Of the many doctrines the church holds the claim that a Christian will as long as he is in this realm commit sins is as absurd as to say that a healed cripple will continue to limp the rest of his life. John puts forward the following argument against this and which further if examined closely and correctly understood also kick the ground under the feet of those who support the fallacy of universal salvation: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
The Cross is central in all God’s dealings with mankind, because there is a cross in the heart of God. It is the narrow gate – the only way to salvation. Through Christ’s perfect sacrifice the entrance is again opened to the Garden, that is, Christ Himself. The seraph has lowered his sword. This is what is meant with that the whole world is reconciled to God.
John clearly sets forth the conditions for salvation. When we enter the narrow gate, the Cross, the sin spirit is cast out and we are cleansed from all unrighteousness. As long as the Spirit of error determines a man’s steps that man is in sin and will commit sins and is in unrighteousness. John further elaborates when He says: He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life (1 John 5:12). This should clearly demonstrate that salvation is not a doctrine, but a person. Luke proves this relation beyond a shadow of doubt when he recounts how Christ is born in mangers and not in inns which have no room for Him.
And it is this person who is our righteousness when He is born in us. No human endeavors no matter how noble can conjure up any righteousness besides Christ who grows up in every man who has received Him. The one in whom Christ is born is alive to all righteousness. Jesus Himself said: “He that committeth sin, is the servant of sin” But, that man cannot at the same time be a member of Christ’s body, or be a new creature who dwells in Christ and in whom Christ lives.
“If the Son,” says Christ, “shall make you free, then ye shall be free indeed.” What is this, but saying, if Christ be come to life in you, then a true freedom from all necessity of sinning is given to you. Now if this is hindered, and cannot come to pass in the faithful follower of Christ, it must be, because both the willing and working of Christ in man is too weak to overcome that, which the devil wills and works in him (William Law).
The absurdity of asserting that a person cleansed from all unrighteousness will continue to commit sins is effectively countered by John: We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not (1 John 5:18). This perfectly corroborates with the promises God gave Ezekiel: Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them (Ez 37:23-24).
As small children in Christ this might not be clear to us, but by the Spirit’s inner conviction and teachings in us we learn that we are kept by God and that the wicked one cannot touch us (1 John 5:18 b) and that our members are servants unto all righteousness.
An unalterable truth is that Christ is the true vine of which we are the branches, and it must necessarily be so that the branches are the same thing as the vine. The same goodness, love and life that is in the vine must also be found in the branches. A most glorious thing is said about the branches when they abide inthe vine, which they do by the faith of the Son: “Ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).
Since the vine and the branches share from the same life then to claim that the branches are servants of sin is the same thing as saying that Christ partakes from the old man’s corruption. The branches can but be manifestors or expressers of the true life found in God Himself. To claim anything else leads to all kind of absurdities.
Why is there no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus? Because in Him that delusion that we have a self apart from Him is dead. That false self died at the cross! He is our true self. There is no other self. How can there be any condemnation when He is our self? Impossible! Condemnation is hence a delusion for everyone who is of Christ! It is a mirage with no substance.
Our Lord said: “If you have seen Me you have seen the Father.” The disciples saw Jesus’ body and soul – the one born in a stable – the carpenter – the one conceived outside marriage. The Father was seen in all of Jesus, that is, what was visible. The disciples didn’t see Jesus’ spirit. But they saw the rest and that was the Father. What a mystery this is! What Jesus said about Himself is true about everyone born from above. People behold our bodies and souls and see the Father.
How can this be? The Scriptures know no other Christians but saints! This is the one who in the similitude of Jesus can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise (John 5:19).
Let us not so easily fall for doctrines of men that have no substance. The Cross is substance. Faith is substance. Let the blind lead the blind, but we will remain in the substance, that is faith, and see God as all in all in us, and further that the world is in dire need of hearing the good news and not some diluted message which is fashioned in man’s vain imagination. We are called to proclaim the total truth about a Christ who has the power to cleanse from all unrighteousness and who when born in man transforms that man into a new creation: Behold, everything is new!