While we were still sinners… Wait, what? I’m not a sinner? I may be a pretty good person, but I haven’t reached perfection yet. Far from it. Neither had the author of this passage, Paul. In fact, Paul goes on to say “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” (Romans 7:18)
So, why do so many Christians point out other people’s sins? I think the argument is that some kinds of sin are “lifestyle sins.” And, handily, they usually refer to lifestyles that are (presumably) no threat to their own inclinations. Poverty and homosexuality are the big bad sins, right? It seems that all other sinners–yes, there are whole lists of sins in the Bible–get a free pass.
Am I a “lifestyle” sinner? Well, I have changed drastically (but slowly) since becoming a Christian. I have to say I’m pretty good. But perfect? Naw… I eat too much chocolate every day (and I’m not repentant). That’s part of my lifestyle. I spend most of my money on my own comfort, rather than donating it to worthy causes. That’s my lifestyle too. I sin in other ways, too, every day. (Just ask my husband. I don’t even resemble the Proverbs 31 woman.) AND HERE’S THE THING. People have studied the Bible and determined that homosexuality is not a sin–I am not an expert, so I’ve decided to stop arguing. I don’t know. What I do know is that I sin. And I justify ALL my sins. Overeating isn’t really a sin, is it? (There are many more verses about gluttony than about homosexuality.) And I’m not greedy–God wants me to care for myself! (Ditto greed.) Like Paul, I have a sinful nature. That is all.
No one in the Bible was perfect.
This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. Genesis 6:9
When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Genesis 9:21
The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
I am not guilty of turning from my God. David (Psalm 18:21-21)
When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the Lord. (2 Samuel 11)
Moses was a murderer, Peter denied Jesus, and Paul struggled with unnamed sin. So, if these people weren’t perfect, to present myself as perfect would be a lie, wouldn’t it? I know that God loves me in spite of my sin, and He loves all people. I’m no better than anyone else. Period. I won’t judge (or discern-same thing) others if I can help it. I’ll treat people as my equals, because in God’s eyes, we ARE equals.
This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. Romans 3:22