Must we stop sinning and be perfect now?
Sin is an intruder. It is such a deceitful and insidious evil that often it is not recognized for what it really is. It stuck its ugly head into God’s perfect kingdom and wanted to take over the government. It caused confusion and trouble in heaven and, eventually, war.
The end result of sin is destruction and death. God, as the source of all life, knew the ultimate end of sin, and He had to deal with it. His goal is to rid the universe of sin, but He had a great problem. His created beings did not understand the consequence of sin.
In order to get rid of a problem, one must recognize that there is a problem. Therefore, with much pain and patience God has dealt with sin for centuries. God’s goal will eventually be realized.
This earth is the devil’s strong- hold, and he has claimed it as his domain ever since he caused Adam and Eve to sin. Even Jesus called the devil the prince of this earth when He said to His disciples, just before His crucifixion, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” John 12:31. In Revelation 12:9, Jesus tells us that the devil is deceptive.
To rid the earth of sin is a very difficult, expensive, and painful process, for God cannot lie, but the devil uses lying and deceit all the time. Even the angels in heaven could not fully understand the problem until Jesus went through the cruel trial and endured the scourging and death on the cross. The whole universe, except the inhabitants of this earth, understood the problem at that time. Now the Lord has to deal with humanity and let sin reign until human beings can understand the problem of sin and no longer want anything to do with it.
In love to man, God devised a plan whereby man could be saved from sin, whereby the blood of Jesus Christ could free man from sin and the results of sin. God could have just wiped Satan and his followers from the earth, but that would not have explained the problem to the other inhabitants of the universe. And until they all understood, there was always the danger of it happening again. When sin is once done away with, it shall not happen again. We are told in Nahum 1:9 that “affliction shall not rise up the second time.”
Must we stop sinning and be perfect now? Yes! The Bible states, in Matthew 5:48, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” And, in Romans 12:2, we are told: “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” This means that we must be changed—transformed—into the character of Christ before He comes. We cannot do this by ourselves, for we can do nothing by ourselves to be saved. This transformation can only be done with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Since sin is going to be utterly destroyed and God is not going to allow sin to enter heaven, if we cling to sin, we will reap the results of sin. But praise God, Jesus died to give us the power to overcome sin. We need that power, because we are told, in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” But we are given the assurance that “by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Romans 5:17–19.)”
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