It is my experience that the church can unintentionally send the wrong message AND those seeking absolution can receive the wrong message through ignorance and/or confusion. We must be crystal clear.
Those who are regenerated to “new life in Christ” – those who are redeemed, reconciled, and restored to relationship with their Creator through the shed blood of their Savior and the indwelling of His Holy Spirit – the Bible does not speak of them TRYING to be holy or TRYING to pursue righteousness. They just do – Spirit-filled believers pursue the things of the Spirit of God.
There is no such thing as “guilting” a believer into trying to behave righteously.
There is no such thing as “shaming” a new believer to the point that he/she begins to pursue righteousness.
There is no believer in whom the flesh is more powerful – bears more fruit – than the Spirit of God.
A dead tree bears no fruit or foliage…no matter how much you preach to it, guilt it, or shame it.
A tree that’s been made alive by God’s Spirit, bears the fruit of the Spirit because it’s the life of the Spirit that flows through its roots, trunk, and branches. The blight of death no longer has a hold on a tree filled with new life.
That doesn’t mean that the blight of sin won’t TRY to be a hindrance to a living tree. It might stunt the growth of some fruit. It might spoil a piece of fruit or two. It might even steal the life away from a branch or two. The regenerated tree is not perfect BUT sin will not REIGN in the tree, sin will not have a hold on the tree because of the life of the Spirit of God that pulses through the tree.