Monthly Q&A: February 2020
Q: If there is habitual sin in my life, does it mean I’m not saved?
A: Habitual sin certainly appears to be and is inconsistent with the newness of life that Christians are to walk in. However, that doesn’t mean that Christians, at times, do not walk in prolonged periods of sin. First off I do not you to think that anything included in this answer is intended to belittle the sin of an extramarital affair. It is indeed a sinful act and one that is very much inconsistent with a Christian lifestyle. However, the fact that you have confessed that sin and sought God’s forgiveness is to be commended. That being said, believers can fall into awful sins for periods of time. The best example that comes to mind is that of King David. He committed both the sins of pre-meditated murder and adultery (2 Kings 11). Yet, he was a believer. It took him a while to confess but when he prayed to God for forgiveness he asked the Lord to restore the joy of salvation. Therefore we see that David still saw himself as a believer and a child of God despite these wicked sins.
The Westminster Confession of Faith deals very closely with this very subject in Chapter
XVII when it says,
“Nevertheless, they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency[sic] of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins; and, for a time, continue therein: whereby they incur God’s displeasure, and grieve His Holy Spirit, come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts, have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves.”**
So why do Christians fall into habitual sin? We do so because we neglect to study God’s
Word, to pray, and we neglect to delight in God as completely sufficient, which are all “means of our preservation”. We shirk our God given responsibilities (as in David’s
case) and we follow after idols, whether sex or money or anything other than God.
Habitual sin is very serious and is completely inconsistent with the Christian life, which is what leads many to argue that Christians cannot be involved in habitual sin. It is very true that habitual sin is, more often than not, an indication of someone not having ever received salvation, which is why many sources will argue that point. However, when someone genuinely turns from their sin and is granted repentance by God we rejoice in the fact that the individual is saved at that moment. In other words, the point of salvation is not so much the issue as it is the lifestyle that individual should be living as outward proof of that inward change.
So, Christians can and do become involved in sin that may appear to be habitual. However, true Christians cannot and will not stay in that sin; to continue unrepentantly in a sin is a very good indicator of just the opposite, or at the very least an exceptionally
hard heart that will be disciplined in the mercy of God.
**”Of the Perseverance of the Saints”, Reformed.org, http://www.reformed.org/documents/wcf_with_proofs?
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