This is not a silly question, but one that must be addressed because there is a religious group that exists amongst us that teaches that once saved, a Christian can live a sin-free life. “Any person who teaches that one can sin and still be a Christian is not of God” (The Gospel Trumpet, Jan-Feb 2007, p. 6). Of course, as worded in the quote, there is no one that I know who has any knowledge in things biblical who will ever say that it is acceptable for a Christian to sin. That, however, is not what is meant by those who so subscribe to this teaching.
In an editorial by Susan Mutch, she laments that there are many Christian writers who speak of a Christian sinning. She does not speak of a “life of sin,” but of a single sin. “Oh, souls! Wake up and shake yourselves from this DECEPTION! It will lead you to hell! Christians DO NOT SIN” (p. 2, emphasis hers)! In fact, if a Christian does sin, then one has in effect said the New Covenant is not capable of making one perfect. This is blasphemy and damnable.
In an article “Do Christians sin?” there is a list of 25 points of emphasis wherein only Scripture is given as an answer. Of course, with this method, one can see a case made for this false teaching perspective, especially when there are over 90 Scriptures used.
However, in making use of these various passages there is no discussion of the context, only the inclusion of them in order to buttress a point the context of the passages won’t allow. All of the biblical passages that are put forth as an answer are worthy of contextual consideration and discussion. So, in all regards, these passages were (are) misused to teach a doctrine not taught in Scripture!
I also found it quite interesting that one contextual passage of Scripture John’s first epistle not used. In the King James Version it reads:
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 1:8-2:2).
The King James Version of the Bible is used because it is the only translation used by the proponents of this false teaching.
Can a Christian live a sin-free life? If the answer put forth by The Gospel Trumpet is the answer for us, then the words of the apostle John tell us plainly they teach falsely, and are deceived. On the other hand, if the answer is in the context in which John and Paul speaks (Romans 6), then the answer is clearly yes.