Some Christians actually say that they are no longer sinners, but what does the Bible say?
All Have Sinned
When my friend and I were witnessing to a man on the street, we asked him if he was a good person and he said, “No, I’m not a good person…I’m great” to which we pointed out the Bible verse that says “None is righteous, no, not one” (Rom 3:10), so I told him that either you are right and you are a good person or the Bible is wrong and there are good people out there. In reality, the Bible isn’t very flattering to believers or to the unsaved. Our sins have separated us from God (Isaiah 59:2) and only through Christ’s perfect life of obedience can we be forgiven. I suppose if this man had a Bible, he’d blot out Romans 3, and a multitude of other Bible verses or even chapters, so we can’t deny that we are sinners and all our good works do is make us unacceptable to God. It won’t happen without Christ’s meritorious works on our behalf. God will not accept our works because they are an attempt at self-justification and Jesus warned about those who trusted in themselves and in their own righteousness. Jesus said told the Jews the Parable of the Persistent Widow and said that they are “those who trusted in themselves they were righteous, and treated others with contempt” (Luke 18:9), so, so much for their righteousness if they treat others with contempt. Sadly, they thought they were righteous but were actually wearing filthy rags before God (Isaiah 59:2) and God will not accept their filthy works because even their best works cannot save them.
Wages of Sin
If we claim to have no sin, the Apostle John says we are liars. I’m not saying that…but God’s Word does as John writes “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” and “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1st John 1:8, 10), so to say you have no sin is to declare these verses wrong. We had a man join our church once who hated our prayers about being sinners and he said that he was not a sinner. I told him what Martin Luther said that we’re sinners, yet saints, and obviously, a work in progress, but truly, we all earn what we deserve and the wages of our sins is death (Rom 6:23), and since all of us fall far short of God’s glory (Rom 3:23), we’ve got a huge problem that we cannot solve, but until a person confesses their sins, they don’t admit what the Scriptures have said, and that is there is not one who has not sinned. Only Jesus was without sin but no other human in history can make that claim. The man did say he used to be a sinner, but not anymore, so I asked him if he’s ever told a lie since he’s been saved…and all he could do is say nothing.
Jesus Died for Sinners
For the man who declared he was not a sinner, my heart felt sadness for him because I told him, “I am sorry you’re not a sinner because Jesus came to die for sinners,” and if you’re not a sinner anymore, why wouldn’t you be in heaven. He had no answer. He simply kept justifying himself by his good works but I pointed out to him, “I wouldn’t trust the best 5 minutes of my life to save me.” His own good works and mine are nothing but filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6). Job said “What is man, that he should be pure, Or he who is born of a woman, that he should be righteous” (John 15:14)? Obviously the answer to this rhetorical question is men and women are not righteous, and if they think they are, their perception is not reality. We don’t even seek after God (Rom 3:11) because dead men can’t seek (Eph 2:1), so this man who kept justifying himself ignored biblical teaching that “All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Rom 3:12), and “none” in any language adds up to zero!
Works = Nothing
Most world religions teach that you must do this and do that…and if you don’t, then you have nothing, but Christianity is not as much a religion as it is a relationship, and it is not about “do, do, do” but is “done” in Jesus Christ. The truth is “all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them” (Gal 3:10), so “no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith” (Gal 3:11). Thankfully, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal 3:13a) and this is so that “so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith” (Gal 3:14).
Only God is good, as Jesus said, and He would know good better than we, so the fact is none of us are really good in ourselves because we’ve all fallen infinitely short of God’s glory, but Jesus has closed that gap on sinful creatures by His atoning death and we can receive the very righteousness of God through Jesus Christ (2nd Cor 5:21) and certainly not on our own merit or good works (Eph 2:8-9), but this takes the Spirit of God to make us new creations in Jesus Christ. The old creature cant’ do it…they are sinners, and even after conversion, the sin nature doesn’t automatically stop (Rom 7), so we will never be sinless this side of the veil…but we should at least be sinning less, but not ever sinless…until we are finally saved to sin no more.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is host of Spiritual Fitness and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.