Every man is a sinner, but not the same kind of sinner. When Paul writes to the church at Corinth he calls this struggling, immature body “the church of God … those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling.” In this same letter, he warns that certain kinds of sinful lifestyles exclude you from the Kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10). Believers cannot sin in this kind of way or else they are not believers. John makes this even more plain in 1 John 3:8-9.
The one who practices sin is of the devil… No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
The standard for true Christianity is a lifestyle. Those who lack an ongoing practice of holiness and discipline should fear that their profession is false. They know very little of spiritual maturity.
Another kind of sinning exists whereby truly converted people fall into sin. All believers are in this category because we sin more often than we know. We cannot know our own hearts (Jer. 17:9-10) because of the remaining corruptions in them. But even while we can sin, John says that no believers are in the previous group of people who “keep on sinning.” One group of sinners are those who have a lifestyle or a character marked by sin. The second group sometimes sins, but their lives cannot fairly be characterized as sinful.
Heroes should be taken from the second group. They should be models of virtue whose lifestyle shows them to be worthy subjects for our imaginations to consider even though they are still sinners. This is why Paul wrote a list of requirements for pastors (1 Tim. 3:1-7) so that even though church leaders will be chosen from among a group of redeemed sinners, the church will be watching the best models of holiness from within their local church.
- Why We Need Virtuous Heroes
- Two Kinds of Sin
- Objection: What About David?
- Good Presentations of Total Depravity
- Four Reasons We Need Virtuous Heroes
- A Call for Aragorn Rather Than Captain America