of the Body of Christ, cannot commit the sin which is the transgression of the law. It is impossible, which is why the Apostle Paul stated the sins which are past are taken care of on the cross. The sins which are past are the only ones that need to be taken care of, as they are the only ones that are actually possible for an individual to commit.

This is why the Apostle Paul states the things he does about the forgiveness we have. Our forgiveness is already a present possession (Colossians 1:14, Ephesians 4:32). The members of the Body of Christ already have a forgiveness because of what was accomplished on the cross, as the remission of sins can only happen through the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22). It is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ which is a permanent payment for sin.

If someone thinks it is still possible for them to commit these sins, they need to look at who they are in Christ. They need to make sure they have put their trust in the gospel in order for this not to be the case. The Apostle Paul gives the gospel which saved individuals during this dispensation:

1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; [2] By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. [3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; [4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

This gospel is the only thing which can save an individual today. There are no works someone can do to earn their salvation (Romans 4:5), as this is a free gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). God has to give us our salvation, as only He could take care of the sin issue for us.

The major question people do ask is how this works practically, as the Apostle Paul does continue to mention the issue of sin throughout his epistles. He mentions this because there are some things we can do in our lives still, which the Bible does refer to as sin:

Romans 14:23

And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

This is a completely different definition of sin which is given here. This sin is whatsoever is not of faith, which seems like we could break fairly often. This is why the issue of sin seems to be a big deal to individuals, as they are looking for the forgiveness of sins, which if this can be done easily, would need to happen on a regular basis in order to maintain a good standing with God.

The faith being mentioned here is things which come from the Word of God (Romans 10:17). A member of the Body of Christ, living in the dispensation of grace, applies 2 Timothy 2:15 to this, showing where the doctrine is going to come from. We have to rightly divide the word of truth, applying the doctrine given to us by the Apostle Paul in his epistles (Romans through Philemon) to our lives. When this doctrine is applied, we understand how to live.

An example of this can be found by comparing two passages:

Exodus 20:15

Thou shalt not steal.

Ephesians 4:28

Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Moses gives them a simple command under the law, which is they are not to steal. He is speaking to them on an individual basis, which is why the pronoun thou is being used. They are each responsible for their own actions and will have to make sure they are doing the right thing. There was a clear punishment for them, which showed the motivation for them to not steal.

The Apostle Paul gives the answer to this for us in our dispensation. He cannot use the same motivation as there was under the law, as this has been removed from the members of the Body of Christ. We are not going to face the wrath of God and are not under the law in any circumstances. The law applies only in this dispensation to help individuals identify they are sinners (1 Timothy 1:7-9). Therefore, the members of the Body of Christ are going to need a different motivation to do the right thing. This is shown by the Apostle Paul, as he gives not only an alternative to stealing (work), but also the motivation to do this (provide for others who have needs).

This is a major difference and shows what is going on in this dispensation. While the law motivated people to do the right thing out of fear, grace motivates people to do the right thing because of love. We love God and other people so much we are willing to do the right thing, as God has asked us to do.

The Apostle Paul also does mention what happens to a person who commits the sin known as whatsoever is not of faith. We are not given a free pass to keep doing this and to ignore what the Word of God says which is what those who understand right division are often accused of teaching.

2 Corinthians 5:10

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

He is speaking here about the judgment seat of Christ, which is a different event from what we see in the book of Revelation. This event is only for the members of the Body of Christ and is going to happen after the catching out of the saints (the event we theologically call the Rapture) takes place. The Lord Jesus Christ comes back for the church and is then going to give rewards to the members of the Body based on what they have done. He has given some further teaching to this same church in the first epistle to them:

1 Corinthians 3:10-15

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. [11] For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. [12] Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; [13] Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. [14] If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. [15] If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

This passage shows the reward system which goes on. The works of an individual are tried to see if they are up to the standard God has for us, which is given to us in the books of Romans through Philemon. The doctrine we receive in these books, which shows the position we have, also gives us the answer to how to live our lives. It is the grace of God which can only teach us the things we should and should not do in this dispensation (Titus 2:11-15). This is the standard which is given to us and what we are going to be judged on. If we follow the doctrine given to us, we will build gold, silver, and precious stones, which will lead to us receiving a reward. If we do not follow this doctrine, we will build wood, hay, and stubble, which leads to a loss of rewards. The passage shows we cannot lose our salvation, which is guaranteed by the seal of the Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14). This is why the Apostle Paul can state:

2 Timothy 2:11-13

It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: [12] If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: [13] If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

The Apostle Paul states the fact of the Lord Jesus Christ not being able to deny Himself of any member of the Body of Christ. This shows our sin is not going to be an issue when it comes to our salvation. This is already guaranteed and God will not break any of the promises He has made.

This does not mean that we should go around doing anything that we want because there are no consequences of our actions. We do face the natural consequences of the actions we take. An example would be if someone drinks heavily all the time, they will develop health issues because of their drinking. There is nothing that is going to protect them from this.

We are also told we are supposed to do good works because of our salvation. God has saved us in order to do the right thing, which is something which is not always understood. The members of the Body of Christ need to make sure we do the things God would have us to do. This is why we are given these instructions:

Titus 2:11-14

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

As members of the Body of Christ, it is the grace of God which is going to teach us how we are to live our lives. We are given the promise of being removed from the effect sin can have on us to where it could create a situation where someone could lose their salvation. However, there is also the promise given to the members of the Body of Christ of how to live our lives, which is to follow the doctrine laid out by the Apostle Paul in Romans through Philemon in order to do what would please God during this dispensation.



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