There is no Christian who does not sin.
That truth should comfort all of us who have ever professed faith in Christ, because we all will fail to live up to the life our profession calls us to live.
What we do with this knowledge will either reinforce or bring into question the fidelity of our faith.
Anyone who has ever attended a deathbed in a hospital knows that the mercy shown to a dying patient typically is expressed in medicating the patient into a painless unconsciousness. In this way the patient is unaware of the suffering and pain that is slowly taking away their life. It's a tender mercy to the patient, and a tender mercy to those who would otherwise have had to watch a loved one suffer in death.
I think something similar happens in the life of some who profess Christ.
These, having become convinced that they have secured eternal life for themselves through Christ, begin to regard their own sin as (not only normal, but even) personally inconsequential. Christianity takes on the role of the pain-killers and anesthesia in the deathbed example. These become increasingly unaware of their own sin, and their own spiritual suffering because of their slumber.
God help us all.
My great fear is not that I will renounce Christ with my mouth - or that I will suddenly become convinced that Christianity is false, or that there is no God. No. I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I've committed unto him against that day. My concern is that I will rather renounce Christ with my living - renounce him with a faith that was only found in my mouth and not in my heart, and through my heart, in my day to day living.
My fear is that I may be calling myself, and believing myself to be a servant of God, without giving any real evidence that I am.
I can look back at my life and wee where I was obedient, here and there also. I can assure myself on past successes that I have been, for some time, as much as I have been able, a servant of my Lord and Savior. But I regard this evidence with a critical eye. Judas had a great start also - and all his former obedience and piety, such as it was, didn't remove any of his condemnation. He knew Jesus was the Messiah too - yet that knowledge didn't translate into a life that served Christ. In the end he chose to serve himself - or rather, his default position became known to all including himself. He had never been a servant of our Lord, but had always been serving himself, even in his profession of faith.
I am neither a good nor a holy man by nature. I am a sinner, and selfish. I was so before I became a Christian, and even after being joined to the life of Christ though saving faith, I find myself still experiencing the same sinful temptations I've ever faced.
One thing I've noticed since becoming a Christian however, is that I no longer take joy in sin.
Now I don't describe sin as "bad things I do" - I describe sin as what it is - an act of rebellion against God's rule in my life. In a nutshell God commands me to surrender my will to His, to obey Christ whose life empowers my obedience, over and against obeying my own self - who, driven by the fallen life of Adam that animates me being, seeks only to alleviate my own discomforts, and to secure pleasures and comforts for myself in this life. When I sin, I trade true joy for earthly pleasures, true peace for worldly securities. It's bad math, it's madness. I hate the 'me' that knows all this but is still able to sit satisfied on the couch after a meal, and leave the dishes for someone else to clean up. Where is my servant's heart?
I don't have one, and if you are willing to understand this: neither do you.
What I do have is the life of Christ in me. His life empowers my obedience, but not in a way that makes me into God's puppet. I find that nothing in this sinful world has or could set me free from my own sinful desires - but what is truth about me, can and does truly set me free.
Here is a truth: Christ has a genuine servant's heart. Let me put that another way: God has a servant's heart. The life of Christ in me desires to serve others, even as I have no desire to serve anyone unless I can get something out of it - even if it is just the satisfaction of someone praising me for my service. Christ is selfless. His life in me prompts me to do what I personally have no desire to do. The reward for my obedience? It isn't an easier life - it is a harder one. It isn't worldly gain, because true obedience doesn't try to hold onto the wealth of the world for oneself. It isn't the accolades of men, because true obedience doesn't seek recognition. The reward is the joy of our Lord. That's the strength of our obedience. We obey because God's pleasure in our obedience is something we take joy in.
The servant of the Lord is someone who yearns to soak up the joy of the Lord through serving Him in response to the provoking life of Christ within us. Look into you life and see if this isn't so - the one thing every genuine Christian shares is a soul-deep desire to be pleasing to God. If that resonates in you, know this : the flip side is that we pursue obedience for a joy that is greater (spiritually satisfying and comforting) than the pleasure of sin.
Know this too Christian, that it is God Himself who is pursuing each of us who have come to Christ through faith. He provokes and empowers us to enter into the rest He has promised to those who are in Christ. It isn't a rest whereby we sin all we want secure in the knowledge that our sin won't count against us.
That isn't the rest.
We 'rest' in the certainty that through Christ - through His life that became ours when we were born again - we will be able to obey God even as we step out in faith to do so. Like the Israelites entered into the promised land. God gave them the victory even as their own efforts carried them into the promised victory.