Many professing Christians say that everybody sins “more or less” every day. Can a Christian live without sinning?
Yes. True Christians not only should, but must live without sinning. This is not possible through one’s own strength or ability. It takes the divine power of God through Jesus Christ to enable an individual to live without sin. Sin is a word that is used in many ways and it is important to understand the differences between mistakes, areas of growth, and sin.
All Have Sinned
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Everyone has been a sinner, for no individual has the capacity within oneself to overcome the power of the sinful flesh. The law of Moses was given to reveal sin to mankind. Under the Mosaic law, God’s people still committed transgressions against God. They offered sacrifices, but those sacrifices were imperfect and the blood of bulls and of goats did not take away sin (Hebrews 10:4).
The Law Was Imperfect
“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3). Jesus came to this earth, shed his blood, died, and was resurrected that mankind could be freed from the very power and dominion of sin. “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7). Jesus came to “destroy the works of the devil” (I John 3:8). Jesus did for man what man was incapable of doing under the law. If man were to continue living in sin through Christ as it was under the law, what would be the necessity of the blood of Jesus?
Jesus Saves from Sin’s Power
Numerous scriptures make it clear that an individual that has been born again is delivered and saved from the very power of sin. “…He shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid” (Romans 6:14-15).
“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:17-18). Clearly, when someone obeys the Word of God from the heart, he is not only forgiven from committed sin but is set free from the very power of sin. The essence of ‘salvation’ is in being saved from sin.
“Go and Sin No More.”
Jesus told the woman who was caught in adultery to “Go, and sin no more” ( John 8:11). The scripture further teaches that “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin… (I John 3:9). Mankind has been empowered through the blood and grace of Christ to live without sinning. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
There is a miraculous change when someone is truly saved through the power of Jesus Christ. A Christian – a disciple of Jesus Christ, can follow in His example and live without committing sin (I Peter 2:21-22). Many in the religious world have watered down this simple doctrinal truth to excuse unrighteousness.
Are Mistakes Sin?
The question then arises, “So you are saying that a Christian never sins, never makes a mistake?” This is where it is important to understand the definition of sin. A Christian has the ability to turn away from the power of Christ and return to a life of sin; but then, he would no longer be a Christian. There is grace and power to live without sinning as demonstrated by the scripture.
Although Christians, we are still human. Hence, we will still make mistakes and have lacks in wisdom. We are on a journey of growth, seeking for greater power in the graces of Christ and in the fruit of His Spirit. The scripture teaches us to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ…” (2 Peter 3:18). A Christian is on a journey of growth in the things of God — growing and becoming more like Christ. There will be times a Christian isn’t as patient or joyful as he should be. That isn’t sin, but is an area that needs to be acknowledged and brought to the Lord for greater power and grace.
The Heart is Fixed
The heart of a true Christian has a singular desire to please God. A Christian will still be tempted, as was Jesus, yet without yielding to sin (Hebrews 4:1). Temptation is not sin as some have taught. A Christian can’t help every thought that comes into the mind, but there is power through the grace of God to resist those things that are sinful in nature.
Sin Brings Separation
Sin is what separates man from God (Isaiah 59:2). Mistakes do not separate man from God unless they are excused and justified by a proud heart. God’s moral law was given through the commandments under Moses. That code of morality was upheld by Christ and the bar was raised even higher as Jesus addressed not only the act but the condition of the heart on the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).
Definitions of Sin
The New Testament gives four primary definitions of sin – those things which separate man from fellowship with God. “All unrighteousness is sin” (I John 5:17). “Sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4). “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). A true child of God lives without violating those scriptures.
Power to Resist Evil
There is power through Christ to live without violating the moral law of God as it was violated under the Mosaic Law. A Christian who lies, steals, cheats, kills, commits adultery etc. is no longer a Christian. Further, a true Christian will not even ‘want’ to do those things. That comes from a condition of a pure heart before God. Yes, there may be temptation to tell a lie or to steal, but there is power to bring that thought into obedience to God. So there is no transgression of the law and there is no unrighteousness committed by action or motivation of heart.
A Christian that knows what God’s law requires and willfully chooses to disobey has sinned, because he knew what was right and didn’t desire to be obedient. Further, that action was not of faith. A Christian has power to live according to faith, loving and conducting himself under the moral law of God.
Salvation Makes a Change
Salvation makes the difference. It enables people to live without sinning because there is grace and power to say ‘no’ to those things that separate from God. Salvation enables people in their humanity to draw closer and closer to God and to bear more and more of the fruit of the Spirit. The human lacks are not sin but areas of growth that can and will be perfected as one’s heart is kept pure and right before God.
God’s grace is sufficient to sustain us and give us victory even in the midst of the trials and temptations of life. Thank the Lord for the power to live without sinning!