We have miserably failed to understand the gospel. We have thought that we could sin each day as long as we ask for forgiveness, and still remain in a saving relationship with God. But that is not what the Bible teaches. If we are born again, we “cannot sin” (1 Jn. 3:9). The only exception to this is involuntary sin (not discerning it or by mindless impulse), as Paul says below:
If we sin voluntarily after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and “a fierceness of fire which shall devour the adversaries” [Isa. 26:11]. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of Grace?
— Hebrews 10:26-29
Friends, we do not realize how serious sin is. As soon as we sin, we are lost; we no longer have eternal life, and no sacrifice can save us, since we are dead. But even more so, we do not realize how precious and holy the blood of the Messiah is. If we sin and just say we’re sorry and move on, we do not value His blood and it will not save us. We will never make it into Paradise with this attitude; we must be revived and experience true repentance.
There will be a mighty revival of the church of God. I tried to enforce upon the people that sins not repented of are sins not forgiven. Those who think themselves forgiven for sins of which they have never felt the sinfulness and over which they have never felt contrition of soul, only deceive themselves.
— Letter 24, 1888
Sin, in order for it to be dealt with, causes our Saviour to bleed and die to our sins again; yes, right in the heavenly sanctuary, as it says in the Book of Hebrews and laid out even more clear in the writings of Ellen White. Read “Our Continually Sacrificing Saviour” if you have not done so to see the inspired writings on this; here is a quote we can store in our memory:
The Redeemer, with a heart of unalterable love, still sheds His sacred blood in the sinner’s behalf.
— E.G. White, Review and Herald, 1/9/1883
We have read some bad news, but now let us take a look at the good news. We are spiritually dead after we sin, without eternal life, but we can still be born again as a new creature—born through a life-giving sacrifice made in Heaven. Just as the blood of the sacrifice made at Calvary was full of life, being poured out on the earth to give probationary life to all on earth, the blood of the sacrifices made in Heaven pour out life, except, instead of being poured out on earth, it is poured out in Heaven; hence, it is spiritual, eternal life, giving birth to sons and daughters of God. The blood poured out on the earth covers/protects us from physical death, as long as we live, and the blood poured out in heavenly places covers/protects us from spiritual death. A copy of our self is there in heaven, and whatever happens to us there—judiciously by the shedding of blood satisfying the Law—is transferred to us here by the Spirit, so that we are covered, as it were, with the righteousness of the Messiah from spiritual death, so that nothing can take it away from us but our own choice of choosing sin.
But before we can receive this eternal life, poured out in heaven, we must die to our sin, since there can be no eternal life where sin is. We die to it by thoroughly repenting of it, which includes sorrow for the sin in how it has offended God and brought pain and death to His Son. The latter then bears that sin and dies to it Himself through the shedding of His blood, transferring it into the sanctuary, where it remains until it will later be cast upon the instigator of the sin, the scapegoat.
The life is in the blood. That life is eternal life and it given to us by the Spirit, making us born again, completely by grace, with that grace creating a new man and making him worthy to be provided with a sacrifice, for the LAMB, whose life it is, is worthy. The old, unworthy man no longer exists, for both the soul that sinned died as well as the sin that brought the death.
I am crucified with the Messiah: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but the Messiah liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.
— Galatians 2:20
Marvel not that I said unto thee, “Ye must be born again.”
— John 3:7
Our old man could have no sacrifice made for it, for “the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). But by grace, we are made a new creature with new and precious life, and God does not look on our old life, because it is gone; and we must let it go as well and not try to resurrect it, taking back the guilt. The experience of thorough repentance, a gift from God, is then a stronghold that keeps us from repeating the sin.
If we keep sinning the same voluntary sin over and over again, though it is very common, we have not been living a genuine Christian experience and should consider rebaptism—this only after being born again, and revived in practicing a life of unceasing prayer that resists sin. Every baptismal candidate should be taught these things before being baptized. There are extremely few genuine professed Christians and Seventh-day Adventists living in our world today.
The good news is that “if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jehoshua the Messiah, the Righteous One” (1 John 2:1). But we must first go through the process of returning to God and His path for us. This takes time. The Spirit will lead us back, but we must be willing. It means worshiping God with face to the ground. It involves reflection and may mean weeping. If we are not sad for our sins, then we need to spend time meditating on what sin does to our Saviour in Heaven. It crucifies Him afresh. It grieves Him. He must bear it again (not just at the cross). It severs our relationship with God.
What kinds of sins? Gossiping and backbiting. Murmuring and complaining. Jesting and joking. Violating health laws. Not regularly reading and meditating on the Torah Law. Walking contrary to counsel given us in the Testimonies. Casual visiting on the Sabbath or doing anything that we do not need to do that day. I mention these things because they are common. We too often think of things like sexual sin or telling outright lies or such. But sin is sin. No matter how big or small it may seem to our natural minds, it requires the blood of Jehoshua at great expense to cover us again. Saying we are sorry in a quick prayer without spending time in penitent prayer means that we don’t mean it. We have believed in a very cheap and worthless gospel, and I suspect that many, after reading and considering this, will want to get rebaptized, which I think is very appropriate.
Now, I must also add this, because it is very important. If we do not know how to know God—having a rich devotional experience each day along with unceasing prayer—we will have a very disappointing experience. An hour a day of worship/devotional time will just not be enough to overcome sin, nor doing mainly reading during that time; multiple hours of devotional exercises is the Bible standard, according to the daily appointed times (morning and evening worship, about an hour and a half of twilight time each). Experience also will verify this. This means cutting out anything that would prevent us from spending this time to know God. We also need to know how to call on the Name of the Lord Jehoshua and claim promises with His glorious Name. His Name will save us from sinning, just as the Bible says, but we also need to know Him and His Father, otherwise it will not work.
This may all seem overwhelming to you, but I speak the truth. We have studied about revival and reformation for several years now, gathering much invaluable material from inspired writings to share on this website.
I will close with this powerful quote, showing the kind of repentance experience we should be having after each time we voluntarily sin:
There are those who have known the pardoning love of Christ and who really desire to be children of God, yet they realize that their character is imperfect, their life faulty, and they are ready to doubt whether their hearts have been renewed by the Holy Spirit. To such I would say, Do not draw back in despair.
We shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus because of our shortcomings and mistakes, but we are not to be discouraged. Even if we are overcome by the enemy, we are not cast off, not forsaken and rejected of God. No; Christ is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Said the beloved John, “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jehoshua the Messiah, the Righteous One.” 1 John 2:1. And do not forget the words of Christ, “The Father Himself loveth you.” John 16:27. He desires to restore you to Himself, to see His own purity and holiness reflected in you. And if you will but yield yourself to Him, He that hath begun a good work in you will carry it forward to the day of Jesus Christ. Pray more fervently; believe more fully. As we come to distrust our own power, let us trust the power of our Redeemer, and we shall praise Him who is the health of our countenance.
— E.G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 64