“Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.”

I heard someone say this weekend that he hates that saying. He sees it as a way for Christians to make excuses for their sin.

I love the saying, but I see it completely differently. I see it as a statement of humility. We stop trying to claim to the world that we have got it all together, and instead insist that the primary difference in our lives is not us but Christ and his grace. Of course, we still keep trying to live more holy lives, but we never see ourselves as having arrived.

My wife doesn’t like the saying. She sees it as too defeatist, as not recognizing all that we’ve been given in Christ. We aren’t perfect, but  neither are we just forgiven. God has done so much more for us than that. Our very natures have been transformed, the power of sin in our lives has been destroyed, and we’ve been given the destiny of becoming like Christ.

What do y’all think?

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5 thoughts on ““Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.”

  1. I think the saying is horrible! What about “I am writing you these things so that you may not sin” ? The majority of the epistles are spent encouraging us to live changed lives that are different than those who are lost. That doesn’t make us “perfect.” But that is the goal that we are reaching for. “Be holy, for I am holy.” This saying makes it seem like we aren’t actually changed people, we are simply forgiven people.

    What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be!

    • I wonder how much the difference is based on who we imagine the statement being addressed to. Those of you who disagree with it most seem to imagine it being said by one Christian to another. I think of it as being said by Christians to the rest of the world. We are saying, “We aren’t claiming to be better than you are, we are just saying we’re forgiven.” It’s like saying, “I’m just a sinner saved by grace.”

      I technically disagree with both sayings, since we aren’t JUST forgiven, and I’m not “just a sinner”. But is it really a better testimony to the unbeliever to say, “I may not be perfect yet, but I’m a lot more holy than I used to be”?

      The world mostly doesn’t care about our holiness, they care about our love.

      • I was thinking of it being said from a Christian to an unbeliever. In that case I think it communicates the wrong message. It seems to say that following Christ is simply being forgiven, not necessarily having a changed life.

        • And I do believe that unbelievers don’t simply want love, they also want to be changed. They are not satisfied with themselves and need Christ to become someone new.

  2. I think the word that gives people a problem is the word perfect. We all have our opinion of what perfect is and that varies from person to person. In my mind perfect means without fault blameless no sin much like the life of Christ when He was on the earth. I don’t seem to be able to reach that plac

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