If Sinful by Nature, Can We Hope for Salvation?


You indicate that to receive the reward of immortality (or eternal life), one must live a life of faithfulness to God, obeying the commandments and following closely the example of Christ in this regard. All of this would make sense, except according to Scripture, men are naturally sinful, so to what extent must one be obedient to God to warrant salvation?

I do not believe any human being today can perfectly keep the commandments even if they honestly desired to do so. How can an ordinary, average, sinful human obey perfectly the law and will of God? If that is required, I do not feel anyone can be saved!

I thank you for your time and consideration of my requests, as these questions are of great concern to me.


In trying to understand God’s demands upon us, we must be sure not to misunderstand His point. God knows our frame, our frailty, our human weakness, our inclination to sin (Ps. 103:14). He does not expect us to live the perfect life Christ lived. He knows that we will sin again and again, and that we will need to repent and seek His forgiveness. But He has also set the standard we must attain: We must become “pure just as He [Christ] is pure” (1 John 3:3). We must attain unto a “perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). But we do not do it all at once; it is work that requires time, patience and diligence.

Living the Christian life is much the same as acquiring any skill. Even for the most talented, to sit down to a piano and perfectly perform a difficult composition without instruction or practice would be impossible. But let one start to learn at a young age, with proper instruction and practice, and after some years the perfect (or near perfect) performance may be rendered with relative ease. Character is much the same, and God provides instruction and expects preparation. He knows our character is not like Christ’s, He knows we will not always speak and think and do everything right. He knows that, like a child we must learn and grow and like an artist we must practice. That is why He gives us this life. It is not easy, but neither is it impossible.

Learn one step at a time. Say no to temptation when it arises, answer harshness with a “soft answer” as the Bible commands us (Prov. 15:1; Ps. 37:8-9). At every opportunity show a Christ-like spirit, forgiving when we have been wronged, and never returning evil for evil. If we continue to turn from evil, God has provided for our wrongs through forgiveness. Yes, we will stumble, we will sin; but by keeping one commandment at a time, evil can be overcome by good, and God’s requirement met.

Consider King David, who sinned grievously, yet who humbly repented and turned from his sin, and was forgiven. David will be among the saved ones, the perfect ones who will be given the crown of eternal life—not because he never sinned, but because he repented and turned from his sin and did right. We read in the Bible of those who actually did live blamelessly before God. It was written of Zacharias and Elisabeth that “they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” (Luke 1:6).

Paul may accurately say “There is none righteous, no not one” and that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:10, 23) but this does not say that we must remain in this ungodly, unrighteous condition. We can change, and God has provided the means and the circumstances by which we can change so that we can offer ourselves as a sacrifice acceptable to God (Rom. 12:1-2).