Christians are not perfect — they are in process
Key passages: Romans 6:12–23, Galatians 5:21–23
Christians (true believers) have become new creatures
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
Romans 6:6 “knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;”
The non-Christian is bound to sin, they are slaves to it. Christians are not slaves to sin, but instead have been set free by Christ, and are now slaves of righteousness. God is our Master, instead of sin. This is incredibly freeing, in fact, it was Christ’s very purpose. In Galatians 5:1, Paul tells us that “it was for freedom that Christ set us free.”
Christians will still struggle with sin
1 John 1:8 “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
Romans 7:14–25 “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”
There will never be one human being who is perfect (Ecclesiastes 7:2, Isaiah 64:6). Though our sins are washed away, covered with Jesus Christ’s blood, that does NOT make us righteous in our own character or nature. It means that Christ is our substitute, and we have been given His imputed righteousness. We are still sinful and will remain that way until we are glorified with Him at His second coming because of what the Bible calls, “the flesh” (Galatians 5:16–17).
Christians have the power to overcome sin
2 Peter 1:3 “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Ephesians 6:13 “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
We have the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to continually transform us. This means we have NO excuse to continue in sin. God told us through Paul that there is no excuse to continue in patterns of sin, we must continue to fight it.
Christians should be continually fighting sin
Romans 6:15–18 “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”
Romans 6:1–3 “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?”
2 Timothy 2:22 “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”
Colossians 3:5–6 “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.”
We must fight every sin, and this battle will rage for our entire lifetime. It will not be complete until Christ comes back or we pass on to be with Him in glory.
So, if you are a Christian armed with the knowledge of your own imperfect pursuit, you are to be a slave of righteousness, ceaselessly fighting sin by the Holy Spirit’s power, doing what is holy and righteous and just before God.