Are you supposed to be perfect if you’re a Christian?
Ephesians 4:21-24, Assuming that you have really heard Him and been taught by Him, as [all] Truth is in Jesus [embodied and personified in Him], Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion;
And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness.
This paints a picture of a perfect person, a perfect Christian. Your old sinful life is behind you and now you are brand new and none of the old dirt is on you. So you surely have to be perfect now. Don’t you?
I cannot even imagine trying to be that perfect person. I would be such hard work!
1 John 1:6-10, If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
Clearly, we will never be perfect, which is really quite a relief, because we cannot do it in our own strength anyway. This passage is extremely consoling as we have the promise of God’s forgiveness and His grace.
I often hear criticism that people who are in ministry have faults. I have been guilty of that myself. How can so-and-so be leading a church or be an evangelist or a prophet when they do whatever. The answer is that God uses imperfect people to do His work, and not the obvious one’s according to worldly standards.
1 Corinthians 1:26-31, Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God. (The Message)
And why doesn’t God use ‘perfect’ people? Just picture this. You belong to a church and the pastor is perfect. I mean 120%, head and shoulders above the rest, immune to all temptation, never puts a foot wrong, perfect. Everyone will love him so much and he will have the biggest congregation… because he is perfect and people are going to worship him, and they won’t need God. I think we should be very happy that our leaders aren’t perfect because we are going to need to pray for them. Perfect people don’t need prayer. The more time we spend in prayer the better for us. It also gives us hope because if God can use someone who has faults that we can see, He can also use us.
So, Christians aren’t perfect, they never were and they never will be. They are imperfect people who have been saved by grace and God uses them because they love Him. That’s all that is expected from them. If we ever thought we needed to be perfect we can give up on that idea straight away and use the time we spent worrying about it, worshipping and loving God.