CHAPTERS 12 & 13

Forsaking Sin

The Challenge


An Anti-Mormon took Mormons to task for our acceptance of the necessity to obey the commandments of God and Jesus Christ as requirements, including forsaking their sins:


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “  




"Second, you need to look at the entire context of "Be ye therefore perfect.”  Jesus never told his followers to be perfectly, morally sinless in word, thought and deed.  But, only, specifically in the way we love our enemies.  Context.  Read all of Matt. 5:43-48.


The Response


If the Anti-Mormon, a professionally paid employee of Concerned Christians Od Mesa Arizona, an organisation formed with the single and sole purpose of contending against Latter-day Saints by day and  by night, actually believes that Christians are commanded by Jesus Christ to be perfect in loving his enemies, then, by his words and manners in communicating with Latter-day Saint Christians as they defend their faith, then he signally fails to conform to what he claims to accept as his Lord Jesus Christ’s commandment.  


His claim that Jesus referred only to the necessity of his disciples to be perfect in loving their enemies is a defiant attempt to retreat from the full import of what Jesus actually said, and to lessen the burden placed by Jesus upon the heads of all that profess him Lord and Saviour, whom he insists are to follow his example, even unto death if needs be.  


Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 


For the convicted disciple or Christian, the only way to follow Christ is as completely and as earnestly as possible.  There is no easy, or royal, road for the Christian dedicated to Christ and seriously committed to following his example.  There are lazy, partially committed Christians that are willing only to do the minimum to, as they suppose, obtain their salvation, and consequently excuse themselves from the rigorous demands to which those that are spiritually reborn as Christians willingly and joyfully submit themselves, no matter what the cost.  


That the verse in Matthew 5:48 goes far beyond loving our enemies, because the whole of Matthew 5 goes far beyond loving our enemies is evident if we quote the verse in its entirety.  


“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”  


Non-LDS Bible commentaries dealing with this verse offer:


“The Hebrew word rendered "blameless" (NKJV) or "perfect" (KJV) in Genesis 17:1 means "entire, complete, full, without blemish." The Greek word found in Matthew 5:48 translated "perfect" means "finished, complete, having reached its end," and implies being fully grown or mature. The definition of the English word perfect is "lacking nothing essential to the whole, without defect, complete." All three definitions contain the word "complete."  

[Mike Ford, ‘Perfection...Piece by Piece’]  



“Perfection, as used in Scripture regarding everyday life, means maturity and completeness. We can certainly attain an increasing level of spiritual maturity, yet we cannot truly complete the process until changed into God—until our human nature has been totally changed. Only then can we reach the stated goals of being perfect "as our Father in heaven," having "the mind of Christ," bringing "every thought into captivity," and never uttering a wrong word.”  

[Martin G. Collins, ‘Basic Doctrines: Going On to Perfection’  Emphasis added]


“Matthew 5:43-48: - These verses contain perhaps the most startling, sublime statement Christ made [‘be ye therefore perfect’].  Jesus does not mean that we resolve to like everyone, but that we act in goodwill toward those we do not like as well as those we do.  This command seems unreasonable and absurd, but only because of our carnality.  Christ desires all to be happy. Both the hater and the hated are miserable to some degree, and the misery will not cease until the hatred dissolves.  The antidote to hatred is love. […]  

“In this section Christ lists three ways people show their ill-feelings toward others. Cursing indicates verbally denigrating others and working to destroy their reputation; gossiping. Hatred implies an active, passionate feeling against another. Spitefully using and persecuting means continually at war with, harassing, always being on another's case.

[John W. Ritenbaugh, ‘The Sixth Commandment,’ Part One, 1997]


Thus, we find that even as some commentators take the words of Jesus to their highest expression, others, like Ritenbaugh shrink from the full meaning of God’s intentions that Christians are progressing towards godhood and joint-heirship with Jesus of his Father’s kingdom, others take the lesser view as if Jesus asked too much, and that they, as commentators of Jesus’ words, must minimalise them and their intention, rather than boldly follow what Jesus said as evidence of the glorious salvation offered to faithful Christians.

However, while there are indeed Minimalist Christians, there is no Minimalist Christianity, and there is no Minimalist Christianity because there is no Minimalist Jesus Christ.  

The Christians whose heart, will, and mind are turned towards Christ as Lord and King will do the will of his Lord and King and not seek excuses to get away with doing as little as possible.  Those that turn their eyes and look upon Jesus, acknowledging him as Lord, King, Saviour, and Master through the spiritual conviction borne to them by the Holy Spirit that Jesus is ‘the Christ, the Son of the Living God,’ as the Spirit declared to Peter and the Apostles, will do his bidding, even though it leads them to die as wretched but blessed martyrs for his sake.  They will not seek to shave their part down until it is almost non-existent.  


Matthew 5:21-27 - ¶ From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.  But [Jesus] turned, and said unto Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men!”


¶Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.    For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.   For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?  For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels;  and then he shall reward every man according to his works.  


The Minimalist Anti-Mormon advised us to see things his way by reading only a portion of the Sermon on the Mount.  We will study all of Matthew Chapter 5 and see for ourselves what Jesus said, and what he meant us to do when we have heard his Sermon.  


And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:  and he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 


¶ Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

¶ Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.  

¶ Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.  

¶ Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.  

¶ Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

¶ Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.  

¶ Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

¶ Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

¶ Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake . 

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets  which were before you.


¶ Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?  It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.  


¶ Ye are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick;  and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.  


¶ Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.   Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.


¶  Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill;  and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgement: but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgement: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.  Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.  Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.  Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.


¶ Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:  but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.  And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.   And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell . 


¶ It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:  but I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.   

¶ Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself,  but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:  but I say unto you, Swear not at all;  neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:  35 nor by the earth; for it is his footstool:  neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.   Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.  But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.


¶  Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:  but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.  And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.  Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.


¶ Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour,  and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?  And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?


¶ Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. 


The whole of chapter five is filled with the divine expectations from the disciples of Christ that do not shrink to answer the high calling extended to them by the Saviour.  It is a call to holiness: a call to change, and is not a novelty, but was given by the LORD through the Prophet Moses to the Children of Israel.   


Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. 


If we are to believe that the commands Jesus delivered to his disciples were each rigidly compartmentalised, like watertight bulkheads on a submarine, so that each must always and only ever taken as an isolated order unconnected with everything else that Jesus uttered, then we have found ourselves worshipping a strange Jesus and following a strange Gospel.  


There are universal principles within Christianity that Jesus requires his followers to apply to all areas of their lives.  There are profound spiritual truths and eternal absolutes that apply to every aspect of the Christian life.  


We must search each aspect of the gospel of Jesus Christ for the eternal principles that are applicable to every aspect of a Christian’s life.  There are places in which the Bible is terse in its delivery, and thus its intentions sometimes must be searched for deeper than the superficial level.


Errors like straw

Upon the surface flow.

He who seeks pearls

Must look below!



The Bible stresses the importance of confessing  and of forsaking sin.           However, the command that Christians should confess and forsake their sins, means that it is to be a permanent feature of Christian discipleship.  

Jesus knew that the best of Christians were not capable of achieving sinless perfection during mortality.  Jesus knew that while the first step taken by a disciple is the placing of his foot on the same path walked through mortality by himself, that the terminus of that path is in heaven where such Christians will be perfected, even as he was perfected.  


So also, Christ glorified not himselfe, to bee made an High Priest: but hee that saide vnto him, Thou art my Sonne, to day haue I begotten thee.  As he saith also in another place, Thou art a Priest for euer after the order of Melchisedec.  Who in the dayes of his flesh, when hee had offered vp prayers and supplications, with strong crying and teares, vnto him that was able to saue him from death, and was heard, in that he feared.  Though hee were a Sonne, yet learned hee obedience, by the things which he suffered:  And being made perfect, he became the authour of eternall saluation vnto all them that obey him.   


Jesus knew that the crown of eternal life is bound up and inseparable to the Christian’s being a joint heir with Christ of all that the Father has and is.  


The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 


Is the shared glory that accompanies joint-heirship with Christ achievable by our doing no more than accepting Jesus in a matter-of-fact way but not submitting our lives to him and being obedient?  Peter, the Chief Minister of the Church of Jesus Christ after Christ’s departure says it is not.


“What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?  Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.   Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”   


It could be argued that being ‘blameless’ is the condition of sinners whose sins are forgiven through baptism by immersion for the remission of sins.  However, in context it is evident that Peter is speaking of personal holiness, the normal condition of committed and fervent Christians, that are ‘spotless and blameless’ by choice, having determined to take up the cross and follow Christ, the sinless, blameless one that is without blemish or spot.  


Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.   


Therefore, we recognise that the calling of a Christian is a high and holy one.  Such a Christian is complete with the perfection with which Christ invests the reverential neophyte that abrogates worldliness and walks the spiritual path in the steps of Jesus as closely as possible.  


Paul’s advice to Timothy follows this prescription.


¶ “These things command and teach.  Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.  Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.  Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.


“Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.  Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”   


Some sins are the outward and obvious kind that can be clearly confessed, forsaken, and avoided.  No Christian can commit a sin such as theft, adultery, or murder, without knowing he does wrong.  It is impossible for a Christian to commit such obvious sins without a significant struggle of conscience, before, during, and afterwards.  Is it possible to be perfect in not committing adultery, murder, or theft?  For a Christian it is possible.  


However, not all sins are outward or obvious.  Some sins are deeply rooted in human nature that they have become habitual, and we practice them even when we would not.  Our excuse for these sins is that we can not help ourselves or change our nature.   However, such an excuse is unacceptable to God, for Paul tell us clearly:


Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.  Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.   Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.  


Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.  Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.   


We are warned that habitual sin leads to death. 


For to be carnally minded, is death: but to be spiritually minded, is life and peace: … For if ye liue after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the spirit doe mortifie the deeds of the body, ye shall liue.   


Inwards sins may be such that without help we fail to recognise them as wrongdoings that are displeasing to God.  These would include irritability, idleness, greed, pride, sloth, anger, indifference to others, suspicion, criticism, failing to respect, withholding love, dishonesty, lust and so forth.  Such sins of attitude and habit are often so much a part of our characters and personalities that we recognise them as sinful with difficulty, although others see them clearly.  Like an addictive poison, it has infected every aspect of who and what we are that it seems impossible for us to be instantly freed from their iron chains.  Yet, this is what Jesus urges us to do, when he said:


And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee.   


He gives no one leave to sin, for he is the answer to sin.  Sin leads to death, and sinlessness leads to Eternal Life, concerning which, Jesus said, 


I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 


When we have an active, living, powerful faith in Christ we are instantly freed from the eternal penalty of our sin, but we are not freed of the tendency to outward and inward sins other by the process of sanctification under the cathartic and transforming power of the Holy Spirit.  


Know yee not that the vnrighteous shall not inherite the kingdome of God?  Be not deceiued: neither fornicatours, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselues with mankinde, nor theeues, nor couetous, nor drunkards, nor reuilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are iustified in the Name of the Lord Iesus, and by the Spirit of our God.   


But we all, with open face beholding as in a glasse the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glorie to glorie, euen as by the spirit of the Lord.   


But we are bound to giue thanks alway to God for you, brethren, beloued of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to saluation, through sanctification of the spirit, and beleefe of the trueth, whereunto he called you by our Gospel, to the obteining of the glorie of the Lord Iesus Christ.   


Elect, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit vnto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Iesus Christ: Grace vnto you and peace be multiplied.     


Sanctification creates a ‘new man’ within us in the very image of Christ, a new ‘nature’ that is drawn to life and immortality instead of death and corruption.  Unlike the instantaneous event of justification, the process of sanctification continues through our entire life on earth, reaching completion only in heaven.  


Beloued, now are we the sonnes of God, and it doeth not yet appeare, what wee shall be: but wee know, that when he shall appeare, we shall bee like him: for we shall see him as he is.  And euery man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himselfe, euen as he is pure.   


The transformation is not always instantaneous.  In fact, it rarely is, but is a process begun at conversion, and carried on throughout mortality by the Christian that is aware of the purposes of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Hear Saint Paul:


Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.   


For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but only having become a new creature. 


The new creature is not an instantaneous creation, as attractive as that sounds, but is as one newly born that has to learn through experience and obedience to grow up to the full stature of a Christian.  The New Living Translation of the Holy Bible renders this:


It doesn't matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.   


This is what Jesus meant when he told Nicodemus: 


Verily, verily I say unto you, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of heaven.    


Jesus saw the condition of Nicodemus' soul, and addressed him on a subject of importance.  He knew the man’s visit was to learn about the Messiah's kingdom, and with reference to this he said, 


Except a man be born again, he will not even recognise the kingdom when it is before his eyes.   


Jesus then addressed the next step after seeing and recognising, the Kingdom of God: that of entering and becoming an integral part of it.  


Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old?  Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 


Jesus sets out the initial steps to becoming a part of his kingdom on earth and the preparation for his entering his heavenly kingdom of God.  ‘Born of the water’ has reference to baptism by immersion in water for the remission of sins, and ‘born of the Spirit’ means being transformed into the ‘new creature’ that is, becomes ‘born again’ as a Christian, that is to say, regenerated as a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.  


The new birth offered by Jesus is being born again from above, and different in character and quality to the new birth that Jews supposed every baptised proselyte enjoyed, for they believed that a Gentile who was converted to Judaism was as a child new born.  Jesus hints to Nicodemus, who was familiar with Jewish proselyte baptism, that such a birth was of water from below, but that the birth for which Christ asserts is ανωθεν, from above, and strictly by divine agency. 


Without the divine rebirth a person can neither see nor enjoy the kingdom of God.  But in order that a proselyte to Christ’s kingdom can see its light, contemplate its glories, and enjoy its good, there is an absolute necessity that the person is brought out of darkness and sin, into the light and power of the grace of Christ, that he can distinguish – ιδειν – the glories and excellencies of the kingdom of Christ here upon the earth, and be prepared for the enjoyment of the kingdom of glory hereafter. 


The new birth in Christ Jesus comprehends not only what is termed justification or pardon, but also sanctification or holiness.  Sin must be pardoned, and the impurity of the heart washed away, before any soul can enter the kingdom of God.   


As this new birth from above implies, it is the renewing of the whole soul in righteousness and true holiness.  It is not a matter that may be set aside by claiming that once the chord of belief is struck in a convert’s heart the whole matter is complete.  Heaven is a place of holiness and nothing but what is also as holy as heaven and heaven’s God can ever enter it.  


Water baptism washes away sins through the price paid in coin of the precious blood of the Lamb of God.  However, that in and of itself does not imply, nor could it, that the new creature remains sinless for the duration of his or her mortal existence.  That the notion of ‘once saved always saved’ is not a Christian teaching is shown by the words of Jesus.


And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.  


Frédéric Louis Godet, one of the most highly respected conservative New Testament scholars of the Nineteenth Century comments: 


The Savior's words were suggested by a request of one to go home for a farewell before following him.  In thousands of instances, it has been shown that the convert who goes to confer with unbelieving relatives before the final step is likely to part with Christ instead.  Heathen, ready to be baptized, who go home for a final farewell before the step, are likely to be persuaded not to take it.  


Other Bible writers have taken up this theme and shown that the once saved always saved position is unscriptural.


If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us. 


Why the rather, brothers, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall. 


Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him.   


So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure.   


For you have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise.   


And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.   


If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 


Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness: otherwise you also shall be cut off. 


And so we learn from the word of God that perseverance and repentance lead us into life, but lack of perseverance is looked upon as sinfulness, and punishments awaits those that continue in sin and do not repent and practice goodness.  


The decision made for Christ is once that must endure from the moment of recognition of the person of Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Son of God, the Only Begotten of the father, the Firstborn of the Father, and the Lamb of God that not only makes atonement for us, but who also intercedes for us at the Father’s throne, and acts as our advocate with the Father.  


Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 


Who is he that condemneth?  It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 


My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.  Yet if any man does sin, we have an advocate  with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 


Paul recommended faithful discipleship to Timothy.  


If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. 


The grasp of the plough cannot be relaxed or loosened.  If it is, then he is not fit – ἔυθετός, meaning well-placed or adjusted – for the kingdom.  Those who begin to follow Jesus Christ, must resolve to go on, or they will make nothing of it.  Looking back wistfully at what he is leaving, leads to drawing back, and drawing back leads losing the kingdom, and only those that endure to the end are promised salvation.  Endurance in the hardships that accompany discipleship was outlined by Jesus.  


And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.   


Being a Christian is not simply a single occasion and completed manifestation, but a continuing journey to an eternal destination during which the Christian becomes daily more disciplined, daily more learned, and ever more obedient to the will of God, conforming his or her life ever closer to the perfect pattern of our exemplar, Jesus Christ, until our earthly race is won and we can repeat the words of Paul:


For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.   


Paul’s words, with which he encourages his young protégé and all others ‘also that love his appearing,’ are a charge to be vital, active, restless, and fully committed to the religious life that are the primary charges to all Christians.  Had Timothy opted not to follow Paul’s inspired counsel, would he have remained ‘spotless and blameless’?  By no means, and neither shall we.  


Paul wrote to the Philippian saints:


Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.   


This is not an invitation to ease, but a trumpet call to duty that rings in the ears of all that are or will be Christ’s.  When we are anxiously engaged in fulfilling the requirements of a Christian according to the will of God, it is God working in us that makes us work so earnestly and with ‘fear and trembling.’  Many words have been written by able commentators as to the meaning of these words, and it is noteworthy that no Bible version draws back from saying, ‘Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.’   


Christians do not draw back from working out their salvation with fear and trembling for several reasons.


First, because God commands us to do it.  There is no command more frequently repeated in the Scriptures than the commandment to receive a new heart,  to strive to enter in at the strait gate,  to break off from sin,  and to repent. 


Some say that the call to repentance refers only those not yet come unto Christ, but Jesus Christ speaks these words to Christians that have backslid and are not faithful.  To these weak souls he says,


Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.  


Those that will not cease from sinning, will be removed from their place.  This is to Christians that have sinned after their conversion, even after having laboured long and faithfully, but have lost their way and let go of the handle of the plough.  That this is so is unmistakably evident from the verses that precede the call to repentance and the dire warning of their fate if they will not.


I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.  Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 


That Jesus Christ calls saints from their sinful ways after they have faithfully followed him is indisputable.  Were it not, then why would Christ say such a thing?  


Christians repent always from their sins because it is not only a duty commanded of God, but also because our own personal interest is at stake.  Apart from God and Jesus, no one else as much interest in our salvation as we do.  It is our God given duty to endeavour to save our souls when we are in danger of losing our salvation, by taking our hands from the ploughshare, denying Christ, or by some other transgression.  Hence the commandment that we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, and in the process to cease from sinning, for the mouth of God has declared it.  


From the mouth of Jesus Christ is has been spoken that as great as may be the solicitude of our friends, and much as they can do, there is a point beyond which their efforts are futile, and that point is well short of our salvation, unless we personally are roused to seek our salvation in Jesus Christ and by obedience to his commandments and those of his Father.  Friends may pray, weep, and plead, but they cannot save us. 


Jesus offers us the way to both see and enter his Father’s Kingdom, and he insists that we remain fit for the kingdom by keeping our hands to the ploughshare, keeping our eyes ahead of us, and by actively shunning sin and removing what sin remains in us that lies below the surface where it rots our souls unless we struggle with it in a life or death struggle for self-mastery, that we might become the agents of God that Christ encourages us and demands we become.  


Only the unwilling to exert himself Minimalist expects Divine interposition without effort on our his part.  Such mistaken souls are redolent of the story of the man that prayed to win the lottery, but was constantly disappointed that he never did.  One day during his pleading, he hears the voice of God saying, “Help me out a little, here: BUY A TICKET!   We ought not to press that example too fare, but neither should we overlook the truth that God has already done for us that which we cannot do for ourselves through the Atonement wrought by his Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ by the shedding of his blood as payment for our sins.  


It is through that perfect atonement dispensed to us through the grace of God that our salvation is made available.  However, if we reach to grasp it with sinful hands, it recedes before our grasp.  But God has made a way whereby the prize can be grasped, and that is by our living holy lives in accordance with the will of God and by rendering ourselves obedient to his will.  


All who will be saved, have made or are making an effort - and why should we expect that God would favour us more than he did them?  What reason have we to suppose that God will interfere and save us if we refuse to put forth effort to work our own salvation in fear and trembling?  What does this command imply and what must we do to comply with it?  How did Jesus advise the Rich Young man that sought his kingdom?


And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?  And Jesus said to him, Why call you me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.  You know the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour your father and your mother.  And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.  Now when Jesus heard these things, he said to him, Yet lack you one thing: sell all that you have, and distribute to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.  And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.  And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!  For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.  And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?  And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. 


Jesus required this man to act, but the young man refused to give up what he had to gain the things he sought.  Clearly, his wealth meant more to him than his eternal life and inheritance in the kingdom of God did.  Yet it could just as easily have been his sins that kept him from the kingdom, for when we choose to continue in our sins once we have put on Christ,  then we choose our sins above our salvation.


We must know that it does not mean that we are to attempt to deserve salvation on the ground of our personal merit.  That is out of the question, for man can do nothing that will secure for him eternal happiness in heaven.  That portion is only obtainable through the atonement and merits of Jesus Christ in his role as Redeemer and Saviour, and by the Christians fulsome commitment to following Christ and being obedient to every word of God.  


[Jesus] answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 


Jesus was quoting the Old Testament:


And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.   


Teaching the Truth of the way of salvation was the end for which Jesus said he was ‘born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. 


The end of Christ's being born of a virgin in a miraculous manner, and his coming into the world by his assuming human nature, was to bear testimony to the Truth of the full Gospel, not only the word of Truth, but every branch of the eternal Truths which he brought with him.  


These Truths he preached consistently by word and by deed, and by them he confirmed by his death the Truth that he was a King, the Son of God, and that God’s spiritual, heavenly kingdom was available for believers that would accept him and follow him obediently, even unto death if needs be.  Of the willingness and requirements of disciples to walk the path that he had trod, he added:


Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice.   


By ‘heareth,’ Jesus does not mean merely that those upon whose ears his sayings fell were of the Truth, but that lovers of divine Truth both ‘heard and obeyed’ him.  


And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.   [emphasis added]


Hearing the voice of his Gospel is hearing the voice of the Saviour, and hearing it internally, approvingly, rejoicingly, distinguishing it from the many voices and distraction of the world, so as cheerfully to obey the words of God and Christ moved by the power of the divine principle of love.


It means also that we are to make an honest effort to follow the example of the Son of God and be saved according to what God has appointed.  It requires us are to break off from our sins by true repentance, showing thereby that we wholeheartedly believe in the Saviour, and put our complete trust in him, and to give all that we have and all that we are to God through Christ Jesus.  


It is evident that we are often told by God’s holy word to forsake our sins – to repent.  Why then will some contradict the Bible and say that we are not?  It can only be that they are not familiar with the word of God that they profess is their sole rule for life and salvation, but also that they do not actively search the scriptures to discover what God has said by his own voice, by the voice of his Son, or by the voices of his servants.  To the unbelieving Jews Jesus said:


Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.   


To those that confess knowing Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, Lord, and King, and claim to have an ‘intimate relationship’ with him, he says,


Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me commanding you to forsake sin!  


Sadly, we are fallen among minimalists that will not search the scriptures.  If they had loved the Lord, they would have obeyed Christ, and then they would have searched and found not only that he called on them to forsake their sins, but also that his servants, the apostles and prophets had done the same in terms that could not be misunderstood.  


Unbelievers familiar with their own scriptures at the time of Jesus, nevertheless claimed to know what was in them.


They replied, "Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself--no prophet ever comes from Galilee!"   


These thought they knew what was in their Bible, but they didn’t know its contents any more than the Anti-Mormon knows his Bible when he avers, disdainfully, 


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins”


It was not with any sense of pleasure or anger that Koholeth counselled the unwise,


Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. 


It was with concern for the soul of those that rested from their searching the scriptures before they had found in it those Truths that lead the student to wisdom.  Being wise as to the things of God is the sure way to salvation.  Paul told the saints at Rome: 


Be not wise in your own conceits. 


The lord saith through the Prophet Isaiah:


Wo unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight. 


Without unkindness, it is necessary to point out to those that cannot find Almighty God’s frequent calls for the abandonment and forsaking of sin that the call to ‘Repent!’ is the most common message in the whole of the Scriptures.  It is the most common because God adjudges it humanity’s most pressing need whether or not they have found Jesus Christ, and as absolutely essential after they have.  These are but some the Clarion Calls made by Almighty God, his Only Begotten Son, and their divinely inspired and commissioned servants for believers to forsake their sins, and that answer the challenge made by the Anti-Mormon to, 


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “



1. Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.  To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious. 


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “



2. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. 


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “


3. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.  Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.  And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. 


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “


4. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. 


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “


5. There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 



“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “


With these accounts, Christ founded a call to repentance. The same Jesus that bids us repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, bids us repent, for otherwise we shall perish. 


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “



6. And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Be zealous therefore, and repent.   


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “


7. And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.  And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies' lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.  If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; and that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.  The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgements, and because their soul abhorred my statutes.  And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God.  But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.   


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “


8. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.  


“To do evil,” meaning, so as to lead you to do evil.  In other words, do not allow your mind to become so excited that you indulge in harsh or malignant remarks so as to lead you to do wrong to any man, however wicked you judge him to be.  Make sure that you always right, whatever position others may hold, and do not permit their conduct to lead to copy it in retaliation and, thereby, into their sin.  Look to your own character and conduct primarily, remembering to whom you belong.  


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “


10. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, quarrelling, and slander be put away from you, along with all hatred.   


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “


11. But now you must also get rid of anger, wrath, malice, slander, obscene speech, and all such sins. 


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “


12. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:   


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “


13. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbour.  


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “


14. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “


15. Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.   


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “


16. Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of [his] brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. 


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “


17. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.   


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “


18. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.   


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “


19. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.   


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “


20. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.  What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of  obedience unto righteousness?  But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.  I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.   


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “


21. The Son of Man will commission His angels, and they will gather out of His Kingdom all causes of sin and all who violate His laws.   


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “


22. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "Behold, you are made well. Sin no more, [ie,. Forsake sin] so that nothing worse happens to you. 


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “


23. She said, "No one, Lord." Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go your way. From now on, sin no more. 


“Just show me any Bible verse or passage that talks about forsaking sins   “


24. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 



Writing of Unrepentant Sin, the scourge of the sinning Christian, John Wesley, addressing the Sermon on the Mount, wrote: 


And whereas men naturally imagine, that God will excuse their defect in some duties, for their exactness in others; our Lord next takes care to cut off that vain, though common imagination.  He shows, that it is impossible for any sinner to commute with God; who will not accept one duty for another, nor take a part of obedience for the whole.  He warns us, that the performing our duty to God will not excuse us from our duty to our neighbour; that works of piety, as they are called, will be so far from commending us to God, if we are wanting in charity, that, on the contrary, that want of charity will make all those works an abomination to the Lord.


"Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee," — on account of thy unkind behaviour toward him, of thy calling him "Raca," or, "Thou fool;" think not that thy gift will atone for thy anger; or that it will find any acceptance with God, so long as thy conscience is defiled with the guilt of unrepented sin. "Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother," (at least do all that in thee lies toward being reconciled,) "and then come and offer thy gift." 


By the foregoing, we are unprofitable servants if we suppose that once a person comes to Christ and is born again of water and of the Spirit, that they have no more will or occasion to sin, for the Scriptures are replete with warnings and calls for Christians to forsake their sins.  


If it were so, then those persons would be perfect, not only in loving their brothers and sisters, which is by all the evidence the most difficult of all God’s commandments for Christians to obey completely, but they would be perfect in every detail so that their sojourn on earth, having had its purpose miraculously completed, would serve no further purpose and the saved and perfected soul could escape this vale of tears and attend the doors of heaven where, according to the Scriptures, it would be welcomed by these words: 


Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.