This week our campus was visited by preachers bearing the message that all Christians must live perfect lives.
Their names were Steve and Sebastian. Their voices filled the patio air on the east side of the SUB with accusations, condemnation, and promises of eternal hellfire. They insisted that their own lives are now completely perfect, and that they themselves no longer sin. Any Christian who said he still sins, they denounced as a false Christian.
I write this letter to disprove their teaching, and to offer UNM a more biblically sound portrayal of Christianity. The Apostle Paul spoke directly about how the Christian life is filled with a dual nature: one part which has indeed experienced victory over sin, and the other part which still struggles and falls into sin every day.
He speaks about this in his personal experience in his letter to the Romans chapter 7:15-20: “For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.”
He speaks both about his renewed self in Christ and his old self, which still clings on as his old sin nature: “sin that dwells within [him].”
According to Steve and Sebastian’s teaching, the Apostle Paul, who wrote the majority of the New Testament, is an inauthentic Christian.
While on the cross, before he died, Jesus said about his sacrifice “It is finished” (John’s gospel, chapter 19 verse 30).
There is nothing that anyone has to do, to make it any more “finished.” The authenticity of Jesus’ work is on your heart and in God’s eyes the very moment you declare your trust in Jesus as your savior; there’s nothing you need to do or even can do to authenticate it any further.
Anything you wish to do as a Christian is and ought to be — by God’s design — from the desire of your heart in open, joyful, grateful, and free response to the One who saved you. Christians are no better than anyone else. We hurt others, we hurt God’s creation, and we hurt ourselves. The ground is level at the foot of the cross, before it and behind it; we are all equally in need of its redeeming power every single day of our lives. Sincerely,
Intern with Cru, a UNM Student Organization