What Happens When a Christian Sins?
Our August theme in Faith Unlimited Magazine is “Love is the liberator.” So, I guess the answer to this question is that when a Christian sins they lose their salvation – NOT! WE ARE LOVED! WE ARE FORGIVEN!!
The blood of Jesus covers our sin: past, present, future, unperceived due to our pride, willful … all of our sin! In fact, one drop of the precious blood of our Savior was enough to cover the sin of all mankind throughout all time!
So, I’m good. Just forget it. NOT! My natural tendency would be to self-justify, rationalize, and not actually repent. But I, by His grace, “don’t live according to the sinful nature, I live according to the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:1-4)
Sometimes, I don’t know when I’ve crossed the line from temptation into sin. What to do!?! Of course, God’s Word gives us instruction not only about how to repent, but how to live a repentant life with His gift of a repentant heart.
First John 1:5-2:2 needs to be a part of every Christian’s everyday walk with our Lord. We often quote verse nine to unbelievers, but 2:1 lets us know that John was writing to Christians. So, we need to walk in the Light (present tense).
“This is the message we have heard from Him (Jesus) and declare to you: God is Light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the Light, as He is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, (continuously) purifies us from all sin. 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. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word is not in us. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Notice the verb tenses in this passage. Read it carefully. The goal of every Christian is not to sin, but when we do, our faithful indwelling Holy Spirit convicts (not condemns) us. Repentance is immediate. When I’m walking (present tense) in the Light, I can catch myself at the point of temptation – that’s the goal! But, even if I’m not sure if I’ve crossed the line into sin, I repent and receive forgiveness and cleansing by faith. I keep my heart clean!
I love John’s last reminder in this passage because it reminds me to be quick to forgive: “… not only ours ….” Carrying unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, and/or resentment can be one of the greatest blockades to being aware of sin in our lives and our ability to repent. We’re not walking in the Light.
One last thought: I love mentoring new Christians. One of the things I need to model is how to live a repentant life. When I sin, I don’t hide it from my mentees. That would be the natural tendency. After all, aren’t mentors supposed to be perfect? HA! Who would want to be mentored by someone that is self-righteous!?! Self-righteousness is the most dangerous of sins, particularly for those of us who have been saved for a while. The devil will try to deceive us into thinking we’re OK without real repentance. Who got into trouble with Jesus? Not the average, regular people like you and me; it was the self-righteous, religious Pharisees and Sadducees! We need to guard our hearts dear friends. More than that, we need to count on the Holy Spirit within to keep watch. I’m so thankful that He does! Aren’t you? So,
What happens when a Christian sins? In short, living a repentant life, by faith, we humbly confess our sins, and receive forgiveness and cleansing.
Do you know the song from Psalm 51:10-13? Sing with me.
“Create in me a clean heart, oh God, And renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Thy presence Oh Lord, And take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of Thy Salvation. Then, will I teach transgressors Thy ways.”