Over the years I have met many people who view sin as an addition problem. They see sin as a minus. But they also believe that if they have more pluses (good works, etc.) those pluses will outweigh the minuses and they will be OK. I also see this in Mormonism – especially in the thought that a person can progress to perfection and in their talk about the law of the harvest.
But that is not how the Bible views sin. Instead of viewing sin as an addition problem, it sees it as a multiplication problem, in the sense that even one sin (one negative) makes everything negative. Even a long string of positives is negated by just one negative. That’s the point James makes in 2:10: “For whosever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” Just one sin makes us guilty of breaking the whole law.
We see that same principle in courtrooms around the nation. It is not uncommon to see a person, who had been law-abiding his entire life, on trial for a serious crime. His previous law keeping doesn’t protect him from being sentenced and punished. That one crime negates a lifetime of law keeping. For the rest of his life he will be seen as a felon.
So also with sin. There is no way that anybody can contribute to their perfection because “whosever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” Whoever tries to contribute to their perfection will end up adding negatives (sins) to the equation. That is nothing less than a formula for failure.
The only formula for success is relying totally on Jesus and his sacrifice for us. “By one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14) If you are perfected forever, there is nothing left to be done. And that is exactly what the Bible says. “Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” (Hebrews 10:18). To Jesus be the glory, honor and praise.