(Since #5 and #4 are so closely related, I decided to tie them together.)

Once a soul is born-again and made alive by the spirit, its relationship to sin changes. Namely, the diametric change of the soul’s destiny causes a completely new life and formulation of character in the current life on earth. It is no longer a slave to sin. In accordance to the relationship with God and His eternal decree, one who was once viewed and judged as a child of wrath [prior to conversion] fit only for destruction, is now viewed and judged as a child of God and judged according to the righteousness of Christ. Therefore, the response and relationship to sin should and must represent the necessary character change from an unrepentant to a repentant heart.
“ Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.”
2 Corinthians 5:17-18

Once the new birth has taken place, there is a deep sorrow for sin that envelopes the heart and affections to lead the soul to repentance, treasuring the cross of Christ and His blood shed for atonement. Sorrow for sin and zeal for repentance is the signal of a broken heart before God in search of humility while casting down selfish ambition, self-sufficiency and the sinful nature. Paul states,
“Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”
2 Corinthians 7:9-11

The conviction instilled by the Holy Spirit upon the new birth heightens and magnifies sin to an unbearable level that leads only to repentance. The very purpose of the coming of the spirit is to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, i.e. our own natures [John 16:8]. It stirs holy fear in the soul that sins against the infinite God Almighty and is to be set apart from the rest of the world. Zealousness for repentance demonstrates the urgency caused by the spirit to obtain the obedience shone forth by the supreme example of Jesus Christ Himself; it brings forth the true joy in overcoming sin and temptation that provides the assurance of salvation. If one has not been wrought by the spirit, there is no zeal, indignation, holy fear or ultimate desire to be obedient, which simply brings forth death.

One who thinks he is in control and can handle his sin is not really battling it but is indeed embracing it. ‘For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places [Ephesians 6:11-12].’ Paul acknowledges and exhorts that we ‘wrestle’ or battle against spiritual wickedness, namely Satan, demons and our sinful nature. We cannot truly be changed by the Gospel of Grace if we do not persuade the continual diligence of battling evil and the desires of the flesh that we naturally desire to do [Galatians 5:19-21]. If we do not acknowledge the reality and ever presence of evil, then we do not know the benchmark in which to battle. In the same way, if we do not see or know the holiness of God and the infinite greatness of it, then we cannot see the utmost evil that dwells within us with any accurate measure. Therefore, if you are a Christian, then you are never “in control” of sin. If God has regenerated your soul, then a battle indeed takes place at all times. To the churches of Galatia,
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”
Galatians 5:16-17

To walk in the Spirit is to not lust against the flesh. To lust against the flesh is to not walk in the Spirit. The reiteration of the “lusts” demonstrates the consistent battle between the two that must take place until the body is glorified.

Perhaps the greatest and most thought provoking example of the reality of battling sin in the New Testament Scriptures is that of the Apostle Paul in Romans 7. How could he be so incredibly gifted with the revelation of God, writing more of the New Testament than any other author and publicly declare the unceasing battle of spirit and flesh? If the Apostle humbly confesses the reality of battling his own body of death as a pleading disturbance, how much more must I, a common sinner? Paul does not make this declaration because he is the greatest of all chosen ones of God. His declaration is such that, even he has a body of death, tainted with sin as all sinners. It once again, leaves no room to boast in our abilities, but only Christ and His ability to forgive and kill sin.
“For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will do to, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no long I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the veil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no long I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.”
Romans 7:14-21
This acknowledgement completely depletes the soul and conscience of any self-sufficiency to battle sin whatsoever. The body is dead. It is incapable of battling such uproar of dominant lusts from the pit. Even the supposed good desired by the body is a slave and sold under sin. It knows nothing but sin. Sin serves to merely please the fleshly desires only the body knows. The body and sin have perverted and perfected the greatest atrocities committed by man to oppose God. It is only the Spirit that can will to do good, yet the body perverts the good and desires to do evil. Only the Spirit can hate the flesh, but the body loves, desires and approves the flesh because if fuels the fire of perversion and corruption.

The spirit, by its power, reminds the sinner of his true indebtedness to God. Although man naturally does not have the ability or desire to pay the debt of his infinite transgression of the law, the enactment in the comforting of the Holy Spirit pierces the heart with humility and grief; this causes man to recognize his utter helplessness. It reminds the soul that we know sin according to the law [Romans 7:7] and the debt owed must necessarily be nailed to the cross by Jesus Christ in His substitutionary death. The end result is repentance.

How do you respond to the reminding of indwelling sin, believer? Are you learning to mortify sin daily or are you able to discern a sinful situation from one that is not necessarily? There are professing believers who hate to be reminded of personal sin. There are those who will proclaim to read the Scriptures, yet when one asks, “Hello Sir, how are you learning to kill your natural wickedness before God?,” they respond as such to prove to read something other than the Holy Scriptures, or nothing of any spiritual importance. The response may be that they still think they are a ‘good person’ or suddenly become extremely uneasy in attitude and character. There appears to be one justification for sin listed after another. For some reason, the conversation to the one avoiding personal sin confrontation travels in every direction but toward the word of God. I will say that if one is going to justify sin at all, it is according to the word of God, and what Christ had to have done for them.

Those who treasure the holy law of God learn to treasure Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit. If one is truly born-again by the spirit, it is a great joy to be reminded of sin! Charles Spurgeon said, “If your sin is small, then your savior is small. But, if your sin is great, then your savior is great!” It is true that the better you consider yourself, the smaller your savior is. What need do you have for a savior if you are not part of the ungodly that Christ died for? If you are not sick, then you are not in need of the Great Physician to heal your soul. It is joyful for the believer to be reminded of personal sin and that he falls infinitely short of moral perfection because it reminds them of the once and for all sacrifice for sins. It reminds him to be on the sure path to life and not on the sure path to eternal destruction. For those who are in Christ, there is no provision to sin more [Romans 6:1-2]. The path that leads to life is only seen by those who died to sin and have become alive to Christ. Only those who are broken hearted over sin with great humility, while seeing the infinite Excellency and perfect sufficiency of Christ to forever forgive sins will receive with great joy the rebuke of it. We cannot repent from sin while clinging to it. To repent is to cling to Christ and see ourselves as the filthy worthless worms we are without Him. Hear about your sin and you may have life! If you care not to hear, then you care not about Christ and do not have life; for He came to die for sick, ungodly sinners and give them life.

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“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. ‘He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. ‘And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; ‘they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hand on the sick, and they will recover.”

Mark 16:15-18

The progression of the Christian faith upon regeneration should, by the very definition of sanctification, cause the Spirit to continually supersede our selfish ambition and desires. If one has been changed by the Spirit to hate the things he used to love and love the things he used to hate, certainly there must birth a holy desire to share the infinite love and justice of the Creator by commanding sinners to repent. Mind you, not everyone will be a George Whitefield or Jonathan Edwards; but, upon the new birth, the unceasing compassion and discernment for a lost soul to become converted for the glory of Christ becomes an ever-present conviction.

Focus your minds and hearts on the calling of the forerunner.
“John answered them, saying, ‘I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. ‘It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.’” John 1:26-27.
The one who baptized with water was to make the way known for the Savior to come and was incredibly blessed from birth [Luke 1:42]. Consider what Zacharias prophesied of his son,

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;
For you will go before the face of the
Lord to prepare His ways,
To give knowledge of salvation to His
People
By the remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Dayspring from on
High has visited us;
To give light to those who sit in
Darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of
peace.”

Luke 1: 76-79

The very purpose of the birth of John the Baptist is to proclaim the coming of the Messiah to the world. Although he baptized everyday, he did not proclaim to have the power to forgive sins. In fact, he confessed, “I am not the Christ” [John 1:20]. How can one man draw so much attention by baptizing for the forgiveness of sins and yet not be the one to personally forgive them? So that the Scriptures may be fulfilled, Sovereignty was expressed in that the Pharisees did not understand and were looking to accuse him of blasphemy by asking, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, or the Prophet [v.25]?” Although John was the prophesied one that Zacharias was speaking of, his defense consistently pointed not to himself, but to that of Jesus Christ and His complete sufficiency for the forgiveness of sins. This purpose was so that the very life of John the Baptist, as the one to ‘prepare the way of the Lord’, could decrease and the glory of Christ could increase [John 3:30].

Charles Spurgeon stated, “Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that.” Although no born-again Christians today are an official forerunner for the coming Messiah, the passionate zeal and truth proclaimed about the state of man from John is no less the responsibility of all those whom God has saved for His good pleasure and glory. We are not saved unto lies, but unto truth. We are saved from lies, the devils cunnings and the ultimate wrath of God Almighty. Our souls are given few options to oppose the very nature we are given upon the new birth. E.g., we are saved unto holiness and not wickedness [1 Peter 1:15-16]. We are no longer condemned before God but justified by His glorious Grace. How does one respond who knew well the unregenerate and natural state of man and then suddenly converted? What about the one who was dead in trespasses and suddenly brought to life? Is there no thankfulness, no proclamation, no zeal to speak life of to others of the Messiah and the forgiveness of sins through Him? John spoke,
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! ‘This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’” John 1:29-30

We need not consider with hubris this Gospel that is able to convert a sinner’s soul in an instant, but with the utmost humility. The Baptist said, ‘of whose sandal strap I am not worth to loose’ [v. 27]. Therefore, in considering the current fallen and wretched state of man, we neither are worthy to loose the strap of the Messiah’s sandal or necessarily worthy to speak a word of this good news. But it makes it all the more necessary when God decrees it worthy as He chooses such vessels of honor according to His infinite wisdom to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to all nations [1 Tim. 2:21]. According to His wisdom, it causes the sinner to boast in nothing other than the cross of Christ that shames all worldly wisdom and living.

“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God-and righteousness and sanctification and redemption- that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’”

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

As we are individually effectually drawn and called to the Messiah empty-handed, so it maintains throughout that Christian life as the Spirit of God imparts the wisdom of God to those who may be despised and unimportant according to worldly standards and wisdom. As the spirit continually reminds the sinners soul to ‘glory only in the Lord,’ so it should speak and proclaim through us this eternal decree [The Gospel] that brings the shameful wickedness of men and all of their ways to naught and ashes.

Oh, to be only blessed enough to have a sinner ask like the Philippian jailer, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”! Acts 16:30. But, this is not typically likely as the world continually stands in rebellion shaking her fist at the God, seeking a way that seems right to man, but ending in destruction. May we also respond accordingly to these types and all others by telling them to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and they will be saved, them and their household [Acts 16:31]. Evangelism is not [just] a spiritual gift or a calling to some followers of Christ, but it is a commandment to all believers to preach the good news. We are not to wait until someone approaches us as the jailer, but to seek those who are lost where they stand, as our Savior did. As our Sovereign and good Lord places His sheep amongst the wolves in various daily scenarios, we are to act and speak the light of Christ, proclaiming our unworthiness and His worthiness.

As believers demonstrate the particular mandate of sharing the good news of Christ with those who have not yet been converted, we must be reminded of the very cause of our own conversion. Namely, God has illuminated our hearts of the wretched condition of our own souls in that we are a fallen people and in desperate need of a Savior. We have committed sin against the Lord God Almighty. We know this by the Law presented to us in our own conscience that we sin against Him.
“For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of man by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”
Romans 2:12-16

I do not remember Jesus saying in the Scriptures to make His Gospel known with cowardice and nonchalance. It is as foreign to the Scriptures as a believer not preaching at all [sharing the Gospel with unbelievers]. If we are unsure of the truth of what we proclaim about Our Savior spilling His blood for our atonement, then why should we have assurance of salvation? If we speak with such weakness, and lax knowledge, we make the crucifixion and resurrection of the Messiah of no value to anyone. If your own life has not been transformed and made new enough for other people to know this has taken place, then you do not preach the Gospel to yourself enough [you must start there!], or regeneration has not taken place. Take heed our calling Christians and do not worry about an offense. The Holy Spirit of God does not take into consideration a sinner being offended or reminded of what he really is in the eyes of God. When do we realize that it is truly only God who is offended because we infinitely break His Law [Romans 3:23]? Do we not see the very reason Jesus was scourged and crucified? He was an offense to the Roman government [accused of blasphemy]! Martyrdom does not happen by agreeing with the world and what it stands for. Because it hated our Savior first, so it will hate any of His followers. This world is passing away and needs only to be reminded of the ultimate wrath and destruction pending [1 John 2:17]. Be as bold as a lion. May you decrease and the glory of Christ increase. Proclaim the Christ, “who takes away the sin of the world!”

“Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, ‘Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?’”
Luke 3:7

When discussing the necessity, inerrancy and reliability of the Holy Word of God, one may quickly discover the true human condition upon earth and treasure the anecdote [who is Christ] that brings forth breathe and life to the soul. Others may peruse to please their senses and sinful nature by attempting to find loopholes or escape the human condition and reality of judgment out of complete irreverence and rebellion to God. Still others will read out of a monotonous disposition, gazing over particular words, yet casually leaving others out as if to look forward to a task being complete and marking it off as if it is pleasurable to God.

God’s Word is not contingent upon man and his response. But mans condition and response is already acknowledged and expertly explained throughout all of Scripture. Sinners have not changed since the fall. We have not become better or become ‘more advanced’ as a people. We have naturally demonstrated a self-sufficient heart, mind and rule that contributes to the infinite corruption of the soul. “Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die’” [Genesis 3:4]. Oh how many sinners are convinced every day that they will ‘not surely die!’ We are convinced by our deceitfulness of heart and Satan himself that we may be ‘just like God [v.5]’ if we simply disobey God. Our disobedience and sin results in separation, philosophy, self-governance and ultimately death [Genesis 2:17]. Therefore, God has decreed His Word to be the only foundation for knowledge, truth and life by portraying the nature and results of the human condition [namely, our fallen nature caused by sin resulting separation from God] through the revelation of the Holy Spirit. The greatest ordinance in the eternal realm is not the fall of man or presentation of the law to demonstrate man’s fallen nature, but it is in the perfect display and shining forth of the Father’s glory in the coming forth of His Son, Jesus Christ and His redeeming power; who is also The Word of God.

“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, and apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know who I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”

2 Timothy1:8-12

The apostle displayed the truth of the Scriptures not only with the words of Scripture, but with his very life. Paul considered himself a prisoner of Christ. He was no longer a slave to his flesh, carnal thinking and death, but a slave to God [Romans 6:16]. Being a ‘slave to God’ or a ‘prisoner of Christ’ is a way of he spoke in human terms that we are now slaves of righteousness or holiness [v.19]. This is the contrary of our nature. Our nature represents being slaves of sin, all sorts of doctrine and death. So, Paul is explaining that he is no longer a prisoner of death but of life. He is no longer a prisoner of Satan, but of Jesus Christ, ‘who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.’ Although he was in literal chains as a prisoner [2 Tim.1:16, 2:9], he publicly demonstrated that he was a prisoner of truth and of sound doctrine by being a prisoner of Christ. He also spoke of the eternality of God’s word that never passes away. For, ‘His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,’ is the source of truth.

“Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained.”

2 Timothy 2:9

So is the word of God to those who have been writ by the Holy Spirit. It leads and guides us into all truth, exposing darkness along the way [Ephesians 5:11]. It reminds us constantly that we are not indeed self-sufficient creatures but utterly dependant on the very words of God to be holy and righteous. God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path [Psalm 119:105]. Since we are like sheep that have gone astray, susceptible to the utmost evil and corruption, the precepts written and illuminated in God’s word are the perfect enlightenment to shine light upon our natural darkness.

“Oh, how I love Your Law!
It is my meditation all the day.
You, through Your commandments,
Make me wiser than my enemies;
For they are ever with me.
I have more understanding than all
My teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.
I understand more than the ancients,
Because I keep Your precepts.
I have restrained my feet from every
evil way,
That I may keep your word.
I have not departed from Your
Judgments,
For you Yourself have taught me.How sweet are Your words to my taste,
Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through Your precepts I get understanding;
Therefore I hate every false way.

Psalm 119:97-104

The word of God is not simply a resource, but it is life itself [John 1, Revelation 19:13]. It is also a judge [2 Timothy 4:1]. To disregard the rule and authority of Scripture is to blaspheme the Judge as well as the source of all life. Children of God rest in the promises of God revealed in His word. They must meditate upon the promises and precepts daily in order to grow and understand their Creator intimately. To know God and to love Him is to commune with Him in the reading His Word by the illumination of the Holy Spirit. If His word is truly a light to our paths, then we are learning evermore the discern good from evil and the presence of sin in the process of sanctification. We read the bible because it is the revelation of God in human terms to remind us of our human condition, the nature of evil, judgment, our utter nakedness and helplessness before a Holy God and the Good News of redemption through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God said:

‘I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be my people.’

Therefore

‘Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.’
‘I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and
Daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.’”

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

There is a thin line to walk considering the text that Paul has brought to light in the second letter to the Corinthian church. He does not merely say, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers,” and then move on. He follows this seemingly straight-forward statement with, [1] “What fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?”
[2] “What communion has light with darkness?” [3] “What accord has Christ with Belial?” [4] “What part has a believer with an unbeliever?” [5] “What agreement has the temple of God with idols? Just incase the first question is misunderstood, Paul followed up with four more questions, using different examples to represent the same spiritual context. What began possibly as something that could be debated, ended with a crystal clear depiction of what it means to “not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.”

What exactly does Paul mean? The first thought or comparison made by many Christians [including myself], is in the context of marriage. Of course no one expects a Christian man to marry an unbelieving woman or vice versa. Marriage is reflected in the context of two people becoming one for the rest of their lives on earth. It is beyond a commitment or partnership, but a covenant. The husband must be able and willing to essentially love and lead his wife, while willing to sacrifice his life for her sake. The wife must be able and willing to respect and succumb to her husband’s leadership. That is understandable.

What does is mean to be “unequally yoked together with unbelievers”? The doctrine of justification generously explains and answers the series of Paul’s questions, demonstrating the difference between one who is justified and one who is not [or the difference between a believer and unbeliever]. In Romans, Paul speaks of the faith of David and Abraham:

“But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness from works:

‘Blessed are those whose lawless
deeds are forgiven,
And whose sins are covered;
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord
shall not impute sin.’”

Romans 4:5-8

Speaking of the faith of Abraham,

“He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore ‘it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”

Romans 4:20-25

When Paul speaks of righteousness vs. unrighteousness and light vs. darkness, it is not comparing the good with bad people. Neither is it comparing one person who has sinned more or less than another. Rather, it is comparing someone who is dead to one who is alive; one who has been made alive to Christ and one who is not [Ephesians 2:1]. This explanation leaves no room for a ‘middle ground’ defense or compromising effort when being unequally yoked with unbelievers. For, one is either living in the darkness or the light as one is either dead or alive. There is no such thing as ‘somewhat alive’ or ‘basically dead.’ The main and fundamental difference is the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, which is the only decree that causes a sinner to ultimately live. Otherwise, we are all infinitely dead in sins.

If one has received the righteousness of Christ by faith [justified by faith/born-again], then they will in essence be drawn or led by the Holy Spirit to ‘bear witness’ with other believers that have the same status with God.

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors-not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”

Romans 8:11-17

Because Jesus Christ is the only one to live a perfect life and never sin, there is no boasting amongst the ones who are justified by faith. It is not our own righteousness that is imputed or glorified, but Christ’s alone. The implication of this status is monumental because it sets the soul into stark contrast to the rest of the world. The soul that has life is dispersed amongst souls that remain dead. Just like we obtain certain attributes from our earthly fathers, we obtain the exact [imputation] righteousness from our ‘Abba Father’ in Christ. It is due wholly to the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ and His resurrection [Romans 8:11].

Those who are justified before God have a different relationship to sin than those who do not. The unjustified sinner loves his sin. The justified sinner is learning to hate it more and more. In Matthew 18, Jesus is teaching on what to do with a sinning brother, one who is professing to be in the faith.
“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” Matthew 18:15-17
If one is a brother, then he is to be treated as a brother. Namely, you fellowship with and enjoy each others presence and words because you are both justified and ‘bear witness’ with one another. However, the presence of public sin presents the issue of an unrepentant heart. Jesus explains that even after appearing to him with a couple of witnesses and before the church, to “let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” These are extremely harsh words coming straight from the Son of God regarding sin. At one point in fellowship, we are to treat someone as a brother, and the next as a heathen and a tax collector? One may say, “Blame the church!” or “Why would you sacrifice fellowship with someone who apparently needs it?” That is just it. They do not want fellowship. Jesus said, “But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, ‘that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established’ [v.16]” and “And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church” [v. 17]. Tax collectors and heathens do not want to hear the rebuke to repent because they spurn it rather than simply ‘not repent’.

If we are to discontinue fellowship with professing believers after display of [public] unrepentant sin, then how much more important is it to be in fellowship with ones who are overcoming sin by the Grace of God and displaying His Glory? The sheep must and will be separated from the goats, just as the wheat from the tare. Peter explains sharply,

“For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

Now

‘If the righteous one is scarcely saved,
Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?’”

1 Peter 4:17-18

It is difficult enough for a saint to be in the world but not of it. Despite the attempts to fit in and fellowship with those who have not yet been made alive by the Spirit, it is unfruitful and impossible to be encouraged to live by someone who is dead. When Jesus walked this earth prior to His crucifixion, He called his disciples individually to simply “follow Him.” They immediately left everything to follow Jesus. So it must be with every Christian in order to be saved from their sins. They must not only leave and despise their sin, but flee those who hate God because they enjoy and relish in sinful lifestyles. It is the utmost hypocrisy to love God and sin, just as it is impossible to love God and to continually fellowship with unbelievers. Apart from the preaching of the Gospel, what commonality can you find with words? With the infinite number of sins and struggles that can be expressed and confessed affectionately among believers who have been changed by Grace [bearing witness], what are these things to one who cares not to change? One lives his life to glorify his Creator and to ultimately commit his spirit to Him. The other wants to live for what his eyes see and enjoy his sin in the meantime. One clings to the ever-present thought and eternally changing destiny of, “The Creator of Heaven and earth came as a man to shed His blood and die to save me from my sins and eternal death,” while the other has no concept of it and in fact hates the very utterance. What do you have in common?

Live with those who live and preach life to those who are dead.