1

I'm referring to promises such as:

13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV)​

7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:7-10 ESV)

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV)

8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— (Philippians 3:8-9 ESV)

If God offers grace to Christians to overcome temptation and live a righteous life, then why do Christians still fall into sin?

What prevents Christians from living perfectly sinless lives?

4
  • it's easy (easy road vs hard road)? we have agency? answer may depend on denomination
    – depperm
    May 16 at 1:09
  • @depperm: answer may depend on denomination - maybe I should turn this into an overview question? The agency explanation would probably be uncomfortable for denominations that adhere to determinism or irresistible grace. May 16 at 1:12
  • This is a confused Q comparing bananas with pineapples - different ages and OP forced inferences. The first quote doesn't mention sin.
    – steveowen
    May 16 at 4:51
  • @steveowen - feel free to post an answer to this question: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/q/76302/38524 May 16 at 8:19

2 Answers 2

4

Let's examine your scriptures one by one to determine whether we find a promise that Christians can't sin.

13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV)

That a temptation can always be overcome doesn't mean it is always overcome. People simply choose to sin, regardless of the fact that they could, with help from God, overcome. That is, after all, what condemns us. ​

7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:7-10 ESV)

The point is to tell the audience they should stop sinning / start being righteous if they want to be children of God. Which means they weren't righteous (yet). If you are still sinning, you are not converted enough yet.

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV)

Don't boast of your good works. Paul again and again emphasizes that the law can only condemn us, because we fall short. So God prepared good works that we should walk in them, but there is no promise here that we won't leave the way that Goid intends for us as we did before.

8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— (Philippians 3:8-9 ESV)

Again, the law can only condemn because we fall short. So here we don't even talk about good works at all when Paul says "righteousness".


To summarize, Paul says:

We fall short of the Law, inevitably. So we can only become righteous in the eyes of God through faith in Christ. But that doesn't mean we should/can just continue in our wicked ways. We need repentance and change our ways, otherwise we weren't really "children of God" to begin with (yet). And this is possible with faith and help from God.

5
  • That a temptation can always be overcome doesn't mean it is always overcome. People simply choose to sin, regardless of the fact that they could, with help from God, overcome. That is, after all, what condemns us. - Right. So would you say then that this is possible because human beings have free will and God's grace is not irresistible? May 16 at 13:24
  • @SpiritRealmInvestigator Ok now we seem to be entering a domain that is definitely not free of denomination specific interpretation. LDS doctrine: Jesus atonement sets us free to choose eternal life through him, or choose damnation by rejecting him. Human beings have free will and being righteous is not just doing good but choosing to do good despite temptation to evil.
    – kutschkem
    May 16 at 15:41
  • @kutschkem What did you mean by: “The point is to tell the audience they should stop sinning / start being righteous if they want to be children of God. Which means they weren't righteous (yet). If you are still sinning, you are not converted enough yet.” when this letter was written to those who believe in the name of Christ (1 John 5:13). They would have already been born of God, see also: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;” ‭‭1 John‬ ‭2:1‬
    – Cork88
    May 16 at 18:22
  • @Cork88 Paul felt the need to clarify that Christians should not continue to sin. Maybe I am jumping to conclusions here, but since Christians today are imperfect, fallible human beings, so were the Christians of old.
    – kutschkem
    May 17 at 7:20
  • @kutschkem Certainly Christians can and do sin, and we are not to continue in sin; to that I agree. Just food for thought with respect to 1st John, lots of internal evidence that points to the readers conversion being actual & present.
    – Cork88
    May 17 at 15:48
3

The answer is in the first quotation: "he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability".

  • Each true Christian will be tempted.
  • God's holy spirit within that person will provide guidance and support to resist that temptation.
  • The temptation will not be more than the person is able to resist.

But, a temptation is meaningful only if it is possible to give in to it. So people will weaken, doubt their faith, etc., and they will occasionally succumb to the temptation.

True Christians will recognize their transgression, repent (changing oneself), and ask for and receive forgiveness.

It is the purpose of each person to build a character that will no longer weaken, will no longer doubt, and will no longer give in to temptation.

Jesus, as a human being, was always able to resist temptation, using only the help of God's holy spirit, so we know that it is possible.

2
  • But, a temptation is meaningful only if it is possible to give in to it. So people will weaken, doubt their faith, etc., and they will occasionally succumb to the temptation. - I see, so would you say that this is possible because human beings have free will and God's grace is not irresistible? May 16 at 13:23
  • 3
    @SpiritRealmInvestigator, if we don't have free will, our lives are personally pointless. If we do have free will yet are unable to reject God's grace, it isn't a freely offered gift but something imposed on us against our wills. May 16 at 13:31

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .