Vol. 5, No. 5
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Some think that being a Christian means that one never sins. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have a Savior who withstood every temptation and overcame every obstacle to live a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22). We are called to follow his example. But, it is a mistake to think that we must live a perfect life to do that. In essence, Jesus sets the standard which we strive for, but never quite achieve.
John warned that those who say they have no sin are self-deceived and devoid of truth (1 John 1:8-10). The Bible tells us that we all sin and come short of God's glory (Romans 3:23). Except for our Lord, there is no man who does good in life and never sins (Ecclesiastes 7:20). What then is the difference between Christians and non-Christians if all are sinners?
First, Christians are saved sinners. Having been obedient to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a Christian's sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus (Ephesians 1:7). Further, as long as we "walk in the light" or live as a child of God ought to live, his blood continues to cleanse us of all sin (1 John 1:7). Through him, we are justified, sanctified, forgiven, redeemed and saved.
Second, Christians are not controlled by sin. Sin does not have dominion over God's people (Romans 6:14). That means that Christians are motivated by a desire to do what is right and to reject what is wrong. It means that we are committed to embracing good and shunning evil. It means that we are determined to follow God's standard and not our own. It means that we are resolved to withstand temptation, not to surrender to it!
Third, we are not sinless, but we do sin less. Our goal is to conform to the example of our Savior. Like the apostle Paul, we want to be able to say, "Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20). As we move toward maturity in Christ, sin has less of a place in our lives and God's Word has more control.
Our eternal well-being does not hinge on our being "perfect" or "sinless." Our salvation is made possible because our Savior was sinless. We lay no claim to living perfect lives, but we do try everyday to live as close to Jesus as we can. We will never regret doing that, but we will regret forever our failure to try!