Believers, Not Sin Free

I have been having an email discussion with Paul Dohse of Paul’s Passing Thoughts. The discussion is in regard to a statement Pastor Tullian Tchividjian made in regard to the total depravity of believers. Pastor Tchividjian has asserted that believers continue to be totally depraved. By this he means there is no part of the believer that does not continue to be affected by sin. Though I agree that there is no part of the believer that does not continue to be affected by sin, I believe this is an ill-advised use of this terminology. I did my best to discuss the issue with Mr. Dohse in an effort to ascertain his position on this issue. My best efforts failed to illicit an acceptable answer from Mr. Dohse. All he could do is spew his typical blather that had nothing to do with the questions I asked him.

It seems to me, the following is a balanced biblical approach to the issue at hand. As stated, I believe Pastor Tchividjian is correct in his observation that there is no part of the believer that does not continue to be affected by sin. Believers are not free from sin (in terms of committing acts of sin) in any facet of their being. We are, however, unlike the unregenerate who are totally depraved, free from the control or dominion of sin. We cannot and will not go on living in sin as a lifestyle. When we sin, we act out of character with ourselves and with our profession.

The totally depraved are not free not to sin. Believers, though not free from sin, are free not to sin. Since we are led and empowered by the Holy Spirit, it is possible that if we should fulfill the biblical injunction to walk in or by means of the Spirit, we would not fulfill the desires of the flesh. Our task then, is to walk in line with the Spirit, which, of course, involves walking in line with the Scriptures.

Adam, before the fall, was able to sin. After the fall, he was not able not to sin. In Christ, we are able not to sin. In eternity, we will not be able to sin.


2 Responses to “Believers, Not Sin Free”

  1. December 26, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    Randy – I’ve been having this same conversation with one of my elders. Yes, we are free from sin (as we are seated in the heavenlies with Christ at this moment) but we yet wrestle with sin that entangles us too easily. I stand in firm agreement with you that it is ill advised to use the phrase “totally depraved” in describing Christians – who are new creatures in Christ. If we are the same as unregenerate sinners, use the same term. But since we’re not, use different, more accurate terms.

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