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Can I ever be free from sin? Does giving my life to Jesus make me live a perfect life?
Thank you for your honest spiritual enquiry regarding the question of sin and being perfect. This is a question that has differing answers throughout the Christian Church but I shall try to present what the Bible says and help you see the subject in the bigger picture of what God is doing within a Christian through the Lord Jesus Christ.
We’ll think about what Christ has done for us and how that affects those united to Him by faith. Then we’ll think about the daily struggles between the flesh and the spirit in the effort to grow in holiness to show that even Christians don’t reach sinless perfection in this life and then finally, we’ll think about that final state when we will be perfect in the presence of God in Heaven.
Firstly, when he was on earth the Lord Jesus Christ lived a perfect sinless life. There are a few passages which tell us this.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15)
He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth (1 Peter 2:22)
Because Jesus lived that perfect life he then became the perfect sacrifice presented to God for the atonement of sin, as Hebrews teaches.
For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself (Hebrews 7:26-27)
Secondly, as we learn from Hebrews, when Jesus was offered for us God’s wrath was satisfied and so by faith in him we can be forgiven for our sin. We are justified by his blood.
For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith (Romans 3:23-25).
The Christians’ status before God is one of being justified; made right before God. The Christian is united to Christ by faith. As Christ is right before God due to his sinlessness and perfect sacrifice, the Christian through this union is also justified and sanctified; made perfect. However, this is only our status before God.
Thirdly, the present earthly condition of a Christian shows that they are not yet perfect in life. Those who turn to Christ in repentance and faith are given the status before God of being sanctified in Christ, but that leads to being gradually sanctified in practice day by day as believers learn increasingly to obey God's Holy Spirit. This is the two stage position Christians find themselves in. Christians still live on this earth and in their earthly corruptible bodies are still awaiting their perfection which is to come. There is still a battle with sin and temptation as any Christian can testify.
Paul, in Romans 7 explains this experience as he shares his struggles with sin representing the experience of all people of God. In Romans 7:14-25 Paul shows us the Christian’s struggle to be holy while fighting the temptations to sin. He tells us that he cannot fight the battle with sin by himself and looks to the Lord Jesus Christ who can free him from his body of death.
Romans 8 describes the life a Christian should live by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells in a Christian and sanctifies them and yet in the flesh, the Christian longs for a day when all this present struggle will be past. (Romans 8:22-23)
Paul tells the Philippians to work out their salvation but to do it with the help of God which works in them by his Spirit (Philippians 2:12-13)
The Christian can never reach perfection in this life but knows that through obedience to the work of God in them by his Spirit they can become more like Jesus day by day.
Lastly, as has been said already, there is coming a day when all of God’s people will be made perfect. Christians will be holy and perfect and we will be presented before God without blemish as his holy bride.
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him (Colossians 1:21-22)
In summary, a Christian is holy and perfect in Christ because as 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us,
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God
This is known as the great exchange: Jesus takes our sin from us and gives us his righteousness. Although we are sanctified in Christ we are not perfect now in this life; we still struggle day by day with sin, but God is at work in us by his Spirit to make us more like Christ and on that final day when Jesus returns we will be made new, completely perfect and without sin.
Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration
- Hebrews 2:17-18
- 2 Corinthians 4:14-18
- Revelation 21:1-4
I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video
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*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
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