The Perfection Lie: Why Sinlessness Isn’t Strugglelessness

 In Kell's Blog

Hello, ladies and gents! Today my post is in a different style — it’s a letter to my friends, from a girl who has been thinking about “The Perfection Lie” a lot lately.

This letter is on the subject of how we, as Christians, now free from Sin (capitalized) still have to continue learning to deal with sins (lowercase)—both our own and the world’s in general.

You see, though all Christians are Saints in the spiritual sense, completely cleansed of our unrighteousness, that doesn’t make us perfect or without our struggles. Let me write you a letter about it!

Dear Christian Brother or Sister,

We may be very close or not know each other at all, but regardless, we are siblings in Christ. So we’re related! I feel like writing a letter (or a blog post, as is the case) to a sibling is pretty normal, so here goes.

We have a lot in common, you and I.

We’re both human. We both live in this messed up, sinful, horribly corrupt world. We were both born completely and irreversibly tinged by Sin. We both committed sins throughout our lives.

Somehow, we both learned about Jesus Christ, and that message touched both of us in a profound way. It became personal.

We accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior. We believe in Him, have faith is His unending love and grace, and trust that He will keep us until we come to be with Him in Heaven some day.

We’re both Saints (Romans 1:7; Revelation 14:12; 1 Corinthians 1:2), simply. Saints … and that comes with a stigma.

What is a Saint?

The idea of a saint in modern society* is that they’re some perfect, flawless, extraordinary. That’s what people mean when they say someone’s a saint … that they’re better than the rest of us poor blokes. Special.

The truth is none of us are special (Romans 3:9-20; 1 John 1:8; 1 Timothy 2:5).

*As well as many versions of Christianity which I will not refer to in this article as they go contrary to my study of God’s Word. No offense intended, of course; each person is responsible for their own faith! 🙂

Who is a Special?

Not your parents.

Not your grandparents.

Not a single member of your earthly family.

Not a single politician, prince, or ruler.

Not the pope.

Not any of the traditional “saints”—not Jesus’ twelve disciples or any of the others—not the “Virgin Mary.” Not St. Patrick or St. Valentine or Santa Claus. Not anyone.

“There is none righteous, no, not one;

There is none who understands;

There is none who seeks after God.”

(Romans 3:10-12)

You see, when God created the first humans, they and the world they lived in were perfect (Genesis 1:31).

Then Sin entered the world (Genesis 3).

And I’ve been capitalizing Sin in this article, and you may be wondering how Kell could make that same typo so many times!

Well, it’s because I want to make a point. That Sin isn’t just an action. It’s who we are without Jesus Christ.

That’s what Sin is. Sin isn’t murder. Sin isn’t adultery. Sin isn’t even disobeying God. Those are just things you do because of Sin itself.

Sin is so, so much more darker than its direct results ever could be.

It’s not what you do; it’s who you are!

Sin, capitalized, is the absence of God.

The absence of Light, the absence of Color, the absence of Joy, the absence of Love, the absence of Reality, the absence of our Creator.

Everything that God is, Sin is not (Romans 6:23). Sin is what happens when you say, “God, I would rather have myself than You. I would rather have my own knowledge, my own forbidden fruit. You are not what I want in my life and in my world.”

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

(1 John 1:15-17)

Sin is taking a bite of that apple of pride, of disobedience, of independence.

Sin is saying, “I am better.”

Sin is leaving the garden.

Sin is separation.

“Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam.”

(Romans 5:14)

When I say Sin, I don’t mean all the things you did which are in disobedience to the law (as discussed in Romans). I mean WHO YOU ARE apart from Christ.

Basically, without God, your very being is Sin (1 Corinthians 10:13).

You commit sins, too, but that’s not what’s keeping you out of Heaven. Those are just the fruits. What’s keeping you from God is your Sinfulness.

“O wretched man that I am [Paul speaking]! Who will deliver this body from death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

(Romans 7:24-25)

So that’s what I’m talking about when I say Sin. However, there’s a difference between that and sins, not capitalized, which is simply things we deliberately do in disobedience to the rules—the This is What I Am’s—of God.

The Perfection Lie

Continuing on, my fellow Saint, I must ask you a question … now that you are a Christian, has God made you perfect?

No. I can answer it for you as well as you can. It’s universal. Everyone sins—you, me, Mary, Joseph, and the camel*.

You still do bad things. You still rebel. You still struggle. Furthermore, you’re still stuck in this blasted, sick, twisted world … and nothing here is ever sinless. It’s a bad place full of bad people and bad things, whether controlled by those bad people or simply a result of Sin itself, happen.

*Actually, the camel might be sinless; I feel like, not having a soul, it doesn’t really matter if the camel “sins” or not. But that’s a rabbit trail for another time.

But why?

What’s up with that? It makes no sense. God said: “I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the Light of Life.” (John 8:12)

Where the heck is that Light?

Why do you still sin? Why is your world still so messy and dark? Why are YOU so messy and dark?

Why don’t you feel some magical oneness with God? Why do you still feel like you’re running around in circles, never getting closer to holiness, your garments still spotted, your life still crumbling …

I get it. I feel like that, too. Like there’s no way I can ever stop sinning.

Guess what? I CAN’T.

You’ll never not commit sins on earth.

“The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

(Matthew 26:41)

I am going to sin for the rest of my life, but I am no longer a sinner (1 John 5:17; Galatians 5:16; 2 Corinthians 5:17).

Say what now?

God didn’t say He was going to take away your sins.

He didn’t say you would suddenly just not sin anymore.

Nor did He say that you would not continue to suffer the consequences of your own sins, the sins of others, and the capital-S Sin which completely corrodes this world we live in, causing everything from natural disasters to our personal doubts and problems.

The world is absent from God, and so Sin remains.

But what did He say?

Your sins are forgiven (Ephesians 2:8-9).

You are no longer dirty inside (Romans 6:14).

You are cleansed of your unrighteousness (1 John 1:19).

Simply put, God reached into you and wiped away all your capital-S Sin. Now what remains is the world’s capital-S Sin pushing at you from the outside and causing you to commit small-s sins.

But you know what? You are no longer a slave to your sin. You are a Child of God, and His power is made perfect in you through your own weakness.

“We also have the firstfruits of the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3)

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26)

“Basically, just read all of Romans. Five or six times through. You won’t regret it.” (Kellyn Roth)

You are too weak and too present in this Sinful world to be able to resist the temptations and reach beyond your own humanity to be perfect (Romans 6:6). The world is still here, and it’s still bad even after you become a Christian.

Saints and Sin and Support

You see, Saints aren’t those who don’t sin. They’re those who are no longer susceptible to Sin. Those who, though they are still weakened humans, have been cleansed by God and continue to lean on Him for support (2 Thessalonians 3:3).

With God, you can slowly overcome a multitude of sins, manage them, and learn to deal with them in your day to day life. Through Jesus Christ and only through Him, you can slowly cast off everything of your former life.

You will never stop sinning—there will always be one more wall to leap over—but you no longer have to fight a world of Sin by yourself … because in fact Sin is only an outside force to a Christian (Galatians 2:20). It’s not a part of you.

You’re a Saint (1 Peter 1:16), and Saints don’t have Capital-S Sin anymore. They’re cleansed from that.

Saints can work with God to begin showing fruit of the lack of Sin in their hearts, too. And again, this takes time, but your ability to lean on God to avoid your human impulses and the effects of the exterior Sin will bring that fruit to light.

Le Conclusion

Well, thanks for reading my letter, Saint! I hope we’ll get to discuss this in the comments.

I’m sure some of you will have thoughts on this, especially those who don’t agree with this type of theology. Of course I’m willing to expand on my thoughts or whatever you want, though please remember to keep God at the center, as always!

Your loving sister,

TTFN!

~Kellyn Roth~

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p.s.

Well … what do you think? Did this post make sense … and furthermore, did you enjoy it? (It was a lot more complicated than the ones that have come before it, but oh well!) What are your thoughts on sin?

Showing 21 comments
  • Erika Mathews
    Reply

    Wow! Well put! This was a very specific and helpful look at the difference between sin nature and sinning. I’ve rarely heard it explained so clearly – it actually made sense. Thanks!

    Two small verses I’d add:

    Okay, this isn’t one of them, but it’s too good not to share:

    “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” ‭‭1 John‬ ‭3:2-3

    Okay, here it is:

    “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him…Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” ‭‭1 John‬ ‭3:6, 9
    ‭‭
    “Actually, just read all of 1 John. Especially chapter 3. Ten or twelve times. You won’t regret it.” 😉 – Erika Mathews

    (Great Romans advice by the way!)

    The awesome thing is that those verses I just quoted actually make sense for the first time in light of what you said!

    And the second Very Important Verse I’d add, arguably one of the most important and overlooked in the Bible:

    “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
    ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:21‬

    *quotes it louder for the people in the back*

    GOD made JESUS to BE SIN for us!! So that WE might BE MADE God’s RIGHTEOUSNESS in Him!!! That’s who we are now! Identity = saints = righteousness of God! Right now! That’s good news!!

    Thanks for the excellent letter, fellow Saint!

    • Erika Mathews
      Reply

      Oh, and it’s that righteousness of God in us (Christ in us) that enables us to be free for the first time, letting us finally say “no” to the world, flesh, and devil! The fleshly nature still pulls us to say “yes,” of course, but for the first time we have the ability to actually resist and tell the flesh no. And THAT’s good news! It’s just a daily choice – and a daily struggle- what nature we listen to – like Romans says. 🙂

    • Kellyn Roth
      Reply

      RIGHT! Totally! I was actually gritting my teeth because I couldn’t quote more Bible verses without running into the 3K post length area. 😛 Which felt like a little much, THOUGH IT WAS TOTALLY NEEDED! Could I just quote the whole Bible?

      That, too! Or even: “Actually, just read the whole Bible…” etc. 😉

      YES! I totally agree. I think that’s often overlooked!

  • Boo Smelser
    Reply

    Great post. As I’ve heard my pastors say many times, probably quoting someone else: Christians aren’t sinless, but we’re beginning to sin less.

    • Kellyn Roth
      Reply

      Exactly! 🙂 It’s a fallacy that it disappears immediately and completely, but it needs to be lessening and Christians need to be struggling with sin … or else what’s the difference between them and the world?

  • E.F.B.
    Reply

    Well said, Kell. 🙂

  • Julia @Lit Aflame
    Reply

    *Claps*
    I loved how you explained sin!

    • Kellyn Roth
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Julia! 😀 Glad you liked it.

  • Merie Shen
    Reply

    Awesome post about sin and the “perfection lie.” Really enjoyed this one, Kell. 😀

  • Arwen Telcontar
    Reply

    This is a great post! I love your direct, truthful writing style. I agree completely! We have been saved from Sin, but we won’t be free from sin until Heaven. (Or, well, the new earth… But you know, same principle. 😂)
    By way of expanding the topic, I do want to point out that even though we will still sin, we’re also being sanctified while on earth. Our Christian life should be about growing in God and learning how to better follow Him, thereby growing farther and farther away from sin.

    • Kellyn Roth
      Reply

      Thanks! 🙂 I appreciate it.

      Right! That’s a totally different post – one I’d like to touch on a bit, though only if I had something to say that wasn’t summed up in like half a paragraph. 😛 Because it’s pretty basic to me; still, there’s always something to expand upon, so some day, we’ll see!

  • Jo (TL&HD)
    Reply

    Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. SAY IT LOUDER FOR THOSE IN THE BACK. Thank you for this, Kell! <3 Just….. how'd you know I needed this today??

    • Kellyn Roth
      Reply

      Awww! 😀 I’m glad it was helpful! <3 I ... didn't know! But God did, I guess! 😉

  • kingofthecowboys1943
    Reply

    I agree with everything that your wrote in the article. I know that I’ve been cleansed from the Sin of the world but that I struggle with the little sins of the flesh. Praise God for His continual strength each day to allow me to live for Him!

    • Kellyn Roth
      Reply

      Amen! 🙂 Thanks so much. I’m the same … and sometimes it’s depressing, but God’s gonna help me through it!

  • Isabel Eleison
    Reply

    Whoaa preach it Kell!! This was so insightful and so helpful <3 Thank you!

    • Kellyn Roth
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Isabel! Glad you like it! 😀

pingbacks / trackbacks
  • […] And the thing is … he knows better. It’s his heart, not his mind, that’s caught in that lie. That endlessly convicts him, without grace, and does the same to others. (I wrote a post about this earlier, sort of.) […]

  • […] talks about sin and the disorder of humanity a lot in the Bible. We discussed it a while back here in regards to Christians who still commit sins (despite their best efforts). Romans is one of my […]

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