I am daily asked many questions on Quora about Christianity in general, or some theological tongue-twister specifically.
The remainder is my verbatim answer. Either this person is trying to excuse sinful behaviour as a Christian, they are possibly mocking a Christian who has pretended for too long that they are perfect, or some other permutation I have not yet considered. As a result, I will let the Bible speak for me on this subject of Christians and sin. I hope it helps someone out there who either is a believer and struggles with their sin nature, or isn’t yet a Christian, but wants to know more about God and His love for us.
Every single person on earth has sinned, except for One – Jesus Christ Himself, because He was the sinless Son of God:
- As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10)
- For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God(Romans 3:23)
- Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12)
- For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord..” (Romans 6:23)
Christ died on the Cross to save all not just Christians, but all of mankind from their sins. Anybody who accepts that sacrifice of Christ for the penalty of sin (that they should’ve paid themselves) receives all the benefits of His death on the Cross:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believe it’s in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. (1 John 5:1)
Those who believe in what Christ has done for them and accept it are referred to as “Christians” – which is just someone who follows the teachings of Christ. And the moment we accept Him as our Saviour and Lord, He grants us the ability to have eternal life with Him in heaven.
However, battling the sin nature will continue to ravage us as long as we live on this planet. But now that we are believers in Christ, there are benefits to that – membership has its privileges:
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but Godisfaithful, whowill not allowyou to be temptedbeyondwhatyou are able, but with the temptation will also make theway of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact,together with Christwe areheirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. The Future Glory ”(Romans 8:17)
But thanks be to God, whogives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”(1 Cor 15:57)
I do not understand what I do. For whatI want to do I do not do, butwhat I hate I do. …17 As it is,it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but Icannot carry it out. (Romans 7:15, 17-18)
But our sin nature doesn’t have to control us any longer. It doesn’t have to overwhelm us and lead us around by the nose and make us do things we don’t want to do. God has given us the ability to overcome these things. Yes, many Christians have not learned that yet, and it’s a process that takes people their entire lives to be regenerated. A person does not become instantly perfect when they become a Christian – in fact, they don’t reach perfection until they get to Heaven at the end of their life. For the remainder of this life, it is a process of continuous renewing of our minds and hearts, with the help of God:
Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”(Romans 6:12–14)
The beauty of the message of Christ and his work on the cross for us is that we can’t earn it, we don’t deserve it, and we are never going to be good enough to get it on our own. The sooner Christian learns that he doesn’t have the ability on his own to live the Christian life, and needs God to help him to renew his mind and be restored every single day, the sooner he will see restoration in his life.
I can tell you firsthand from my own family and friends that anyone can be delivered from alcoholism, drugs, smoking, sexual addictions, gluttony, anger, hatred, loneliness, racism and many many more – there are so many things that try to destroy us today:
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving us an example,that you should follow His steps: ‘Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth.’ (2 Peter 1:10)
So, dear brothers and sisters,work hard to provethat you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away”
It’s important that we always remember, however, that only God can help you to become a better person – only he can make you more like Christ. You don’t have the ability to do it amongst yourselves if you did you we wouldn’t have needed to see him die on the cross in the first place
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:8–10, New Living Translation)
Sometimes people refuse to associate with the church because Christians may seem to be less than perfect. A frequent excuse among people for not seeking salvation through Jesus Christ is because the church is full of hypocrites.
Sadly, this charge is partly true. This is an apology, a personal confession, and a statement of fact; Christians are still only people, and people often fail to be at their best. The answer is, yes, there are hypocrites in the church.
But the church is not filled with hypocrites. We should give Christians some benefit of the doubt and assume that, although they are human, they are earnestly trying to live in accord with their convictions.
There is a vast difference between:
those who are trying to live as Christians, but who make mistakes;
those who say they are Christians, but do not try to live better at all;
and those who have nothing to do with God – the majority of humanity – who reject him at every turn
Although you may not attend church because of them, have you given up golf, or driving your car, getting an education or working for a living because of them? Of course not, it wouldn’t be practical.
We overlook the hypocrisy of our golf companion when he cheats on his score, we do not cease to drive our car because the man in the next lane speeds, and we do not refuse our paycheck even though a fellow worker steals and does not give a day’s work for a day’s pay.
And at the end of your life, you will stand before God alone and He isn’t going to allow any excuses for why you didn’t accept His gift freely offered – which His Son voluntarily paid, a tremendous price to give you freedom from Sin, Death, Hell and the Grave – thanks to His death on the cross.
I urge you to accept that free gift of salvation today, that Jesus offers to you. God doesn’t promise anyone tomorrow” anywhere in the Bible – He only promises TODAY…and ETERNITY.
You can choose to not believe that God exists if you want to. That’s certainly your prerogative. But if I live my entire life for the cause of Christ, and I die, and then it is discovered that everything I believed was a lie, I won’t know any different.
But I will have lived a victorious life before I die, free of loneliness and fear and worry, knowing that Somebody out there cares for me and takes care of me and guides me. I have lost nothing if I have traded my doldrum life for one with purpose, meaning, and victory.
Oh, it’s not going to be perfect on this side of the grass – and there will be times where being a Christian will be an incredible challenge for a lot of people. We face a world that hates God and hates the church and will do anything it can to discredit both. And there are a lot of Christians that have certainly helped to make that a lot easier, by some of the most outrageous actions and behaviours.
But there are hundreds of millions of us who have accepted the message of Jesus Christ have claimed his victory over sin and death in our lives, and we echo the scripture that says:
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:28)
So again I choose to live my life for Christ. If I end up being wrong and there is no Christ I have lost nothing– I have given up nothing that satisfies more, nothing that gives me more hope, nothing that gives me joy, nothing that gives me peace, that what I believe I have through Christ.
Now, however, if you lived your whole life and you wind up being wrong, and there was a God, you lose everything. We are given no mulligans, no do-overs or second chances when it comes to eternal life – the Bible says that:
- It’s appointed unto men once to die and after that the judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)
20 seconds or less after you’re dead, you’re going to either have a very strong punch in the face of reality – when you quickly realize that there is a God and there is a Heaven and you’ve just stumbled into the very centre of their existence…
…or you will live a less than fulfilled life, feeling that there is something missing – money, popularity, relationships, power – none of which can or will satisfy you.
None give you hope for tomorrow – or even for today!
And the ultimate disaster would be to learn that, after having lived your life for so long for yourself alone, that at the end of life, there is nothing but darkness and finality. You would die at the end of all that and have…nothing.
What a motivating factor THAT would be to live a long life. Or perhaps, more importantly, to pray that you never die.