Christians Are Sinners, To Our Shame

While some Christians isolate a few New Testament verses to validate a doctrine known as sinless perfection, others use Biblical freedom from sin and guilt and the law as a license to sin with impunity. Like the Corinthians, they revel in what they perceive to be their right to do as they please.

To my last post on the subject of Christians and sin, Jason commented, “If the apostles admonish believers to good behavior, it cannot hold that they are incapable of bad behavior.” An excellent point, but there’s a natural corollary that belongs with that statement: if the apostles admonish believers to good behavior, it holds that believers will want to respond with good behavior.

Paul addressed this wrong thinking in Romans 6:1-2a. “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be!” Later in the chapter, he explains further:

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?

In light of this concept, that we are slaves to whomever we present ourselves, Paul pointedly states in chapter 12, the Christian’s responsibility:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (emphasis added)

To the Church in Colossae, Paul wrote that he was praying that their knowledge of God’s would increase “so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects” (1:10a). Later in the chapter he said

And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard (vv. 21-23a – emphasis added).

Clearly, Paul taught that the Christian would respond to his salvation, not by sinning to his heart’s content in the belief that he was forgiven, but rather that he would do all he could to obey God and look to Him in faith.

The entire book of James is dedicated to this very theme. In his introduction, James states that his “beloved brethren” are to be “quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” These are the evidences of faith as he explains in chapter 2:

What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

Useless faith, dead faith, a slave to what we present ourselves — Scripture does not hold back. The Christian is not a forgiven sinner who continues in a lifestyle of sin, willfully and confidently taking the throne to do as he pleases because he knows he’s forgiven.

Rather, he lives to please God who is his Lord as He is his Savior. As the Christian submits to God, he becomes more like Him. As he obeys, he wants only to obey more. And when he falls short, he weeps and mourns even as he runs to God to cleanse his hands and purify his heart.

Two extreme positions — sanctified perfection or freedom to sin — and both misrepresent what the Bible actually says.

May we Christians eagerly ask God to search us and try us. When He does shows us our sin, may we put “aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness.” May we “confess our sins to one another and pray for one another.”

In other words, may we deal with the sin in our lives promptly so we can again enjoy the fellowship of our loving Heavenly Father, waiting for us with arms open wide.

Published in: on August 29, 2011 at 8:35 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 Comments

  1. It feels like some churches sometimes try to sell Jesus at whatever the cost like selling a used car. They seem to make Him more pleasing to the human eye just to get Him in the club.

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  2. Nikole, I haven’t experienced it, but from what I’ve read on the Internet, it seems like this has been a spreading trend for some time. How sad that we think so little of Jesus. We don’t treat those we love here on earth the way we treat Him. Here we try to put our best foot forward and do all we can to please the one we love, at least at first.

    But in growing relationships, “sacrifice” no longer seems like we’re giving something up. We want to for the sake of the one we care about so deeply.

    With God, we treat Him more like we do the government — a necessary evil that ought to be doing more for us and from whom we can demand that things change for our benefit, or else!

    How grieved must be God’s heart.

    Becky

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