Thanks to a friend who gave me some wonderful quotes about sin in the life of a believer.

Matthew Henry

The more pure and holy the heart is, it will have the more quick feeling as to the sin that remains in it. The believer sees more of the beauty of holiness and the excellence of the law. His earnest desires to obey, increase as he grows in grace. But the whole good on which his will is fully bent, he does not do; sin ever springing up in him, through remaining corruption, he often does evil, though against the fixed determination of his will. The motions of sin within grieved the apostle. If by the striving of the flesh against the Spirit, was meant that he could not do or perform as the Spirit suggested, so also, by the effectual opposition of the Spirit, he could not do what the flesh prompted him to do.

This passage does not represent the apostle as one that walked after the flesh, but as one that had it greatly at heart, not to walk so. And if there are those who abuse this passage, as they also do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction, yet serious Christians find cause to bless God for having thus provided for their support and comfort.  And no man who is not engaged in this conflict, can clearly understand the meaning of these words, or rightly judge concerning this painful conflict, which led the apostle to bemoan himself as a wretched man, constrained to what he abhorred.

He could not deliver himself; and this made him the more fervently thank God for the way of salvation revealed through Jesus Christ, which promised him, in the end, deliverance from this enemy.

So then, says he, I myself, with my mind, my prevailing judgement, affections, and purposes, as a regenerate man, by Divine grace, serve and obey the law of God; but with the flesh, the carnal nature, the remains of depravity, I serve the law of sin, which wars against the law of my mind. Not serving it so as to live in it, or to allow it, but as unable to free himself from it, even in his very best state, and needing to look for help and deliverance out of himself.

He was willing to act in all points agreeable to the law, in his mind and conscience, but was hindered by indwelling sin, and never attained the perfection the law requires. What can be deliverance for a man always sinful, but the free grace of God, as offered in Christ Jesus?

The power of Divine grace, and of the Holy Spirit, could root out sin from our hearts even in this life, if Divine wisdom had not otherwise thought fit. But it is suffered, that Christians might constantly feel, and understand thoroughly, the wretched state from which Divine grace saves them; might be kept from trusting in themselves; and might ever hold all their consolation and hope, from the rich and free grace of God in Christ.

An excerpt from Pilgrim’s Progress – ‘My Name At First Was Graceless’ (edited)

Then he took him by the hand, and led him into a very large parlor that was full of dust, because it was never swept; and after he had reviewed it a little while, the Interpreter called for a man to sweep.

Now, when he began to sweep, the dust began so abundantly to fly about, that Christian was almost choked with it. Then said the Interpreter to a damsel that stood by, “Bring water, and sprinkle the room;” and when she did, it was swept and cleansed with pleasure.

CHRISTIAN: Then said Christian, What does this mean?

INTERPRETER: The Interpreter answered, This parlor is the heart of a man that was never sanctified by the sweet grace of the Gospel. The dust is his original sin, and inward corruptions, that have defiled the whole man. He that began to sweep at first, is the law; but she that brought water, and did sprinkle it, is the Gospel.

Now as you saw, that as soon as the law began to sweep, the dust did so fly about the room that it could not be cleansed, and you were almost choked with it.  This is to show you that the law, instead of cleansing the heart from sin, revives and increases it, even as it discovers and forbids it; for the law does not give power to subdue sin.

Again, as you saw the damsel sprinkle the room with water, upon which it was cleansed with pleasure, this is to show you that when the Gospel comes with its sweet and precious influences to the heart, then even as you saw the damsel lay the dust by sprinkling the floor with water, so is sin vanquished and subdued, and the soul made clean, through the faith of it, and consequently fit for the King of glory to inhabit.

Harry Ironside – Eternal Security

When I came to the Lord Jesus Christ and put my trust in Him, not only were all my sins up to the day of my conversion forgiven, but all my sins were put away for eternity. When a young Christian, I was taught something like this: I thought when I was converted that all my sins, from the time of dawning accountability up to that night when I put my trust in the Lord Jesus, were put away, and now God had given me a new start, and if I could only keep the record clean to the end of my life, I would get to heaven; but if I did not keep it clean, I ceased to be a Christian and I had to get converted all over again.

Every time this happened the past was under the blood, but I had to keep the record clean for the future. What a God-dishonoring view of the atonement of Christ that is! If only those of my sins that were committed up to the moment of my conversion were put away by the atoning blood of Jesus, what possible way would there be by which sins I have confessed after that could be dealt with? The only ground on which God could forgive sin is that Jesus settled all upon the cross, and when I trust Him, all that He has done goes down to my account.

What Of Future Sins?

A lady came to me one day and said, “I do not understand you there. I can understand that Christ died for the sins I committed up to the night of my conversion, but do you mean to tell me that Christ died for my future sins?”

I said, “How many of your sins were in the past when Christ died on the cross?”  She looked puzzled for a moment, and then the light broke in, and she said, “How foolish I have been! Of course they were all future when Jesus died for me. I had not committed any of them.”

God saw all your sins, and He laid upon Jesus all your iniquity. Therefore, when you trusted Him, you were justified freely from all things. Do you say, “Does it make no difference then if a believer sins?” That is another question, and it would take a whole evening to go into that, but here is the point: the moment you trust the Lord Jesus as your Savior, your responsibility as a sinner having to do with the God of judgment is ended for eternity, but that same moment your responsibility as a child having to do with a Father in heaven begins.

Now if as a child you should sin against your Father, God will have to deal with you about that, but as a father and not as a judge. That is a line of truth that stands by itself and does not contradict what I am now teaching. It explains some things that bewilder people when this doctrine is brought before them.

In Marks Of Indelible Grace (A Debtor to Mercy Alone)

A debtor to mercy alone,
of covenant-mercy I sing;
nor fear, with your righteousness on,
my person and offering to bring.

The terrors of law and of God
with me can have nothing to do;
my Savior’s obedience and blood
hide all my transgressions from view.

The work which his goodness began,
the arm of his strength will complete;
his promise is Yes and Amen
and never was forfeited yet.

Things future, nor things that are now,
nor all things below and above,
can make him his purpose forego
or sever my soul from his love.

Yes, I to the end shall endure
as sure as the earnest is given;
more happy, but not more secure,
the glorified spirits in heaven.

My name from the palms of his hands
eternity will not erase;
impressed on his heart it remains
in marks of indelible grace.

— Augustus Toplady

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C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger.

Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminar (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I’m a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminar (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    6 replies to "Sin in the Life of a Believer"

    • anonymous

      “My name from the palms of his hands eternity will not erase; impressed on his heart it remains in marks of indelible grace.”

      amen, thank you, God, You are very very great. who are we. :’]

      “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world…that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17: 24,26b

    • Steve Martin

      Great post.

      Yes, we continue to sin, but Christ walk behind us like the guy at the parade walking behind the horses with the scooper.

      He picks it ALL up. It is His. He paid for all that crap. Give it to Him and get out there and live…outward, for the neighbor.

      Thanks.

    • @Steve; A very vivid metaphor! 😉 I prefer the “biblical theology” of Christ as the Mediator! (1 Tim. 2: 5-6)…thank God in Chirst always for verse 6!

      “Lutron”, Gk. (lit. to loose)..as Jesus Himself spoke in Matt. 20: 28 and Mark 10:45, here is is used of Christ’s gift of “Himself” as the or “a ransom for many.”

      “That Christ gave up His life in expiatory sacrifice under God’s judgment upon sin and thus provided a ransom whereby those who receive Him on this ground obtain deliverance from the penalty due to sin, is what Scripture teaches. What the Lord states in the two passages mentioned involves this essential character of His death. In these passages the preposition is “anti”, which has a vicarious significance, indicating that the ransom holds good for those who, accepting it as such, no longer remain in death since Christ suffered death in their stead. The change of the preposition in 1 Tim. 2: 6, where the word “antilutron”, a substitutionary ransom, is used, is signficant. There the preposition is “huper”, on behalf of, and the statement is made that He “gave Himself a ransom for all,” indicating that ransom was provisionally universal, while being of a vicarious sharacter. Thus the three passages consistenly show that while the provision was universal, for Christ died for all men, yet it is actual for those only who accept God’s conditions, and who are described in the Gospel statements as “the many.” The giving of His life was the giving of His entire Person, and while His death under Divine judgment was alone expiatory, it cannot be dissociated from the character of His life which, being sinless, gave virtue to His death and was a tesimony of the fact that His death must be of a vicarious nature.”

    • *testimony

    • Btw, I love to read the grand James Denney here, see his classic book: The Death Of Christ!

      He also said: “I have often wondered whether we might not say that the Christian doctrine of the Atonement just meant that in Christ God took the responsibility of evil upon Himself, and somehow subsumed evil under good.” (James Denney: Letters…to his Family and Friends, page 187).

      Indeed we will never fully “define” the Death and Atonement of Christ!

    • GoldCityDance

      Terrible. Unforgiving. That’s how I saw God.

      Punishing us in this life, committing us to Purgatory after death, sentencing sinners to burn in hell for all eternity.

      But I was wrong.

      Those who see God as angry… do not see Him rightly… but look upon a curtain as if a dark storm cloud has been drawn across His face.

      If we truly believe that Christ is our Savior, then we have a God of love, and to see God in faith is to look upon His friendly heart.

      So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this…

      “I admit that I deserve death and hell. What of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction in my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God. Where He is, there I shall be also!”

      Luther (2003)

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