By brother Michel Lankford
Yes, this happens a lot.
- To “SIN” means to “MISS” the bull’s eye or to “MISS” the mark of God’s required Standard.
- People often “MISS the mark” of God’s Standards and Requirements, because they often don’t know what His Requirements are, or they don’t routinely measure their desires, their thoughts, their words, and their actions by God’s Stated Requirements and Standards. You are virtually GUARANTEED to MISS the bull’s eye if you don’t actively aim for that target.
- People often “MISS the mark” of God’s Standards and Requirements, because they often incorrectly assume that some God-given Requirement or Standard does not apply to them. For whatever false reason, some people have deceived themselves into thinking that they are not required to honor some God-given requirement when God and Messiah says that they are still required to honor that Standard. Jesus the Messiah clearly said that there will be MANY “believing Christians” who will be CONDEMNED on the future Day of Judgment because they promoted sin, but they thought that they were being righteous (Matthew 7:21-23; Matthew 13:41-42).
- People often “MISS the mark” of God’s Standards and Requirements, because they often incorrectly believe they are HITTING the bull’s eye when in reality they are MISSING God’s Righteous Target. How does that happen? The most common way that this happens is because people CHANGE God’s Definitions and Applications for key terms. As a result, many people believe that they are honoring a Biblical Requirement, when in fact they are MISSING God’s intended target without realizing that they are missing it. Please keep reading, and it will be made clear.
Do Not Ignore Messiah’s Warnings
Jesus said that this would happen to MANY people. They will be confronted by their great error on the future Day of Judgment (see Matthew 7:21-23). So, how do people who think they are living righteously actually end up living in sin and lawlessness, and end up promoting sin and lawlessness to other people? That’s crucial to know because we don’t want to end up in this group of people on Judgment Day.
The reason that this will happen to so many “Christian Believers,” is because they do not maintain nor uphold the SAME definitions that God and Jesus Christ have declared in the Word. That is to say that they have often adopted and used DIFFERENT definitions for key terms than what God teaches in the Scriptures. They ASSUME that they are walking, “In LOVE,” for example, but THEIR definition and application of love is vastly DIFFERENT than what God says that LOVE means in the Word. Therefore, people often THINK that they are walking in love, or walking in faith, or walking in obedience, or walking in Grace, when they are not truly walking in those things at all, because they have adopted DIFFERENT definitions and applications for those crucial terms than what God teaches in His Word. They use Bible words and Bible language, but their meanings and applications, of those crucial terms, have become worldly, sinful, and lawless. As a result, many people ASSUME that they are Christians under Grace who are doing right, when in fact, the Bible teaches that they are walking as sinners who need to repent before they are condemned. Again, Jesus said that this would happen to MANY people, and not just a few (Matthew 7:21-23).
To “SIN” Means to “MISS” God’s Requirements or Standards
According to the original Bible languages, “To SIN” literally Means. “To MISS the bulls-eye, or to “MISS the mark” of God’s established Standards in a given situation. The word picture comes from an archery term. So, on a practical level, God has stated specific universal basic Standards for Righteousness. That is the real bulls-eye or target that we should be hitting regularly.
Sin is ANY Violation of God’s Laws, Commandments, Instructions, and Standards. Any Violation of His Commandments, His Words, His Desires, or His Stated Intentions is a Sin, by Biblical definition.
As it is Written: “Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4 KJV; cf. Romans 7:7; Hosea 8:1; Daniel 9:11; Isaiah 5:20-24).
Anytime that we purposely aim for, shoot for, and successfully HIT God’s established target, that means that we are doing “RIGHTEOUSLY,” as God defines that term. By contrast, anytime that you “MISS” the bulls-eye of God’s established targets, you are SINNING as far as God is concerned.
Since God is the judge (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14); HIS definitions of Key Terms are the only definitions that count for anything. Therefore, it becomes our job to learn and agree with God’s definitions.
Something is Sin when God calls it sin: In other words, when Scripture overtly says, “…Is SIN.” Or Sin is…” then we MUST Include those ideas in our definition and understanding of sin.
Example: “Sin IS the Transgression of God’s Law.’ (1 John 3:4; cf. Romans 7:7; Hosea 8:1; Daniel 9:11; Isaiah 5:20-24; Matthew 7:21-23; Matthew 13:41-42; Matthew 24:12-13).
Example: Anything Not done in Love is sin. Loving God first, and Loving others is the Highest Commandment (Matthew 22:34-40). Therefore, anything that is not done in Love, VIOLATES God’s Commandment and is therefore sin. Example: Anything that is not done in faith toward YHWH Almighty, and in faith toward Messiah is sin, (Romans 14:23b; Habakkuk 2:4).
Example: Anything disobeying YHWH and Messiah is sin (1 John 3:4; cf. Romans 7:7; Hosea 8:1; Daniel 9:11; Isaiah 5:20-24; Deuteronomy 18:18-19; John 3:36; Hebrews 5:9; Matthew 7:21-23; Matthew 13:41-42; Matthew 24:12-13).
Example: Anything that does not intentionally honor and glorify God is sin (e.g. 1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Peter 1:15).
Example: Any time that I know of a Good and Right thing that I should do, but choose not to do it, or if I refuse to do the good things that I know to do, then I have sinned, (James 4:17).
Example: Anytime you refuse to acknowledge that God’s established Standards are valid Standards, you are “SINNING” Biblically. That is because you won’t purposely aim for, or shoot for, and much less HIT God’s established targets, so long as you refuse to agree with God, and acknowledge that HIS Stated targets are valid targets to hit.
Example: Anytime you CHANGE God’s Stated definitions or Standards for anything, you are “SINNING,” Biblically. That is because you are causing yourself and others to be virtually guaranteed to “MISS” the Bulls-eye of God’s Standards at that point. Look, it’s wrong to sin. It’s bad not to purposely aim for, or shoot for, and NOT to HIT God’s established targets. That is SINNING on our part. However, it is MUCH WORSE to CAUSE someone else to MISS God’s Targets. Causing others to sin comes under severe punishments, as you will soon see.
- Is it truly done in Love?
- Is it done in Faith, toward YHWH Almighty God, and Messiah?
- Is it done in OBEDIENCE to the Heavenly Father and Messiah’s Commandments?
- Is it done on purpose to glorify and honor God?
- Did I do the good that I know to do and that God has taught me to do in His Word?
- Did I act toward this person in the same way that I would want to be treated myself?
If you can honestly and truthfully answer yes to these questions, then you are doing right.
If the true answer is no to any of those six basic questions, at any given point, then you have sinned and you need to repent and get back on track. RETURN to YHWH and to His Ways. It’s that simple. It’s not complicated.
God Equates Changing His Definitions With“DESPISING HIM.”
It can hardly get more serious in the SIN department, than to “DESPISE” the Almighty Creator.
As it is written: Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes And clever in their own sight! Woe to those who are heroes in drinking wine And valiant men in mixing strong drink, Who justify the wicked for a bribe, And take away the rights of the ones who are in the right! Therefore, as a tongue of fire consumes stubble And dry grass collapses into the flame, So their root will become as rot and their blossom blow away as dust; For they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 5:20–24, NASB95 cf. Romans 1:18–32; Proverbs 3:7–8; 2 Timothy 2:19).
To Repent Means to Stop Sinning and Return to God and Return to His Ways
You actively stop MISSING God’s Target, and you actively RETURN to aiming for, shooting for, and progressively HITTING God’s Targets for Righteousness. That is what repenting functionally means
As it is written: Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones.” (Proverbs 3:7–8, NASB95)
As it is written: But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”” (2 Timothy 2:19, ESV)
In Hebrew: TESHUVAH= Literally to destroy or to forsake your own ways, and to RETURN to Almighty God and to HIS ways);
in Greek: METANOEÔ. From the Biblical literal sense of the word, to repent literally means to change one’s mind, to change one’s purpose, and to change one’s actions AWAY from what God defines as being sin, and then TURNING and progressively walking TOWARD what God says is righteous, good and pleasing to Him.
So from God’s point of view, we have only successfully repented when we change our mind, when we change our purpose, and when we change our way of life AWAY from what He calls sin, and then we walk TOWARD what God says is Good and pleasing to Him.
To CHANGE one’s MIND
To CHANGE one’s PURPOSES and INTENTIONS
& to CHANGE one’s DIRECTION and BEHAVIORS AWAY FROM what YHWH considers to be SIN, and then to RETURN TO what YHWH considers to be RIGHTEOUS.
Unless we progressively do those things, we are NOT repenting.
So basically, you continue going back to God’s archery practice, and you continue aiming and shooting for God’s Targets of Righteousness, and you keep practicing and don’t give up until you succeed. That’s the key. God guarantees that if you don’t quit and you keep aiming and shooting for His targets, you will eventually succeed (see Matthew 7:7-8). The key is to keep shooting for His Targets and don’t quit. The only way you can fail is if you give up and quit shooting for His Targets. If we persevere in this, we are guaranteed to succeed.
As it is written: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7–8, ESV)
The Whole Bible Warns People to Repent
(e.g. Matthew 4:7; Luke 13:1–9; Luke 15:11–32; Luke 19:1–10; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Romans 1:18–32; Proverbs 3:7–8; 2 Timothy 2:19; Isaiah 55:1–11; Galatians 6:7–9; Romans 12:21; 1 John 2:1–6; 1 John 3:7–10; 2 John 1:6; Luke 3:8; Matthew 8:10–12; Matthew 21:41–42; Revelation 3:19).
May I humbly but earnestly and passionately implore you to review the example Scripture passages referenced above? These exemplify what repenting is, and its importance. I make this plea because there are a number of FALSE teachers out there today who are declaring that because we are “Under Grace,” repenting is allegedly unnecessary, according to them. The problem is that these teachers are teaching against the Old Testament, but they are also teaching against the New Testament as well. As you will soon see, these people are endangering their own salvation and the salvation of anyone who foolishly follows their terrible advice. It is beyond dangerous to teach the OPPOSITE of what both God and Jesus Christ have plainly said.
Many modern “Christians” today are teaching that because we are “Under Grace,” through faith in Jesus Christ, we do not need to repent. They falsely claim that Grace makes repenting unnecessary. Such a belief is the direct OPPOSITE of what Scripture teaches from beginning to end. Many of these modern Grace teachers are teaching these things in direct defiance of the Holy Scripture. That’s because they are using a definition and application of Grace that is the direct OPPOSITE of what Scripture teaches. Even Paul the apostle of Grace taught what Grace does, and how Grace functions (Titus 2:11-15). Even Paul taught that true Grace helps people to repent from sin and to overcome sin. True Grace does not allow people to indulge in sin and continue to sin (e.g. Romans 6:1-14, 19; Romans 8:5-8; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Even Paul taught that true Grace helps people to repent and overcome sin, and it does not hinder or prevent people from doing the good works that God wants them to do (Titus 2:11-15; Philippians 2:13; Galatians 2:8-10). So, many modern Christians are NOT teaching Grace the same way that Paul taught the concept in the Scriptures. Therefore, they are deceiving themselves and other people into thinking that they are “Under Grace,” when in fact they are not walking in God’s Grace at all, according to Scripture.
Causing Others to SIN is CONDEMNED. Even Jesus Said So.
As it is written: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21–23, ESV)
As it is written: The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:41–42, ESV)
People who teach contrary to Biblical repentance are promoting sin. They are endangering their own salvation and the salvation of anyone who is foolish enough to follow that false teaching. That’s not my opinion. I am merely asking you to consider carefully, believe what Jesus already declared, and faithfully respond accordingly. It’s up to you whether you will wisely choose to do that or not.
If people continue to indulge in sin (i.e. they do not turn away from sin, and they do not repent and overcome their sin by doing right), that also means that they DO NOT belong to God. Such people belong to the devil. Even the New Testament clearly teaches this. Please do not miss this fact.
As it is written: Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” (1 John 3:7–10, ESV)
Did you happen to catch the fact that the very first instruction in the passage is, “Let no one deceive you…?” That obviously means that it is possible to deceive ourselves, to let others deceive us, or to deceive other people. Otherwise, that warning would not be in Scripture. Secondly, did you notice that the person who is truly born again and has the Holy Spirit of God living inside of them CANNOT continue to sin? That’s because the Holy Spirit living inside that person will be constantly pushing them to repent, to turn away from sin, and to overcome sin by doing what is right (Philippians 2:13; Romans 12:21; Romans 8:5-8; Ezekiel 11:19-20; Ezekiel 36:25-27). Therefore, the person who does not repent, who does not turn away from sin, and who does not overcome sin by doing what is right, is also NOT truly born of God. Such a person belongs to the devil, and they don’t belong to God.
The Bottom Line:
- We must define and apply all of our key terms (like sin, righteousness, love, grace etc.), the SAME way that God defines and teaches those terms in Scripture. We must not change God’s definitions for key terms (Isaiah 5:20-24; 1 John 3:4).
- We must define and apply Grace the same way that Paul did in Scripture (Titus 2:11-15; Philippians 2:13; Romans 12:21 cf. Ezekiel 11:19-20; Ezekiel 36:25-27).
- We must never promote what God considers to be sin, because people who do that will be condemned according to Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:21-23; Matthew 13:41-42).
- People who continue to sin, or to promote sin in others do not belong to God, they belong to the devil even according to the New Testament (1 John 3:7-10).
- We overcome deception by DOING His Word (James 1:19-25; Hebrews 5:14). We become perfected in love by DOING His Instructions (1 John 2:1-5). Coincidently, it is by this SAME method (actively doing the God’s Word), that we avoid sin and overcome evil by doing what is good. The process is simple, but mastering the process will require a lifetime of dedication and practice in repenting.
I do hope this helps you.
Thank you for your kind attention.
Brother Michel Lankford