Bible Question:

Many professing Christians do not walk the walk, do not entertain celibacy, are still drinking, still addicted, are living together, etc. I believe that when you are saved, you are changed. For some, the release from addiction seems to be miraculous. They no longer are addicted. For others, it seems to take forever for that change to come. 1 Corinthians 3:15 gives me the impression that some Christians will smell of smoke but still be saved. My confusion is this: if someone is saved, has repented and confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior, but are continuing to commit sins (whether it is over eating, smoking, fornication, adultery, lying, thinking the wrong thoughts, pornography, omission) - sin from the smallest to the greatest still being sin - how can sin keep you out of heaven if you have received Christ? I don't understand why Christians aren't chastised to the point that when they sin that they would try not to sin. I seem to be chastised if I congratulate myself for something the Lord is telling me that He did and not me. It does not match some of the horrendous sins we are capable of doing, but for me and God, it does. In case I am still not making myself clear, I'm not trying to make excuses for people to sin. Since we are saved by accepting Christ, all sin past present and future being forgiven at the cross, how can any sin keep us out of heaven? They have already accepted Christ and have the gift of the Holy Spirit. Since the Spirit is a seal, He's not going anywhere. So one can't be resaved. One can only repent if truly sorry. Since only God knows the heart, we really can't even say when a person is truly saved even by their actions depending on where they are in their area of growth, but positionally, are they saved? Since everyone who is saved has the Holy Spirit, I think that Jesus keeps them saved by either bringing them back to the fold or taking them out of the world as when the Scriptures speak of many who got sick and died when they partook of the communion the wrong way. I don't want to come across as being judgmental or critical, but this is a real concern for me when I speak to other Christians who mention Jesus in their conversation and then talk about living with their boyfriend. I can't seem to get a hang on this. Can you help me out?

Bible Answer:

Should a person be changed when they become a Christian? The answer to this question is given to us in the New Testament book of 1 John. It was written by the apostle John under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Should a person be changed when they become a Christian?

Purpose of 1 John

At the end of the book, the apostle John explains why he wrote 1 John. He wrote it so that we can know if we have eternal life.

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13 (NASB)

That is the purpose of the book. From the first chapter to the last chapter, the apostle provides a series of tests that a person can ask of himself/herself to determine if he/she is a real Christian. This is an important series of tests. They help people to know if they are Christians.

Should a Person Be Changed?

One of these tests answers your question. Here it is,

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.                                            1 John 2:4-5 (NASB)

The meaning of the Greek word for “keep” has the idea to carefully and watchfully keep. It has the idea of wanting to keep God’s commands and doing it carefully. The Greek tense of the word “keep” is a present active participle. This means a true Christian always wants to obey and faithfully keeps seeking to obey. The passage says that a person can claim to be a Christian, but if he/she has no desire to obey God and is not trying to obey Him, then he/she has deceived himself/herself.

We can never know for sure if someone else is a Christian; but when his/her life has ongoing, unrepentant patterns of sin, there is reason to be concerned that he/she is not real. Scripture is not kind towards those who claim to be Christians and then live like someone who does not believe in Jesus. Even the Apostle Paul had doubts about the Corinthians who claimed to be Christians but were sinning in many different ways. Therefore, he encouraged them to determine if they were a Christian.

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test? 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NASB)

There are more tests that will help you to determine if you are a Christian.


When Christians are comfortable with sin in their lives, then there is reason to be concerned that they are not real Christians. The truth is not found in what they say. The truth is found in their pattern of life. A Christian who has an intimate relationship with God will want to obey, to please God above anyone else – their family, spouse, girl friend or boy friend. Please make sure that you are a Christian.