Very often, or more times than not, when a person is called out for sin or wrongdoing—even those who identify as Christian—the first words out of their mouths are “I’m not perfect.” While it is true that we are not perfect (the only perfect person to ever live is Jesus Christ), it is not an excuse, or crutch, for willful and habitual sinning. (Pause: If you are willfully and habitually sinning, but identify as Christian, I urge you to examine yourself, to see whether you’re really in the faith, as 2 Corinthians 13:5 admonishes.)
In 1 Peter 1:14-16, God tells us, through Peter, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”
The command to be holy may sound like a hard one, as our flesh has a tendency to want to do its own thing, but God never commands us to do anything in our own strength. It is in Him that we live, move, and have our being (Acts 17:28), and it’s through His Spirit that we are able to do all of the things He’s commanded us to do.
Let’s look at Zechariah, chapter 4, for confirmation of this.
In this chapter, we see God giving an encouraging word to the prophet Zechariah, concerning (and for) Zerubbabel, who was in charge of rebuilding the temple. The enemies to the rebuilding task were great, and their opposition was discouraging to Zerubbabel. But God, through a vision to Zechariah, would remind Zerubbabel that it was by His Spirit, not human might or power, that the work would be completed (verse 6).
We also see this truth in Galatians 3:2-3, where Paul reminds the Galatians—who’d begun trying to grow up, or mature, spiritually by way of their flesh, instead of by faith as they’d started—of where our help comes from. Paul says to them, “Let me ask you only this: ‘Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?’” Paul was appalled that the Galatians would even think of completing their journey by the flesh, instead of by reliance on the Spirit of God.
Every (true) believer believed and was saved by grace, through faith (through the workings of the Holy Spirit), and can only be transformed by God’s grace, through our faith (through the workings of the Holy Spirit). Philippians 1:6 tells us that it was God who began this good work in us, and it is He (not self) who will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
With that being said, you can see that although the I’m not perfect declaration in the mouth of anyone is a valid one (as no one’s perfect), it is not a crutch for wrongdoing for the professing believer. No believer is perfect; however, true believers have God’s Spirit within them, willing them to work for His good pleasure. And therefore, although not perfect, we do strive to live, wholly, according to God’s Word, and according to the leading of His Spirit.
So today, if you find yourself consistently living sinfully, as I stated earlier, examine yourself to be sure you’re in the faith. Because, if a person who professes to be a believer can continue to sin without contrition, and without discipline from the hand of God, dealt to bring them to repentance… in view of Scripture, that person isn’t saved at all (cf. Hebrews 12:7-8).
Think about it (and repent, if need be).