I saw this tweet yesterday:
The tweet is good at pointing out that we shouldn’t try to get away with sin. I’m all for supporting that. But it suggests that you are saved – that is, you belong to Jesus – up until the point where you sin too much. Mr. Piper would probably deny that’s what he meant. Good. But his tweet doesn’t back him up on that.
Your Salvation Is Sealed
Here’s the reality. You have been sealed with the Holy Spirit for “the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30.) Not just sealed by, but sealed with. You are sealed with God. God is going to be there on the day of redemption and so will you.
Resting on a single verse for assurance of salvation might sound risky to some people though, so let’s look at what Jesus himself said about it.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. (John 10:28-30.)
You can’t be snatched out of Jesus’ hand, you can’t be snatched out of the Father’s hand, and you are sealed with the Holy Spirit.
Rather than leave some people scratching their heads about whether salvation is lost if you sin too much, Mr. Piper should have left that part out of the tweet entirely. It’s a poorly worded phrase, made worse by being not only confusing but in a way that when misunderstood leads to bad doctrine.
You Can’t Kill Sin
The second problem with the tweet is it suggests you are to kill our sin. There might be passages that some can point to on this, but I think the entirety of Scripture teaches otherwise. For example, you can avoid sin by turning your attention to Jesus instead.
… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2.)
You can pray for God to show you the way out, as well.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13.)
The bottom line is that when it comes to killing sin – and paying any debt you would owe because of it – that’s already been taken care of for you by the finished work of Jesus Christ.
He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14.)
Avoiding The Real Temptation
Please don’t be tempted to think that there is some amount of sin that will cause you to be kicked out of God’s family. It won’t happen. And don’t let anyone tell you that killing sin is your responsibility. You can’t do it. It’s not only beyond your powers, but it’s already been taken care of for you by your Savior who loves you completely and forever.