If you’ve grown up in an environment where sin is a constant topic you understand how sinless perfectionism works. While it doesn’t technically, “work” you know what I mean. I’d like to reiterate this side of glorification it is impossible to attain sinlessness. You can’t have sinless days, it’s not attainable nor should it be worthy of pursuing. I discussed in a recent post the ups and downs of a believer’s life in Christ. The whole point is that it is life “In Christ.”
Christ is our redeemer, our justifier, and our propitiation. He doesn’t judge us based on our performance. That includes our past performance, our current performance, or our future performance. If you’ve been bought by His blood, then you are already guaranteed (Eph. 1:14).
The life of Abraham provides illustrations. Abraham is the great patriarch of the Christian faith. He is still an example to remind us of our salvation is by faith, not by works (Rom. 4). The Jews placed a lot of stock in their biological link to Abraham but Jesus condemned them for it (John 8:48-59).
Abraham’s life included triumphs and failures, and repeated triumphs and failures. He lied to Pharoah about his relationship with his wife to save his own skin (Gen. 12:12-13). He saved Lot from destruction (Gen 14) but then lied again to Abimelech about Sarah (Gen. 20). He was faithful to offer Isaac as Yahweh had commanded, and when his faith had been tested he proved worthy, not to glorify his faith, but to glorify the One that provided the faith.
The greater point is God’s glory even in our sin.
In his book, Where Sin Abounds, Robert Gonzales writes;
Despite the fact that Abraham had aligned himself with Yahweh and committed himself to a life of faith, he was at times ensnared by remaining sin (Heb 12:1). Indeed, his failure illustrates the lamentable truth that certain sins do not easily go away, and the true believer may ‘once more strike his foot against the same stone.’ Sin has not only spread to all mankind but it has become so deeply entrenched that even the righteous cannot easily escape its grip. 1
Matthew Henry bolsters his point, “Note, it is possible that a good man may, not only fall into sin, but relapse into the same sin, through the surprise and strength of temptation and infirmity of the flesh.” 2
W.H. Griffith Thomas says this, “The continuance and power of the evil nature in believers are among the most patent and potent facts of universal spiritual experience. That the ‘infection doth remain in the regenerate’ is as certain as it is sad and serious.” 3
These are incredibly powerful statements, and because people generally equate the reality of sin as permission for sin, I always feel the need to qualify with a statement like Romans 6 says, we must not sin that grace abounds. True believers understand the difference and relate to the heinous nature of their own sin. Truly, of course, there are times when we struggle, but praise the Lord we will persevere.
To believe you can never fall into egregious sin is prideful and arrogant, but to use people’s sins against them for your own advancement is even worse. Both are sad realities of things that occur on a regular basis at GFC.
Gonzales, Robert R Jr., Where Sin Abounds: The Spread of Sin and the Curse in Genesis with Special Focus on the Patriarchal Narratives. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2009. 138.