Playing the ‘What If’ Game

Sometimes it is helpful to play the ‘What if?’ Game. If we ask the right question and answer it the right way, it might give us an insight into the way we ought to live.

The question I want to look at is, “What if a man could live a life without sin? What would his life look like?”

The answer to this question is easy if one wants to see a sinless life just look at the life of our Lord Jesus Christ for, I believe the life that he lived was sinless.

We know that Jesus was the Word that became flesh for a reason. The reason that the Word was made flesh was that He could live a sinless life and die to pay the penalty for our sins so that we would “not perish but have everlasting life.”  (John 3:16) 

I want to look at a human being who is not the Word of God, not the only begotten Son of God. Do not get me wrong, I believe that Jesus was and is a real man. I believe that Jesus had a body as all men have. I believe that He was as much a man as any other man that ever lived. 

But I want to look at what it would take for me or you to live a sinless life.

If one were to live a sinless life he would have to keep the greatest commandment. (Mark 12:30-31) “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  {31} And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”

The thing that I am about to say is so much above what our flesh can do that we know that it is impossible that a man can even hope to do.

If a man wants to be sinless then he will have to have love as the first motive that controls his life. 

To understand just what it takes to love as God wants us to love, we will have to understand the Greek word that is used here; “agapaō” or “agapē”.

Agapaō is a verb that means “to be full of goodwill and exhibit the same… with the accusative of the person, to have a preference for, wish well to, regard the welfare of”… the one that is loved. (STRONGS NT 25)  (“Agapē” is the noun but it means the same thing.)

My understanding of the meaning of this Greek word is if one loves with agapē love, he will love to the point of giving himself for the one he loves.

There is another thing that we need to understand about agapaō love, it is not a feeling. To have agapaō love one does not have a feeling if one has it. Our emotions are not invaded but what is invaded is our desire to do whatever it takes to do the best for the one that is loved. When one has agapaō love he wants to do good for the one he loves. 

Now I want to look at (Galatians 5:13-18) “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.  {14} For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  {15} But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.  {16} This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  {17} For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.  {18} But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”

This passage gives us some idea of what agapē love looks like and acted like.

In the first part of this chapter Paul talks about the difference between trying to keep the law to work for eternal life; over against God giving it to us when we have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here in verse 13, he tells us that God has called us to liberty. The word liberty means freedom. This freedom is not the freedom of the flesh to what it wants to do, but it is the freedom to love and serve one another.

If we serve one another we are keeping the second greatest commandment; “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”(v5:14)  

Now, let’s think about this commandment a little further.

What would you have to do to love another as you love yourself?  You love yourself. I love myself. I do a lot of good things for myself. So, if I love another as I love myself I would do the same good things for that person. 

We all serve ourselves by meeting our needs. The thing that this commandment is saying is that we are to serve others as we serve ourselves. You can see this is hard for our flesh to do. 

As you study this passage you need to understand about our flesh, it is very selfish. The flesh does not want to do anything that will not help him.  In other parts of the Bible, it is called the old nature.  I do not believe that the flesh is able to love with agapaō love. (Romans 8:9) “But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” The Spirit that dwells in us when we are saved is enabling us to have agapaō love. It does not mean that our love will be perfect love. 

I believe that Paul is saying the same thing in this passage.

Look at verse 16, (Galatians 5:16) “This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

If we do not want to live a selfish life, then we need to walk in the Spirit. What does that mean? I believe that it means that the Holy Spirit is in control of the one that is walking in the Spirit.  (Ephesians 5:18) “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;”

A life that is lived in the flesh is a selfish life but a life that is lived in the Spirit is one that in serving one another.  If one lived that kind of life that is a life that always served others it seems that it would be a sinless life.

Note what verse 16 says; “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

When one is under the control of the Spirit of God, he will not do the things that his flesh wants to do. 

Here I want to ask another “if” question; what would a man act like if he was completely in control of the Spirit?  That is, if all his actions were what the Holy Spirit wanted him to do?

  1. He would not do what his flesh wants him to do. He would “not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

2.    He would not do any of the works of the flesh that are named in Galatians 5:19-21. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,  {20} Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,  {21} Envying’s, murders, drunkenness, reveling, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

These are all works of the flesh. These are all fulfilling the lust of the flesh. And they are all sins. As I study the Bible I can say with Paul in (Romans 7:18) “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”

3.    Now if one is walking in the Spirit then he would have the fruit of the Spirit in his life. In verse 22 Paul gives us the fruit of the Spirit; (Galatians 5:22-23) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, {23} Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”.

 This love is the love that we talked about before; “agapē love”.  This is the kind of love that will cause us to love our neighbor as ourselves. This is the kind of love that makes it possible for us to be able to forgive others.  This is the kind of love that once one has liberty will cause us to serve one another.  In this verse is there is only one fruit of the Spirit which is love. 

Let us go back to the first question, “What would a life without sin look like?”  It would look like the life Christ lived. I do not believe anyone other than Christ can live a sinless life. And if anyone will come close to a sinless life, he would have to be completely controlled by the Spirit of God.

“What would a life without sin look like?” It would be a life of love and service to others. 

“What would a life without sin look like?” It would be a life that would “not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

“What would a life without sin look like?” It would be one that the Spirit of God had complete control of so that it could love as Christ loves.

What if we asked God to fill us with His Spirit so we could serve others, not fulfill fleshly desires, and love-like Jesus? 

Article written by Ralph Williams, retired pastor and member of One Hope Mobile.

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