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ERROR of CANNOT SIN THEORY
Life Sketches (1915 edition), p 83 (EW 301):
During family prayer that night, the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me, and I was shown many things in vision. These men were presented to me as doing great injury to the cause of God. While professing sanctification, they were transgressing the sacred law. They were corrupt at heart, and those in union with them were under a satanic delusion, obeying their carnal instincts instead of the word of God.
They held that those who are sanctified cannot sin. And this naturally led to the belief that the affections and desires of the sanctified ones were always right, and never in danger of leading them into sin. In harmony with these sophistries, they were practising the worst sins under the garb of sanctification, and through their deceptive, mesmeric influence were gaining a strange power over some of their associates, who did not see the evil of these apparently beautiful but seductive theories.
Signs of the Times, May 19, 1890 (TDG 148):
Many have taken the position that they cannot sin because they are sanctified, but this is a delusive snare of the evil one. There is constant danger of falling into sin, for Christ has warned us to watch and pray lest we enter into temptation. If we are conscious of the weakness of self, we shall not be self-confident and reckless of danger; but we shall feel the necessity of seeking to the Source of our strength, Jesus our righteousness. We shall come in repentance and contrition, with a despairing sense of our own finite weakness, and learn that we must daily apply to the merits of the blood of Christ, that we may become vessels fit for the Master's use. While thus depending upon God, we shall not be found warring against the truth, but we shall always be enabled to take our stand for the right. We should cling to the teaching of the Bible, and not follow the customs and traditions of the world, the sayings and doings of men. When errors arise and are taught as Bible truth, those who have a connection with Christ will not trust to what the minister says, but, like the noble Bereans, they will search the Scriptures daily to see if these things are so. When they discover what is the word of the Lord, they will take their stand on the side of truth. They will hear the voice of the true Shepherd saying, "This is the way, walk ye in it." Thus you will be educated to make the Bible the man of your counsel, and the voice of a stranger you will neither hear nor follow.
Review and Herald, December 1, 1885:
The apostle continues: "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure." The Christian's life is one of progression, not of backsliding. "For if ye do these things, ye shall never fall." I once knew a man in the State of Maine whose religious life was very consistent, but who seemed greatly depressed at times, fearing that he might become a backslider, and that through his example others might fall. One day he came to the prayer-meeting, his face radiant the hope and joy, and said: "I have found the way; I need never fall and dishonor my Saviour. By constantly adding grace to grace we may go straight forward in the Christian course. The apostle says, 'If ye do these things ye shall never fall.'" Let those trembling souls who constantly fear lest they shall fall, fear no longer. Let them live upon the plan of addition, and God will work for them upon the plan of multiplication. The apostle has presented the only true sanctification. There are many to-day who claim that they are holy and cannot sin. The only correct standard of sanctification is the law of God. By it is the knowledge of sin. Genuine sanctification is the work of a life-time. It is climbing the ladder round after round.
Review and Herald, June 6, 1878:
The professed church of Christ is full of the spurious article, and one distinct feature of it is, the more one drinks into the spirit of popular sanctification, the less he prizes the present truth. Many of those who are the open opponents of God's Sabbath, the third angel's message, and the health reform, are among the sanctified ones. Some of them have even reached the almost hopeless position that they cannot sin. These, of course, have no further use for the Lord's prayer, which teaches us to pray that our sins may be forgiven, and but very little use for the Bible, as they profess to be led by the Spirit.
Is Bro. B. preaching the Laodicean message? That is well; but let it be borne in mind that the person who has become so sanctified that he cannot sin is the veriest Laodicean. The true Witness appeals to such in these words: "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." What a terrible deception! They think they are complete in Christ, and know not that they are wretched, blind, miserable, poor, and naked.
Testimonies, vol 5 p 139:
As we near the close of earth's history, perils and dangers thicken around us. A mere profession of godliness will not avail. There must be a living connection with God, that we may have spiritual eyesight to discern the wickedness which is in a most artful and secret manner creeping into our midst through those who make a profession of our faith. The greatest sins are brought in through those who profess to be sanctified and claim that they cannot sin. Yet many of this class are sinning daily and are corrupt in heart and life. Such are self-sufficient and self-righteous, making their own standard of righteousness and utterly failing to meet the Bible standard. Notwithstanding their high claims, they are strangers to the covenant of promise. It is in great mercy that God bears with their perversity and that they are not cut down as cumberers of the ground, but still remain within the possibilities of forgiveness. The forbearance of God is continually presumed upon and His mercy abused. David in his day thought that men had exceeded the boundaries of the long-suffering of God, and that He must interfere to vindicate His honor and restrain unrighteousness.
Signs of the Times, April 28, 1890:
Satan and his followers were expelled from heaven in consequence of rebellion, and the spirit of the evil one now works in the children of disobedience; Satan carries on his rebellion against God in this world. He seeks to corrupt all; but the instruments most favorable to his purpose of ruining souls, are men who have had great light and blessing from God; for they can accomplish more harm in making void the law than can those who have been less favored of heaven. They use the same flattering sophistry that Satan used in heaven and in Eden; they speak of the law as a yoke of bondage, and picture the liberty of him who disregards its claims, as a state of holiness and sanctification. Those who claim holiness and make a boast that they cannot sin, though at the same time living in transgression of the law, are in the same condition as the angels that sinned in heaven. They make great pretensions to the favor of Heaven, claim to possess exalted knowledge of spiritual things, while they go on in reckless disregard of the word of the Lord.
Selected Messages, book 2, p 32:
If those who speak so freely of perfection in the flesh, could see things in the true light, they would recoil with horror from their presumptuous ideas. In showing the fallacy of their assumptions in regard to holy flesh, the Lord is seeking to prevent men and women from putting on His words a construction which leads to pollution of body, soul, and spirit. Let this phase of doctrine be carried a little further, and it will lead to the claim that its advocates cannot sin; that since they have holy flesh, their actions are all holy. What a door of temptation would thus be opened!
Signs of the Times, February 28, 1895:
There was nothing of this character found in the life or teachings of Jesus. All that is of heaven is pure, peaceable, refined, and ennobling, free from everything that is extravagant or fanatical in thought, word, or action. The religion of Christ bears the heavenly credentials, and when the heart has been impressed with the divine image, the soul is in harmony with all God's commandments. But the sanctification that leads its possessors to refuse to study the Scriptures, and persuades them to believe they know it all, and that there is no advanced truth for them to accept, is of a spurious order. They are yet carnal, for it is the carnal mind that is "enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." They are deluded by the adversary of God and man. They have illusions, and a bewitching power is upon them as they cry out: "I am saved, I am saved. I cannot sin." We only can distinguish the true from the false by the manifestation of the graces of the Spirit, which Christ has promised to implant in the heart.
The promises contained in the seven beatitudes are not to be fulfilled to the one who feels self-sufficient, who turns from the Scriptures of revealed truth to a false theory, crying: "I am saved, I am saved. I cannot sin." The precious promises of the beatitudes are for those who feel their poverty of spirit, to the true mourners, to the meek, to the peacemakers, to the pure in heart, to those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. It is the weary and the heavy laden that Christ invites to come unto him, and to them his promise is sure, "Ye shall find rest unto your souls." But the rest comes in wearing Christ's yoke, in bearing Christ's burden.
Expierence and Views (1854 edition), p 19-20:
God will not intrust the care of his precious flock to men whose minds and judgment have been weakened by former errors that they have been in, such as so-called perfectionism and spiritualism, and by their course, while in these errors, have brought reproach upon the cause of truth and disgraced themselves. And although they may now feel free from error, and competent to go forth to teach this last message, God will not accept them. He will not intrust precious souls to their care; for their judgment has been perverted while in error, and is now weakened.
Early Writings 101-102:
God will not entrust the care of His precious flock to men whose mind and judgment have been weakened by former errors that they have cherished, such as so-called perfectionism and Spiritualism, and who, by their course while in these errors, have disgraced themselves and brought reproach upon the cause of truth. Although they may now feel free from error and competent to go forth and to teach this last message, God will not accept them. He will not entrust precious souls to their care; for their judgment was perverted while in error, and is now weakened. The great and holy One is a jealous God, and He will have holy men to carry His truth. The holy law spoken by God from Sinai as a part of Himself, and holy men who are its strict observers will alone honor Him by teaching it to others.