A number of sects and denominations maintain that after a person is born again through Christ, that they can attain absolute sinless perfection: that this is normal. Others maintain that once a person is born again the old nature of that person is eradicated, and likewise, they would not sin either. Wouldn’t that be wonderful, I am serious, to actually go through an entire week, month, year, Christian life, with no sin to account for? Why, that would be heaven on earth, wouldn’t it?
Just imagine, we would not think anything impure from what we see or hear, or had experienced before we were saved. Our entire thought life would be led absolutely captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ. Nothing sinful would ever leave our mouths, because nothing sinful could be taken into us. Our anger would never be anything less than pure righteous indignation. Our motives would always be gold, silver, and precious stones, and never once would they be wood, hay, or stubble. Our rewards in heaven would thus all be the same: total equality. We would be absolutely faithful, never once inconsistent. Our fellowship with Christ and with our brothers and sisters in Christ would never be broken. As there would be no pride in us, we would never once look down on others who did not hold to our beliefs of perfection, nor would we look to ourselves as better than others. None of us would ever be overtaken in a fault, for there would be no fault in us. The ministry could never be blamed because we would never bring offense to it in anything. There would be nothing to rebuke, for there would be no sin among us. We would never give any place to the devil; we would never be deceived by false teachers or heresies of any kind; we would all be passionate students of God’s Word; we would all examine what we hear by the Word of God; we would all witness the Gospel to all the lost we come in contact with; we would be thorough going missionary minded, never removing ourselves to some commune of isolation from the world; our saved children would never be disobedient in anything; we would all be looking unashamedly for the imminent return of Jesus Christ; we would all be practitioners of good works in all that we do; we would all declare that salvation is by Jesus Christ alone, and through faith alone in Him are people saved by God’s grace; we would never walk in darkness – always walk in light; and we would deny that there is anything unclean in us.
Do you realize that if only the above things were absolute, we would have no need for the majority of the New Testament Epistles, written to believers that were having problems after they were redeemed by the blood of Christ? Don’t think that I am an advocate for sin – I am not. I am an advocate for the Word of God. It is my standard of absoluteness and my authority. The Apostle Paul, a model for most believers today, was pretty forthright in his estimation of the Christian life that he led. He even declared for believers to ” be followers together of me.” (Phil.3:17). However, prior to that verse we read, “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” (Phil.3:11-12). Paul believed that he had not reached this absolute state as yet. He was in prison in Rome and had been saved for a long time. He believed that perfection had to do with the resurrection to come, in which all believers would be in an absolute state of sinless perfection. In Matthew 5:48, the word perfect is also used – its tense in Greek is: future indicative. There is coming a day when we will be perfect, where we will reach absolute spiritual maturity, but it is not going to be now, nor in this life.
If we are willing to accept the Biblical record that we will not attain to spiritual perfection, does that mean we are giving in to sin and condoning it? Does that mean that we are excusing it? Does that mean that we believe that after one is saved it does not matter how one lives? Never! Never! Never! What we are saying is that we should never allow our knowledge that we will not attain to absolute spiritual maturity in this life to deter us from continually moving in that direction. II Peter 3:18, says, “But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
I John 1:8-10, is extremely relevant to anyone who denies that they sin anymore. In fact, they are denying the Word of God. They are callin g God a liar. That’s not a wise thing to do with God. In Romans 7:15, Paul stated, “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” Is there any doubt that the Apostle Paul was a believer who loved the Lord? I believe that he did, and thus, he hated sin as much as the Lord Jesus in Heb.1:9. In the Old Testament, Psalms 97:10 says: “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil” . Sin is evil and if we love the Lord we are to hate it. Paul did, yet he struggled within himself long after he was saved. Read the rest of Romans 7 and see if you don’t see reality in the Christian life there. But don’t stop there. Read chapter 8 and see the victory over sin in our yieldedness to the Holy Spirit. We as believers don’t have to sin. We shouldn’t desire to sin. A part of our total salvation is that today we are daily being saved from the power of sin. We will not be able to stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ and excuse one sin as a Christian, or blame it on anyone or anything else. You cannot change what happened in the yesterdays of life. But you can live for the Lord today and tomorrow. So start by trying this: Begin with 5 things you know about yourself that are less than spiritually mature. Be honest. Write them down and set out to press onward that you might obtain personal victory over them this month or this year. When you get to that point of victory, expand your list to 5 more, and do the same thing. An amazing transformation of your Christian life will occur. God expects it from Romans 8:29. We should strive for it with all that we are in Christ.