What does it mean “there is no one who does not sin”?


Please explain to me what II Chronicles 6:36 means as per the issue of sin: "for there is no one who does not sin..." What is the meaning of holiness? What happens to a Christian who sins but has yet to acknowledge, let alone repent or confess it?


"When they sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin), and You become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to a land far or near; yet when they come to themselves in the land where they were carried captive, and repent, and make supplication to You in the land of their captivity, saying, 'We have sinned, we have done wrong, and have committed wickedness'; and when they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, where they have been carried captive, and pray toward their land which You gave to their fathers, the city which You have chosen, and toward the temple which I have built for Your name: then hear from heaven Your dwelling place their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive Your people who have sinned against You" (II Chronicles 6:36-39).

What Solomon notes is a truth repeated throughout the Bible. People sin. The only exception to that rule was Jesus Christ. "And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin" (I John 3:5). Paul, quoting from the Old Testament stated:

"What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one." "Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit"; "The poison of asps is under their lips"; "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known." "There is no fear of God before their eyes"" (Romans 3:9-18).

He sums up his finding with: "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

This doesn't mean that people sin constantly, but it does mean that sin is universally found among men. Nor does this mean that sin is only found among non-Christians because John in speaking to Christians says, "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 I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (I John 1:8-2:1). Ideally, a Christian strives not to sin. "Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts" (Romans 13:13-14). But sin is pervasive that everyone slips up from time to time.

The difference between a follower of God and a non-follower is his attitude toward sin.

"Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother" (I John 3:6-10).

A child of God strives hard not to sin. He does not live a life practicing sin. Thus, when a Christian sins, he repents, confesses his fault to God, and returns to living as best he can. He makes a practice of righteousness. His sinful mistakes don't define him. The non-Christian doesn't take notice of sin, so does not care if he is regularly sinning. He makes no effort in correcting his sins and remains in them. Thus, he makes a practice of sin. This doesn't mean he sins constantly. Even the worse sinner does some things right, but those right actions don't define him.

"Holy" means to be set apart or dedicated to God. When applied to a person it means a person who morally blameless or pure. It is the opposite of "profane," which means corrupt or polluted.

"Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy"" (I Peter 1:13-16).

The goal of a Christian is to be holy like God. That goal is not obtainable here on earth, yet we strive for it because the one we serve is holy. A Christian, striving to be holy, won't accept substandard performance in himself. He abhors sin and when it enters his life, he does something about it. He understands that while he remains in his sin, he is no longer holy and is separated from his God.

A Christian who stops trying to live righteously is lost. Other Christians who love him are in a quandary because what could convince a non-Christian to turn to God will not work on someone who knew God and chose to leave. "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame" (Hebrews 6:4-6). It doesn't mean the fallen Christian can't come back. It means that Christians who remain faithful can't convince him to come back, because they have nothing left to draw him back. He has to choose on his own, and sadly most don't make the choice to return. The parable of the prodigal son illustrates this.

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