"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."
To reiterate- ALL have fallen short of the glory of God. Not some of us. Not one of us. ALL of us. And if we weren't all sinners, then we wouldn't have needed Jesus.
As Christians, people watch us like hawks. Even Christians watch other Christians like hawks and point out each other's flaws. "Look at their lifestyle! How are they a Christian? Clearly, they don't love Jesus." All of the time, I hear people talk about how "so and so" isn't a very good Christian. And that made me think "Wait, is there even such a thing as a "Good" Christian? And the answer is: No.
This is where I think people get confused and wrapped around the idea of religion.
Religion consists of rules, things you should and shouldn't do, and what you can do to become worthy of salvation. That is completely contradictory to the concept of grace. American culture thinks that grace has to be earned and deserved. If you do something wrong, you'll only be forgiven if you are a good enough person. We have to ask for forgiveness, and certain things are not forgivable.
Our society encourages and craves punishment. God encourages the opposite. Biblically, the definition of grace is an undeserved privilege. Meaning, we don't deserve it. We don't earn it, and we'll NEVER be worthy of receiving it! "But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions, it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:7-8) So to all who think you have to be a good person or do certain things to receive the gift of grace, you're living your life all wrong.
Grace is free. Entirely free. To me, that's amazing. As soon as Eve ate the apple off of the tree, sin entered this world. At that moment, mankind's imperfection was shown. God knew that we were imperfect and it is impossible all around to achieve perfection as a person: Christian or not.
Again, we ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We've all lied. We've all cursed. We've all lost our tempers. We've all disobeyed our parents. We'd be lying (and therefore sinning) if we said we haven't. But that's okay. There are a hundred Bible verses that talk about Christ's forgiveness towards us. One of my favorites is "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Because God knew that we were imperfect and that we'd mess up, He sent His son to take that all away from us. Grace is free because Christ freely died for us so that we wouldn't have to worry about "working our way into forgiveness" or love. Better yet, His grace is so powerful that it gave us eternal life.
I love it when people think that Christians should be perfect. That's far from the truth. In fact, in the gospels, Jesus said: "It is not the healthy that need the doctor, but the sick." I love this analogy and I love sharing this verse because it's so true! If we were all perfect, Jesus would not be needed! If we didn't get sick, doctors wouldn't be needed. We wouldn't go to therapy if we didn't feel we needed help. That's why God sent His son! Because He knows we need help, and He so freely gave that help to us.
The Bible is literally filled with imperfect people just like us. We look up to so many of these Biblical characters for being wonderful men and women of God, which they are, but we can't call them "good" Christians, because of the sins they committed. Moses was a murderer, David was an adulterer, Samson was a womanizer. Peter denied Christ, Jonah ran away and disobeyed God, and Thomas doubted. Cain and Abel are the perfect example of what greed looks like! The whole book of Genesis tells stories of more imperfection people; people that were also saved by grace when Christ died on that cross. love.
Because grace exists, none of us are good. I'm a Christian, yes. But I've told lies, I've said things I shouldn't, I've let my thoughts spiral, I've cursed, I've held onto jealousy. I love Jesus, but that doesn't make me any better than anyone else, and it certainly doesn't make me any less imperfect. I am no better or worse than the person next to me. I've seriously messed up and fallen short of the glory off God. I don't deserve any mercy. I am not a good Christian, and I never will be.
1 John 1:8-9 "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."