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Are Christians Perfect? Do They Have to Be?

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I can still remember the conversation I had with a young woman I discipled one summer. Something came up in the conversation about Christians and being “perfect.” She told me she struggles with feeling inadequate as a Christian and with being able to believe with conviction that she’s going to heaven.

How Do Non-Christians View Christians?

Our discussion got me to thinking about non-Christians. Do we appear self-righteous to them because they mistakenly think Christianity is all about being perfect? Do they see us as arrogant because we know we’re going to heaven and they believe that in saying that, we see ourselves as perfect?

We Are All Imperfect

In light of this, I want to remind you of some important things.

Christianity is precisely for imperfect people. Yes, that’s right. Because that’s who we are. 

“There is no one righteous, not even one . . .” Romans 3:10

“. . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God . . .” Romans 3:23

“And those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:8

“Then the Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.” Genesis 6:5-6

“The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so.” Romans 8:7

“Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned. Romans 5:12

We Can’t Make Ourselves Acceptable to God

Thinking we have to make ourselves holy and acceptable in order to come to God only brings feelings of failure and guilt. We just aren’t able to do that. And God knows it. Remember what He did – with full knowledge of our imperfections.

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Christ is the only one who’s perfect. We aren’t.

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

When we put our faith in Christ, God sees us through the lens of Christ’s perfection. 

“For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” Romans 5:10

“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

God Makes Us Acceptable

Because of what He has done, we can know with confidence that we are going to heaven.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” John 10:28-29

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

It’s critical to remember our imperfections and what God has done for us when we weren’t deserving so that we don’t become arrogant.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

“Once we too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled by others and became slaves to many wicked desires and evil pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy. We hated others, and they hated us. But then God our Savior showed us his kindness and love. He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us because of what Jesus Christ our Savior did. He declares us not guilty because of his great kindness. And now we know that we will inherit eternal life.” Titus 3:4-5

“Not that we are in any way confident of doing anything by our own resources – our ability comes from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

“. . . work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13

So there you go! If you have put your faith in Christ, your place in heaven is secure. That’s good news!

Believe it and don’t feel bad about saying it because it’s not about you being perfect. It’s about what God has done for you in your imperfection and need as you depend on Him.

What about you? Have you ever struggled with feeling inadequate as a Christian or had a tough time believing for sure that you have a place in heaven? How have you viewed “perfection” and Christianity?

Thanks for stopping by. I always love having you here. Come again. I’ll leave the light on for you.


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One Comment

  1. Carey says:

    Great thoughts Lisa… I love the “being perfected BY God” bit… comfort to the soul!

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