For there is not a just man upon earth, that does good, and sins not.
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Augustine of Hippo
The following is one of the many arguments that Pelagius uses in treating this subject: “Once more I repeat: I say that it is possible for a person to be without sin. And what do you say? That it is impossible for a person to be without sin? But I do not say,” he adds, “that there is a person without sin, nor do you say that there is not a person without sin. We are disputing about what is possible and impossible, not about what is and is not.” Next he notes that a number of the passages of Scripture which are usually invoked against them do not bear upon the question in dispute, namely, whether or not a person can be without sin: “For there is no one who is free from pollution,” and, “There is no one that does not sin,” and, “There is no just person on the earth,” and, “There is no one that does good.” “These and other similar texts,” he says, “apply to nonexistence, not to impossibility. By examples of this kind it is shown how some persons were at a given time, not that they could n...
There are less serious sins about which it has been written that “there is not a righteous person on earth who does what is good and does not sin,” and, “No living person will be made righteous in your sight.”
The Lord himself gives us sure confidence of obtaining what we properly ask when he adds, “Therefore if you, although you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father from heaven give his good Spirit to those who ask him?” His disciples were good, as far as human judgment can see. He calls them “evil” because there is surely no one in this life who is capable of being free from moral faults, as Solomon states when he says, “There is not a just person on earth, who does good and does not sin.”
Because the prophet says, “Behold, I was conceived in iniquity, and in sin did my mother bring me forth,” no one coming into the world with sin can be sinless. That is why the same prophet says, “No one living shall be considered righteous in your sight,” and Solomon, “There is no righteous man on earth, who does good, and does not sin.”