“Nine hundred and ninety-nine trillion – nine- hundred and ninety-nine billion – nine hundred and ninety-nine million – nine- hundred and ninety-nine thousand – nine- hundred and ninety-nine
…ok, one more sin and I hit the quadrillion mark…then God will never want anything to do with me”
Alright, so clearly (or hopefully) many of us don’t pursue life with this mindset.
Attempting to quantify sins in order to decide for ourselves when “enough is enough!”
The bible does teach us that those born of God will have a different outlook and lifestyle concerning sin.
1) Christians Do Not Make a Practice of Sinning
Let’s begin by re-emphasizing on some essential truths
4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God
1 John 3:4-9 ESV
The words “keep on” and “practice” are used several times in this passages.
I was going to try and use some fancy “dissecting” methods to describe this, but scripture alone (as always is sufficient).
The scripture means exactly what it’s saying, Christians will not continue a lifestyle of sinning.
But why is that?
The answer is shown at the end of verse 9
“…and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God“
Imagine you were on a plane one day, and casually saw a blue whale flying in the sky. You don’t need to be a zoologist to understand that there is something wrong with this picture.
In the same way anyone who is born of God (born again/ believer of Jesus Christ/ believer) cannot habitually live a life characterized by sin.
Peace can not be made between sin and the Christian. There must come a point where we continually grow in repentance (turning away from sin, change of mind, a transformative change of heart)
An individual confessing Christ yet living in sin is as off-setting as a flying whale.
^try to read that sentence again without laughing
Many of us have already grasped this concept, however does this imply that the Christian can not and must not sin, lest they be stripped from the family of God?
2) Christians Do & Will Sin
I assume many of us already know this ^, however in case there we any reasons to doubt, consider these scriptures.
“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”
1 John 2:1 ESV
If Christians were perfect in maintaining repentance and incapable of committing sins, this verse would hold no merit.
“8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us”
1 John 1:8-10 ESV
Again, we clearly see here that John ends the argument of any man (believer of non-believer of Jesus Christ) being capable of being without sin.
3) So…What’s the Breaking Point?
There’s still an Elephant in the room.
Point #1: Christians cannot make a practice of sinning
Point #2: Christians do & will sin
Where is the middle ground?
If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.
1 John 5:16-18 ESV
The death being referred to in this passage, is that of spiritual death, in other words, separation from God and eternity in Hell (click here for a more in depth explanation of spiritual death)
Here is where things get difficult. The scripture above clearly mentions 2 clear truths.
- There is sin which leads to death (separation from God)
- There is sin which does not lead to death (separation from God)
How do we differentiate these two points?
In Acts 11, Apostle Peter speaks to his Jewish followers (who were believers of Christ) of how Christ used him to convert a gentile (a person who is not Jewish) into the Christian faith. The Jewish followers responded by saying this:
18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
Acts 11:18 ESV
Two additional truths to draw from this scripture
- God grants repentance onto humans
- In other words, Christians are Christians not because they simply chose to follow Jesus, but rather God granted them the mind, desire and will to choose/ pursue Him…I know it’s kind of trippy to think about but I’ll make a separate blog on this specifically dealing with scriptures like Matthew 16:13-17, Ephesians 1:3-6 & Romans 8:28-30
- Repentance (turning away from sin, change of mind, a transformative change of heart) leads to life
- Similar to spiritual death, the life being referred to is “spiritual life” or “eternal life” (endless relationship with God)
What do I mean by this?
Examining 1 John 5:16-18 & Acts 11:18
Therefore the sin that leads to death is the sin which prevents someone from repenting.
Ok, so let’s refocus our mind on what question we are trying to answer.
What is the breaking point of having gone too far in sinning?
Based on these scriptures, it’s when we have sinned beyond the point of repentance.
The Bible is not saying there is a specific “type of sin” that will banish us beyond the point of repentance. It’s rather saying that, after a certain point, repentance would not be achievable due to the depths of our sinfulness…
Practically speaking, your heart will grow cold towards the perceptions of God and you will no longer desire to pursue Him.
Essentially, God will “set you loose” into your own sinful desires.
This is tough concept to swallow (not understand, but to accept) , but take a look at some of these scriptures.
15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears
Hebrews 12:15-17 ESV
Esau sought repentance with tears. He sought to turn away from sin, to transform his mind and have a change of heart.
….but it was never granted to Him. He continued in a life of sin and was no longer able to repent.
Similar tones of these truths are shed in Romans 1:24-27
4) Our Attitude Towards Sin
So…what should we do? Point #3 essentially suggested that it is very possible for us to come to a point where we can no longer repent.
However, if you are reading this post and have any sense of worry/ regret/ remorseful whiles reading this post, that in itself is evidence of God’s grace of giving you a heart that desires to repent.
In other words, there is still hope for us.
Always seek repentance.
Never give up in pursuing God whether you’re an ex-murderer or a drug addict. Scriptures like John 5:14 & John 8:11 reflect this mindset where Christ encourages individuals to “sin no more” rather than saying “sin no more..unless you’ve come to the point of no repentance”.
In simpler terms, you’ll know you’ve crossed that point of “no return” when you no longer have any desire to repent (at all, similar to Esau).
The point of this post was to shed light on the fact that, yes, there is a reality in which God can “give up” individuals in the lusts of their hearts to impurity.
However, to those who are truly saved, God will continuously provide the means for His children to repent.
Soli Deo Gloria