What’s Wrong With: “Christians Aren’t Perfect, Just Forgiven”?

Christianity / License to Sin / 'You can't judge me, you're a sinner too!' / PsiCop original graphicAny veteran Christian-watcher such as myself has heard this slogan a thousand times: “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” A lot of Christians themselves deny having said and/or heard it, but those who’re honest will cop to it, and possibly even concede they may have said it, themselves.

If you doubt how common this slogan is in Christendom, Dear Reader, I invite you to do a Google image search on that phrase; you’ll find lots of hits with lots of graphics showing it … featured on Web pages, t-shirts, bumper stickers, banners, and lots of other merchandise. Christians wouldn’t be using or selling this crap to each other if they didn’t find that slogan attractive or worthy.

The problems with “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven” are legion. Several weeks ago I posted an example of one errant Christian having exhibited the very type of reasoning promoted by that saying. That they’re already forgiven for anything and everything they do, grants Christians license to … well, anything they damn well want to do, anytime they want to do it, to anyone they damn well want. It’s all OK, you see, because Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.

See how quick and easy that was? Pretty fucking convenient, wouldn’t you say? And given that they slap this slogan on their cars and their clothing shows how proud of it they are.

This idea has been a problem for Christianity almost since its inception. As a result, orthodox Christianity has fought a kind of rear-guard action against it for a very long time. Heresies such as those of the Carpocratians and the Nicolaitans were condemned for their reported wanton licentiousness. Its antiquity is evident in the New Testament, for instance:

For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. (Hebrews 10:26-27)

This quotation also happens to reveal the logical flaw in this defense against libertinism: Notice the skip in the logic here. The author is saying, in essence, that continuing to sin causes one to lose the forgiveness one has earned … but he or she doesn’t explain how or why this magically happens. The mechanism by which this supposedly occurs is left unstated.

In any event, and on the other hand, there happens also to be scriptural support for the idea that Christians have express license to do anything they wish:

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:34-36)

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (Romans 8:2)

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Corinthians 3:17)

Granted, a lot of Christians disagree that these verses support libertinism, but they — and others — have been advanced in support of that idea nonetheless.

The bottom line of all this is that Christians need to take responsibility for themselves and the things they do. Blaming their own wrongdoing on their “sinful natures” won’t do that. Announcing they’re already forgiven by God for what they did, therefore people are required to ignore it, also won’t do that. Telling other people that they’re sinners, too, so they can’t criticize, won’t do it either. The only thing that will help is for them to admit their wrongdoing, apologize genuinely for it, make amends whenever and however they can, sincerely try not to do wrong in the future, and just stop with the childish whining and sniveling already.

One last thing: Christians can’t condemn non-believers as people who reject their God just so they can run around doing anything they want, while at the same time announcing to the universe that they’re “not perfect, just forgiven,” so their own moral failings are no big deal and must be ignored. Those two ideas are at odds with one another. If you trot them out, that’d make you a hypocrite. And you should know, your own Jesus explicitly and unambiguously forbid you ever to be hypocritical … at any time or for any reason.

Photo credit: PsiCop original graphic.

Page created: September 13, 2015. Last modified: July 24, 2016

  • Tim Wheeler

    This slogan is used to deny the sin of someone that isn’t really saved at all. It is an excuse to only make themselves feel better about the life they are living. Those who are truly saved recognize were they are weak and own it! Jesus tells us in John chapter 14 verse 15 “If you LOVE me, you will keep my commands”. You love with your “Heart”. It makes no difference who you are, you would do anything for someone you love. When you invite Jesus into your heart, the “Holy Spirit” mends your soul through the reading and preaching of the word. You have to allow that to change your mind and act accordingly. 100% of the people who say “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven, only think that they are saved. Luke chapter 12 verses 45;47, they will be added to the “Unfaithful” and punished accordingly. Matthew Chapter 7 verse 23 “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity”. We know for sure, one day they will be held accountable.

    • Re: “Matthew Chapter 7 verse 23 “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity”. We know for sure, one day they will be held accountable.”

      I absolutely agree many Christians don’t live out their Christianity in a way that resembles the Bible’s contents. But good luck getting them to realize it. I’ve quoted Mt 7:21-23 to them often, and they just don’t get it.

      • Tim Wheeler

        Yes, that is true of the ones who only think they are saved. They don’t really have it in their heart. It has to start in the heart, then applied to transform the mind. The sad fact here, “They have saved themselves in their own mind”. You will always see evidence of a transformation in the true believer. It is easy to believe, Satan believes the truth, but to “BELIEVE IN” something, requires action on the part of believer.

        • Tim Wheeler

          It is sad that many people look at this type of servant and allow this to keep them from receiving a blessing from GOD. This situation is played out the Matthew, Mark and Luke when the Roman soldiers came into camp to arrest Jesus. Let’s look at Luke’s point of point of view. In Luke chapter 22 49;51

          49 And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50 And one of them struck the servant[a] of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him.

          Although “Jesus” immediately heals the soldiers ear he does not receive the blessing because of the destruction caused by Peter. But here we see that it is very possible to hear without listening to what’s being said

  • Modern Christianity is a racket and a con. According to THEIR belief, because at one time in my life I raised my hand and said the magic words, “JESUS COME INTO MY LIFE DAMMIT”, I’m saved. I can now do whatever the hell I want. Hey, I’m not perfect, I’m forgiven, rofl. Insane. Wake up people.

    • Agreed. Their thinking is, as you say, insane. There’s no other word for it.

  • Jesus said if you don’t hate your mother and your father you cannot be his disciple. How many Christians have told their parents to fuck off? right. STFU.

    • There are, literally, tons of things Jesus ordered his followers to do, which Christians — both now, and pretty much through the whole history of their religion — have absolutely refused to do. And conversely there are plenty of things he told them never to do, which they love doing, and as often as they can. I created an entire blog page on the subject, explaining which of Jesus’ teachings they ignore and in what ways they ignore them. I even addressed some of these individually in depth, e.g. Jesus’ injunction against public expressions of piety.