“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new…For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
Paul to the Corinthians
Christianity is not about reformation. Its goal lies far beyond the ability of mortal human beings. The goal of Christianity is the perfect human being. Hopefully, this illustrates the futility of reforming our behavior enough to meet the goal. The good news (the gospel) is that God has provided a means of reaching the goal—He will do it for us—that is, if we allow Him to do so.
Rather than reform us, God offers to transform us. In Christ, we see how this works. Christ, the sinless Son of God, took on the burden of humanity’s sin—He was made sin for us, or like us. He then offered His blood as the sacrifice for sin. This was the just payment named by God the Father for sin. Since we could not pay that price and yet live, Jesus who could lay down his life and take it up again did it for us.
He did this that we, by accepting His sovereignty, could be made righteous like Him. In effect, He will share with us His divinity, as He shared our humanity. This does not mean Christians are free to act any way they choose. The key above is accepting His sovereignty. He is King of Kings; we are His subjects. If we stray from His commands, we are corrected.
You have no doubt heard that doctors practice medicine. When I was a nurse, I practiced nursing. I spent 25 years practicing and never did become a perfect nurse. In fact, what I didn’t know and couldn’t do would fill volumes. By the way, I never found a perfect doctor either.
Christians entering into a relationship with Christ become disciples (practitioners) of Christianity. In a spiritual sense, they have a diploma saying they graduated from their old life into the new Christian one. They are then sent out into the world to practice Christianity. Do not expect perfection in that practice, but steady advancement pleases God. Of course, your standards may be higher than God’s.
I readily tell people that I do not practice what I preach. I preach Christ in whom the fulness of the Father dwells, without sin, and full of mercy and grace. I don’t pretend to reach that high. I can barely conceive of the notion enough to aspire to it.
I do not fear to stand before God just as I am. Why should I, he knows me—yet He loves me. I do shrink in my unworthiness from the prospect. My confidence in my appearing before God lies in the One who stands by me and in me—Jesus Christ. He has picked me up many times. To my sorrow, He will need to do so many more times before I appear wearing His righteousness as He wore my humanity.