We live in a day in which church-goers treat sin lightly.
They talk about forgiveness and love, mercy and grace; but they ignore concepts like holiness, righteousness and justice.
They talk about "struggling with sin," when they are actually "struggling with their consciences." It's not the sin that bothers them (sin they constantly choose to commit); it's their conscience that condemns them.
They do not take seriously all the Scripture passages which warn us that sin is not an option; and they are quick to explain-away any such passage they may "accidently" come across.
They are not willing to make the life changes that are necessary for growing in salvation, changes which the Spirit of God enables his people - the genuine followers of Jesus - to make.
Yes, those Scripture verses they emphasize about love and forgiveness do exist; but so do the ones about holiness, which they choose to ignore. Both sets of verses are there in Scripture; and neither cancels the other! We must acknowledge and live by both. Otherwise, we are clinging to half-truth - which happens to be half error, the starting point for just about every false teaching that has ever existed.
Below are some of those Scripture passages that tell us that sin is not an option. Since they are there in Scripture, it is foolish to ignore them!
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Below is just a small selection from the verses we could choose, all taken from the New Testament. The contexts vary greatly (as does their applicability to us); but they all contain the same theme: Sin is not an option for people to choose; but righteousness and holiness is an obligation. In Christ, the old way is dead, and the new is alive! But this life is only in Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
The following Scripture passages are from the World English Bible, a public domain translation. Feel free to use the translation of your choice; for they all will have the same emphasis. Also, feel free to look at the contexts of the passages, look for other verses with a similar theme, and look in the Old Testament.
One might ask why Scripture contains so many passages of this nature. First, it is because this is a serious matter; and people who are not doing these things tend to overlook what they don't want to see. There are so many such verses, that such people will be without excuse on the day of judgment, if they refuse to accept what the verses say.
Another reason is this: There are many who are satisfied with being "religious" without the repentance, trust and obedience that are a part of genuine "following Jesus." These passages are a warning to such people, giving them an opportunity to repent before it is too late (and no excuse if they don't).
Finally, many of the passages were written to "new-born" Christians. They wanted to follow Jesus, but didn't always know what "following" meant. Such passages would direct them in the way of truth. They would change their ways - unlike the fakes.
Therefore you be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.
... that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, could serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
After these things Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, "Look, you have become well! Sin no longer, lest something worse happen to you."
And she said, "No one, Lord." So Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more."
Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and will take up residence with him. The one who does not love me does not keep my words, and the word that you hear is not mine, but the Father's who sent me.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
What therefore shall we say? Shall we continue in sin, in order that grace may increase? May it never be! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!
So then, brothers, we are obligated not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
1 Cor. 6:9-11
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Neither sexually immoral people, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor passive homosexual partners, nor dominant homosexual partners, nor thieves, nor greedy persons, not drunkards, not abusive persons, not swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And some of you were these things, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Cor. 15:33-34
Do not be deceived! "Bad company corrupts good morals." Sober up correctly and stop sinning, for some have no knowledge of God—I say this to your shame.
2 Cor. 7:1
Therefore since we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of body and spirit, accomplishing holiness in the fear of God.
Therefore become imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, just as also Christ loved us, and gave himself for us an offering and sacrifice to God for a fragrant smell.
Only lead your lives in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent I hear your circumstances, that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one soul contending side by side for the faith of the gospel, ...
... in order that you may become blameless and innocent, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine as stars in the world, holding fast to the word of life, for a source of pride to me in the day of Christ, that I did not run in vain or labor in vain
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
1 Thes. 4:3-7
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, just as also the Gentiles who do not know God; not to transgress and to exploit his brother in the matter, because the Lord is the one who avenges concerning all these things, just as also we told you beforehand and testified solemnly. For God did not call us to impurity, but in holiness.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people, training us in order that, denying impiety and worldly desires, we may live self-controlled and righteously and godly in the present age, looking forward to the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, in order that he might redeem us from all lawlessness and purify for himself a people for his own possession, zealous for good deeds. Speak these things and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist concerning these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and beneficial for people.
But also our people must learn to engage in good deeds for necessary needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.
And they will not teach each one his fellow citizen and each one his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.
1 Peter 1:14-19
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former desires you used to conform to in your ignorance, but as the one who called you is holy, you yourselves be holy in all your conduct, for it is written, "You will be holy, because I am holy." And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's work, conduct yourselves with fear during the time of your temporary residence, because you know that you were redeemed from your futile way of life inherited from your ancestors not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb ...
1 Peter 2:24
[Christ,] who himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we may die to sins and live to righteousness, by whose wounds you were healed.
1 Peter 4:1-5
Therefore, because Christ suffered in the flesh, you also equip yourselves with the same way of thinking, because the one who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, in order to live the remaining time in the flesh no longer for human desires, but for the will of God. For the time that has passed was sufficient to do what the Gentiles desire to do, having lived in licentiousness, evil desires, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties, and wanton idolatries, with respect to which they are surprised when you do not run with them into the same flood of dissipation, and so they revile you. They will give an account to the one who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
2 Peter 1:4-10
... through which things he has bestowed on us his precious and very great promises, so that through these you may become sharers of the divine nature after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire, and for this same reason, and by applying all diligence, supply with your faith excellence of character, and with excellence of character, knowledge, and with knowledge, self-control, and with self-control, patient endurance, and with patient endurance, godliness, and with godliness, brotherly love, and with brotherly love, love. For if these things are yours and are increasing, this does not make you useless or unproductive in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the one for whom these things are not present is blind, being nearsighted, having forgotten the cleansing of his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be zealous even more to make your calling and election secure, because if you do these things, you will never ever stumble.
1 John 2:1
My little children, I am writing these things to you in order that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one, ...
1 John 3:2-10
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that whenever he is revealed we will be like him, because we will see him just as he is. And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as that one is pure. Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that that one was revealed in order that he might take away sins, and in him there is no sin. Everyone who resides in him does not sin. Everyone who sins has neither seen him nor known him. Little children, let no one deceive you: the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as that one is righteous. The one who practices sin is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. For this reason the Son of God was revealed: in order to destroy the works of the devil. Everyone who is fathered by God does not practice sin, because his seed resides in him, and he is not able to sin, because he has been fathered by God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are evident: everyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, namely, the one who does not love his brother.
1 John 5:18
We know that everyone who is fathered by God does not sin, but the one fathered by God, he protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.