Sugar Coated Gospel

In New Testament times, the apostle Paul wrote to his young protégé, Timothy, warning him to do the things that will avoid the trend we are now seeing in the modern day church:

2 Timothy 4:1-5(HCSB)Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching. For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new. They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths. But as for you, be serious about everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

The original Greek word translated myths here means “fiction” or “nonsense.” Paul issued the same type of warning to a group of believers in Corinth. False doctrine was slipping into this first-century church, threatening to weaken its spiritual foundation. Can you hear the cry of the apostle as he cautions the new believers against this subtle satanic spirit?

2 Corinthians 11:2-4(HCSB)For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, because I have promised you in marriage to one husband—to present a pure virgin to Christ. But I fear that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your minds may be seduced from a complete and pure devotion to Christ. For if a person comes and preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or you receive a different spirit, which you had not received, or a different gospel, which you had not accepted, you put up with it splendidly!

The deception Paul warned about is rampant today in America and all over the world, and I am concerned for the family of God. People who need desperately to hear about the shed blood of Jesus and how God loves them and has a plan for their lives must first wade through piles of garbage and mucky polluted rivers before hearing just a morsel of truth. We are reminded of the prophet Amos when he bellowed out these words:Amos 8:12(HCSB)People will stagger from sea to sea and roam from north to east, seeking the word of the Lord,but they will not find it.

Lovers of the Truth

We’ve all heard the saying that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. That may be true. But today, in the spiritual sense, there is no medicine coming behind the ear candy. The doctors of the Word, the preachers, are afraid to prescribe the medicine that was made available from heaven’s pharmacy 2,000 years ago. They see the disease but are afraid to properly treat it for fear of offending. They have become tolerant.

From God’s perspective, the diagnosis and treatment have always been clear: Sin is the disease. The blood of Christ is the cure. Repentance is God’s method for putting the two together.

That’s not a sweet message. For Jesus, it was a bitter cup. It wasn’t sweet when the crown of thorns was pressed upon His head and blood spilled into His eyes. It wasn’t sweet when they took a whip of leather holding pieces of glass and stone and shredded His back like a farmer would plow a field. It wasn’t sweet when they blindfolded Him, slapped His face and mocked His deity.

No, it wasn’t sweet when they placed a beam on His raw, exposed shoulders and forced Him to carry His own cross. It wasn’t sweet when He fell under the load.

It wasn’t sweet when they laid His body on the beams and pierced His hands and feet. It wasn’t sweet when the cross dropped in the hole and ripped even further the flesh that had just been pierced. It wasn’t sweet when He lifted His voice and said, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” It wasn’t sweet when He pierced the heavens with these words: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

I’m speaking of the gospel story—the penetrating truth of what Jesus Christ had to endure so that we could be adopted into His family. Now, 2,000 years after His brutal death, we find pastors glossing over and sugarcoating this message in order to avoid offending society’s delicate palates with the bitter truth. They have become tolerant politicians.

Jesus was never motivated by how His message would be received. In fact, He reduced His congregation to just a faithful few after preaching a full-course meal on sacrifice. His command of “Eat My flesh and drink My blood” transformed His cheerleaders into cowards. They walked away.

He didn’t chase after them. He didn’t change His message to cheer them up. When they sought sweet words, He didn’t give them tasty, sugary morsels. They needed truth and thats what He gave them.

The Bible is a gritty book. Very raw. Very real. It was written about and to deal with people just like us, people just as needy and screwed up as we are, encountering a God who would rather die than spend eternity without them.

Yet despite that, it seems like Christians are uncomfortable with how explicit the Bible really is. They feel the need to censor it and God.

For example, look in any modern translation of Isaiah 64:6(NLT), and you’ll find that, to a holy God, even our most righteous acts are like “filthy rags.” The original language doesn’t say “filthy rags”; it says “menstrual rags.” But that sounds a little too crass, so let’s just call them filthy instead.

And let’s not talk so much about Jesus being naked on the cross, and let’s pretend Paul said that he considered his good deeds “a pile of garbage” in Philippians 3:8(NLT)Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ  rather than a pile of crap(Skubala), as the Greek would more accurately be translated.

And let’s definitely not mention the six times in the Old Testament that the Jewish writers referred to Gentile men as those who “pisseth against the wall.”

1 Samuel 25:22(KJV)So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.(At least the King James Version got that one right.)

The point?

God’s message was not meant to be run through some arbitrary, politically correct,holier-than-thou politeness filter. He intended the Bible to speak to people where they’re at, caught up in the stark reality of life in a broken world.

Dozens of Psalms are complaints and heart-wrenching cries of despair to God, not holy-sounding, reverently worded sermons. Take Psalm 77:1-3(NLT)“I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help”

And rather than shy away from difficult and painful topics, the Old Testament includes vivid descriptions of murder, cannibalism, witchcraft, dismemberment, torture, rape, idolatry, erotic sex and animal sacrifice. According to Paul, those stories were written as examples and warnings for us 1 Corinthians 10:11(HCSB)11 Now these things happened to them as examples, and they were written as a warning to us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.. So obviously they were meant to be retold without editing out all the things we don’t consider nice or agreeable.

What about Ezekiel 16(which says Whore in almost every verse), God compared Israel’s rebellion using bold, provocative and sexual language that would make our grandmothers blush.

I believe that Scripture includes such graphic material to show how far we, as a race, have fallen and how far God was willing to come to rescue us from ourselves.

God is much more interested in honesty than pietism(sanctimonious, hypocritical, insincere, self-righteous, holier-than-thou,churchy;goody-goody)

And that’s what he gives us throughout Scripture, telling the stories of people who struggled with the same issues, questions and temptations we face today.

Peter struggled with doubt, and we hear all about it.

Elijah dealt with depression; Naomi raged with bitterness against God; Hannah struggled for years under the burden of her unanswered prayers.

David had an affair and then arranged to have his lover’s husband killed. Noah was a drunk, Abraham a liar, Moses a murderer. Job came to a place where he found it necessary to make a covenant with his eyes not to lust after young girls Job 31:1(HCSB)I have made a covenant with my eyes.How then could I look at a young woman?

It’s easy to make “Bible heroes” (as we Protestants might say) or “saints” (as Catholics might refer to them) out to be bigger than life, immune from the temptations that everyone faces.

I find it encouraging that Jesus never came across as pietistic. In fact, he was never accused of being too religious; instead he was with sinners so much that he was accused of being a drunkard and a glutton

Matthew 11:19(HCSB)The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds..

Jesus never said, “The Kingdom of God is like a church service that goes on and on forever and never ends.” He said the kingdom was like a homecoming celebration, a wedding, a party, a feast to which all are invited. But you must take off your garments and put on the wedding outfits.

This idea was too radical for the religious leaders of his day. They were more concerned about etiquette, manners, traditions and religious rituals than about learning from and hanging out with Jesus. And that’s why they missed out.

That’s why we miss out.

Mark 7:1-7(HCSB)The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Him. They observed that some of His disciples were eating their bread with unclean—that is, unwashed—hands. (For the Pharisees, in fact all the Jews, will not eat unless they wash their hands ritually, keeping the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they have washed. And there are many other customs they have received and keep, like the washing of cups, jugs, copper utensils, and dining couches.) Then the Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why don’t Your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders, instead of eating bread with ritually unclean hands?”

He answered them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written: These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.7 They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men.

They had God in the flesh but could not see Him through their religious eyes, because He didn’t come looking and acting like THEY though He should.

No Repentance Required

If we want to be relevant, if we want to be effective, we must preach the cross, the blood, repentance and sacrifice. We must preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

What ever happened to these words of Paul that echo through the corridors of time? 1 Corinthians 9:16(HCSB)For if I preach the gospel, I have no reason to boast, because an obligation is placed on me. And woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!. And how about, (1 Corinthians 2:2(HCSB) For I didn’t think it was a good idea to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

When Paul spoke of lusts, he was referring to anything people set their hearts on outside of Christ. Such people seek teaching that will gratify their carnal desires. They want leaders to deal gently with their evil ways. They want tolerance. They cry, “It’s not really sin. All I did was make a mistake. I just slipped up a little bit. Don’t tell me to repent. Don’t make me come to an altar. Just gimme some sugar, Pastor. Gimme some sugar.” We are called to be the Salt of the earth not the sugar of the earth.

Matthew 5:13(HCSB)13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by men.

Today’s junk-filled jargon, all in the name of Jesus, reminds us of the trouble in Isaiah’s day when the people said, Isaiah 30:9-11(HCSB)They are a rebellious people,deceptive children,children who do not want to obey the Lord’s instruction.10 They say to the seers, “Do not see,”and to the prophets,“Do not prophesy the truth to us.Tell us flattering things.Prophesy illusions.11 

Get out of the way!Leave the pathway.Rid us of the Holy One of Israel.

Paul said, 2 Timothy 4:3(HCSB) For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new.

The people are going after these teachers and bringing them together. They’re gathering all the prophets, the teachers and the lukewarm pastors together. They’re reading the same materials and agreeing with one another. Why? Because they want a message that’s not offensive.

What is happening? We’re allowing the people to decide what to eat for their spiritual dinner. Rather than toiling to prepare some fresh bread from heaven and offering them a clean, cool cup of water from God’s fountain, we are letting their desires determine the meals we serve. What parent would allow their children to decide the evening’s menu? Their plates would be full of cookies, cake and candy!

I believe the devil’s favorite time of the week here in America is Sunday morning. I don’t think he minds seeing people go to church. In fact, I think he wants to get as many people to church as possible because he knows they’ll hear a sugar-coated, lukewarm, “relevant” message.

They’ll go to a 50-minute service in which the sermon is barely 20 minutes long. They have a “religious itch,” and the pastor will scratch it by saying, “You’re fine. Everything’s wonderful. Everything’s OK.” Then they’ll walk out feeling good about themselves. All the while, they’re living in sin and thinking nothing of it.

The people are never confronted—never challenged with a heart-to-heart, riveting message spoken in love that can change their lives. Rather, they receive some hollow message on how to cope, when 90 percent of their problems come from their sinful lifestyles.

2 Corinthians 2:17(HCSB)17 For we are not like the many who market God’s message for profit. On the contrary, we speak with sincerity in Christ, as from God and before God.

This verse contains a figure of speech known as a Simile.  Figures of speech are the Holy Spirit’s markings of what is most important in His Word.  This verse says more than most believers realize.  What does it mean to ‘water down’ the Word of God?  In place of ‘water down’, I decided to use the term ‘sugar-coat’.  The intended purpose of both is the same.

The verse tells us clearly that many, not a few, water down the Word of God – they corrupt it.  They add a word, delete a word – whatever they can do to attempt to support their religious beliefs and doctrines.  This is a serious problem because it amounts to people who are guessing at the meaning of God’s Word which God calls “private interpretation”.  If studied enough, a faithful believer will see that the Word of God interprets itself.  God strictly forbids guesswork, but don’t take my word for it.

2 Peter 1:20(HCSB) First of all, you should know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from one’s own interpretation,

The two words One’s Own deserves some study.  A closer look reveals that this word in its Greek form is the word ‘idios’  and it means ONE’S OWN.  The Scriptures are not open to one’s own interpretation.  We get our English word ‘idiot’ from this Greek word idios.

I would like to use some very simple, clear, and possibly unexpected examples of what it means to water down God’s Word.  By watering down the Word, the adversary, the god of this present world, the devil, often makes an attempt to make himself appear less evil than he is in reality.  My first example is so simple, it may appear harmless and, to some, even a bit humorous.  But that is just what Satan wants you to think.  Then he has you where he wants you and can subtly control your thinking, and in turn, your actions.  Then he will do only what he can do and that is to steal, kill, or destroy.  So let’s get it right because the rightly divided Word of God is the only thing that defeats the enemy and isn’t that what you want – to stop being defeated and to start being more than a conqueror like the Word of God says you should be?  So don’t let the simplicity of any example make you believe the opposite of it’s true purpose.  If you do, you will open your mind to the enemy’s destructive tricks and he is a master at trickery and deception.

Satan waters down and sugar coats the Word of God and we drink and eat it every day – with implications that can be deadly.

How do you not water down the Word of God? The answer to this question is very simple as is everything with the true God.  You must be familiar with it which means you must study it diligently.

2 Timothy 2:15 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth. 

It takes study, time and practice to correctly teach the Word of God.

1 John 2: 17(HCSB)17 And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever.

Many Christians think that all they need to do is to read the Word of God.  But it must be PRACTICED.  You must work at it and actually it is very exciting.  Think of it as a treasure hunt.  The deeper you dig, the greater the treasure.  The more you renew your mind, the greater power you have in your spiritual walk.

Romans 12:1-2(HCSB)Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

You must renew your mind to walk with the power of God

There is one main Scripture that stresses a major principle regarding evil and its origin.  And time and time again, you will hear people misinterpret this principle by omitting only one word.  And this is just what the enemy wants you to do – omit, add or change a word of what’s written in the Bible.  Then you no longer have the Word of God, but you have what is referred to as one’s own (IDIOT) interpretation – guesswork.

Although we went over this verse before, it is a fact that we learn by repetition, so let’s read it again.

2 Peter 1:20(HCSB)20 First of all, you should know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from (IDIOS)one’s own interpretation,

People always talk about money being the root of all evil.  This is not a correct statement according to the Word of God and its accuracy.  This is how the enemy sugar-coats the Word.  Actually, there is nothing wrong with money unless a certain emotion is attached to this subject.  That emotion is love.  Let us go to the Word of God and see what is says about the subject of money.

1 Timothy 6:10(HCSB)For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

It IS NOT money that is the root of all evil, but the LOVE OF MONEY that is the root of all evil.  That’s a big difference from the first erroneous statement.  Satan sugar-coats the Word and makes everyone feel that if they have money, they are subject to evil in some form.  But that is not true.

This is how major misinterpretations occur and then when practiced long enough, they can become doctrine.

So remember, if you are too busy to study God’s Word, it’s not that you are too busy, it is because it is not a priority to you. You need to make it priority. Until something becomes a priority we usually don’t make time for it.  God will reward you greatly for the efforts when you dig for His treasures.  Then you will not corrupt the Word of God and you will eventually see that the Word of God interprets itself – in the verse, in the context or where it was used before.  People sugar-coat fattening foods that have no nutritional value.  Let God strengthen you and keep you strong spiritually with the rightly divided Word of God which will bring you the more than abundant life.

John 10:10(HCSB)10 A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I (Jesus)have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

The best way to stop sugarcoating the Bible is to actually read it for yourself and discover what you haven’t seen before.

I don’t believe we’ll ever recognize our need for the light until we’ve seen the depth of the darkness. So God wasn’t afraid to get down and dirty with us about life, temptation,forgiveness and grace.

Only when the Bible seems relevant to us (which it is), only when the characters seem real to us (which they were), only then will the message of redemption become personal for us (which it was always meant to be).

We don’t need to edit God. We need to let him be the author of our new lives.

When we are born into this world today, we still share this original sin.  That is why it is so important to be born again of God’s Spirit.  We are born as body and soul people.  When we become born again, we become body, soul and spirit.  To acquire eternal life we must confess Jesus Christ as Lord in our life and believe that God raised him from the dead.

Romans 10:9-10(HCSB)If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.

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Freedom from Sin

Everyone seeks freedom. Especially in the West, freedom is the highest virtue, and it is sought after by all who are, or consider themselves to be, oppressed. But freedom in Christ is not the same as political or economic freedom. In fact, some of the most harshly oppressed people in history have had complete freedom in Christ. The Bible tells us that, spiritually speaking, no one is free. In Romans 6:16-18(HCSB)16 Don’t you know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of that one you obey—either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to, 18 and having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. Paul explains that we are all slaves. We are either slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness. Those who are slaves to sin cannot free themselves from it, but once we are freed from the penalty and power of sin through the cross, we become a different kind of slave, and in that slavery we find complete peace and true freedom.

Although it seems like a contradiction, the only true freedom in Christ comes to those who are His slaves. Slavery has come to mean degradation, hardship, and inequality. But the biblical paradigm is the true freedom of the slave of Christ who experiences joy and peace, the products of the only true freedom we will ever know in this life. There are 124 occurrences in the New Testament of the word doulos, which means “someone who belongs to another” or “bondslave with no ownership rights of his own.” Unfortunately, most modern Bible versions, as well as the King James Version, most often translate doulos as “servant” or “bond-servant.” But a servant is one who works for wages, and who, by virtue of his work, is owed something from his master. The Christian, on the other hand, has nothing to offer the Lord in payment for his forgiveness, and he is totally owned by the Master who bought him with His shed blood on the cross. Christians are purchased by that blood and are the possession of their Lord and Savior. We are not hired by Him; we belong to Him (Romans 8:9(HCSB)9 You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.). So “slave” is really the only proper translation of the word doulos.

Far from being oppressed, the slave of Christ is truly free. We have been set free from sin by the Son of God who said, “If the Son sets you free, you really will be free ” (John 8:34-36(HCSB)34 Jesus responded, “I assure you: Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 A slave does not remain in the household forever, but a son does remain forever. 36 Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.).

Now the Christian can truly say, along with Paul, Romans8:1-2(HCSB)1 Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, 2 because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

We now know the truth and that truth has set us free,through our bondage to Christ, we have also become sons and heirs of the Most High God (Galatians 4:1–7(HCSB)1 Now I say that as long as the heir is a child, he differs in no way from a slave, though he is the owner of everything. 2 Instead, he is under guardians and stewards until the time set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were in slavery under the elemental forces of the world. 4 When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

As heirs, we are partakers of that inheritance—eternal life—which God grants to all His children. This is a privilege beyond any earthly treasure we could ever inherit, while those in bondage to sin inherit only spiritual death and an eternity in hell.

We are not all God’s children just because we are born. Jesus explains it to the Pharisees in John.

John 8:42-44(HCSB)42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, because I came from God and I am here. For I didn’t come on My own, but He sent Me. 43 Why don’t you understand what I say? Because you cannot listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.

Why, then, do so many Christians live as though they are still in bondage? For one thing, we often rebel against our Master, refusing to obey Him and clinging to our old lives. We hold on to the sins that once bound us to Satan as our master. Because our new nature still lives in the old fleshly nature, we are still drawn to sin. Paul tells the Ephesians to “put off” the old self with its deceit and corruption and “put on” the new self with its righteousness. Put off lying, and put on truthfulness. Put off stealing, and put on usefulness and work. Put off bitterness, rage, and anger, and put on kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. We have been set free from the bondage of sin, but we often put the chains back on because part of us loves the old life.

Often we don’t realize that we have been crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20(ESV) I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

and that we have been reborn as completely new creatures

2 Corinthians 5:17(HCSB)Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.. The Christian life is one of death to self and rising to “walk in a new way of life” (Romans 6:4(ESV)Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life.  and that new life is characterized by thoughts about Him who saved us, not thoughts about the dead flesh that has been crucified with Christ. When we are continually thinking about ourselves and indulging the flesh in sins we have been freed from, we are essentially carrying around a corpse, full of rottenness and death. The only way to bury it fully is by the power of the Spirit who is the only source of strength. We strengthen the new nature by continually feeding on the Word of God, and through prayer we obtain the power we need to escape the desire to return to the old life of sin. Then we will realize that our new status as slaves to Christ is the only true freedom, and we will call upon His power to “not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires” (Romans 6:12).

We were not created to be sinful. We were designed by God in His own image. Humanity is His masterpiece. We were designed to live in fellowship with our Creator. But because of sin, we cannot enter His presence. When Jesus died on the cross, He took upon Himself all the sin of the world. By taking the punishment for our sin, He cancelled the debt that each of us owes God. He also reversed the curse of our old natures, which keeps us enslaved to sinful passions and desires. Before a person meets Christ, he or she is enslaved by that sin nature. At the moment of conversion, we are given a new nature that has been freed from sin. The entire chapter of Romans 6 explains this in detail. Romans 6:14 says, (HCSB)“14 For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace.

To be free from sin means that those who have made Jesus the Lord of their lives are no longer enslaved by sin. We have the power, through the Holy Spirit, to live victoriously over sin. Just like we once followed fleshly desires, those who are “in Christ Jesus” now follow the Holy Spirit Galatians 5:24(HCSB) Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. . Because we live in a fallen world and are still fleshly creatures, we will still occasionally sin

1 John 1:9(HCSB)  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.;

1 John 2:1(HCSB)My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ the Righteous One.

But those who follow Christ do not make sin a lifestyle choice.

Those who have been born again (John 3:3(HCSB)3 Jesus replied, “I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” have received a new nature. Whereas the old nature drew us toward self-pleasure, the new nature tugs us toward holiness

2 Corinthians 5:17(HCSB)Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. To be free from sin means it no longer wields the power it once did. The stranglehold of selfishness, greed, and lust has been broken. Freedom from sin allows us to offer ourselves as willing slaves of the Lord Jesus Christ, who continues to work in us to make us more like Him (Romans 6:18(HCSB)and having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.