While teaching an adult class recently, one of our deacons was illustrating the Christian's motivation for overcoming sin even when he or she understands from Scripture that it is impossible for any human to live without sinning. He posed the problem in the form of a question: "If I know I can't do it perfectly, why should I go out of my way to even try?"
He used an illustration that I thought was very apt. "Imagine a surgeon," he said, "who reasons that since he cannot practice surgery without ever making a mistake, he will abandon efforts to minimize his errors. Would you go under his knife? The surgeon's intent to work without mistakes even if he occasionally makes one is critical if you're going to entrust your life to him."
Jesus didn't die for us so that we could continue the practice of sin or become even bigger sinners. He died to free us from the penalty of sin and give us hope as we strive to overcome sin's practice. Like the surgeon, we can be used by God to save lives - if our lives provide the kind of consistent example that will help people see God at work within us and trust our guidance.