“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:8-10).
I’m a miserable failure when it comes to not committing sin. I’ll be the first one to jump up and say, “Yup, I’m a sinner!” I fail every day. I’m disappointed in myself, like the apostle Paul who said:
“For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do .Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me” (Romans 7:15-20).
I sometimes forget that I’m not perfect. The enemy tries to use the idea of perfection as a weapon against me, sneaking thoughts into my head that if I’m not perfect, then I’m not loved by Jesus and I am not saved unto Glory. It’s a slippery slope of thought if I get sucked into that error of thinking. I must remember that being sinless is impossible for us mere humans. Only Christ is perfect and sinless. All we can do is strive to be like Him, even though we will miss the mark.
When I do what I don’t want to do, I always feel so guilty. I knew I shouldn’t have done what I did but I did it anyway. After I beat myself up I remember and I tell myself that I am of flesh thanks to Adam, and I am by nature a sinful creature. All I can do is repent and pray for strength not to give into that fleshly desire again; seems like I do this a lot though.
Being a follower of Christ is not to expect perfection in our selves or our brothers and sisters in this world. Nor are we to judge people because they aren’t perfect. I’m reminded of the story in John chapter eight about the adulteress that was about to be stoned. Jesus admonished the crowd that whoever was without sin should cast the first stone. No one did and they all left. Jesus told the adulteress to leave and leave her life of sin (adultery). I certainly will never throw a stone at someone who has committed a sin, for I am just as guilty as every other human.
Knowing we are human and therefore destined to sin, we should not continue to sin? No. As Paul says in Romans 6:1-2: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that Grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”
We should strive to live a sinless life, but also knowing we will slip and fall along the way. Does this make us any less of a follower of Christ? Does this mean if we slip up we will go to hell? No. We won’t be perfect in this life and only by grace through our belief in Christ will we spend eternity with Him as perfect creatures.
I’m trying to make a point here. I think that non-believers and some believers get the idea that Christians have to be perfect to be saved. I also believe that some Christians portend to be perfect and are judgmental to others and therefore turn non-believers off to investigating Christ. I’m not saying every Christian believes they are perfect, but we all know of one or two in church who think and act like they are without sin and are judgmental towards everyone else based on their false belief of their perceived self-perfection.
I want both unbelievers and believers to know that you don’t have to be perfect to be a Christian. In fact it is impossible. You can never be perfectly sinless. Only one Person is perfect─Jesus. You will never measure up to the perfect standard expected from God. That is why we have Jesus. Jesus is the mediator between us, and God the Father. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, past, present, and future. Through faith in Jesus we are assured that He was our sin offering to God so that by grace we may be seen as righteous in the eyes of God.
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by His Grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of Him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:20-26).
I want people who are still reading — to become believers in the promise of eternity in heaven through Jesus. I want you to know that God is real, that Jesus is real, and that the eternity of heaven and hell is real. Where you go, heaven or hell is ultimately your choice. The choice is pretty simple. You get eternal life in heaven if you believe and have faith that Jesus died for your sins and ascended to heaven after being resurrected. If you don’t have faith in Jesus, you still have eternal life, but it will be in hell, separated from the love and peace of God.
I hope you are a little uncomfortable with what I just stated. I hope that you are thinking of your two choices. That is good. What you should do now is pray. It doesn’t have to be an eloquent prayer; it is just you talking to God, your Creator. Pray to the Lord to reveal to you the truth about Jesus. Do this and your heart will speak to you regarding this. Also, get a Bible, or find an on-line one, and read at least one of the four gospels books of the Bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and/or John to learn about Jesus for yourself. Don’t take my word for it, read the Scriptures.
As you read, pray to receive Jesus into your heart and to help you understand Him and His message. Do this and I believe you will no longer be an unbeliever, but a believer in: Jesus. Reading one of the gospel books won’t take long to read and praying is easy. Try it and see what happens to you. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
Once Christ is in your life, the Holy Spirit will work on your heart and you will begin to see changes in the way you think, act, and look at the world around you. The worldly ways you once lived won’t seem as important and your heart will change to want to please Christ. This is a good thing. After you begin to grow with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, your old self will be put aside and you will think of the things of Christ and salvation more and more. If you allow the Holy Spirit to work in your heart and mind, you will be a new creation with a firm confirmation of your salvation in Christ leading to heaven.
If you think you are too full of sin to be forgiven, push those thoughts out of your mind. Satan will want you to think you are too sinful to be accepted by Christ. Know that Satan is wrong. He wants to destroy your relationship with Christ. He wants you to believe in lies about Christ and Christianity that are floating around in society and throughout the world. Don’t entertain those thoughts. Keep your mind focused on Christ and your heart to the peace and rest Jesus offers to His people─that includes you.
Know that the world will be against you as well. This is a daily challenge that all followers of Christ face. The world hates Christ and when you accept Christ you will begin to hate the things of the world. You will see the world through the eyes of Christ and will be dumbfounded at how you used to live in your old life before you knew Christ. You may not believe me now, but you will see what I mean as your grow with the help of the Holy Spirit in your walk with Jesus.
If you are sitting on the fence with the world on one side and Christ on the other, I urge you, no, I plead with you to look at Jesus more in-depth. Seek Him and you will find Him. Ask for His guidance and strength to believe in Him and His saving grace. God gave His only Son as a living sacrifice for you and me to have a way to heaven. Christ was sacrificed on a cross so that our sins are paid for, so we are blameless before God─if only you believe in Him and His grace offer of eternity through Him. Take this new journey for your salvation. Accept Christ. Study His Word─the Bible, and pray continuously.
All Scripture cited is from the King James Version of the Bible.