Do “Good” People Sin?

KEY VERSE: “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” —Romans 3:12

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Romans 2:1, 17-24

THE answer to the question posed in our topic heading is supplied by Paul in the key verse: “There is none that doeth good, no, not one.” In all the long history of humankind there has been only one who was altogether “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners”—our Lord Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God who was thereby qualified to provide a ransom from sin and death for the fallen human race.—Heb. 7:26

In several of his letters, Paul found it expedient to warn the brethren against the sinful “works of the flesh,” which apparently were more or less common in the world about them. (Gal. 5:19-21) This same warning is appropriate today, for we are living in a time foretold by Jesus when “iniquity shall abound, and the love of many wax cold.” (Matt. 24:12) It is therefore important that all who call themselves the children of God should be on guard against the encroachment in their lives of the spirit and ways of the world.

Concerning Jehovah God’s character David wrote: “As for God, his way is perfect.” (Ps. 18:30) Therefore, that which is imperfect is unacceptable to him. Addressing his typical people, Israel, Jehovah said, “Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy.” (Lev. 19:2) They came short, and failed as a nation to become unto God a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. (Exod. 19:6) But the same high standard of holiness still holds for God’s antitypical people, the church of this Gospel Age. Jesus said to his disciples, “Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48) And the Apostle Peter wrote, “As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [behavior]: because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

But how can we, who are imperfect beings, over conscious of our many shortcomings, be holy, be perfect? As has been noted in our past Bible studies, the Scriptures show that the footstep followers of Jesus during this Gospel Age are acceptable to God through faith in the redemptive power of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice for sin.

But we do not rest in God’s grace at that point. Thereafter, even until death, we labor diligently to be “conformed to the image of his Son.” (Rom. 8:29) We cannot hope while in the flesh to be perfect in deed. The thought of being “pure in heart” (Matt. 5:8) is not perfection of conduct, nor of word, nor of thought, but perfection of intention in respect to these. Our desire and effort must be for perfection. The standard before us, to which our hearts and wills must give assent, is the divine standard. God has self no lower standard than this absolute perfection, but he has provided for our fleshly short-comings, grace, mercy and peace through Christ, if we will walk in his footsteps—this purity of heart being one of the essential steps in the narrow way.

The apostle writes to the newly begotten, “I beseech you therefore brethren … that ye … 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.” (Rom. 12:1,2) Jesus Christ is our Head, and we now have a new mind; “We have the mind of Christ.” (Eph. 5:23; I Cor. 2:16) He is our Captain, our pattern, our example, into whose likeness we are daily endeavoring to be transformed by keeping our hearts and minds constantly fixed on him. How beautifully the apostle puts it! “We all beholding the glory of the Lord in a face unveiled, are transformed into the same likeness, from glory to glory.”—II Cor. 3:18, Diaglott

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was really speaking to all of the Gospel Age who should be faithful unto death. To these he made a promise almost beyond the comprehension of the human mind: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8) The Apostle John not only confirms this wonderful promise, but elaborates on it. He says that not only shall the faithful see God, but they shall possess his divine nature: “We shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”—I John 3:2

He then adds a stipulation to the gaining of this incomparable prize. He says, “Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he [God] is pure.”—I John 3:3

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |