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Sinlessness and its Dilemmas

  • "Go and sin no more" John 8:3-11
  • "stop sinning or something worse may happen to you" John 5:1-15
  • "be holy as I am holy" 1 Peter 1:16
  • "if you love me; keep my commandments" John 14:15
  • "until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become perfect" Eph 4:13
Just from these verses we can jump to the conclusion that we can stop sinning, keep God's commands, and be holy with the assumption in this life.  On the surface, this is true.  God does expect us to become holy and sinless and keep his commands in this life.  Coming from the creator and holy God, that is a legit explanation.

But when we look at ALL scripture, we come to some road blocks with the assumption of sinlessness in this life.

  1. Eph 4:13, the word that some translations use is 'perfect' BUT the greek word given the context actually means 'mature'.  τέλειος - te'-lā-os - "that which is perfect, complete, consummate human integrity and virtue of men: full grown, adult, of full age, mature."  This has nothing to do with being a sinner or no longer sinning.  This is referring to a process over time of building and developing our faith.  Same with Colossians 1:28 and 4:12.  The maturity of faith in the Church body is the subject, not sinlessness.
    One of the foremost problems a Sinless Perfectionist has is a correct understanding of scripture.  Typically meanings are imposed and assumed of which the author did not intend.
  2. The Apostles, authors of Holy Scripture, were not sinless.  Galatians 2:11-13, Paul rebuked Peter for showing favoritism, a sin.  1 Timothy 1:15, Paul himself admits that he is currently a sinner.  The greek word he used for "am" means "to be, to exist, to happen, to be present" in relation to him as a sinner.  In Romans 7:24 Paul also states "what a wretched man I AM".  Yet they wrote Holy Scripture and were believers and saved. 
  3. In 1 John 1, he is writing to Believers.  The recipients of his letters are Christians.  John even addresses them as such.  Verse 8 John states that "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." continues in verse 9 and states "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 
    John makes it very clear that WHEN we sin, we can be "cleansed from all unrighteousness" because we WILL SIN; because no one is without sin.  The greek word 'cleasned' means to be "freed from the guilt of sin" not the sin. 
  4. In Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus told Peter to forgive sins endlessly, and at the end of the parable he states "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”  Why would we need to forgive our brothers more than once if we become sinless?
  5. Romans 7:13-25.  Paul writes in present tense and talks about what is currently in us all, believer and unbeliever.
  6. Matthew 22:36-38.  We are commanded to love God with every part of our being at all times in every way.  Something that even sinless perfectionist are not able to do.  The very moment their mind, heart, and body is not on God, we have disobeyed and sinned.  In their attempts to find faults and sins with me and condemn me; their mind is not on God; they have sinned.
So what does ALL of scripture teach us about Our current sinful state and how we obey God in our state in this world?
  1. While we were unbelievers and slaves to sin and as sin reigned over us; God called us and Christ died for our sins.
  2. We are called by God to faith in his Son Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit makes us born again spiritually.
  3. We are given a new spirit within our sinful bodies.  The Holy Spirit continually draws us to repentance when our flesh causes us to sin.
  4. The Holy Spirit continually renews our minds and hearts maturing us in faith drawing us closer to Jesus Christ and becoming more like him.
  5. When God sees fit according to his will, the Holy Spirit perfects our faith and God removes us from this world and our sinful flesh, perfecting us in spirit to be in his presence forever more.
  • The Holy Spirit works in our hearts compelling us to desire holiness all the days of our lives. 
  • The Holy Spirit works in our minds compelling us to seek forgiveness and repentance all the days of our lives.
  • The Holy Spirit works in our life to compel us to work for God's glory in our deeds and works because of our faith in Christ Jesus, all the days of our life.
  • The Holy Spirit works in all parts of us to empower us to remain in and abide in Christ and seek Him continually despite us being sinners. 
The power of Sin no longer reigns over us and we are no longer slaves to sin- that is not saying we don't or won't.  This just means that Grace reigns over us and compels us to repent when we do sin.  This means we are now slaves to righteousness and are compelled to continually seek Christ's righteousness no matter what we do.

Those who are saved, born again, and filled with the spirit WILL strive to do things that glorify God and strive to not sin against God.  They desire to glorify God through faith in Jesus Christ and the ability to fight sin through the power of the Holy Spirit.  They seek holiness in this world.  As they mature in faith they become more and more like Christ Jesus as they put on and seek His righteousness- all while being a sinner; until they are removed from what causes sin- the flesh, and perfected; glorified with Christ Jesus in heaven.  

This is what scripture as a whole reveals to us about our sinlessness.


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