Many Christians have wondered if they lose their salvation when they sin.
Short answer: You do not lose your salvation. You’re still saved.
Long answer: If at some point you have recognized that you are a sinner, believed that Jesus took your penalty for your sins on the cross, confessed your need for Jesus to save you, and asked Him to save you, then ALL of your sins have been forgiven.
At the time that you asked Jesus to save you, He did. You were transferred from death to life. You were born again and made new. Your past, present and future sins were covered by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross of Calvary. He paid for those sins even though he never sinned.
Your life was exchanged for his life.
This is not an easy concept to understand. Metaphors have been used to explain it such as buying us out of slavery, or ransoming us from a kidnapper. We were in slavery to sin and the power of Satan, but God did not pay off Satan. Jesus death was a substitute for our own death. This is called ‘substitutionary atonement‘.
The penalty for sin is death. When Adam and Eve sinned, they destroyed the perfect relationship they had with God. This meant that they would eventually die instead of living with God forever. Their sin caused all people to be under the penalty of death. So for those who believe this, and ask forgiveness for sins, the penalty is paid.
The important concept to know is that though you were once separated from God, since you believed by faith that Jesus could save you, you are now reconciled to God. You are now a child of God, part of God’s family. You are covered by Jesus even when you sin. God will never change his mind or send you away.
Encouragement and the best news ! Jesus paid the penalty for your sins Ep 30 – Blue Skies and Green Pastures with Paula Adams
A more important question to ask yourself is “Knowing that Jesus died for me, why do I keep sinning?”.
As Christians we should do all we can to avoid sin. That means asking God to help us resist temptation, praying for him to change us, trusting that He wants to and He is able. We must be brave because it can be very painful and humbling when we realize how sinful we are! But it is also very freeing to let go of pride and stop trying to be the boss of our lives. Trying to control our own lives often leads to sin.
Sometimes we sin out of ignorance. When we first get saved, we have old habits and thinking that need to change. This is why we need to go to a good Bible teaching church where we can learn and be held accountable.
When I was a young Christian, I did a lot of things that I now know were sin. At that time, I either thought God didn’t really care about those sins, or I didn’t even realize it was wrong. And sometimes I just did what I wanted even when I knew it was probably wrong. I justified my sin by telling myself that I was still forgiven. But I had to learn the hard way that God would still let me suffer the consequences of those sins.
One of my frequent sins was gossiping. But I didn’t realize it was a sin for many years. I thought everybody talked about other people. I didn’t mean it to hurt anyone! But as I grew in my Christian faith, the Holy Spirit convicted me of that sin.
Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to help us. Don’t be surprised if you feel guilt and shame when you sin. Be worried if you DON’T feel guilty because that is a sign that you are ignoring the Holy Spirit. But don’t be afraid to go straight to God and confess your sin! He is faithful to forgive.
Let God do His work in you.
This process of change is called sanctification. It takes a lifetime, so we must be patient as He works on us. The more we seek God’s will and presence in our daily lives, and learn to love Him as our heavenly Father, the more we will want to be like Him. Jesus is our example of how to live, as a servant, loving others, obeying God’s commandments.
We don’t earn our salvation by obeying the law, but the law tells us what God considers sin so it is still important to Christians. The ten commandments are a basic summary of how to live, but there are many other laws and instructions in the Bible to guide us. Some sins are obvious, others are more hidden, but God sees them all. He wants to protect us from the consequences of those sins.
Even though your sins are forgiven, God will still let you suffer when you sin to teach you. If you decide to have sex before marriage, God is not necessarily going to prevent the possible consequences of that sin. If you decide to lie, cheat, steal, etc. there can still be actual bad results in your life. If you commit a crime, you might go to jail, but God will still forgive you.
God wants you to honor him with your life because you represent Him! If you call yourself a Christian, but you keep sinning, this will make God look bad to unbelievers. On the other hand, if you live a righteous life, even your enemies won’t be able to talk bad about you. Our lifestyles should make others want to know why we are so different than unbelievers. This brings glory to God.
Obeying God’s will
The tricky part is that we don’t change by working extra hard at changing ourselves, but by surrendering our lives to God, and letting Him work in us. So we must be careful that we are not ‘doing good deeds’ for God instead of obeying God’s will. How can we know the difference?
Well for one thing, submitting to God’s will for our lives is usually more difficult than doing good deeds. Even non-believers do good deeds. Jesus came to do God’s will. He was our example. Doing God’s will can be hard when it goes against our own will. But it gets easier when we truly want God’s will.
Doing God’s will often involves doing new things that take us out of our comfort zone, loving people who are different from us, or serving others who we don’t necessarily want to serve. This takes practice and is part of sanctification. But this is how God changes us. So if we resist His will, we stay the same. You’ll know you are growing in your faith when you truly want to glorify God, even when it’s uncomfortable, or you get no glory for yourself.
I used to think knowing God’s will was very difficult. And it is difficult if you wait for Him to give you a step-by-step plan before you take action. But I learned that God wants me to trust Him ONE step at a time. When I began to just take that first step, I learned that He would LEAD me along the path and reveal the plan when He was ready.
One way we show that we trust Him is by moving forward when we don’t know the plan. Just do the part that you know is the right thing. Just keep showing up. Keep loving others. Keep being humble. It’s not always an easy choice, but you’ll be glad you did.
For example, we know some of God’s will by reading the Bible. Such as we know that God wants us to love Him more than money. So if we are tempted to do something wrong that could get us a lot of money, we know that is not God’s will. But what if we really need that money? Trust God, stay in His will, and He will show you another way to earn the money or provide for you in some unexpected way. God can make things happen that you never even thought of!
Another way God guides is through the Holy Spirit. When you are living a prayerful, obedient life, it becomes easier to discern the Spirit. If you are about to do something out of God’s will, you may notice that you feel a little warning in your spirit. Don’t ignore it.
So, yes, your sins are forgiven. But keep humbly submitting your will to God and let your faith and ability to resist temptation and sin get stronger. Keep studying, praying, and spending time with mature Christians who hold you accountable. If you do, you will be truly free from the power of sin.