Friday, September 17, 2010

I Don't Believe In Sinless Perfection

"(When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John..." - Luke 7:29

In the text above the original Greek means that the people and tax collectors justified God. The fact that these people declared God just or righteous didn't make Him righteous - He already was. The people couldn't make God righteous, they could only declare it. God declares us to be something we are not, by nature, that is the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

Wayne Grudem says, "This sense is particularly evident, for example, in Romans 4:5:"And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness." Here Paul cannot mean that God "makes the ungodly to be righteous" (by changing them internally and making them morally perfect),for then they would have merit or works of their own to depend on. Rather, he means that God declares the ungodly to be righteous in his sight, not on the basis of their good works, but in response to their faith." - Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem, page 723.

Every scholar that I've read understands that our justification is a legal transaction. Righteousness is imputed or credited to our account by faith.

Some are teaching that we are presently morally perfect - That is not true. In Christ we are perfect, holy and accepted because of the finish work of the cross. But we still deal with what the Apostle Paul calls,"the flesh" and are presently going through a process called sanctification. Here's how Grudem defines sanctification, "Sanctification is a progressive work of both God and man that makes Christians more and more free from sin and more and more like Christ in their actual lives." - Christian Beliefs, Wayne Grudem, page 99.

We have to ask the question: Why does Jesus ask us to pray for daily bread and the forgiveness of our sins in what we call the Lord's prayer. The fact is we all sin to some degree. If I've misunderstood this teaching on sinless perfection that I have heard so much of lately, I am willing to be corrected with the Scripture. What concerns me is that I'm not hearing any teaching on our ongoing need for repentance from some of these teachers of sinless perfection.

One last quote from Grudem, "Sanctification starts at the point of regeneration(God's gift of new spiritual life)and increases throughout life. At regeneration, Paul says, Christians are "set free from sin" (Rom.6:18) and so must consider themselves "dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus...for sin will have no dominion" over them(Rom.6:11,14). This initial break from the power of sin means that Christians are no longer ruled or dominated by sin and no longer love to sin.But since sanctification is a process, we will never be completely free from sin in this life. As 1 John 1:8 says, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." - Bobby


Greene Street Letters said...

At Rapha we teach Person/ Performance. The person has been made blameless and forgiven, justified and sanctified...the performance..well, that's another story. IT's the part Paul spoke of that we were to "WORK OUT SALVATION". It is the battle of will and Spirit. Flesh and Spirit. I am, and always will be, a sinner saved by grace. In fact I do believe that there is a verse where we are exorted to "Not sin, but if you do.......
Good posting!

Bobby Sparks said...

I don't make it my goal to sin. But when I do, I have an advocate with the Father.

Tammy Rowe said...

Thank you for explaining this so well. I agree with you. And further, the problem with saying that we have no sin, is that it removes the individual from any responsibility or accountability to anyone. They will continue to hurt people with no regret or repentance and eventually find themselves isolated from the body of Christ.

Bobby Sparks said...

Well said Tammy. The lack of accountability and isolation really bothers me.

"My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." - I John 2:1