Do We Have To Sin? by Cecil May

"No one can live a perfect life." "God gave a law no one could keep to make us realize our need for grace and Christ." "It is impossible to live without sin. No one ever has."

Statements such as the above are heard frequently. The last statement, "No one ever has" is true with but one exception; Jesus Christ did. I do not find the other statements stated or implied in Scripture, and I do not think I believe them.

No one can deny having sinned. Universal human experience acknowledges that, and Scripture confirms it: "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23); "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us … If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us" (I John 1:8, 10).

To say that everyone has sinned, however, is not the same as saying everyone had to sin, that we had no choice in whether we sinned or not. It does not accord with my conception of the fairness and justice of God to believe he would give a law he knew was impossible for those subject to it to keep and then condemn them for not keeping it.

Further, it does not accord with my experience. While I recall with sorrow times when I have sinned; I do not recall a time when I had to sin. Sins I have committed have always seemed to me, even as I look back on them, to be a choice, a bad choice certainly, but a choice I made.

No doubt some sins are committed in ignorance, sins that were not known at the time to be sins. But even in such cases, it could have been known. The information was available.

The fact that Jesus lived without sin shows that it was not impossible to do. It will not do to say that he was especially endowed with divine power to defeat temptation. If that were true, he would not have been "one who in every respect has been tempted as we are." But he was (Hebrews 4:15).

I know I have sinned. I do not believe there was ever an occasion when I had to sin.

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