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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 01:02:48 -0700
-by Josef Urban.

Granted, the saints of God do not live in sin. They do not willfully
continue in any known form of sin like the unconverted do
(Hebrews 10:26). To the saints, as soon as their own unworthiness,
shortcomings, stumbles, or sins get brought to light, they are
immediately abased and humbled. They utterly despise themselves
for it. They hate it! And they confess it, repent and continue no
more in it. They don’t practice any known form of sin. Once any
form of inner or outer sin is brought to light by the searchlight of
God’s Spirit, they are humbled at the feet of Christ, and they “go
and sin no more”.

To the saints, sin is their bed of thorns, but to the unconverted, it
is their hypocrite’s couch. Saints hate sin and do not continue in
any known form of sin, but the unconverted lounge upon sin, and
make excuses to justify it. A true saint will continually “walk in
the light as he is in the light”, purging himself from every thing of
darkness and uncleanness as soon as it is brought to the light,
despising himself for it, and yield it to God to save him from it in
a willing and earnest surrender, and he will continually walk in
victory over all known sin; but an unconverted sinner will hold on
to his sins because he loves them, and even if he may claim to
love God with his mouth, he will continue to commit the same
sins over and over and deny God by his actions. That’s the
difference. Saints aren’t perfect, but they are striving for perfection,
and while they are on the journey toward this perfection, they
despise and even abhor themselves for their own imperfections.

The error of many of those in the holiness crowd is that they fail to
ever mention these truths. They preach holiness and sanctification
until such a standard of perfection is implied that it is utterly
impossible for anyone to meet these standards. Then, those who
are actually true saints, but who have an awareness of their own
unworthiness and poorness of spirit in the sight of God, begin to
condemn themselves for their shortcomings and imperfections,
until they begin to question their very salvation to begin with. Dear
Lord, save us from this error!


See what that great holiness preacher, Charles G. Finney, said
regarding true believers who stumble into sin in his classic sermon,
“Justification by Faith”:

"The sinner is now brought out from under the
covenant of works, and placed under the covenant of grace.... If he is
by faith; and so made a child of God, he receives the treatment of
a child, and is corrected, and chastised, and humbled, and
brought back again. "The gifts and calling of God are without
repentance." The meaning of that is not, that God calls and saves
the sinner without his repenting, but that God never changes his
mind when once he undertakes the salvation of a soul.”

“I know this is thought by some to be very dangerous doctrine, to
teach that believers are perpetually justified--because, say they, it
will embolden men to sin. Indeed! To tell a man that has truly
repented of sin, and heartily renounced sin, and sincerely desires
to be free from sin, that God will help him and certainly give him
the victory over sin, will embolden him to commit sin! Strange
logic that! If this doctrine emboldens any man to commit sin, it
only shows that he never did repent; that he never hated sin, and
never loved God for his own sake, but only feigned repentance,
and if he loved God it was only a selfish love, because he thought
God was going to do him a favor.” (End Finney quote)

Finney, in the above quote, explains that when a true Christian,
who is now under a Covenant of grace, stumbles into sin, he is
not immediately thrust back under the Law by the wrath of God.
Instead, he is chastised, disciplined, corrected, and straightened
out so that he doesn’t disobey His Heavenly Father in like
manner again. So, we see that even Charles Finney, one of the
most strict holiness preachers of perhaps all time, didn’t even hold
to the doctrines of sinless perfection or extreme holiness. He was
very careful in his lectures to explain very clearly that a true
Christian will stumble into and un-willfully sin against God, and
that such a one will be lovingly brought back into fellowship His
Lord through the precious blood and merits of Christ’s finis hed
work. We are justified by faith, not by works. True faith does work,
but it doesn’t always work perfectly. It is always growing, always
abounding, always being tried, purified, and strengthened. “For a
just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again” (Proverbs 24:16).

That old field preaching revivalist George Whitefield, when
speaking about persons who are “righteous over-much”, said,
“[Quote:] 'We must have a righteousness of our own, and do our
best endeavors, and then Christ will make up the deficiency';
that is, "you must be your own Savior", in part. This is not the
doctrine of the gospel; this is not the doctrine of Jesus: no; Christ
is all in all; Jesus Christ must be your whole wisdom; Jesus Christ
must be your whole righteousness. Jesus Christ must be your
whole sanctification; or Jesus Christ will never be any of your
eternal redemption and sanctification… Our polite and fashionable
doctrine is, ‘That there is a fitness in man, and that God, seeing
you a good creature, bestows upon you His grace.’ God forbid,
my dear brethren, you should thus learn Jesus Christ!”

Whitefield goes on to say, “This is not the doctrine I preach to you;
I say, salvation is the free gift of God. It is God’s free grace, I
preach unto you, not of works, lest any one should boast. Jesus
Christ justifies the ungodly.”

In this quote, Whitefield talks about trusting in part of one’s own
works to save one’s self, and then, where the works have a
deficiency, then Christ steps in to make up for where the works
are lacking. “God forbid”, as Whitefield had said! Christ must be
our all in all – our justification, sanctification, and complete
righteousness must be in Him and Him alone! When we fail to
exalt the Lord Jesus; when we fail to lift up the finished work of the
Cross; when we fail to preach justification by faith; when we fail to
expound upon the great and hidden treasures of God’s matchless
grace by His unearned, undeserved, sovereign favor based upon
His own mercy and love, then we’ve failed to preach the Gospel!

The sad tragedy of a great too many dear, precious souls is that
they began in the Spirit by faith, but then seek to perfect
themselves through the flesh by works, and when the unstable
tendencies of human nature prevent those works from being good
enough to meet the standards of some doctrines of perfection,
condemnation sets in and all true faith in Christ alone is lost.
Unless your works are rooted and grounded by faith in Christ
alone as your righteousness, done out of sincere love and desire
to please Him and not out of religious duty, obligation, or a sense
of trying to earn your own righteousness, then they are nothing
but filthy rags and a rotten stench in the nostrils of God. The focus
must be on Christ! Look to Calvary’s Cross – not to the filthy rags
of your own righteousness!

Interestingly, many of those in the holiness crowd who turn the
doctrines of Christ into a kind of legalistic perfection claim to love
and follow the teachings of John Wesley, and claim to derive their
doctrine from his theology on “Christian Perfection”. They claim
that they believe the same things as Wesley believed and
preached. However, many are totally ignorant of Wesley’s doctrine.

In his sermon called, “On Sin in Believers”, John Wesley comes
against the Moravians for preaching a form of sinless perfection
and driving weaker Christians into a mode of despondency and
despair, rather than strengthening and encouraging their faith by
which they could overcome such inward unholy tempers and
emotions. Listen to his words in this sermon:

“And as this position, ‘There is no sin in a believer, no carnal mind,
no bent to backsliding,’ is thus contrary to the word of God, so it
is to the experience of his children. These continually feel an heart
bent to backsliding; a natural tendency to evil; a proneness to
depart from God, and cleave to the things of earth. They are daily
sensible of sin remaining in their heart, -- pride, self-will, unbelief;
and of sin cleaving to all they speak and do, even their best
actions and holiest duties. Yet at the same time they ‘know that
they are of God;’ they cannot doubt of it for a moment. They feel
his Spirit clearly ‘witnessing with their spirit, that they are the
children of God.’ They ‘rejoice in God through Christ Jesus, by
whom they have now received the atonement.’ So that they are
equally assured, that sin is in them, and that "Christ is in them
the hope of glory."

Wesley goes on to say a few paragraphs later, “We are ‘reconciled
to God through the blood of the cross:’ And in that moment the
jronhma sarkos, the corruption of nature, which is enmity with God,
is put under our feet; the flesh has no more dominion over us. But
it still exists; and it is still in its nature enmity with God, lusting
against his Spirit.”

In the summary of this sermon, Wesley concludes by saying, “The
sum of all is this: There are in every person, even after he is justified, two
contrary principles, nature and grace, termed by St. Paul the flesh and the
Spirit. Hence, although even babes in Christ are sanctified, yet it is only in
part. In a degree, according to the measure of their faith, they are spiritual;
yet, in a degree they are carnal. Accordingly, believers are continually
exhorted to watch against the flesh, as well as the world and the devil. And to
this agrees the constant experience of the children of God. While they feel
witness in themselves, they feel a will not wholly resigned to the will of God.
They know they are in him; and yet find an heart ready to depart from him, a
proneness to evil in many instances, and a backwardness to that which is good.
The contrary doctrine is wholly new; never heard of in the church of Christ,
from the time of his coming into the world, till the time of Count Zinzendorf;
and it is attended with the most fatal consequences. It cuts off all watching
against our evil nature, against the Delilah which we are told is gone, though
she is still lying in our bosom. It tears away the shield of weak believers,
deprives them of their faith and so leaves them exposed to all the assaults of
the world, the flesh, and the devil.”

“Let us, therefore, hold fast the sound doctrine ‘once delivered to
the saints,’ and delivered down by them with the written word to all
succeeding generations: That although we are renewed, cleansed,
purified, sanctified, the moment we truly believe in Christ, yet we
are not then renewed, cleansed, purified altogether; but the flesh,
the evil nature, still remains (though subdued) and wars against
the Spirit. So much the more let us use all diligence in ‘fighting
the good fight of faith.’” (End of Wesley Quotations)

Obviously, not even did John Wesley, a prince among holiness
preachers, believe in any form of sinless perfection. To the contrary,
he clearly and unmistakably preached against it and corrected
others who fell into this error.

Regarding Wesley’s theology concerning “Christian Perfection”,
we must be absolutely clear to distinguish and mark the difference
between this and “sinless perfection”. They are two totally different
and radically opposed doctrines. Wesley himself makes this
distinction in his sermons and articles on the subject, and he
makes it a very clear point to say that he is not teaching sinless
perfection. Christian perfection, as Wesley taught it, was not a
perfection of knowledge, or a perfection of absolute righteousness
via the absence of sin, but it is a perfection of love, and once this
perfect love is obtained, one is able to walk in a state of true heart

There is a huge difference, and the understanding of this difference
among those who claim to follow Wesley’s teachings can be the
difference between sound theology and heresy.

The good news is that we can have victory and dominion over all
known forms of sin now, here in this life, and that Christ will
empower us to live in such freedom; that through Christ we can be
holy; that by the power of the Cross we can be crucified to the
flesh with its’ affections and lusts and by the power of His
resurrection to walk in the newness of life in righteousness and
true holiness of heart before God. In fact, we must walk in such
victory, or else our souls are in grave danger!

A true Christian will be holy, for without holiness no man shall see
the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). This means they will live up to the full
light of their conscience, endeavoring, laboring and even striving
to keep a clean conscience in the sight of God, walking in inward
purity and love with everything that is within them. They will not
continue in any known form of sin... To a true Christian, the
smallest and tiniest of his inward imperfections and sins will be
as abominable to his new nature as a bowl of hot, steamy vomit
would be appetizing to his stomach.

However, a false convert (one who claims to be a Christian but is
not) will continue in known sin even though he knows it is sin,
and even though he may confess it, he doesn’t truly repent to “go
and sin no more”, thus proving that he is not born of God according
to 1 John 1:9. Rather than being free from sin like a true Christian,
he is in bondage to sin and won’t be able to get completely free
apart from true conversion and regeneration. The fact that he
commits sin, and continues to sin willfully after receiving knowledge
of the truth, proves that he is not a child of God.


Dear soul: if you have any known form of sin in your life, then
repent! Don’t dare play the harlot on God by adulterating yourself
with the affairs of this world; knowing that whosoever is the friend
of the world is the enemy of God (James 4:1-4). Don’t dare hold in
your own heart the smallest bosom sin – it is deadlier than cyanide
and will kill your soul a thousand times worse than the most
torturous death you can possibly imagine. Know, that whatever
your sin, there is time now to repent, but if you refuse to repent,
that sin will bring forth a woefully awful eternal death for your soul!
As Charles Spurgeon said, “Come to him just as thou art, but
renounce thy sins. Ask him to set thee free from every lust, from
every false way, from every evil thing, or else, mark thee, thou
shalt never find grace and favor at his hands. The greatest sin in
the world, repented of, shall be forgiven, but the least unrepented
sin shall sink thy soul lower than the lowest hell.”

Don’t dare think that Christ will save you from the wrath of God if
you will not have Him first save you from all known sin!


Contrary to being a willful sinner, perhaps you are one of those
dear souls who have been genuinely and truly converted by the
grace of God. You love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind,
soul and strength and you love your neighbor as yourself. You
know you were among the chief of sinners until God transformed
you by His love and mercy. You have had a real, dramatic, living
and powerful revelation of Christ being revealed to your heart and
have received a living faith wherewith you have believed unto the
saving of your soul. You became a new creature in Christ, created
in the image of God after the inner man, and walked with God in
fellowship with His Spirit by faith. You have no known form of sin
in your life. You constantly pray, search yourself, examine yourself
to see if you are in the faith, and ask God to reveal anything that
is hindering you in your relationship with Him.

However, you have fallen into the trap of setting the standard too
high, of hearing the holiness of God and the necessity of holiness
in the life of a true saint emphasized so much that subconsciously,
within your heart of hearts, you have believed that unless you meet
some standards of ridiculously high perfection, you must certainly
be condemned. You are always feeling guilty because although
you have prayed, you haven’t prayed enough, or hard enough.
Although you read and study the Word of God, you don’t under-
stand as you should. Although you love and serve God, and walk
in holiness as far as you can possibly know, it feels like you
haven’t entered into God’s rest by faith, and you are in bondage
to constantly trying to work and work your way into maintaining
a right-standing with God. Having begun in the Spirit by the grace
of God, you have fallen from grace and backslid into a salvation
based on works, striving in the flesh to obey God lest He cut you
off. Away with such lies in the name of Jesus!

Dear soul: if you are walking in no known form of sin; if you are
not sinning willfully against God; if you have forsaken all to follow
Jesus; if you have been truly converted and born again and have
received the witness of the Spirit within your heart, and you are
continuing to follow and serve God with all your heart, then for the
sake of God’s glory, don’t make Him out to be a liar by doubting
His exceeding great and precious promises! He has pledged
Himself by covenant to undertake the salvation of your soul if you
will only believe!

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind,
and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and
they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man
his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord:
for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be
merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities
will I remember no more” (Hebrews 8:8-12).

God promises under the New Covenant, purchased by the blood
of Christ, to be merciful to your unrighteousness, and to forget
your sins and iniquities, if you are walking in true heart surrender
before Him to believe in Him with all your heart and to love and
serve and obey Him out of love and devotion and gratitude for what
He did on the Cross, not out of a fear of punishment, for perfect
love casts out all fear. If the gracious Lord has forgiven you much,
don’t condemn yourself and try to perfect yourself by working up
a right standing with God, but love Him much in return – that’s all
He asks. Show Him you love Him by believing in Him as your

“It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ
that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right
hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall
separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress,
or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it
is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are
accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we
are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am
persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities,
nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height,
 nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us
from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:31-39).

Your salvation is based on the blood of Jesus and by faith in that
blood, not upon your feelings, your performances, or any other
thing, “for by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are
sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). If you are sanctified and totally
devoted to the Lord, then the precious blood of the Lamb has
taken away your sin and His one offering perfects you forever!

Are you feeling condemned, even though you have been born of
God? Hold fast your profession of faith! Don’t waver or doubt! He
who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of
Christ Jesus! Are you in a time of need and you need grace to
help you with your infirmities? Behold, the Lamb of God that
takes away the sin of the world! He knows the feeling of your
infirmities, and was tempted in all the same ways, yet was without
sin, and thereby He invites you to come to Him, just as you are,
with all your unbelief, all your questions, all your doubts, all your
fears, all your uncertainties, and even all your sins, and He will
freely and openly accept you into the everlasting mercies of the
Father and give you the grace you need.

“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation,
and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his
Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused
them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by
the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and
they loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:10-11).


Beware of over-exalting the doctrines of holiness to the extent that
a legalistic form of perfection is established in the minds of those
who adhere to such teachings, causing them to fall under the
condemnation of the devil for failing to meet up to those perfections.
Don’t join sides with the Accuser of the Brethren to accuse and
condemn the saints of God, or even yourself if you are truly a saint,
but instead, stand strong in faith, giving glory to God, staggering
not at the promise of God through unbelief, but having the anchor
of your hope firmly planted in the Rock of Calvary’s Cross!

The most holy saint needs the grace of God as much as the most
wicked, undeserving sinner if any one of them is to be saved. In
fact, the saint needs it even more so in order to maintain his walk
with God every day. Neither one deserves God’s grace; it is a free
gift of His sovereign mercy.

Saints, we have enough against us: the world, the flesh, and the
devil. Let us recognize our enemy, expose his lies, and stand
strong in faith against his clever schemes and slick wiles. Let’s
not join ranks alongside the hoards of Hell to condemn the saints
and to condemn ourselves along with them by preaching legalism
or perfection in the mask of holiness. Let’s not be guilty of
swinging the pendulum of truth too far, to the opposite extreme
when combating the errors of the antinomians. Instead, let’s lift
up Jesus! Let’s raise up on high the old rugged Cross that all men
may be drawn to Him! Let’s focus on Him as the Lord of all lords
and King of all kings! Let’s preach His holiness, His righteousness,
His justice, His wrath, His mercy, His love, and His grace without
fail! And may we never again be guilty of over-emphasizing certain
of these attributes of our majestic Lord while totally neglecting
other of His glorious attributes, lest we present a lopsided view of
God and thereby portray a false image of Him to the world. We
want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the whole and
entire truth, so help us God! Oh, dear Lord, help us!

~The above was slightly condensed (!!). To read the full article and
see the many comments, please see our Forum under the heading
"The FATAL TRAP of Holiness Preaching" at the following website-