I am reading through John Wesley on the topic of Christian perfection, and while I understand his main point that God gives us power to do the right things, I don’t agree that we can ever reach a state of sinless perfection until the second coming of Jesus. Even at our best behavior, while we may have experienced a tremendous amount of growth and maturity through the Holy Spirit, we still remain light years from what the law demands–100% perfection 100% of the time.
Why doesn’t the Holy Spirit give us the power to live a life 100% free from all sin? I suspect it is to keep us dependent on the merits of Christ for the remainder of our life on earth. It is to keep us humble and Christ centered as we realize that our best is still polluted with unrighteousness. It is to teach us to keep our eyes on our lord and savior Jesus Christ.
This doesn’t excuse sinful acts of a deliberate nature, but it explains why human beings constantly have to rely completely on God’s mercy and grace for salvation. Christ’s perfection covers our imperfection and we are accounted as being perfect before God as we are clothed in the merits of our crucified savior.
“For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14, NIV).
In heaven, the sons and daughters of God will be sinless and obedient to God in all things. But until then we are considered perfect only “in Christ”.