This is one question many believers are confused about. Is it possible to live without committing sin, or all that we can hope for is the certainty of forgiveness when we sin?
It is common for us to justify our failings with excuses like “no one is perfect” and so when we encounter verses in scripture that say things like, “be thou perfect as your father which is in heaven is perfect “, we often look for softer words to tone down the finality of the word perfect in light of its seeming unattainability.
But on the face value of Scripture, does it at all suggest that a believer can live a Sinless life? I think it does.
Colossians 2:11 says…
When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature.
The imagery that this conjures is of a person that has a malignant tumor (Sin of course is the deadliest cancer there is). When as in a masectomy the tumor of sin is removed when we come to Christ, the inevitability of sin is destroyed. As it is says, it is no longer in our nature to sin ie. Sin becomes unnatural to the believer.
However, just like Adam made the choice to disobey God, we retain our free will, even though we have lost our natural disposition to sin. Critically, our coming to Christ does not instantly wipe off years of sinful programming in our minds.
It is our spirit that is reborn not our minds. Our minds are renewed (Romans 12:2) as we reprogramme it with the word of God.
How long it takes to renew the mind varies from one believer to the other depending on how closely we choose to walk with God thereafter. Just as a person who has survived removal of a malignant tumor can experience a relapse if he continues to smoke for instance, an unrenewed mind is also fertile ground for the resurgence of sin in the life of a believer.
It seems clear however that God intends for a believer to live entirely free of sin. That is why the occurrence of sin in our lives is qualified by an ‘if’ not a ‘when’.
1 John 2:1 NLT
My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.
Knowing that you are not helpless over the matter of sin, what are you going to do about renewing your mind?