Light vs. Dark: do Christians still sin?

One of my struggles as a Christian was coming to terms with my sinfulness. “I’m a born-again Christian, why do I still sin?” It’s a question many of us ask. Yet, while we are justified (made right with God) by the blood of Jesus Christ, we are still on a journey of sanctification (being made perfect and sinless) that will take us to the gates of heaven.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we 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 his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say 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 we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

— 1 John 1:5-10 (ESV)

Light and darkness cannot occupy the same space. Darkness is not the opposite of light, but the absence of it. It is impossible for them to share the same space, where there is light, darkness is scattered. In the same way, a relationship with Jesus is incompatible with living in darkness.

Do Christians still sin?

But there is a difference between living in darkness and the Christian who sins. For John, living in darkness is claiming to be without sin (v. 8), not with a Christian who struggles with sin. Instead, living in the light comes with the blessing of God’s grace, the blood of Jesus Christ, to cleanse us from all sin and unrighteousness.

Be encouraged! The Christian is not expected to be without sin. Indeed, we should aim and work towards sinlessness, just as Jesus is without sin; and this is our offering (Rom. 12:1-2), responding to the amazing grace of our Lord and Saviour. It is no license to sin (Rom. 6:15), instead a license to live free from the chains of sin.

Do Christians sill sin? Yes, they do. We’re not perfect, but by God’s grace, we are on the road to perfection.