As a Christian, are we supposed to now be sinless in order to go to Heaven? To live with God for eternity? Or is it our relationship with God through the sacrifice of Christ which secures our position before the throne? Some unfortunately want to lay upon many, a yoke we were never meant to bear? A yoke we can never bear in ourselves.
No one gets to the Father except by going through Jesus. Nobody. Jesus Himself stated in John’s gospel:
“I am the way, the truth and the life and no one gets to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6).
First off, no one can live a sinless life. The Word of God clearly tells us this. (1 John 1:8-10). There is only one who was ever sinless and that was Jesus Christ. Every person born, is born into and with a sin nature, passed down from the first Adam. It’s inherent from the time of conception-there is no way around it.
“Surely I was sinful from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Psalms 51:5/ NIV
You nor anyone else can ever approach God on your own supposed goodness or ‘sinlessness’ because it doesn’t exist. Every person born is born condemned to hell and damnation. Born that way. Here is the thing though, sin was taken care of. The sin problem was resolved at the cross by Jesus Christ. Now that doesn’t mean every person has salvation but… they can. How? Not by trying to be sinless. We’ve established that doesn’t exist. They were sinful at birth. No. They simply have to believe in the finished work of the cross and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us we are all condemned already (John 3:18/Mark 16:16). It’s our belief and faith in Jesus which saves us. Any preacher stating that one must live a sinless life to get into Heaven is a heretic and false teacher. Period. Having a relationship with Jesus is not only the most important thing, it’s the ONLY thing that matters with regards to salvation.
Sin is bigger than just the big ten. Sin is not just a list of do’s and dont’s. Yes sin can be from that of the Ten Commandments but for a born again, spirit filled believer, sin is way beyond just those stone tablets. The Word tells us ‘Everything not done from faith is sin.’ (Romans 14:23) Another scriptures says “Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and does not do it, sins.” (James 4:17) Of course the big sins we know but it’s the little things in life which become sin for a believer, those things which are not literally listed out in the Word but which for an individual, can be sin because they either are not done by faith or are done in conviction of their faith-meaning they are doing something they know they shouldn’t because it may pull them away from God or be a hindrance to that person. This is where so many of the blogs on these forums about the law take a nose-dive, simply because just keeping the ‘law’ is very rudimentary for the Christian.
Our lives in Christ, lived by the indwelling Holy spirit, are so much complex than just keeping written laws. The Spirit wants to lead us into many things and away from many other things. This requires sensitivity in one’s spirit to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Thus getting back to Mike’s original question, it’s relationship which matters. Proper relationship provides proper righteousness and proper living in line with those things the Spirit communicates to the believer. Just trying to keep the written command is only baby steps and is the old approach to a Holy God and honestly, immature at best for one who has been reborn spiritually, able to now communicate with God through the Holy Spirit. He is our righteousness before God. He is our continual intercessor. We can never approach God in our own righteousness or supposed sinlessness. To attempt to do so is to be led away by the deceptions of the devil himself.
Now as Christ-followers-as born again believers-we should strive for sinlessness. The Bible is clear about what our ambitions should be in this area. Matt 5:48 states ‘Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.’. The Apostle Paul reiterated this in his letter to the Corinthian church, “Aim for perfection.” (2 Cor 13:11). The Word also tells us to pursue holiness, “Just as He who called you is holy so be holy in all that you do. For it is written ‘Be Holy for I am holy’.” (1 Peter 1:15-16) And again, “Make every effort on your part live at peace with all men and to be holy, for without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14). Point being, let’s strive for holiness and a life that is sin free. But in doing so, realizing it’s the Holy Spirit on the inside of us enabling us to do such and that our place before God is fixed, not by our own works and attempt to be without sin but, rather by the one who was without sin and who always lives to intercede for us-Jesus Christ the atoning sacrifice for our sins and the sins of the entire world.
“For He who knew no sin BECAME sin for us so that through Him we might become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.” (2 Cor 5:21)