Very often, I hear people talking about how “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” and while that is true, I think we very often let this be a crutch for our lives. We justify our weaknesses by saying, “Oh, well, 'all have sinned.' Jesus 'came to save the sinners,'” and we go on with our lives, never stopping to think of the effect that sin has – or if we should be permitting ourselves to feel little to no remorse.
True, 1 John says, “If we say 'we have not sinned,' we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” However, he also says “If we say 'we have fellowship with Him,' while we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of His Son Jesus cleanses us from every wrongdoing.” 1 John 1:6-7.
He follows this by saying that his sole purpose for writing is that we may not sin. See that? Not sin. God has called us to “be perfect,” and John is calling us to rise up to that call and to keep ourselves from sin. In fact, he goes so far as to say, “No one who remains in Him sins... Whoever sins belongs to the Devil.” Wow. That's pretty strong language. By what merit does he claim this? Here's the passage in context:
“He was revealed to take away sin, and in Him there is no sin. No one who remains in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or known Him. Whoever sins belongs to the devil, because the devil has sinned from the beginning. Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the Devil. No one who is begotten by God commits sin because God's seed remains in Him; he cannot sin because he is begotten by God.” 1 John 3:5-9.
But what does that mean for us today? I think it's fairly clear. God doesn't just call us to be “good.” He calls us to be “holy” and “perfect.” He does not just say, “It's okay to live My life some of the time, but you can live yours some of the time.” He doesn't say, “You just have to be better than the worst.” No, His Word says “No one who is begotten by God commits sin.”
Paul takes this even further when he writes to the Corinthians and chastises them for being proud of their Christianity when they permitted a person committing incest to stay in their midst. He then tells them to kick him out, to excommunicate him, from their society (1 Cor 5).
He also calls them to avoid anyone who claims the title “Christian” who does not live the Christian lifestyle: “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people, not at all referring to the immoral of this world or the greedy and robbers or the idolaters; for you would then have to leave the world. But I now write to you not to associate with anyone named a brother if he is immoral, greedy, an idolater, a slanderer, a drunkard, or a robber, not even to eat with such a person. For why should I be judging outsiders? Is it not your business to judge those within? God will judge those outside. 'Purge the evil person from your midst.'” 1 Cor 5: 9-13
So this is a call for all of us to remember that a mediocre lifestyle isn't okay. Sin is a disease of the spirit. It separates us from the goodness, the beauty, the purity of God. It keeps us from being able to live in perfect communion with Him, from being able to hear Him clearly, from being a true son or daughter of God. It is a disease that rots the soul and taints it, twisting it in the manner that the Devil wants. We all know those people who refuse to take care of their health, and we chastise them, pray for them to come to their senses, and do what we can to make them see reason; well, sin is worse than any physical disease. A physical disease, sickness, or weariness may shorten the physical lifespan, but it cannot touch the soul. Sin destroys the eternal soul. “What good is it to gain the whole world and lose your soul?” Christ asked.
Not challenging our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to live the Christian lifestyle is not okay. Sitting there and letting them live that lifestyle is in direct contradiction to the Holy Word of God. By doing so, we are disobeying Scripture. We are also failing as fellow brothers and sisters in our role as spiritual siblings and as watchmen (Ez. 33).
We have been given the Advocate to intercede for us when we do fail, so hope is not lost when we do fall. However, we are called not to trust that God's going to just pick us up and dust us off every time that we fall. Christ chastises Satan for tempting Him to throw Himself off the roof saying that we are not to tempt God. We are called to rely on the grace of God to keep us from falling in the first place. It's a hard road to walk, for it involves forsaking this world, forsaking the broad path, and taking the narrow path. It involves not always doing the “fun” thing. It involves dying to self and breaking the chains of slavery to sin. It involves binding ourselves so totally to God that we want nothing but what He wants and not doing anything – anything at all – without consulting Him and obeying Him – even when it's not comfortable, pleasant, or what we want to do. We must crucify our sin to the cross. Otherwise, we are crucifying Jesus to it again.
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.”~G. K. Chesterton
“Avoiding the Cross is the essence of the Demonic.” ~Archbishop Fulton Sheen
“If you do not live what you believe, you will end up believing what you live.” ~Archbishop Fulton Sheen
“Simply believing in the existience of God is not exactly what I would call a commitment. After all, even the devil believes that God exists! Believing has to change the way we live.” ~Mother Angelica
“You can't repent if you don't believe in sin to repent of, and you can't believe in sin if you don't believe in a real moral law, because sin means disobeying that. Moral relativism eliminates that law, thus sin, thus repentance, thus salvation.” ~Peter Kreft