I Keep Sinning: So Am I Still A Christian?

love-inpursuit asked a question:

What if I keep sinning? Am I not really saved? I can’t pinpoint the fear of losing my salvation.

Hey there my friend: So every once in a while, I get this question from fellow Christians and I see two very different motives.

1) I’m really worried that I’m not doing enough to overcome my sinful selfish inclinations, or

2) I want to know how much I can keep sinning without pissing off God.

Since most people are not binary creatures who fit in a one-dimensional box, your motives might be a mix of both.  But if you’re more #2 (I want to get away with stuff) than #1 (I want to overcome), then it’ll be very hard for anyone to reach you.  It’s like the addict who keeps saying “I can handle a little bit, I know my limits, just once, only one more time.”  If you’re already convinced in your mind that you can do what you want, then I can’t help.  I can only graciously ask you to gut-check your motives.

But since you even asked me this question, I can see that it bothers you that it doesn’t bother you, and that shows you actually care.  This means you’re in the right place, right now, making a step forward.

You see, every spurt and blip of righteousness in your life is a God-given miracle.  Our default mode is sin.  We’re all naturally selfish in the wild.  Left to ourselves, we’d devour each other in Darwinian cycles of the walking dead.

I meet Christians who freak out when they slip up over a melt-down or flip-out or back-slide or relapse, but if you even care that you messed up, that’s a miracle.  An act of Christ-like righteousness is like giving birth.  It’s amazing, it’s supernatural, and it’s worth celebrating.

I don’t mean to pamper you here.  I’m also not talking about “worldly sorrow,” where you’re just sorry you got caught or you’re sorry about the consequences.  I mean: there’s a certain kind of grief when you’re not becoming the person that God has made you to be and saved you for, and if even a tiny seed of that grief is pulsing in your heart, you’re growing in the right direction.

I might get blasted for this by smarter theologians and pastors, but I’m believing more and more that salvation is not some overnight epiphany or an altar call (which it can be those things), but more of a slow-burning awakening to who God is and what He’s done.  It’s to recognize that God has been pursuing us, wooing us, and beckoning us ever closer to His grace.  It’s to be rescued from wandering darkness with our eyes stubbornly shut into a glorious heavenly light with our eyes wide open.

This means that salvation can be both a decision and a stretching into faith.  There’s no Christian alive who knows everything there is to know about Christianity, so how can we expect “salvation” to explode a person into super-rock-star-faith after one Sunday?  I absolutely believe that theology is crucial and necessary, but that’s actually more reason for our faith to be a journey, because there’s so much to discover.

When someone asks me, “When did you get saved?” — I always answer, “There wasn’t any single moment it happened.  It was a lot of moments, over three or four years, and one morning I woke up and I realized that I loved Jesus.”  I’m not saying this happens to all of us, but I’m saying that our Western culture relies too much on one-time decisions and checklists, when faith is way messier and more organic than that.

At this point, I’m always asked, “But what if I really can’t stop sinning?  What if I keep going back to that old-life / boyfriend / girlfriend / porn  / addiction?”  And I think that’s not exactly the right question.

Let’s imagine for a moment that your current struggle was totally over.  Your addiction, your destructive habits, your old ways: that they were all gone.

What would you do then?

I have to ask, What if your sin-issue was no longer an issue?  Now what?

Most Christians are so busy overcoming all the time that they’re crawling up to the edge of a pit but forgetting to look up at the light.  We forget there’s a mission beyond our struggle.  Recovery and repentance are awesome, but so is a fruitful life found in Christ.  We’re not merely forgiven of sin, but we’re forgiven for a greater purpose in Him.

Both of these things happen in conjunction: we turn away from our internal afflictions while pursuing our Kingdom-purpose.  The Christian life is both personal repentance and outward restoration.  We become both radically pure and radically generous by the radical grace of God.

I can almost guarantee that if you move your meter towards God’s mission in your life, then the volume of sin will get turned down and become less attractive to you.  That’s why Galatians 5:16 says, “Step by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of your flesh.”

Maybe you never heard this in church before, but I know that when I get one-on-one with broken hurting people and serve them and love on my church and step out of my safety, then I’m much less likely to relapse into my old life, because the joy and freedom that Jesus has given me is too good to refuse.  I’ve tasted the goodness of God, and I don’t want to go back.

— J.S.

18 thoughts on “I Keep Sinning: So Am I Still A Christian?

  1. 1 Jn 3:9 No one born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him or her; and he or she cannot sin, because he or she is born of God.

    In the world today there are many people that claim to be Christian that say, “a Christian is a sinner saved by grace”, but the Bible does not agree with that teaching.

    The Bible makes it very clear that those who are born of the Spirit (Christian) are a new creation, before a person is born of the Spirit, the person is a sinner, but after a person is born of the Spirit, the person is no longer a sinner.

    2 Cor. 5:17 – Therefore if anyone is in the Messiah [born of the Spirit] he or she is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh {and} new has come!

    A “sinner” is someone that practices sin, the Bible makes it very clear that a Christian does not practice sin, therefore a Christian is not a sinner.

    I used to go to a church where the Pastor would say, in regards to the church, “everybody has a favorite sin”, the Bible does not agree with that statement, therefore that Pastor was not speaking the truth, he was giving an excuse for sin in the church, the New Testament definitely does not agree with that.

    1 Cor. 5:9 – I wrote you in my [previous] letter not to associate [closely and habitually] with unchaste (impure) people

    1 Cor. 5:10 – Not [meaning of course that you must] altogether shun the immoral people of this world, or the greedy graspers and cheats {and} thieves or idolaters, since otherwise you would need to get out of the world {and} human society altogether!

    1 Cor. 5:11 – But now I write to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of [Christian] if he or she is known to be guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater [whose soul is devoted to any object that usurps the place of God], or is a person with a foul tongue [railing, abusing, reviling, slandering], or is a drunkard or a swindler {or} a robber. [No] you must not so much as eat with such a person.

    1 Cor. 5:12 – What [business] of mine is it {and} what right have I to judge outsiders [those who are not Christian]? Is it not those inside [the church] upon whom you are to pass disciplinary judgment [passing censuring sentence on them as the facts require]?

    1 Cor. 5:13 – God alone sits in judgment on those who are outside [who are not Christian]. Drive out that wicked one [the one that claims to be Christian that practices sin] from among you [expel him or her from your church].

    A Christian is a person that believes Yeshua is the Messiah that no longer practices sin, that is the biblical definition of a Christian, if someone claims to be Christian and does not stop practicing sin before he or she dies, the person is not Christian.

    1 John 5:1 – Whoever believes that Yeshua is the Messiah is born of God [born of the Spirit].

    1 John 3:9 – No one born of God practices sin, because His seed [the Holy Spirit] abides in him or her; and he or she cannot sin, because he or she is born of God [born of the Spirit].

    1 John 5:18 – We know [absolutely] that anyone born of God [born of the Spirit] does not [deliberately and knowingly] practice committing sin, but the One Who was begotten of God carefully watches over {and} protects him [Christ’s divine presence within him preserves him against the evil], and the wicked one does not lay hold (get a grip) on him {or} touch [him].

    In the world today there are many people that claim to be Christian that say, “a Christian is a sinner saved by grace”, but the Bible does not agree with that teaching.

    A Christian is someone that is led by the Holy Spirit, no one led by the Holy Spirit will ever say, “A Christian is a sinner saved by grace”, because that does not agree with what the Bible says. No one led by the Holy Spirit will ever say something that does not agree with what the Bible says.

    If someone claims to be Christian and says something that does not agree with the truth that is written in the Bible, the person is not led by the Holy Spirit, the person is led by the flesh, those who are led by the flesh are not the children of God.

    Romans 8:13 – For if you live according to [the dictates of] the flesh, you will surely die. But if through the power of the [Holy] Spirit you are [habitually] putting to death (making extinct, deadening) the [evil] deeds prompted by the body, you shall [really and genuinely] live forever.

    Romans 8:14 – For all who are led by the Spirit of God [the Holy Spirit] are the children of God.

    In the world today there are many people that claim to be Christian that say it is ok for there to be different denominations in the church, that it is ok for a Christian to believe something different than what another Christian believes, but the Bible does not support different denominations in the church, 1 Corinthians 1:10 says that the church is supposed to believe the same thing.

    1 Cor. 1:10 – But I urge {and} entreat you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, that all of you be in perfect harmony {and} full agreement in what you say, and that there be no dissensions {or} factions {or} divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in your common understanding and in your opinions {and} judgments.


    1. What do you say about James 3:2 “We all stumble in many ways…” aren’t we all being perfected? How do you explain Phillippians 1:6 “I am confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” and how do you explain “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” – James 5:16 I agree that we need to be living in a life of repentance and not in a life of sin which is brought about by the power of the Holy Spirit. But I think at the same time saints still stumble. We are saints who occasionally sin we are still being changed, being sanctified as the scripture indicates but we need to be growing. And so on this side of heaven there will still be stumbles until the day it is all gone. But when we do sin we are going against our identity but God’s grace is perfecting us.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 1 Jn 3:9 & 1 Jn 5:18 says no one born of God practices sin, that means that a person born of the Spirit will not live in sin

        1 Cor 5:9-13 says anyone that claims to be Christian that practices sin, is to be removed from the church

        God makes everyone do what they do, Proverbs 16:9 makes that very clear.

        Prov 16:9 The mind of man plans his way, But God determines his steps


          1. Sorry to destroy your theological based preach but in real life, everything isn’t instantaneous, and about the favorite sin thing, I think it is true. Everyone has a different way to sin, and whether we chose sin or chose God is out of free will. Plus, in real life, sin is harder to fight than just instantaneous bites of Heaven. But if you have faith and a will to become more like Jesus, I believe you will not only lead a new life of holiness but look back and discover your sin. We are unworthy of His grace and love and sin will make us notice how much we are flawed and how much God loves us. I think you may have misinterpreted the passage or you are theorising.


      2. In your last example, Paul requests of the church at Corinth that there would BE no dissensions, factions, & divisions, and that they BE united. The language alone tells us that these conditions did not exist; thus, your conclusion is that they were not saved, while in all of Paul’s letters to churches he never once makes that assertion.

        I think you are confusing sinning, because we’re human, with a lifestyle of sin, which is rebellion. They are two different things. Nowhere does Paul assert that he was sinless post conversion.


        1. The church in Corinth had people that claimed to be Christian that were practicing sin, Paul said that those who practice sin are to be removed from the church, only those who believe Yeshua is the Messiah that no longer practice sin are born of God, the New Testament makes that very clear & the New Testament makes it very clear that those who are believe Yeshua is the Messiah that no longer practice sin are not to associate with anyone that claims to be Christian that practices sin.

          Only those who believe Yeshua is the Messiah that stop practicing sin are born of the Spirit (born of God), that is the Biblical definition of a Christian.


          1. Thank you. You have just made my point for me, as “practicing sin” is as different from “sinning because I’m human”, as “hammering my toe with a hammer” is to “oops, I dropped a hammer on my toe”.


          2. At this point no one should be listening to you. From your blog, I see that you do not believe Christ is God. You are misleading people. And your comments relating to sin are not biblical and heaps heavy burdens on people. That’s that. I am not responding at this point though.


          3. Since you’re all about using scripture to back up your theological standpoint, I want to share this with you. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” -1 John 1:8

            We are at battle with the flesh every single moment of our lives, but once we mess up, do you believe that God says ,”I regret forgiving you.” Does He? Did God do that with His nation of Israel throughout the entire OT? No, He kept pursuing His sinful nation, who kept honoring mere images and statues as their god, and STILL till this day, God pursues the wicked, the sinners, the adulterers, the murderers, and the unrighteous; for Jesus said to the Pharisees, “I have come not for the righteous, but for the sinners.” Now, why do you think those who were born again, were downright sinners because they DID NOT know God. And when you ARE a new creation, love sparks like a firework over and over again, because we fall then get up over and over again. Do you think a father tells his infant child who walks for the first time then falls, “This kid is hopeless”?? No, the father says “GET UP! KEEP WALKING!” I suggest you read Romans 8 and meditate on Paul’s words. Nowhere in the word of God, Paul says, “I am not a sinner anymore.” No, but he says, “What a wretched man I am!” because he knew what it was to struggle against the thorn of his flesh. He knew what it was like to live for Christ, that it was a never-ending battle in this life for the life to come, which is eternal. Now, before you go back to your scripture copy-pasting, you should actually meditate both on God’s grace and God’s wrath, and link those two together, because when you do, you’ll realize He is the pure and perfect embodiment of a loving Dad teaching his children the right way to live. Prayers out to you brother.


  2. Peter sinned (prejudice) and when Paul reprimanded him he repented – they were clearly friends. King David, “a man after God’s own heart” sinned (adultery and murder), but when the Prophet Nathan confronted him he repented. I guess my point is, “Why focus on the sin instead of the Saviour?” If I sin and refuse to confess/repent like the great people of faith, then I am practicing sin and not practicing faith.
    And anyone who is so right that they cannot engage with other believers with the possibility of correction has proven their “argument” is based on opinion, systematic theology, religious prejudice or worse.
    Follow Christ, and whether you fall, fail or fly it is the following that counts. “All our righteousness is like filthy rags” suggests nothing I do is good enough, so the answer to sin is Jesus, nothing else!
    Thanks JS for dealing carefully with the nuances the question suggests.


  3. Ephesians 2 8-9 says it best Im not going to waste time copy pasting you can look it up its always better to read for your self. But being sinless takes work and yes you should walk in the light but no one is Good but God. Furthermore the thief on the Cross acknowledged Jesus Christ as the Messiah, and BELIEVED on Jesus Christ. And what did Jesus say. “Too late you don’t have time to live sinless enough to earn my Grace. ” no Grace is a gift from God , we dont make our friends work or earn a gift a gift is a gift otherwise its a business transaction and your earning that gift. Your works are as filthy rags to the lord. So you kind of cheapen what Christ did for us by trying to rely in your good works.


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