A lot of people feel they have done too much evil to ever approach God. They believe they are a lost cause, and could never clean themselves up enough to become a Christian. They’re right. They could never clean up enough to come to God on your own merit. None of us can. We are all sinners. Psalm 51:1-5 tells us we are all born in sin. Even the best of us look like filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6). The point is that we come to Him as we are, and He will clean us up, no matter what we have done.
Some have struggled with sin, and just can’t seem to get free of it. Across the country, Christians have asked me, “Bill, why do I continue falling back into sin?” They say that they go to church. I ask them, “Do you read the Bible daily?” Not one has ever said yes.
Psalm 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” The more of God’s word you put into your heart, the less you will sin.
The question might actually be, “Were you saved in the first place?” Many people have simply said a prayer but never truly repented. Repentance means to be sorry for our sins as 2 Corinthians 7:10 says to turn from them and come to God.
1 John 2:3-4, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
That is straight talk and crystal clear. If you are not obeying Him, you don’t know Him. Many are struggling with sin because they are trying to resist sin without actually being saved. They have the cart before the horse. Once a person is truly born again, the Holy Spirit within the Christian gives him the grace and the ability to resist sin.
Those who were truly born again but have fallen away or backslidden, can return to the Lord and be forgiven, just like Jesus taught in the parable of the Prodigal son. If you are experiencing guilt and conviction for living in sin, then that is a good sign you are saved. The Holy Spirit and your heart are condemning you because you are violating God’s Word. To continue in a sinful lifestyle only sets you on a slippery slope to become deceived, and to harden your heart against God. This is why Paul the Apostle warned us so much about the dangers of sin.
Our God is so forgiving, that if a person truly humbles himself and repents, even though they have done evil and even been wicked, God will show mercy to them.
We see many stories in the Old Testament where God was long-suffering and merciful to the wicked evil kings. The story of Manasseh is an amazing example of this.
In 2 Kings 21:1-18, 2 Chronicles 32:33 and 2 Chronicles 33:1-20, it tells the story. He was one of the most wicked people to ever live. He set up altars to the false god Baal, and worshiped all the starry hosts of heaven. He even carved an image of the false god Asherah and set it up in the very temple of David and Solomon in God’s temple, which was an extreme desecration.He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced divination, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritualists. He shed so much innocent blood that the Bible says, “it filled Jerusalem from end to end”. He did many detestable things and murdered many innocent people. He was pronounced by God to be more wicked than the Amorites, who were some of the worst. God had warned him to change, but he ignored His warning. God then sent the Assyrians to capture him. They placed a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and carried him off to Babylon, and placed him in exile. While in exile, he sought the Lord earnestly and the Lord forgave him and brought him back to his kingdom. Manasseh finally realized that the God alone is Lord.
Wow! Who would think God could forgive him and yet He did.
If you are a new believer, you might still be struggling with sin. Why? Your spirit was made alive to God when you came to Christ, but your soul (your mind, will, and emotions) still needs to be transformed or renewed by learning and receiving God’s Word on a regularly basis. This comes through reading the Bible, praying, and going to Church.
If you are still dealing with sin, this does not mean that you are going to hell. You are just a spiritual baby in Christ and need time to mature. God is merciful and gives each of us time to grow. This is no excuse for sinning. There are still consequences for your actions and you will be accountable for them. Also, there is an established law of sowing and reaping. You will reap the consequences. So renounce the sin as quickly as possible.
For the person who refuses to repent, this next verse explains the reason why:
John 3:19-20 states, “…the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”
Many don’t want to be accountable to God for their actions, and instead they hold on to their sin.
Jesus said in John 8:21 “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.”
Jesus just told us that if we die in our sins, we cannot enter heaven. Repentance is a requirement for salvation, along with receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
You are either in or you are out. There is no in-between believing, no halfway, and no partial commitment to Jesus Christ that qualifies you for heaven.
Jesus said in Luke 11:23, “He that is not with Me is against Me.”
Make up your mind while you still have breath.
Copyright 2007-2023 Soul Choice Ministries – All Rights Reserved
By Bill Wiese, author of 23 Minutes in Hell