Can We Sin And Still BE Saved?
When the subject of eternal security is discussed, generally the
objection is that to teach this doctrine encourages one to feel
free to sin with no fear of any consequences. This, I believe, is
where most of the confusion comes in, not understanding the difference
between the Judgment Seat of Christ and the judgment seat of the
Great White Throne of God. When these two separate accounts are
lumped into as being one and the same, then it would be confusing
in trying to fully understand how God can be a just God. If God
did not give rewards according to merits, then it would not be just
to give the same rewards to one who continues to live a life of
sin opposed to one who gave a life of dedication towards the Lord.
I believe this thinking is why so many seek legalistic churches
in an attempt to find justification for this seemingly unjust theology.
However, legalism does not balance the scales of justice; in fact,
it brings forth another sin, the sin of pride. Believing one is
earning rewards while the other will pay for their lack of commitment
is what the Pharisees thought, and should not be the attitude of
any Christian. I believe many who are of the legalistic mind set
are not even aware of this fact, but is a result of not having a
full understanding of God’s justice, mercy and grace.
Is it Sin That Sends Man To Hell
Or Is It The Rejection Of Jesus That Sends Man To Hell?
If you are of the legalistic mindset, this is a very hard question
to answer, isn’t it? It cannot be both ways now, can it? To say
it is sin, then that is to say that Jesus did not die for the sins
of all men on the cross, past, present, and future. This contradicts
the many verses that say otherwise. One for example, “Behold the
Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”. (John 1:29) Either
Jesus completed this on the cross, or He didn’t. If He didn’t, then
which sins did He not die for? And if He didn’t die for all the
sins of man, then His death was in vain, and His sacrifice was not
sufficient for your and my sins, and in Him we have no hope. But,
if Jesus did pay the penalty for all the sins of man, then we can
rest assured that His sacrifice was sufficient and we have eternal
life because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross.
There, You Just Said It...
We Can Just Sin At Will Now Because Of What Jesus Did On The Cross
This is how fast this line of thinking can deteriorate the gospel
of grace and lead into legalism, and it is at this point an explanation
is in needed to show that grace does not automatically mean we can
sin at will without consequences and justice being served. Justice
is not revenge; it means doing what is right, or just, or what is
fair. Too often legalists seek retribution, which means punishment,
just like the Pharisees in desiring to stone the woman caught in
adultery, too eager to have blood on their hands and feeling justified
in doing so, not regarding the fact they are just as sinful as the
woman caught in adultery. The only way man can remain humble before
the Lord and towards others is to never forget the fact that nobody
is more deserving of salvation than any other, and is no more righteous
in themselves than anybody else. The field is level; we are all
guilty and deserving of death. Too often does the legalistic mindset
begin to think they are special and above the rest, and “anointed”
to point out the sins of others.
The parable of the splinter in the eye of others and the need for
the removal of the beam in one’s own eye is appropriately applicable
in this context. (Matthew 7: 1-5) The Bible says to esteem one another
as better than themselves and in humbleness and meekness to restore
one back into fellowship that is overtaken in a fault, lest you
also be tempted. (Phil.2: 3 & Gal.6: 1-5) One can be restored back
into true fellowship only if it is done on an eye to eye level,
otherwords, not from someone setting themselves above others. Anything
other than that will only drive others further from fellowship and
the Lord at the same time, which is the fruit of legalism. Those
who may not be driven away will just hide these things within themselves,
and the problem they are wrestling with will not be resolved. If
someone conforms for the sake of approval and acceptance, or out
of fear, guilt, and intimidation, no lasting heart change will ever
What Do You Mean I Am A Pharisee?
I recently conversed with a lady who took offense to my suggestion
that legalism is the spirit of the Pharisees, and is not the gospel
of Christ. The discussion went similar along the lines of what I
had previously written. She insisted her beliefs were not legalistic,
but that God had called her into a ministry to bring people into
a life of holiness. I suggested that what she considered a ministry
is in fact, the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer,
and that it was not the calling of any mere mortal sinful man to
point out the sins of others. I do believe she did not understand
the difference between restoring one back into fellowship with humbleness
and meekness and the belief of having earned the right to point
out the sins of others. This attitude cannot come about unless one
believes they have obtained a life of perfection, which qualifies
one to sit in judgment of the motives and the hearts of believers.
If this sounds like a harsh response, let me quote from the last
letter received and you be the judge of whether it is the spirit
of Pharisaism or not.
“I am sorry, but you are all mixed up with the grace of God for
salvation, obedience to His will, abiding in Him and tolerating
of sin due to lack of power to overcome, and /or due to disobedience
“Preaching the gospel, but denying the power thereof.”
“Although I am not a Seventh Day Adventist, I rather be affiliated
with Sabbath keepers, (Observing a day for the Lord is not no sin)
than with believers who have a high tolerance for sin and using
an excuse for it, saying grace is sufficient.”
I did not respond to this letter, because it was at the end of
a long series of exchanges, and there was no budging from her position
anyhow. I didn’t point out to her that Jesus said that His grace
was sufficient, even though that may get in the way of her particular
theology. “And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:
for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore
will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ
may rest upon me.” (11Cor. 12: 9) I may add that the Pharisees had
a low level of tolerance for the sins of others as well, and that
Jesus came to save the sinner and not the (self) righteous. (Matthew
9: 11-12) A sinner is quite aware of his sins; the self-righteous
see no need for repentance to receive salvation.
So Where Is The Balance?
I believe many misunderstandings arrive from the lack of understanding
of the difference between the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Great
White Throne of God.
We (Christians) will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ
and give an account of what we did in the flesh after we received
salvation. (Romans 14: 10-12) Our works will be tested with fire,
(which means tested according to God’s righteous standards) and
what remains, if anything, will be our rewards. In reading Chapter
3 of 1 Corinthians, this is made very clear. The foundation we build
on is Jesus; (Vs.11) and what we build on this foundation will be
gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay or stubble. (Vs.12) The
wood, hay and stubble (which are the things done in the flesh and
not in the spirit) will be burned up with fire. (Vs.13) Gold, silver
and precious stone will withstand the judgment of fire because these
will be the things done in the spirit with the right motive. Some
may have nothing but wood, hay or stubble, and will have no rewards
other than their salvation. (Vs.15) The amount of gold, silver and
precious stones is what will determine our status throughout eternity.
This is the motive for living in the spirit rather than living in
the flesh, and God will be just and give rewards accordingly. Any
good work with the right motive and in the spirit is possible only
because of what Jesus did for us, and even those things we cannot
boast about. Those who will be standing before the judgment seat
of Christ will be there because they are saved, not for condemnation.
(Romans 8: 1) Those who are condemned will be standing before the
Great White Throne of God, which are those who rejected Jesus and
are standing there on the merits of their own works of righteousness.
(Rev.20: 11-15) Their works will be judged and will not stand the
test of fire, because our own works of righteousness are as filthy
rags. (Isaiah 64: 6)
Are There Consequences For Sin In This Life?
Yes, without a doubt. Just because I am saved does not mean that
if I break the law I will not go to jail. I will pay the consequences.
In the spiritual realm, it will hinder my walk with the Lord and
will effect the rewards I may have obtained. Also, many destructive
habits will effect my health and I will pay the consequences in
this life. Other sins such as lying will destroy one’s ministry
and relationships with others, so yes; sin does have its consequences.
However, I do know for one to point out my sins and use legalistic
threats to get in line will not bring about a heart change either,
but in fact, will have the opposite effect. Sin is sin, and the
sin of pride is just as harmful as any other sin I might add. A
judgmental spirit is a sin as well, and harboring resentment and
hatred towards others is a sin. Most like to focus on the outward
sins and ignore or deny the inward sins, which are not so easy to
spot, but nevertheless are sin. God knows the hearts and the motives
of men and He alone can judge and give just rewards, for nothing
is hid from Him. (Hebrews 4: 13)
Here Is The Good News!
The word gospel means good news, and here is the good news. Jesus
paid the penalty for sin, which is death, and gives eternal life
to those who receive and accept the good news of what Jesus did
for us on the cross, no longer counting our sins against us, for
if He did, who could stand? In Him, there is no sin, for we are
clothed in His righteousness, for only He is holy. Salvation is
a free gift for those who believe and only by grace are we saved.