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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Can a lost sinner stop sinning?

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Lazarus1719 wrote:
Great thread brother Kerrigan!

These are some very important questions!

Can a sinner stop sinning?

Does God command all men everywhere to repent when he knows that no sinner, anywhere is capable of repenting?

Does God send men to hell for failure to do the impossible?

If sinful man is not capable of repenting, [changing one's direction in life] why would John the baptist exhort people in his preaching to do that? Certainly HE must have thought it possible. Jesus never corrected him, either.
Keep in mind that the cross hadn't happened in that point in time. Therefore, by God's Grace, the ability to repent is granted to everyone. It is when His Grace is "quenched" that one can run from being stiffnecked to reprobate. How quenching, to whatever degree, happens man knows within him and will be judged by his decision[s] in the matter, that cause it. The foreknowledge of God already knows who they are.



 2006/8/23 7:17

Joined: 2005/7/20
Posts: 671
Los Angeles, California



Thanks for those quote. That is exactly what I was trying to say. And that is the BIG part that many street preachers and "holiness" preachers leave out. You can't do it on your own - it is impossible.

See there is a BIG difference between condemning sinners for acting like sinners and using the law and other Scriptures that point out sin like 1 Cor 6:9-10 and Eph 5 to show people their need for a savior from sinning and their need to be reconciled to a Holy God who hates sin so much that he sent His Son to save us from the bonds of sin, that we through the finished work of Christ on the cross and the Grace of God we may have power over sin.

Many street preachers just condemn sinners for acting like sinners and tell them to repent and stop sinning. That is like condemning a dog for being a dog and telling him to repent and stop being a dog.


I am also interested if you asked your friend if he believes in original sin. If he does then it is pretty easy from their to watch is theory start to unravel and fall apart. Most likely he has denied original sin in order to make this "self-righteous" theology work.

Patrick Ersig

 2006/8/23 10:24Profile

Joined: 2006/4/13
Posts: 58
South Central Kentucky


You know, Patrick, I am not for sure what my friend believes in as far as origingal sin...but I would guess from the posts he has made in the past that he doesn't believe in it at all. By the way, I am in agreement with what you have said. Good posting...

Kerrigan Skelly

 2006/8/23 11:49Profile

Joined: 2006/2/11
Posts: 2895
Philadelphia PA


Hi RevKerrigan.

I'd like to repond to something you posted for us in connection with your question. It seems to be something we struggle with, including myself.

You qouted your friend as saying

God only commands the possible.

At one time I would have thought that was self-evident and reasonable. Not so now.

I would point to the covenant which Moses brought. For instance, where these conditions are put forth

[b][color=000000]Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which [u]if[/u] a man do, he shall live in them: I am the Lord.[/color][/b]

I find in this statement a similar expression of what the Lord said to the man who asked Him about gaining eternal life

[b][color=000000]Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.[/color][/b]

[i]would suggest here that the refrences to the Ten Commandments would not exclude the rest of the statutes in the Law, the Ten were only the 'tenor' of the Law, as in Exodus 34:27[/i]

After the man went away and the Lord spoke other words about this, the disciples then asked

who then can be saved?

to which the Lord replied

[b]The things which are [u]impossible with men[/u] are [i]possible[/i][/b][b] [color=0000CC]with God[/color][/b]

Something else to consider is the nature of the covenant which Moses brought,

Was it not conditional? and yet I would suggest the conditions on the part of the people could not be met.

[b][color=000000] And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, [u]All that the Lord hath spoken we will do[/u]. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord. [/color][/b]

If such obedience could be rendered, then
why this Apostolic comment upon the same covenant

[b]For as many as are of the works of the law are [color=000000]under the curse[/color]: for it is written, [u]Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things[/u] which are written in the book of the law to do them.[/b]

No, he does not say it was unfair; rather that it was a curse! So what then, it is fine to believe that God would require men to render obedience under a curse but only if rendering such obedience was, [i]possible[/i]?

Elsewhere upon this same theme the Apostle writes

But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man)...

[b][color=000000] ...God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?[/color][/b]

Some thoughts.

Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2006/8/23 13:41Profile

Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.

Amen Chris. I also agree with several others including Patrick and FreeCD. Perhaps what we are discussing is the merits of Pelagianism. Can we say that the will of natural man is all that is needed to live a life that satisfies God? I think the New Testament refutes Pelagianism with a consistent "before and after" transformational message. Indeed, the phrase "good news" implies that mankind was in need of some good news.

So, are we to preach the good news or simply preach repentance from sin? What's so good about this good news? Is it simply that you must repent and walk with God....or that now you can repent, through Christ, and walk with God. Regarding a sincere mans ability to repent in his own strength, (beyond the turning from self-reliance)there is this clear scripture.

Act 15:10 Now therefore why do you tempt God, that you should put a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

Paul talked about putting on the 'new man'. Why put on this new man if the old man could get the job done?

(Edit: scripture added)... you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God,...because of the blindness of their heart;who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Along these lines we see many phases and statements in the New Testament that seems to put faith-filled new man in a different light then natural man. Consider just 1 Corinthians 1...

" No one can say that you were baptized in my name... He (God) sent me to preach the good news. He commanded me not to use the kind of wisdom that people commonly use. That would take all the power away from the cross of Christ.... we preach about Christ and his death on the cross. That is very hard for Jews to accept. And everyone else thinks it's foolish.

But there are those God has chosen, both Jews and others. To them Christ is God's power and God's wisdom... The weakness of God is stronger than human strength. Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when God chose you. Not many of you were considered wise by human standards. Not many of you were powerful. ...So no one can brag to God.

Because of what God has done, you belong to Christ Jesus.... He makes us right with God. He makes us holy and sets us free. It is written, "The one who brags should brag about what the Lord has done."—(Jeremiah 9:24)



Mike Compton

 2006/8/23 14:17Profile


I just wish that, as Christians, we could all stop sinning!

We're in good company tho. Paul said in several passages that he struggled daily with his flesh.


 2006/8/23 14:21

Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2788
Phoenix, Arizona USA

 Re: Can a lost sinner stop sinning?

Is a lost sinner in such bondage to sin, that he can't stop sinning unless he becomes Born Again?

We must understand the true nature of the problem of sinning. There seems to be a clear distinction in the Bible between 'sins' and 'sin'. Sins are the outward evidence of the inward reality of sin in the heart. Jesus makes this clear as quoted in Mark...
And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
(Mar 7:14-23)

There is an inward problem that must be dealt with, a new nature is required. You've probably heard the story about how you can take a pig and wash it up nice and clean but as soon as it gets the chance it will wallow in the mud again because it is in its nature to do so. It needs a new nature to change this pattern.

Outward sins are pinpointed by the law and can be restrained but inside the true problem remains. As Romans 6 tells us, we are crucified with Christ so that we would no longer serve sin, that is the only way to break the bondage.

In Christ,


Ron Halverson

 2006/8/23 14:30Profile

Joined: 2006/6/12
Posts: 524


I just want to add this,

John 15:5
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for [b]without me ye can do NOTHING. [/b]. ( borrowing it's precept since I quote it out of context )

Lostness and sinfulness are inseparable, in the spiritual realm, methinks. :)


 2006/8/23 15:04Profile


For a sinner to stop all of his sin, he must come to Jesus Christ.

The greatest commandment is to love God, so the greatest of sins is not loving God. And Jesus said you are either for him or against him. So a sinner that does not come to Christ is against God and therefore in violating of the greatest commandment, and is committing the greatest of sins.

So a sinner must come to Jesus if he is to stop ALL of his sins.

Sinners are slaves of sin. But it's because they choose and present themselves to obey sin that they are slaves of sin.

Ro 6:16 "Do you not know that to whom [i]you present yourselves[/i] slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves [i]whom you obey[/i], whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?"

Nobody has to sin. Nobody is forced to sin. Sin is something sinners [b]let]/b] happen:

Romans 6:12-13 "Therefore do not [i]let sin reign[/i] in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not [i]present your members as instruments of unrighteousness[/i] to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God."

Likewise with holiness. Nobody is forced to be holy against their will. Holiness is something that must be chosen. They must, as the bible says, "obey from the heart"

But without Jesus, a sinner cannot be holy


A liar can stop lying without becoming a Christian.

A theif can stop stealing even without becoming a Christian.

An adulterer can stop committing adultery even without becoming a Christian.

And doesn't experience prove this? I have friends that have stopped doing drugs, but they haven't become Christians.

I have friends that have stopped robbing people, even though they haven't become a Christian.

But without Jesus Christ, a sinner can never be right with God.

Of coarse a sinner can stop his sinning. If he couldn't, God wouldn't send them to hell. But for a sinner to truly stop his sinning, he must come to Jesus Christ.

Without holiness no man shall see the Lord. And likewise, without the Lord no man shall see holiness.

 2006/8/23 17:00

Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 38123
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11


The definitions of sin are really missing the point here, we need to rediscover the "sinfulness of sin" it is not just the fruits of sin but the heart issue itself that is important. Sinful actions are definetly sin but they are the outflow of a wicked depraved unruly heart that is in opposition to God at its roots. This no man can stop being and therefore there will always be that inclination to allow the outflow of sin, even though people can seemingly address some external things in their lifes they can never deal with the root of the issue, pride, selfishness, the desire for the sinner to be exalted as "god".

The heart is desperatly wicked who can find it out? Oh only in Christ can our sinful ailment be solved by that eternal balm that Christ offered on the Christ, His precious blood.

I think this thread is crying out the need to look into the doctrine of the "depravity of man" UTTER depravity. Let us read some articles by Wesley, Whitefield or any contemparies in those times on this subject and it will straighten out some of our questions we are posing here.

I do think there have been some great responses but there seems to be a need for people to realize how sinful we actually are.

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2006/8/23 17:29Profile

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