This question hit me and I wondered if you knew anything about it. Is it possible for a Christian to completely stop sining? I mean completely sinless at a certain point in a Christian follower’s life? I understand that everyone in this world at one point sins, but can a Christian once and for all put an end to sin in ones life?


No, it is not possible for a Christian to completely stop sinning. This is not just my opinion, it is stated as a fact in the scriptures. In 1 John 1:8-9 we are told, “If we claim to be without sin, we decieve outselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

Fifth century monk and theologian Pelagius was accused by his enemies in the church, especially by Augustine, of teaching that the Christian can, over time, completely overcome sin and essentially stop sinning. He made statements which seem to imply this. Whether Pelagius actually believe we could stop sinning entirely or perhaps he used this as a rhetorical tool to challenge Christians to continue to grow and change is hard to say for sure as we have more material from his opponents than from Pelagius. Personally, I doubt that Pelagious actually believed that we could literally stop sinning completely, but we can leave this as an open question. What is not “open” is that the Bible clearly teaches that we cannot become perfect and completely stop sinning by our own effort. We can agree with Pelagius that a Christian ought to overcome sin more and more as his or her life progresses, but to become perfect is clearly beyond human capacity, even with the help of the Holy Spirit.

John Oakes

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