Bible Question:

Even if you know Jesus is the Son of God and you keep habitually committing a certain sins can you still be forgiven all of your sins no matter what they are?

Bible Answer:

The reason a Christian usually has doubts about his or her salvation or about God’s forgiveness is because he or she is not confessing sin and seeking to turn away from the sins he or she is committing. In 1 John the Holy Spirit tells us that this will happen, but He also says that Christians will have confidence that they are God’s children when their conduct pleases God.

We shall know by this that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before Him (NASB) 1 John 3:19

This is one mark of a true Christian.

Keeps His Word

God gives us several tests that we can use to determine if we are Christians. One of these tests is found in 1 John 2. In this passage the apostle John writes,

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. (NASB) 1 John 2:3-6

Did you notice that those who know God (Christians) obey God? If we say that we are Christians because we know that Jesus is the Son of God but we keep sinning, we have deceived ourselves. We are not really Christians. The mark of a Christian is that he or she “keeps His word.” But what does it mean to “keep”? This unlocks the meaning of our passage. Does this mean that God expects us to obey Him perfectly? If one commits one sin, then is he or she no longer a Christian? The answer is no because the Greek word for “keep” does not have the idea of “perfection” but of “guarding or watching.” It has the idea of a strong commitment to keep or obey. The meaning becomes clear just a few verses later when we read,

If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him. (NASB) 1 John 2:29

Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin . . . (NASB) 1 John 3:7-9

These verses explain what the Holy Spirit means by “keep His Word.” He is talking about a pattern of life – a pattern of obedience – a pattern of holy living. True Christians have a pattern of life which is marked by a commitment to be holy.

. . . because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” (NASB) 1 Pet. 1:16

Test Yourself

What does this mean if you have a pattern of ongoing sin in your life and you say, “I am a Christian”? The answer is found in the book of 1 Corinthians which was written to a group of people whom the apostle Paul called “saints” or Christians (1 Cor. 1:2). Yet, they were sinning so much that an entire book was written to rebuke them for their sins. In 1 Corinthians, the apostle warns them to stop following the supposed wisdom of the world (1 Cor. 1), ignoring the teaching of teh Spirit of God (1 Cor. 2), being competitive in ministry (1 Cor. 3), being arrogant (1 Cor. 4), ignoring Christians who have an ongoing habit of sin (1 Cor. 5), taking one another to court (1 Cor. 6), sinning in marriage (1 Cor. 7), ignoring the spiritual sensitivity of other Christians to sin (1 Cor. 8-10), ignoring the proper conduct of worship and submission (1 Cor. 11), abuses in worship (1 Cor. 12-14), and teaching false doctrine (1 Cor. 15).

In 2 Corinthians the apostle Paul continues with another list of sins. These Corinthians had some serious problems. Were they really Christians? Should we be comforted because the apostle called them “saints”? The answer is no. Why? Because the apostle himself was not sure they were Christians. Listen to Paul at the end of 2 Corinthians,

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! (NASB) 2 Cor. 13:5

True Christians do not continue to practice sin. They fight to stop and eventually find victory over their sin. The mark of a growing Christian is victory over one sin after another sin. We must remember that after we find victory over one, God then starts dealing with another sin in our lives. Therefore, the apostle was concerned that they might not be real Christians because of the sin in their life. He encouraged them to evaluate or test themselves to see if they were real Christians. Some other marks of a Christian are: you can understand the Bible (1 Cor. 2:14; Heb. 5:11-14); you see the fruit of the Holy Spirit growing in your life (Gal. 5:22-23); and you can sense the Holy Spirit leading you (Rom. 8:14). These are the major ones. A list of the marks of a Christian are available at this site.

Conclusion:

I would encourage you to test yourself to see if you are a Christian. I would also encourage you to confess your sin to God every time you commit this sin or sin(s) and to ask God to take control your life by filling you with His Spirit (Eph. 5:17-18). This is the “will of God” for each of us – to be filled with His Spirit. This is also the key to victory over sin in your life. It is the same thing as “walking in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16-23). As you faithfully confess your sins, read the Bible, and walk in the Spirit you will find victory over your sin.

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (NASB) 1 Cor. 10:13

Remember that God forgives every sin a Christian commits no matter what it is.

Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool. (NASB) Isaiah 1:18

Reference Links:

Peace With God
Filled With The Spirit
The Evidence You Are A Christian Is . . .
Is asking God to help me stop a bad habit selfish?
I am stuck in sin of online pornography. What can I do?