If sin has no place in God’s presence, if I sin and I do not repent before I die, but I believe wholeheartedly in the saving grace of Jesus Christ, will I still go to hell?
@Akin Great question I think it helps to remember one of the images that the Bible uses for salvation: adoption into God’s family. When we receive Christ as Lord and the Spirit comes into our lives, we become God’s children - His kids. It is not our good behavior that keeps us in God’s family. It is God’s grace through Jesus Christ that keeps us in the family. And God promises that if we truly are in Christ, He will transform us and help us to learn to overcome sin in our lives.
The Bible compares a new Christian to a spiritual baby. They are probably going to mess up a lot and have a lot of growing to do. But if we nourish ourselves on the milk of God’s Word and discipline our bodies to bring them into subjection to Christ, we will grow up in our faith.
Even Peter had to be rebuked by Paul for stepping out of line by not eating with the Gentiles (Galatians 2). So even as we grow we are not perfect, but we should be conformed more and more to His image. One passage I really like about spiritual growth is 2 Peter 1 - it paints a beautiful picture of adding to our faith knowledge, and to knowledge self-control, to self-control godliness, to godliness brotherly affection, and to brotherly affection love.
If we belong to God’s family, we don’t have to worry about Him abandoning us every time we make a mistake. He is our Father and He will keep us safe. He is faithful even when we fail.
You might also find this thread helpful. Christ grant you wisdom
Hi Akin. You have asked a question that usually has at least two thoughts of conviction. Some Christians believe in what is called Eternal Salvation. Others believe that the gift of free will remains an option that can be utilized even after we believe in JESUS. Therefore it requires vigilance and willingness to remain in fellowship. You were given an example of one doctrine already, I will try to represent the second doctrine.
I was taught that it requires dying daily. That believing in the saving grace of JESUS is a necessary beginning. But living and loving GOD is an ongoing relationship. And like any relationship, both participants must be committed to the health and growth of the relationship for it to survive.
JESUS’ commitment was wholly given upon the cross. A finished product that only requires us to receive. Being in these human bodies, still facing the sin that so easily besets us; requires our daily willingness to submit our free will to His. We must be proactive in daily putting on the whole amour of GOD. (Ephesians 6:11 kjv.) Because we are human, subject to failure, not sin, but failure; every morning His grace is new. (Lamentation 3:22-23.kjv)
Sin unlike human failure is a chosen act. Action that requires we relinquish our free will to do wrong. Is it possible that we can sin after believing? yes! Believing is the beginning not the guarantee. Demons believe and tremble. (James 2:10-20 kjv.) Matthew 12;43-45 and Luke 11:21-25 kjv., informs us that sin and all its ramifications can return to our lives. And although it is a parable, the condition of the prodigal son is a real and tangible occurrence. (Luke 15:11-32 kjv.)
“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (I John 2:3-6 kjv.)
Our relationship with JESUS, after we believe. will rely exclusively on our willingness to let that mind be in us that is in CHRIST JESUS. (Philippians 2:5-11 kjv.) Forgiveness is the grace continually given to us unless we blaspheme the HOLY SPIRIT. (Matthew 12:32 kjv.)
Your question is what if I die before I seek and receive forgiveness. I would conclude that repentance and forgiveness is only realized when it is active.
If you are dead can you repent? If you are dead can you receive forgiveness? I think that’s a gamble no one should be comfortable in taking.
Some religious doctrines believe that it is possible beyond the existence of the human body. I know by scripture that the “conversation” with GOD did occur beyond the death of the body. But I am not sure access to salvation does. I choose not to decide when GOD’s mercy will end for His children. I am okay letting that be a GOD call. As if it could possibly be otherwise.
Akinoluwa, this is a very difficult question to answer without cherry-picking scripture. @SeanO and @cer7 have summarized opposing thought on this matter as well as it can be. I have found, however, that each side tends to weight its references heavily in its favor to the neglect of references that appear to oppose it. I highly recommend researching the matter yourself with a good reference Bible using the citations in their answers as a starting point. If you do not have a reference Bible available to you, then reading the Bible all the way through is the only option. This is a good thing to do even with a reference Bible. You need to see the big picture.
I have read the Bible several times and have personally concluded the following based both on my view of the big picture and also verse-by-verse study:
- God both predestines human behavior and grants free will. I cannot explain this; it is a matter of faith that both can exist at the same time.
- Humanity is born in sin and thus starts on the road to Hell. (I set the issue of childhood innocence aside for this particular thread because I am assuming adulthood here.) No individual act or collection of acts either saves or condemns us. Only faith in Jesus for the gift of salvation saves us.
- Our general pattern of behavior is evidence of who or what we love most. No individual act will cause God to change his mind. He does not place tripwires in the entrance to Heaven.
As I mentioned, I have come to these conclusions after studying the entire Bible. I may use commentaries as guides, but ultimately I need to rely on the Spirit’s guidance, not that of human wisdom.
Thank you so much for your answers. It’s given me a lot to think about and I hope to do my own research so I can come to a reasoned conclusion on my own as well.
I didn’t realise before this that there was actually a debate on this topic and I thank each one of you for enlightening me on this topic.
Christ be with you all,
@blbossard. I would agree with your assessment, ultimate it will rest within the guidance of GOD’s SPIRIT. However, this summation is also human wisdom. As are the reference or commentary guides. It is really all we can bring to the table, but it is why grace abides. At our very best our wisdom is just filthy rags. JESUS is the equalizer that makes the insufficiency of our offerings and our understanding, whole before GOD.
Whenever ‘cherry-picking’ of scriptures is referenced, I usually think to myself, that is also a human predilection. It is humanly impossible to conclude thoughts or learn from the Word unless we come with a narrowed focus. Whether you have read scripture cover to cover, or spent your adult life consuming the Bible, we are only capable of consuming what lies immediately before us. References included. But such limitations are known and understood by the Lord.
Variations in doctrines are okay with me. But often professing Christians translate Eternal Salvation as their ‘get out of jail’ card. They plan their sin accordingly. That aspect does concern me. And worries me for my brothers and sisters in CHRIST. But I am often reminded that my ways, nor the ways of any individual child of GOD are unknown, startling, or a surprise to the Lord. I am continually assured that GOD works with each and every one of us.
I hope the following thoughts could help you sort out this question of yours:
- Sin weighs us down and brings pain, suffering, and sorrow
(Heb.12:1 …Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us…)
- Pain is a crucible that reveals our inner man. It either brings the son of God to repentance, or brings judgment to the children of disobedience
(2Cor.7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.)
(Heb.10:39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.)
- Dying without being able to confess of your sins, perhaps especially dying in the act of sin (e.g suicide) puts a big question to that person’s spiritual condition and seems to reveal his true status, un-regenerate.
(1Jn.5:16,17 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.)
Such good points. Truly appreciate this thread and time people take to respond.
Just a tiny thought for your consideration as you study the bible for answers.
If we believe in Gods sovereignty, grace and righteousness we must also believe that God looks beyond a moment of time and sees the heart of man. I believe that if a person truly has his heart inclined to please God, he will be granted the opportunity to repent should he have sinned in a moment of weakness before death.
In my view, it is not once we repent, but a lifetime of repentance builds the strongest faith.
Even Jesus was baptised.
Your question is a good one that has been asked a few times. Jesus himself brings up this thought in Matthew 7:21-23, Luke 7:46-49, Luke 13:24-30.
I think @SeanO as done a good job outlining the security that we have in Christ. Like @blbossard has said no individual act or collection of acts saves or condemns us. When we come to Christ in true trusting faith all of our sins are forgiven; past, present, and future. Jesus has the power to hold, care for, and forgive all sin, for all of those within His family.
But like @cer7 has brought up we should not let our salvation be a license to continue to sin. We must be actively engaged in the process of sanctification.
Jesus I believe helps us to understand this in Matthew 22:1-14. Some will come to the banquet for what is on the masters table. But only those who have wedding clothes, those who come to the banquet because of the master, not because of what is on the banquet table will be allowed to stay at the banquet.
I have found in the journey of life there are many meals that are served at the banquet. Not all of them are pie and ice cream. If we are true followers we will be refined in the process, those that are not will tend to show their true clothes by their actions during these trying times. It is during these trying instances where we are given opportunities that reveal our trust and love for the master.
Life and relationship with Jesus is a journey, we all stumble and fall from time to time. But as Hebrews 12:1-11 says it’s a race that must be run with perseverance. I pray that you will continue to run it well.
I had another thought on this subject.
You mentioned that
What does it mean to you to blaspheme the Holy Spirit?
Hi Don. In short, I understand it to mean; knowing the HOLY SPIRIT then denying the power thereof. I think people think that simply saying there is no GOD is blasphemy of the HOLY SPIRIT. However, my understanding is; you cannot blaspheme what you have never experienced.
To know the fellowship and abiding of the SPIRIT of GOD and then lie and say that it is not a reality, amounts to blasphemy. I have never met anyone who met that criteria. But as a child in the church, we were told of a gentleman who had rejected GOD after having walked closely with Him. While on his bed dying, he repeatedly asked to hear a certain song. He was convinced if he could but hear that song once again, he would find his way back to GOD. Though the Saints by his bedside exhausted their repertoire of songs, he did not hear the song he needed to hear. They discovered later that they had actually sung the song he wanted to hear. But he no longer had an ear that could recognize the song. Perhaps this is what it is like to live in a place where forgiveness is no longer offered?
What do you believe the blasphemy of the HOLY SPIRIT looks like?
I would say that ongoing good works should be practically inevitable for those who are planted in the “good soil” and remain in the good soil, (Those who actually understand and believe the gospel, growing in the word).
But is it believed that these ongoing good works somehow have anything to do with whether or not certain sins we commit along the way will be forgiven?
To say that our ongoing righteous behavior can contribute to our salvation in any way is a slap in the face to the righteousness Christ gave to us in the act of his death on the cross. If we are to somehow add saving works of any kind (even our legitimately sanctified best, unselfish-good-works) to Christ’s atonement for our sin, then we are lost for sure.
I realize there are all sorts of circumstances and scenarios and “what-ifs” that are essential to reconcile with the simplicity of this gospel. And sometimes that’s challenging. But at the end of the day, the gospel is still the gospel. And every knee of every leg that stands opposed to it will either bend or break.
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
2 Thessalonians 1:7-9
@cer7 We fundamentally agree. I am curious about something though: I have heard many of my brethren express concern that others “translate Eternal Salvation as their ‘get out of jail’ card,” but I have yet to meet a Christian who actually does that. Can you think of any examples?
Jesse, can you clarify what you mean by, “Even Jesus was baptised?”
In context, There was a lot of talk about the Kingdom of God coming to earth at this time. Even John the Baptist preached [especially] repentance. Baptism is a sign of repentance. Why would Jesus need to show a repentant Spirit? To give us an example to follow!
Thank you for your response, Jesse. I would love to hear more from you about it. Maybe you can elicit some dialog with another thread about Jesus’s baptism. What do you think?
I’ll think about it.
Morning. I could name chapter and verse, but it feels unkind to name names. I have friends and family who live in that manner. I have witnessed the deterioration that occurred in their walk before GOD. I speak with some who now set in prison after such declarative lifestyles.
One fellow Christian who held this belief comes to mind. She had powerful testimony of being delivered from severe drug addiction. Later she had an affair with another believer, the husband of another member. She believed it was okay because she was covered by grace. When the Elders tried to call them into accountability she replied; “its not my fault she couldn’t keep her man happy.” She moved her fellowship to a different congregation rather than receive admonishment. We remain friends but she is more distant than before.
Thank you. I certainly did not expect you to name names unless it was public knowledge of a famous figure. It is amazing how the circles within which we walk can differ so much. I understand your concern!