We must be perfect

God’s standard for his followers is absolute sinless perfection. You know, a lot of people look at a right relationship with God and would kind of describe it as, “Well, if I live my life in a good way and comparably good as opposed to other people, then God will have mercy on me. Well, God will understand that I’m really not all that bad of a person.” Kind of look at it as, “If I have more good deeds than I have bad deeds in my life, then at the end of time, God’s going to kind of weigh out what I’ve done, how I’ve performed on a cosmic scale. And if the scale tips toward the good, I’m sure I’ll get into heaven. If the scale tips toward the bad, I’ll probably go to hell unless I’m less bad than other people, and then God may let me into heaven anyway.”

It’s a work-based mentality that is common throughout the world. It’s what we actually would think we would like for our salvation to depend on ourselves so that we can control it, we can earn it, we can work toward it. But God’s standard is not like that. God has one standard for the follower of Christ, and that one standard is absolute sinless perfection. He says it in the Old Testament, in Leviticus 11. He says it in the New Testament in multiple places. It’s the concept of holiness, the concept of sinlessness.

You say to yourself, how in the world does that work? If Romans tell us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, then doesn’t it follow that everyone is a sinner? And by that count you could very reasonably say to be human is to be sinful. Well, the answer to that is no. To be human is actually not to be sinful. Adam and Eve, before the fall, were fully human and they were sinless. Jesus Christ came to earth fully God, but also fully human. And in his humanity, he didn’t sin. So actually it is not correct to say that to be human is to be sinful. It is actually more accurate to say that sinfulness is that which keeps us from experiencing humanity as God designed for us to experience it.

If you could open up my mind, my head or my body in some ways, and take out my mind, if you could take my mind away from me, what would be left over? It would be less than human because my mind, my intellect, my emotions, my faculties of processing are part of what makes me human. But if you could open me up and remove sin from me completely, not only would what be left over would be completely human, it would be gloriously human in the way that God designed for me to be human.

Sin is what keeps us from experiencing all that God designed for us as humans to be in the right relationship with him. The Bible says that if you break just one command, you are guilty of breaking all of the commandments. James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point, has become guilty of all of it.” If you have ever told a lie from a legal accounting standpoint, you are a liar. If you have ever lusted after another, and Jesus makes it clear that even inside of your heart, then you are by law an adulterer. Jesus makes it seem like the standard is higher and higher as he unfolds the Sermon on the Mount. He even says if you have hated your brother in your heart, you have murdered him. By law you would be counted as a murderer.

So how can the human working within the confines of this flesh and under the influence of the ruler of this world, the devil, attain absolute sinless perfection? If God requires it, doesn’t it follow that it’s possible to attain it? The answer is yes, it is possible to attain it with perfect 100% unfailing, relying on the Father and the Holy Spirit for every moment that we exist within this flesh. We all know that we are not going to do that. We all know that as long as we are in this flesh, we are going to be pulled away by the flesh into some sort of distracted sense of sin and commit any number of sins. Even for the committed Christians, there is no sin to which you are immune including adultery, murder, blasphemy, etc. All these things are possible even for those who have walked with Christ for a long time. This is where the concept of substitutionary atonement comes in with Jesus paying for our sins.

The gospel is not that our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds, but the gospel is that when we place our faith in Jesus Christ and we accept from God the gift of salvation, which comes through Jesus by living His perfect life, dying on the cross for our sins and being resurrected in three days. We can place our faith in Christ and receive from him the righteousness, the perfection, the holiness that God requires of his people. That’s why Psalm 103 says that he can take our sin as far away as the east is from the west.

One of the things that I love about that image is that on our planet, if you go north far enough, eventually you will start going south. If you start going south far enough, eventually you will go north. But if you go west, you will go west infinitely. If you go east, you will go east infinitely. And God says that he removes our sin as far as the east is from the west. In other words, he does not count against us any sin or transgression against us. It’s the glory of the gospel and it’s why at Passion Life we are absolutely committed to preaching the gospel. As we minister to women and families in pregnancy crises, many people can not figure out how it is that the gospel can possibly apply to even the things which their consciences make them feel most accused and condemned for.

The guilt of abortion involvement is one of those things that we just can not figure out whether or not God’s forgiveness, grace and mercy actually could apply to a circumstance like that. Passion Life’s Ministry is a ministry of gospel reconciliation. It’s one of helping people understand that the gospel is more powerful than the most heinous crimes against God’s perfection that any one of us could have possibly committed. We preach the Bible, we preach the gospel, we preach Christ and Him crucified. Everywhere we go, we make sure that we do not just talk about abortion from a biblical standpoint, but we talk about peace with God from a biblical standpoint, and that’s what we all seek. We invite you to come into the Ministry of Passion Life and to find out how gospel oriented our materials and our resources are.

There are a number of books that you can purchase from our website. There are a number of free resources that you can download from our website, which explain the ethos of who Passion Life is and what we do, what we teach and what we believe. We are a gospel-centered mission agency, and we invite you to come into our prayer ministry, our financial support ministry and work alongside us to make sure that the ends of the earth are hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ in a clear and satisfying way.