“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)
Being a real Christian is being a follower of Jesus the Christ, the Messiah and Savior of the world. If you believe that Jesus was God who became human through the virgin Mary, that He lived a sinless life and that He died on the cross to take upon Himself the punishment for the sins of the whole world, and you have asked Him to forgive you and save you, then you are saved. You have asked for the forgiveness of your sins through Christ’s act of atonement and accepted His free gift of salvation from your sins. You believe in the sufficiency of Christ’s atonement and that you are no longer under God’s condemnation but are part of the redeemed and Bride Of Christ You have received the very righteousness of God, in Christ.
The question for anew believer is then, “Now what do I do?”. How does God want me to live? First you need to know this one important fact… you will still sin after your conversion. Try your best all you want but you will still have sin in your life. You are no better than an unredeemed person in regard to sin. The difference though is that positionally you are 100% forgiven for all your life’s sins because Jesus paid your sin debt. You are no longer condemned nor will you be judged to eternal death with the unredeemed unbelievers.
Does that mean I am saying to go ahead and sin all you want? Absolutely NOT. Out of gratitude and knowing what a high price was paid for your redemption through the shed blood and pain of Christ on the cross you should be trying to not sin. Yes, absolutely you do need to start turning from your sinful ways while asking God to help you and to change you.
However, you need to understand that not sinning after salvation is not a requirement of your salvation. Salvation is not of works and is only through faith in the atonement that Jesus Christ provided for your forgiveness. This also does not mean that Christians never sin again once they accept the salvation of Christ.
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” (1 John 2:1-3 KJV)
As Christians we are to resist sin in an increasing manner and to keep His commandments to the best of our abilities as Christians. Now when I say “His commandments” I am talking about the law of liberty through Christ and not the Ten Commandments. It is in fact, something that a true Christian WANTS to do as we learn about God more and more. The Holy Spirit resides in every person that has repented (believed on Christ). As the Holy Spirit renews our minds over time, we start making a real effort to turn from our sin in an increasing basis during our life.
Because it is something WE NEED to do to be saved? No. Because God starts changing our world view as we learn the truth from the Word of God and this will outwardly produce good works. Not that doing so saves us from our sin debt, Christ forgave our sins on the cross once – for all. Our salvation was God’s unmerited favor towards us and 100% God’s work through Christ. But once we have become a member of the family of God by receiving the free gift of salvation we start changing because the Holy Spirit starts to guide and correct us. This change in a persons life is a result of what God is doing in the life of a Christian. It is a sort of proof of salvation. This is how we should be living after salvation. In Romans 12, the Apostle Paul sums this up very nicely and so here is the entire text for you to review and gain a better understanding:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Christian Living Can Be A struggle At Times
Some of these are not easy to do at times are they? Like “Bless those that persecute you” for example. “Repay no one evil for evil.” But isn’t that what God did to us? When we were still full of a sin debt and headed for God’s judgment and were His enemies, He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins so we could be saved from His wrath to come? Yes, we are saved, redeemed, and no longer condemned for our sin. But that does not mean that we can go ahead and sin because the debt is paid?
Remember, our sin is the reason Jesus died for us with such a horrible death taking on the punishment we deserve. God has allowed you and me into His family where we now call him Father, Daddy, Abba. Shouldn’t we try our very best to resist temptations and sin in our lives? Oh yes, we will still sin, and that old sin nature is still within us pushing us to sin. But we should be struggling and resisting as hard as we can. And when we do fall to sin, Jesus is there saying I forgive you, now.. go and sin no more.
“Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (John 8:1-11)
You will hear some preachers tell you that you must not sin or the judgement of God is upon you and you will lose your salvation. Ignore them because they are teaching a false Gospel of works salvation. Something that Paul spoke very strongly against as you can see by reading Galatians. And isn’t it interesting that in the above Scripture that Jesus did not say to the woman, ” Go and sin no more, nether do I condemn you” .. NO! He said, FIRST, “neither do I condemn you” and then “go and sin no more”. So yes, try to not sin. But stand firm in your belief in the total sufficiency of Christ’s atonement on the cross, knowing all your sins are done away with and the penalty has been fully paid. You are no longer condemned for your sins.