Does Jesse Morrell Claim Sinless Perfection? & Can Homosexuals Be Christians?


I recently got an email from a woman who wanted to know if I am basically claiming sinless perfection since my conversion or am I just refuting the notion that you can live however you want to live, like in homosexuality, and still be right with God. This was her email with my response:


I have been searching for material to help me when I study the Bible with agnostics when I ran across your site.

I admire you for what you do and think it takes guts and conviction.

I have a question though.  I totally agree that we need to repent of our sins and stop sinning overall, but we still continue to sin even though we try not to.  Are you saying that you never sin, ever?  Or are you just trying to refute this idea that you can do whatever you want and get away with it – like homosexuality?



Hello Cindy,

Thank you for your email. I believe that repentance is necessary for salvation and that repentance is a change of mind about sinning that will result in a change of life or the fruit of repentance. However, a person is always capable of returning to their sins even after they repent. Every day we are tempted and every day we need to make choices, and by the grace of God we can overcome. If we sin, it is our own choice. If we overcome, it is by the help of God’s grace.

I wish I could say that I haven’t sinned since my conversion but I cannot say that. I have sinned in the past, I know I could sin in the future, but I am living in obedience to God right now. Since my conversion, holiness has been the general rule. That is the fruit of God’s grace in my life. Sin has been the exception. The times that I have sinned I freely confess that I didn’t have to do it. Nothing made me do it. I freely choose it and it was a selfish and foolish choice. However, the Lord convicted me and I repented and asked for His gracious forgiveness.

So I believe that it is possible for us to sin and also that it is possible for us not to sin. The Bible says, “if anyone sins” indicating both that sin is possible and that sin is avoidable for believers. God never allows us to be tempted above our ability the scripture says, so we are without excuse. We will never be in the position where it is impossible for us to sin, but we are in the position where it is possible for us not to sin. As believers, obedience should be the rule of our life and disobedience should be the exception, if it occurs at all. And if we sin, we must repent or perish. We cannot presume to be right with God while we are sinning, turning His grace and atonement into a license to sin.

King Saul and king David were both believers and both sinned, but one was restored through repentance and forgiven while the other was not. The Apostle Judas and the Apostle Peter were both believers and they both sinned, but one was restored through repentance and was forgiven while the other was not. And these were not what people would call “accidental sins” or “sins of ignorance” but were an absolute rebellion against what they knew to be right. Nevertheless, they were genuine believers before committing such heinous crimes, but David and Peter were later restored and forgiven through repentance. There is no forgiveness of sins in advance, but there is gracious forgiveness through Christ when there is real repentance.

So, regarding your question about homosexuality, the grace of God through Jesus Christ is not a means by which a person can be saved while continue in their sins, but is the means through which they can be saved from their sinning. When Jesus saves a homosexual, that man chooses to live for God and no longer live in their sin. They may still have to face those temptations every day, but by God’s grace they overcome. They are still capable of committing homosexual acts, or yielding to homosexual thoughts, but they are not saved or right with God while they do so. The Bible is clear that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. A believer who returns to their sins must repent and ask God for fresh forgiveness. As believers, we are capable of sinning but by His grace we never have to sin again.

I hope that helps!

God Bless,

Jesse Morrell

She wrote back:

Thanks for your reply.  So you do feel that there is a difference in the types of sins we might commit.  That’s what I am understanding by this statement: “And these were not what people would call “accidental sins” or “sins of ignorance” but were an absolute rebellion against what they knew to be right.”


I responded:

What I was trying to say is that I believe that believers can commit known acts of rebellion, but that they are not saved or right with God when they do so. Some teach that believers only commit accidental or ignorant sins, but I am saying that believers are capable of committing terrible acts of known rebellion against God. And those terrible acts of known rebellion does not mean that they were “not truly saved to begin with.” But these terrible acts of sin do not have to happen and if they do happen, these people must repent or perish. In other words, it is possible for believers to turn back to their sinning and consequently forfeit their salvation.

What many people would classify as accidental sins or sins of ignorance, I wouldn’t classify as real sins at all. A person is held accountable according to the knowledge that they have and as long as a person is obeying the knowledge that they have, they have a perfect heart and are blameless. If a person chooses to be ignorant of their obligations, then that is a sin that they can be blamed and punished for. Sin is of the heart, a selfish intention, and it is rebellion against what you know. Jesus said if you were blind you would have no sin, but as God’s law is written on our hearts, sin is a choice of the will to do what we know to be wrong. God judges us for our intention, as the Bible says God judges the heart.

If we did have any “sins of ignorance” in our life, God could easily bring these to our attention so that we could repent of them, so the idea that perfection is impossible because of “sins of ignorance” is not a logical argument. God wants us to be morally perfect and He is capable of giving us everything that we need to do so.

At conversion, we repent of all of known sins, as sin is a choice to do what you know is wrong. Then we continue to grow in knowledge and consequently grow in obedience and grow in character. We do have perfect hearts at conversion in the sense of having pure and benevolent motives to love God and love our neighbor, and our hearts remain perfect as long as we do not return to our sins. A man remains saved as long as His heart remains purified by faith, as the same faith that justifies is the same faith that sanctifies, so a man remains justified by faith only as long as he remains sanctified by faith. There is no justification in sin or salvation in known rebellion against God.

This is a lecture I gave on the doctrine of holiness at our recently Sharing Your Faith Conference, which might help to clarify what it is that I believe on this issue:


This was a post I made on My Facebook about the issue of “Sinless Perfection:”

I am often accused of teaching “sinless perfection.” That is a term that I have never used to describe my beliefs. Allow me to clarify or specify what I believe:

I believe that it is possible for a believer to sin and it is possible for a believer not to sin. At conversion, a believer repented of all their known sins. They still grow in knowledge throughout their Christian life and therefore grow in character. And if sin occurs at all, it should be the exception and not the rule. Sin is not their practice or habit, obedience or holiness is.

That is how I understand 1 John. For example 1 John 2:1 says if anyone sins. That means that it is possible to sin and it is possible not to sin. And it says whosoever is born of God sinneth (habitual practice) not. And that those whosoever sinneth (habitual practice) is of the devil. So true believers do not sin every day in word, thought, and deed. They obey God and love Jesus every day in word, thought, and deed.

The perfection required of us in Matt 5:48 is love. Love is the fulfillment of the law. If we make the daily choice to love God and love our neighbor, we have a perfect heart. Our mind is limited but our heart is perfect. Biblical perfection is not the inability to sin. It is not that a perfect man can never sin again, or will never sin again, but that they are not sinning or as 1 John says “sinneth not.”

I have noticed that the term “sinless perfection” is only used by the anti-holiness camp. Those who actually preach the possibility of perfection, holiness, or stopping your sin, do not typically use that term – at least not the holiness preachers I know. The Bible uses the word “perfection” or “perfect” and the word “sanctified” and “holiness.” But “sinless perfection” seems to be used as a derogatory phrase, which is not how the Bible uses the word perfection at all.

I choose not to use the term “sinless perfection” because the anti-holiness camp that uses it typically defines it as the teaching that it is impossible for a believer to sin, or that a person has never sinned in their entire life, or that a true convert never sins from conversion to death. Since I do not necessarily teach any of the above, I do not use the term sinless perfection.

I simply teach that sin is avoidable. Nobody ever has to sin. A true convert does not habitually sin, though they are capable of sinning and may sin. If you sin, you must repent.

Also from My Facebook:

Some “Christian” rantings against “perfectionism” on Facebook inspired me to post this:

To say that perfection is not possible or is impossible is to undermine the power of the gospel, distort the work of Christ, and charge the law of God and the command of Christ with injustice and tyranny.

Christ not only saves us from the penalty of sin, but also from the practice of sin. Otherwise, if we were saved from the penalty but not the practice, the atonement becomes nothing more than a license to sin. But when we see how much He loved us, we begin to love Him in return, and when we love Him we will obey Him. So the atonement is the greatest moral influence we could experience that influences us on to perfection – to repent of all our sins and live in obedience to God. And once we have turned from all our sins, we still need Christ to keep us from returning to our sins. Even in Heaven when we are perfect we will still need Jesus.

If we are convicted of sin, we must acknowledge that we had no excuse for it, giving up all justification, and recognize that such sin was avoidable. In repentance, we must determine to never do it again. A man cannot be perfect if he does not recognize his sin, admit that it was avoidable, and repent of it determining to never do it again. But if a man confesses and forsakes it, he can go on to perfection as Christ commands.

Perfection is of the heart, not the body or mind. That is, while our bodies are physically imperfect until glorification and our minds are mentally imperfect, our heart can be pure. Love is the fulfillment of the law. God’s law is love and we are only commanded to love God with all of our ability, so our obligation never exceeds our ability. If we love God supremely and love our neighbor equally, we have a pure or perfect heart.

We will never be in the position where it is impossible for us to sin, but we are in a position where it is possible for us not to sin (1 Cor. 10:13). So if you have sin in your life, the Bible commands you to stop it. And God has given you the ability to do this, so you are without excuse. Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect.

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11 Responses to Does Jesse Morrell Claim Sinless Perfection? & Can Homosexuals Be Christians?

  1. Martin Gant. says:

    Thanks Jesse for all your loyal work. To Devide the scriptures as u do is a real blessing, for you and for me. I would like to discuss with you sometime about in detail about salvation….. And how one can loose their salvation…. Thank u good site for the positive not watered down , boldness u teach with.

  2. John S says:

    When a person accepts Christ as savior they inherit eternal life. If that can be lost at a later time then apparently they DIDN’T inherit ETERNAL life, but some other kind of life that was obviously NOT eternal.
    Also note that NO flesh is justified by works of righteousness. We have none within ourselves. All we have of ourselves is our inherited sinful nature which we do not lose as long as we are in these bodies. The new nature we are given can’t sin, but is constantly at war with the old nature. Only by yielding to the new nature can Christ live the victorious life through us. But if we ever say that we have no sin in us in this life then the truth is not in us. Sinning doesn’t make us sinners. We sin because we ARE sinners.

    • John,

      1. Eternal life is a gift that is given to us by God by His mercy and grace but receiving it and keeping it is conditional. The Bible says that we must repent, believe, and persevere unto the end. Just because you can forfeit eternal life doesn’t mean that it wasn’t eternal. Adam and Eve were given eternal life in the garden of Eden, so long as they obeyed God, but they forfeited it by their disobedience. God never wanted sin to be eternal. So too while believers have been given eternal life, the Bible still warns that we must continue or persevere in holiness and faith unto the end. We must not return to our sins. The Bible warns that believers can neglect their salvation, fall from grace, be cut off, depart from the faith, etc. And if we are justified by faith, we no longer remain justified if we depart from the faith.

      2. Justification is not by works of the law, as Abraham was justified by faith long before the Torah was ever given. So Gentiles do not need to be circumcised to be justified or perform any work of the Torah. But the faith that justified Abraham was a faith that resulted in obedience. The Bible says, “by faith Abraham…obeyed.” Biblical saving faith includes repentance. If a person has not repented, they evidently do not have saving faith. So we are not justified by works of the law or by merit. While salvation is unmerited it is not unconditional. We must repent of our sins and believe the gospel. Justification by works of the law is not the same thing as repentance for the remission of sins. Those who repent of their sins are saved by God’s grace and mercy. Those who repent are saved by grace through faith.

      3. Abraham was justified by faith long before the Torah was given, in the same way we are made righteous by faith, not works of the law. It is faith that God imputes or considers as righteousness, not works of the law. A person can perform works of the law like circumcision and still be morally wicked in their heart. So God does not consider a person righteous just because they perform works of the Torah. The Pharisees are an example of those who obeyed outwardly but inwardly were full of iniquity. Our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees – the righteousness of faith in Jesus Christ. And by faith in Christ, we obey the commandments of Christ, which are even stricter than the law of Moses that the Pharisees were under. When we are justified, we are justified by God’s grace through our faith. It is our faith that God imputes as righteousness, not works of the Torah. And that justifying faith is also sanctifying faith. Faith will result in faithfulness or good works as the book of James says. That is why God imputes faith as righteousness, because it is the seed of all real obedience to the Lord.

      4. The nature that we are born with is a gift from God. God forms us in the womb and He certainly wouldn’t give us a sinful nature. That is why the Bible says that sin is against human nature. Homosexuality, for example, is “against nature” because it is not the “natural use” of the body Paul argued. But the Gentiles “do by nature” the things contained in the law. Conscience is the supreme faculty of our nature and it is against our conscience to sin. Therefore, it is against our nature to sin. Our flesh, which is also given to us by God, is our lower nature and while it is the source of the devil’s temptations, it is not a sin itself. Your body is a tool Paul said that you can yield as an instrument for righteousness or an instrument for sin. Your body is not in and of itself sinful as Jesus Himself came in the flesh and our flesh is given to us by God. But we can, by free will, use our body in a sinful way.

      5. Sin is not a substance of the body but a choice of the heart. Jesus said that sin comes out of the heart. The Bible says that God searches and judges the heart, not the body. The command to “be ye therefore perfect” is in reference to the moral, not the physical. It is a perfection of the heart, not a perfection of the body. The Bible speaks of those who were “perfect in heart” in this life in their flesh. So you don’t need a physically perfect body to have a morally perfect heart. If you love God supremely and your neighbor equally, your heart is morally perfect even if your body is not perfect. So we can’t confuse sanctification and glorification. Sanctification is the perfecting of the heart, glorification is the perfecting of the body. One is moral, one is physical. One is in this life, one is in the next life. So while we cannot have a glorified body in this life, we can have a sanctified heart. Jesus himself was morally perfect before He was resurrected with a glorified perfect body.

      6. The idea that you cannot live a holy or sin free life until you get a new body is rooted in Gnostic philosophy. The Gnostic’s believed that the flesh was sinful. Therefore they denied that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. The devil no doubt tempts us to gratify our natural desires in unnatural and unlawful ways. This is how Eve was tempted. She was not given a sinful nature or a sinful body, but the devil appealed to her lower nature of sensibilities to tempt her to sin. While our body is what the devil appeals to when he tempts us, our body itself is not a sin, neither does our body force us to sin, and therefore you don’t need a new body to be free from sin. You can present your body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God in this life. God can sanctify you wholly spirit, soul, and body, in this present life.

      7. Our higher nature, or conscience, affirms the law of God. Our lower nature, which was not designed by God to be used for sin, is what the devil appeals to when he tempts us. It is against both our higher and our lower nature to sin, but people choose by their free will to sin against their nature. But instead of our will submitting to all of the desires of our lower nature, our will is supposed to be in submission to our higher nature and consequently keep our lower nature in control and use it the way God intended. And by the grace of God, or His divine influence upon our heart, we can choose to do that every day. So by His grace and our free will we never have to sin again.

      8. None of us can say that we have never sinned, but we can say that Jesus Christ has saved us from sinning. To say that Jesus Christ cannot save us from sinning is to make God a liar. It is to deny the power of His grace and to deny the power of His grace. To say that we have to sin every day and can never have real victory is to say that the power of sin is greater than the power of God’s grace. But the Bible says He never allows us to be tempted above our ability, so we never have to sin but can always escape the temptation. And the moral influence of the gospel is so powerful that it can cleanse us from all sin.

      9. A sinner, by definition, is someone who sins. If a person never sins, they are not a sinner. Therefore people do not sin because they are sinners, they are sinners because they sin. It is a man’s own fault that he is a sinner. The Bible says all we like sheep have gone astray, we have all turned to our own way. And since it is your free choice to be a sinner, God rightfully blames you for it, threatens eternal punishment for it, and calls you to repent of it. If it wasn’t your free choice to be a sinner, but a necessity of your birth, then it is not your fault, you can’t be blamed, you can’t be justly punished, and it makes no sense to call you to repent of it. Paul said that you are the servant of whomever you yield yourself to. So if you are a servant of sin, it is by your own free choice! You do not sin because you are the servant of sin, but you are the servant of sin because you choose to sin. Take full responsibility for your sinful condition. You choose to be a sinner by giving into temptation. Now, instead of choosing to be a sinner, choose to be a saint. Choose to follow and obey Jesus – to obey the gospel. Allow the influence of the gospel and the power of God’s grace to keep you from ever sinning again. If you live a holy life, the credit goes to the grace of God. If you sin again, the blame is on your own free will.

  3. every tree was given to Adam and Eve, including the tree of life, except the tree of knowledge (Gen. 1:29; 2:16-17). By eating from the tree of life, Adam sustained the perfect health of his body. It was only after he sinned that Adam was no longer allowed to keep eating from the tree of life (Gen. 3:22), thus Adam could no longer sustain eternal life. Physical death came as a consequence of his sin, so there was no physical death before he sinned. If Adam had not sinned, he would not have died, thus he lost eternal life by sinning.

    • John S says:

      Then its a good thing the prodigal son didn’t die while he was in the far country. I guess he was just a pig there and not a son until he returned to his father. And it’s a good thing that King David didn’t die during his sin with Bathsheba. He would have lost his opportunity to rule over Jerusalem during the millennium under Christ. So if one sins, then it nullifies any prior acceptance of Christ and you have to accept him all over again. I guess Christ only died for some of my sins. It’s sad that I won’t see Ananias and Sapphira in heaven either.

      • You are right. It is good that the prodigal son returned home, otherwise he would have remained dead to the father. And it is a good thing King David repented, as no murderer has eternal life the Bible says and adulterers will not inherit the kingdom of God. And it is sad that Ananias and Saphira died in their sins, as the Bible says that all liars will be cast into the lake of fire. Jesus died for all the sins of all men, but only those who repent and believe are actually forgiven by it. The atonement does not automatically save everyone. There are conditions on our part necessary to be forgiven through the atonement. Jesus said repent or perish and persevere unto the end to be saved.

      • John S says:

        We are judged in this life for our sins, but we inherit eternal life with Christ according to our faith in Christ and nothing else. Christ does not ask us to repent of our sin until after we accept him as savior. Unbelievers are not called to repent. Only those in Christ. Salvation is not conditional on our sanctification. Sanctification is a process which we can never fully complete here on earth, because we will do not lose the old nature we are born with thru Adam as long as we are in these bodies. Jesus was born without the old sin nature, because he was not conceived in sin as we were. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and therefore without sin. If salvation is conditional on our avoidance of sin then we are living under Law. But the law is a ministration of condemnation. There shall be no flesh justified by the deeds of the law. The law only serves to show us we have sin in us. It can not lift us up. In Christ we are under grace and not under the law, because we are unable to fullfill the law as long as we are in these bodies.

  4. John, we are not judged in this life or in the next life for our sins if we have been forgiven. And if we have repented, we have been forgiven. If we haven’t repented, we are not forgiven. Nobody has eternal life that is still in their sins because God only grants eternal life to those who repent. God commands all men everywhere to repent. It is sinners that God calls to repent, not saints. Saints have already repented. Salvation is conditional upon our sanctification because salvation is conditional upon faith, and the same faith that justifies is the same faith that sanctifies. If we are not sanctified by faith then we are consequently not justified by faith either.

    The Bible nowhere says that Adam’s nature became sinful when he sinned, nor that we inherit a sinful nature through him, nor that the body that we have is sinful. That is Gnosticism. Sin is a free will choice, not a substance. Sin cannot be hereditary. Jesus was born of a virgin, not because sex is sin or because sexual desire is a sinful nature, but because God was His father and because it was to be a sign unto the people.

    The Bible says that believers “are sanctified” even in this life while they are in their bodies, because they are obedient to God in their hearts and their flesh itself is not a sin. The flesh of a saint is holy and sanctified, as they have presented it to God as a living sacrifice and yield it as an instrument of righteousness.

    As believers we are not under the condemnation of the law, nor are we under moral obligation to the Torah, but we are under the moral law or the commandments of Christ. Thus the Bible says “if we sin” implying that we still have moral obligations. And the Bible says ‘we keep his commandments” saying that believers are living in accordance with their obligations. Not being “under the law” is not the same as anarchy, lawlessness, or antinomianism. We are under a moral obligation to avoid sin, and if we return to our sins after we have repented we are in danger of the wrath of God. Forgiveness through Christ is conditional upon repentance.

    There is no justification by the law because obedience cannot atone for disobedience, and because no amount of repenting or obeying could merit or earn forgiveness. Forgiveness must be by grace, though it is conditional upon a change of mind about sinning.

    The law shows us our sins so that we would know what to repent of and so that we would see our need for forgiveness through Christ. The law was not impossible for us to keep, otherwise we wouldn’t deserve punishment for violating it and therefore wouldn’t need Christ at all. The law shows us our need for Christ by showing us the avoidable sins we have committed.

    We are not under the influence of law but under the influence of grace, and therefore sin does not have dominion over us. We are not motivated by mere legal motives of fear of punishment and hope of reward, but a love for Christ who died for us. Therefore, since we are not under law but under grace, we will live holy lives that are pleasing to Him. If we keep sinning, we evidently are still under the law and not under grace at all. The proof that you are under grace is that your life has been changed.

  5. I enjoyed the Dialogue, it was helpful in discerning some questions I had.


    Nathaniel Runels

  6. Cole says:

    Mr. Morrell,

    First of all, I believe that God does change the heart of every person that He saves, so that they become a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17) and will actively seek after practical holiness in this life (Hebrews 12:14; 1 John 3:3).

    Now, you say, “What I was trying to say is that I believe that believers can commit known acts of rebellion, but that they are not saved or right with God when they do so.”

    If that is true, sir, then what do you make of these Scriptures?:

    “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24 KJV)

    “And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:
    And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” (Jeremiah 32:39-40 KJV)

    Do you believe that a genuine believer, if they do sin, falls back into the kingdom of darkness (Col. 1:13), becomes a slave of sin again (John 8:34-36), has his eyes closed once more by the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4-6)?

    Why did Jesus contrast final condemnation and salvation by saying that he who believes in him “shall NOT come into condemnation; BUT is passed from death unto life” (the word “alla” in John 5:24 is the Greek adversative, “but,”). The implication seems to be that passing from death into life prevents you from coming into condemnation, but your belief would seem to indicate that there are people who have passed from death to life in the past who will STILL come into condemnation because they went back to the kingdom of darkness.

    Also, the passage from Jeremiah says that God promises not to turn away from doing good to those in the everlasting covenant. How? He says “I will put my fear in their hearts, that they SHALL NOT depart form me.” If you “depart from God,” does it not follow that it is because He did not put His fear in your heart? How else could it happen?

    The question is not whether or not God’s grace is capable of saving us from living in sin and redeeming us from all iniquity; of course it is. The question is “HOW does this occur? Is it accomplished completely in this lifetime?” If we believe the full testimony of Scripture, then surely we must pay attention to how the Lord taught us to pray:

    “Give us day by day our daily bread.
    And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” (Luke 11:3-4 KJV)

    Jesus taught His disciples to pray daily for God to provide them food, and in the next breath taught them to pray for the forgiveness of their sins. Why would you need to pray for forgiveness of sins in this daily prayer if you did not have daily sins to account for? Even if you just pray “after this manner” and not using the exact words, does Jesus not indicate that forgiveness of sins should be sought as regularly as food and protection from temptation?

    I fully affirm that there is a difference between the life of a believer and a non-believer (1 John 3:9). But how can you truly say that there has been even one day in your life where you have been perfect in thought and deed (as Mark 12:30 seems to demand)? For that to be true, wouldn’t you have to be at least as righteous as Jesus Christ was?

  7. The OP = a great post! 😀

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