Can a struggle with a lifelong sin keep you from heaven, if you continually confess that sin to Jesus, recognize it as sin, and seek to turn from it? That is, sins that often take time, even a lifetime, to overcome? Illegal drugs, alcoholism, gossip, pride, sexual immorality, unforgiveness, a quick temper, etc?
ESV - 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
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When I made the decision to repent of my sins and make Christ Lord of my life, there were quite a few sins that I immediately put away - they were easy. However, some other sins weren't so easy. Sin looked all the more shinier after I was reborn because Satan was trying to get me back. How long does God give a person to repent and quit their sinful ways? How long does He send warnings for? For how long will He watch as we flit away our inheritance and play with sin before He says: "ENOUGH!"? After being convicted by the Holy Spirit that my smoking was a sin, I could no longer avoid it. The only thing I could do was pray; and I prayed for years, often changing the words that accompanied my pleas for Divine deliverance. Sometimes, I only half-meant my prayers because I really enjoyed smoking, but I knew it was wrong to continue, so I asked the Holy Spirit to also give me a true repentant heart. Not "doing" anything but praying about it was very difficult. As sinful beings, we still feel the need to "do" something as though God needs our help or offering Him some administrative guidelines might speed Him up a bit. I was reminded that God works, often silently, in the background. He has His will, His timing and His reasons. My job was to keep praying, praying and praying. One night as I was getting ready to take my dog out for a walk, I wistfully looked up into the night sky and said to God: "what I need is a road to Damascus moment". At the same time, I felt the Holy Spirit tell me: "Tonight, just walk and don't talk" (as I often use that time to talk to God). We were just about done our walk roughly 30 minutes later and as I was walking up my driveway, my feet stood still; I looked around the surrounding darkness when out of nowhere there was a wind that began to swirl around my feet, up my ankles and legs, around and around my body to my head and when it reached my face, I instantly inhaled it as much as I could and for as long as I could. I don't know what lead me to do that, but my arms went out and I stood there inhaling this wind. When it stopped, I noticed there was no wind anywhere else and then it clicked. I said to God: "That was it, wasn't it? It's over! YOU have delivered me!" Something in me simply knew that I wasn't going to smoke again. I haven't felt a craving or a desire to light up again. I had my first cigarette when I was 4 years old and had been smoking the better part of 40 years. Nothing but Divine grace and His love could get me to quit. All I can say to any one is take your addiction and give it to God. I remember one night I literally took my pack of smokes and lifted it in the air and said: "Here Jesus. Please, please deliver me from this". One should never think that God doesn't love them or that they are not saved because they have an addiction. The One who hung the moon and the stars is certainly capable of handling addiction in the one that He loves! Let the Holy Spirit prepare you for your deliverance - even if it takes years. God always hears a sincere and humble prayer. There are two very powerful verses in the Bible that have helped me in my struggle with addiction: Ezekiel 18:24 - "But if a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked person does, will they live? None of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness they are guilty of and because of the sins they have committed, they will die." Galatians 5:1: "Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and don’t be entangled again with a yoke of bondage."
We all have to deal with the sin man for the rest of our lives. The problem with most people who think they are Christians...aren't. So they said a prayer once and now they think that life's problems will all magically go away. They are told that you can rebuke the enemy, confess victory and live as a king. Well, I guess the apostle Paul missed the boat then. If you are truly saved, then those things you once did will no longer have the shine they used to. When Christ saves a soul, that person is severed from the world. He leaves behind his roots and moves on. This means you must say good-bye to old friends, habits and lifestyles that put you in rebellion against God in the first place. Are those things you are living for, worth Christ dying for? Holding onto your old life will bring you down. If you want to be free of the junk that hounds you, then you MUST turn your back on it, shun it, flee from it and run away...or your sin will destroy you.
Greetings...Check out Romans 7:14-25. The struggle doesn't go away. You got closer to the Lord and you get better at deflecting the fiery darts as you go along in life...remember, Jesus is your Hope and your Salvation...Rest in Him...Matthew 11:28-30...blessings
When Jesus died on the cross, He was thinking of you! If you love the Lord, and repent of your sin you will be saved. Jesus taught us that there are two types of people in this world, Himself and the wicked. Our Lord wants you to turn from your sin to grown closer to him. Jesus has paid your debt in full. Please know the closer you become to God, He will help you fight the temptation of sin. The Holy Spirit will live within you and guide you. He wants You!
No human being is perfect and so struggling with sin is a lifelong occupation for all Christians. It is giving up the struggle with sin that keeps people out of heaven and adopting an attitude of ambivalence towards sin. Those who struggle show that they are on the narrow path, no matter how often they fall over, they are still headed in the right direction. But it is worth commenting on the other part of this question that seem to assume that struggling with drug addiction or alcoholism is sin. It is not. Neither of these are sins. There is no commandment against these things, and where there is no law there is no sin, Rom 4:15. Addictions of this kind are illnesses rather than sins, and as illnesses they need to be treated medically, they are not sins to be forgiven. If you are struggling with an addiction such as drugs or alcoholism, even struggling for a long long time, that doesn't mean that you can't be saved or that you were never really saved to begin with. It simply means that you need medical help as you would with any other illness. And don't think that if you can't conquer your addiction you can't be saved. That would be wrong. Jesus saves you on the basis of faith alone, not on the basis of you conquering your addiction. Regards Philip
I was delivered by many addictions when I called upon the Lord to save me and forgive me of my sins. I repented and turned away from many sins that lingered. As conviction from the Holy Spirit came to me through God's Word, teaching etc. And began to receive more deliverance as I repented. However, I too struggled with some areas because the enemy would come and tempt me and I failed but always confessed my sin to GOD and I received HIS forgiveness according to His word. I know as long as I live in this fleshly body I will be susceptible to fail but I also know I can resist the devil and he must flee according to the Word of God... Thus, we all must live by faith.
This phrase in the quoted verse “walk by the Spirit” is the key to an overcoming life in the kingdom of God. When we do the “good works” that the Holy Spirit is leading us into, that leaves no time for us to indulge the desires of our flesh and continue in sin. Whenever we confess our sins, repent in our hearts (even while we may continue to struggle with an addiction) and draw closer to God - in bible study, prayer, worship, Christian service, and sharing the gospel (including our testimony) - the power of the Holy Spirit grows in our life. At the moment of God’s choosing that power will set us free from the sins that plague us. If we spend all our time and energy trying to stop the sins that plague us, what reward will we receive when we meet Jesus face to face? However, if we spend all our time and energy doing the good works that our Father in heaven has prepared in advance for us, we will receive many and great rewards from Jesus that will last forever in his eternal kingdom. Why the difference? Because Jesus has already dealt with our sin. He washed it all away with his blood and it is gone forever. In spite of our present sinfulness, we are already clothed with Christ, so when our Father looks at us, he sees the righteousness of Jesus. So let’s focus on doing the good that needs doing, and we won’t waste another moment on the bad stuff.
Romans 3:23 All have sinned and come short of the glory of God, Romans 3:10 There is none righteous, no not one. First John 1:8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive our selves. When Christ died He paid for the sins of the whole world. First John 2:2 And He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world. Those of us who have put our faith in Christ for the free gift of eternal life are saved. Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace ye are saved, (what Jesus did for us) through faith, (the second we believe the gospel, First Corinthians 15:3-4) and that not of yourselves, (we did nothing to deserve it) IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD, NOT OF WORKS, (faith alone apart from works) lest any man should boast. You can not boast in a free gift that we did nothing for. Romans 4:5-8. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him who justifieth the UNGODLY, his faith is counted as righteousness. The GIFT of God is eternal life, and it is by faith alone in Jesus finished work on the cross alone apart from any works. The second we believe it we are given eternal life. John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, HATH EVERLASTING LIFE, and shall not come into judgement, but is passed from death unto life. John 3:18 Once you believe on Jesus and accept His free gift of eternal life, you can no longer be condemned to hell. But now as a child of God, John 1:12, you can earn rewards in heaven by how you live and what you do. First Corinthians 3:11-21. And if we go off and live in sins God hates He will chasten us as a good father chastens his children. But we can never lose the free gift of eternal life because it is eternal. We will never be perfect in this life because when we receive the free gift of eternal life, only our soul/spirit was saved. Our flesh, or our old nature we still have. It was not changed. We have a new nature that wants to do right, but we still have our old sinful nature that still loves sin. We all struggle with sin. Any one who says they have no sin is calling God a liar. First John 1:10, and is only a self righteous hypocrite. Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds. We have His righteousness, and our sin debt is paid in full. Past, present, and future sins we have not even thought of yet. Romans 4:5-8 Even if we never believe it again. Second Timothy 2:13 If we believe not, after we have once believed, He abideth faithful, He can not deny Himself. Ephesians 1:13-14 The promise of eternal life. The seal of the Holy Spirit who is our righteousness before God. Jesus died for sinners. We are all sinners. But the GIFT of God is ETERNAL LIFE. Not a reward for good behavior. Romans 11:29 For the gifts, eternal life, are without repentance. Irrevocable, Can not be changed back. Once you accept His free gift of eternal life, you are saved forever, because it is eternal life.
This original post represents a thought that I see and hear all the time but it understands the life of faith completely backwards. It's precision along with the qualifiers makes me think it was written by a pastor who has seen the question a lot too, not a person who is really struggling with this. But here is the answer anyways: Counterintuitively, the truth of the matter is that our struggle with sin is indicative of our salvation. The only people who don't struggle with sin are those who aren't saved, they are fine with the sin in their lives. The appropriate response to our struggle with sin is celebration because it's a marker of the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. If you want to read more about this read the puritan classic Mortification of Sin by John Owen.
Prior to February 2, 1974 I was your typical unsaved man. I smoked Marlboro cigarettes, drank Budweiser beer, lusted after what nearly all men lust after, was proud, arrogant, boasted about my accomplishments, was a show off, stole whatever wasn't welded down. You get the picture. Then I received Jesus Christ! I thought to myself, "Great, all my sins are gone, and I will live a sinless life from now on because Christians don't sin!" That lasted about two hours before I discovered that I am still a sinner! In the past forty-five years I've made some interesting discoveries about sin and God's will. These are my observations and this is how God dealt with me. Your experiences may be considerably different. The first thing I discovered is that God is sovereign. Ecclesiastes 3:1 "For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven." So provided the season is right according to God's plan for your life, and the time is right, God will answer your prayer according to His will, which may or may not be your will. Psalm 139 has got to be the ultimate Psalm on God's absolute sovereignty over His children. Verse 16: "You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." God already has your entire life planned before conception and according to Ephesians 1:4: "Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes." We like to think that we are "the master of my fate, the captain of my soul." (From the poem Invictus by William Henley.) We are not, God is. Proverbs 16:9 "We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps." Our plan is "I am going to stop this particular sin and I will do it starting right now." You will, provided that God has said this is when you will stop it, otherwise you will continue. About now you are thinking you are wrong! God always wants us to stop sinning as soon as possible. Now that makes sense doesn't it, and of course God always makes sense, right? Uh no. He makes sense (to us) on occasion but lots and lots of times He doesn't. Why? Isaiah 55:8: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD." So where do you go from here? Continue to pray, continue to ask for forgiveness and continue to trust in Him and His ways because His ways are best 100% of the time. He cannot make a mistake.
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