This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I began the project on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed it on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. I still do that every once in a while.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Can Christians Live Without Sin?

QUESTION: Are we to understand that the regenerated can live without sin?

ANSWER: "Sin properly defined," says Wesley, "is the willful transgression of the known law of God." The new birth implants a new principle in the heart which gives him victory over sin. The principle is love to God "shed abroad in the hearts by the Holy Spirit." It is unnatural for one who loves God willfully to violate his known command. Hence John says: "He that is born of God sinneth not." There is an improper definition of sin of a wider sweep embracing the least deviation from the absolute holiness of God, not only in voluntary and intelligent acts, but also in the depraved tendency inherited from Adam and perfectly involuntary. This is called by theologians "original sin." The Methodists, and Arminians generally, teach that this lacks the essential elements of sin which are volition and guilt. From this kind of sin regeneration does not deliver. But it does enable the believer to resist every temptation to transgress the visible, fiery boundary between what is known to be right and what is known to be wrong. It does greatly weaken that "bent to sinning" which entire sanctification removes, but it does not remove the soul from the sphere of temptation. Every soul in probation is within bow-shot of the devil, as was the Son of God himself while on the earth.

Steele's Answers pp. 58, 59

EDITOR'S NOTE: I have discovered that people are often shocked to discover what John Wesley actually taught on this topic. Compare what Steele says above with what Wesley says in the quotes compiled here: THE JUSTIFIED AND REGENERATE STATE DOES NOT ADMIT OF COMMITTING SIN.