Christian Perfectionism

An ancient heresy that has seemed to have spread through the likes of social media today and various churches. The idea that individuals can achieve moral perfection in this life has found its way back into the limelight of recent. This heresy leads to either one or two deadly delusions. These individuals have convinced themselves that they are either sinless, or they grossly underestimate the requirements of God’s Law. Not only do they consider themselves to be perfect, but they chastise others who do recognize their personal sin.  

The Bible calls us to repent, to turn from our sins, and even Jesus says for us to be perfect and Holy as He is holy. It can be easy to read these verses at face value and believe that we can be legitimately be perfect. While Jesus makes this demand, we know that we are incapable of keeping it. We know this as all the apostles struggled with sin. Paul is very open with his struggles in Romans 7, as this isn’t written in the viewpoint of a “pre-converted Paul,” but in the present as he is writing this letter. Paul makes the declaration that he does what he doesn’t want to do, and he doesn’t do what he wants to do. Paul’s example here shows that even he had issues, even after encountering the living Christ.

Also in 1 John, verses 8-10, John tells us we are deceived if we think we do not sin and that we make Him a liar if we say we do not sin. The sin that John talks about in 1 John isn’t the occasional stumble we face, but the consistent sinning. We may fall from time to time or face a time where we live in a valley and succumb to sin easily. But, as Christians we know we have the cross. At the cross repentance and forgiveness for our sins are found.

We will stumble and fall, but Christ is always present and willing to forgive. We do not need to burden ourselves with the concept of perfectionism or try to carry the weight that comes with it. We must continue to look at Christ through all seasons of life.

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