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Pastoral Letter 19 Nov 2017

Can a believer go through a day without sinning? The answer is no, it is impossible! Even though the believer is given the power to say “No” to sin, the struggle with sin that we face daily will continue to be present. We still struggle because we are in the mortal flesh. That is why Apostle Paul says: “… but I am still carnal” (Rom 7:14b). This carnality speaks of the mortal flesh which will be destroyed at the point of death. Though carnal, believers must always remember God wants them to be perfect even as He is perfect (Matt 5:48). This perfection refers to the keeping of God’s Word. God wants them to obey Him and receive the blessings through the keeping of His Word faithfully.

As believers, we are given the new man and this new man is not under the law of sin but under grace. Only our mortal flesh is under the law of sin and therefore it is dying each day. It does not get better but becomes weaker and weaker till it finds its place in the grave. However, the new man (or the “the inward man”) is renewed day by day (2 Cor 4:16). This renewal is the spiritual growth that is the result of obeying God and drawing closer to Him. Believers are to grow in holiness and godliness. Holiness is when we confess our sins to God and repent of them. God knows we will sin and He wants us to repent whenever we sin. Godliness is when we obey God in His Word and be more like Him. We become more godly when we become more like Christ in our thoughts, words and actions. We become better Christians when we grow in holiness and godliness. And we are not without any help. We have the Holy Spirit to guide us and teach us through God’s Word. As such, we must yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit. The more we yield to the Holy Spirit and less to the flesh, the better our testimony for Christ. It is not going to be easy because we are prone to wander from God and incline toward sin. This is the struggle we will face until the Lord brings us home.

But unbelievers do not have such spiritual struggles. They may feel guilty when they do something morally wrong. And they may even repent of the wrong they had done. But their repentance is not towards God. Their repentance is only to soothe their conscience so that they will not feel bad anymore. This is not true repentance. Repentance without God is a false repentance. But how will unbelievers repent towards God since they are ignorant of Him? They do not know God personally or intimately. There is no relationship between them to begin with. But as for us, we have a relationship with God, restored through the Lord Jesus Christ. Now we know God personally and we are able to understand His perfect Word according to His wisdom. And now we know that each time we sin, it is always sin against God first. We may be said to sin against a person when we tell him a lie that cause him to be deceived. But when a lie is told, the ninth commandment is broken immediately. We sinned against God first and directly each time we bear a false witness against our neighhbour. The same goes for other commandments. True repentance therefore must always be made toward God.

Even though it is impossible in this earthly life that we will not go through one day without sinning, let us not be discouraged. Instead let us be encouraged to fight the good fight of faith by trusting in God’s power to stop sinning and to always repent, and to keep on obeying God in His Word faithfully all the way to the end! May God help us. Amen!

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Dennis Kwok