Can one freely sin after one has accepted Christ into one’s life?
Excellent question! Are those who preach we can freely sin after Jesus’ grace has entered someone’s life correct? Let us see what the Scriptures, God’s Word say about that.
First of all, what was Jesus’ reaction when he was confronted with a woman caught in adultery? Did He say something like: you know you have been touched by grace, so go on and sin freely? No. He was quite clear on that: John 8:11 “Go now and leave your life of sin.” NIV
Is this message constantly given in the New Testament? Absolutely!
The apostle clear is so clear on that as well: Rom 6:1-2 “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” NIV
If Jesus died for our sins, why would we want to continue to do the things that brought death to our loving Saviour?
Rom 6:11-14 “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” NIV
Grace freed us from the evil master of sin and has brought us our loving Master Jesus Christ. Why would we want to return to that evil master and serve him?
Rom 6:15-18 “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” NIV
There is a choice to be made: either you are a slave to sin or you are a slave of righteousness. There is no middle ground.
Jesus Himself repeats that same message over and over again: John 5:14 “Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” NIV
John 8:34-36 “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” NIV
Who can set you free from slavery to sin?
Yes Jesus. And you will be “free indeed”. He promised it.
So does the apostle Paul: 1 Cor 15:34 “Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God-I say this to your shame.” NIV
The apostle Paul in the book of Hebrews gives even us two strong warnings about that:
Heb 10:26-27 “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” NIV
Heb 12:14-15 “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God!” NIV
How do we know that we are in Jesus? The apostle John tells us how: 1 John 2:5-6 “This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” NIV
How did Jesus walk? Was He a sinner? No way! Heb 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin.” NIV
Read the following Scriptures in prayer and let God’s Spirit open their meaning to you:
Col 3:5-11 “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 1and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” NIV
1 Thess 4:3-8 “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.” NIV
1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” NIV
Eph 5:3-7 “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person-such a man is an idolater-has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.” NIV
Gal 5:19-21 9 “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” NIV
Does this mean that we as Christians won’t occasionally sin? Of course not. 1 John 1:8-9 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” NIV
We do not become super humans by becoming Christians. We still sin. The difference is that we do not habitually sin. It isn’t our habitual lifestyle any longer. However, when we do sin, we can come to Jesus and He will forgive us. His promises are true!
(P.S. The apostle John also advocates a life free of habitual sin in the same book we have quoted:
1 John 3:8-10 “He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.” NIV
1 John 5:18-19 “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.” NIV
3 John 11 “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.” NIV)
You know what the Bible calls those who proclaim we can sin freely after we are saved? Jude 4 “For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” NIV
Are you tired of living a sinful lifestyle my friend? Why don’t you come to Jesus who John 8:36 “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” NIV He wants to set you free. Why won’t you let Him? Come to Him and accept Him into your life. Answer the Saviour’s Call today!
That is ALL we do as humans! We are born sinners. Just because we accept Jesus into our life does not mean we will not sin. For if we didn’t, that would mean we are perfect, and only God is perfect.
Once we accept Jesus into our lives, we can most definitely live more according to His law. We can try our level best to do right and be just about things. We can spread His holy gospel, have a more understanding and open heart to others, not steal, cheat or curse and try with all our might not to sin. And of course we will sin less after we accept Jesus into our lives, but due to Satan still hanging around always there to do all he can to hurt everyone and everything, we still fall short of the glory of God. We will never be perfect until the day we step foot into His holy kingdom. Once we are there, Satan can’t touch us, because Satan ISN’T there.
But for now, Satan is here and with a vengeance. We are only human and sin without even realizing it many times. We cannot ever be the perfection that God wants. But Christ in all His glory fixed that for us by shedding His blood. So until the time we ‘go with God’ we will live in this sinful world, unable to totally avoid it!
The key word is freely. I can visualize Jesus in the garden when he took all of the sins that have ever been done, ever will be done upon himself. I cannot imagine the pain, the grief, the sadness. Yet, after we accept Christ, we continue to sin. The difference is, we realize the pain we have caused and hopefully, ask forgiveness and strive to eliminate the sin. Jesus is necessary because we are not perfect. Yet we can strive to be Christ-like. The sin we commit has a price therefore it is not free, Christ paid the price.
The short answer to this question is ‘Yes you can.’ God never removes our freedom of choice to choose good or evil. However, the Holy Spirit within you will smite your conscience and bring you to repentance. You will feel bad about what you have done and will want to make it right. You will not want to do that ever again to avoid that bad feeling. In this way we grow in the Lord.
Let us look at what the bible says about people in this situation.
Firstly, there is the analogy frequently used in the bible of a Good Shepherd and His sheep. If a sheep strays, the Good Shepherd will go after it and bring it back. If it keeps straying the Good Shepherd may have to discipline the sheep. The people understood this analogy because of their lifestyle, they were all familiar with what was needed to raise sheep. Psalm 23 is such an analogy. It took great labor on the part of the Shepherd to provide green pastures. It meant that water had to be carried on the Shepherd’s back to water the grass. Still waters in an arid land also only come through hard labor. For a sheep to ‘lie down’ it has to be perfectly content. That means more than fed and watered. It also means free of insects and parasites. Imagine a modern sheep farmer going to the trouble to anoint each individual sheep with ‘oil’ containing repellents to keep flies away from his sheep. That is what is meant by ‘maketh me to lie down in green pastures’.
So if a person who has accepted Jesus into their life should fall into temptation and sin, he or she can be certain that their Good Shepherd will come after them and possibly chastise them.
My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: (Proverbs 3:11, KJV)
And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: (Hebrews 12:5, KJV)
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. (Hebrews 12:6, KJV)
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? (Hebrews 12:7, KJV)
But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. (Hebrews 12:8, KJV)
So we can expect God to deal with us as sons. All children are naughty occasionally and it is the duty of parents to correct them. God does no less and we can trust Him to do this for us so that we will not be lost.
But what if we do not heed the chastening and continue to deliberately sin? This is very dangerous because there will come a time when you will be written off. You will no longer be able to be brought to repentance by the Holy Spirit and will endure the chastening with anger against the Lord instead of love and repentance. The bible has an answer for this circumstance too.
For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. (II Peter 2:20, KJV)
For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. (IIPeter 2:21, KJV)
But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. (IIPeter 2:22, KJV)
Here is the same situation put another way.
When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. (Matthew 12:43, KJV)
Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. (Matthew 12:44, KJV)
Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation. (Matthew 12:45, KJV)
The parable of the sewer also has reference with some seed sprouting and then withering. Here are some rather frightening references to the fate of people who ignore the chastening of the Lord and commit deliberate sin. It is my belief that this is what is meant ‘to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit’. To refuse to repent. For where there is no repentance there can be no forgiveness; and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the only unforgivable sin.
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, (Hebrews 6:4, KJV)
And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, (Hebrews 6:5, KJV)
If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. (Hebrews 6:6, KJV)
For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: (Hebrews 6:7, KJV)
But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. (Hebrews 6:8, KJV)
This is a complex matter because there are many cases of a person who has ‘backsliden’ only to be saved out of it. We have a merciful Savior who will try as long as He can for each of us. Sufficient to say that doing any known sin is very dangerous indeed.
There is a difference between yeilding to temptation in a moment of weakness which we later regret and in deliberately, with aforethought, doing something we know to be sin, even though the warning bells are clamoring.
I pray this adds to your understanding of God’s word. God should be seen as not only a God of love, willing to forgive over and over, but a God of justice, meeting out deserved punishment to those who defy Him.
One can sin after Christ has entered their heart, only because we still live within the Adamic nature and mind frame. The Bible declares “Every time we do good, evil is present.” Freely is not something a Christian who has God-conscience can do. It is never freedom to commit sin because sin is always indicative of bondage.