This is an intriguing question. There are some who would say that if you are truly saved you won’t sin. To me, this is ridiculous. Even the Apostle Paul called himself the greatest of all sinners. If Paul’s not saved, then none of us are saved. So obviously, Believers sin. So then there are those who seemingly sin indiscriminately. They sin all the time and act like they don’t care. This is mind-boggling. How can those who claim to know God, purposefully do what they know He hates? They wouldn’t. But this still doesn’t answer the basic question of, if Jesus saved you from your sin, why do you still sin? Well there’s 3 terrible options and 1 less terrible option.
Terrible Option #1 – You are not really saved.
If you sin and it doesn’t really bother you, then that is a problem. Those who are truly Believers are disgusted by their sin. Maybe you were disgusted at first, but over time you don’t feel anything anymore. I call this a spiritual 3rd degree burn. You’ve burned off all the spiritual nerve endings and you are now numb in this area. Yet, the more likely reason you are not broken over your sin at all is that you simply haven’t truly trusted Jesus to be your Savior. Now Jesus doesn’t want us to be unsure about our Salvation. He absolutely wants us to be confident in our faith. The whole book of 1 John was written so that you might know that you have eternal life. John lays it out pretty simply in his first epistle. If you believe in Jesus you have eternal life, if you don’t believe in Jesus you won’t have eternal life. It’s that simple. So how do you know if you “believe” or not? Well I can’t tell you that. You have to know that yourself. It’s obviously very difficult to relinquish control of your life to another person, but it’s certainly not complicated. Believing in Jesus can be difficult, but it’s not complicated. What I usually find is that people that are worried that they are not saved, generally are. To me, being concerned about your salvation is somewhat of an evidence of it. Unsaved people just wouldn’t think about it. Nevertheless, if you are continually sinning you absolutely should question your salvation. Not because Jesus would ever take away your salvation, but God bringing your sin to your attention might be His way to making sure you have truly trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior. If you have, awesome… start acting like it. If you haven’t, awesome… it’s not too late yet.
Terrible Option #2 – You are a really immature Believer.
When I say “immature” I mean that you either completely misunderstand God or misunderstand sin. There is no excuse to misunderstanding God. It means that you have taken little to no time to study His Word. He has given us more than we could ever consume in regards to His desires, His heart, and His character. To not know God is at minimum laziness and worst negligence. The other way a person can be “immature” is by completely misunderstanding the nature of sin. Although this too can occur by avoiding God’s Word, it most usually happens by being too cozy with the World. When I say “World,” I’m referring to anything that is not of Christ. When we are entrenched in the world’s philosophies, and spending time with worldly people, and watching sin effortless occur all around us, sin can lose its taboo. When we seek advice from ungodly counsel and spend less and less time around godly people and godly things than we are sure to lose focus on how horrible sin truly is. We cannot be both friends with the world and with God. It’s impossible. They pull us in two different directions. Worse yet, “friendship” with the world causes us to completely forget what sin is. It decreases sin’s offense and weakens its horror and it normalizes its catastrophe. If you think this is you, pop open the book of 1 John now followed by Ephesians tomorrow night. Go to the godliest person you know and look them right in the eye and say, “Disciple me.” Don’t be scared. If they’re really godly they’ll be excited that you came and asked them before they awkwardly asked you.
Terrible Option #3 – You are living a schizophrenic Christian life.
One of the most interesting stories I’ve ever heard was that of Joe Pistone. His story was immortalized in the Johnny Depp movie Donnie Brasco. Joe was an FBI agent who went undercover to infiltrate the Mafia. He lived as an impostor within the mob for over 6 years. Early on, his information drops included names and places of everyone, whether they were paid off at the docks or were laundering money at a restaurant. But soon, the info came less and less often with fewer and fewer names. Finally, the FBI was ready to make arrests. They grabbed everybody. Joe Pistone was then asked to help sort-out who was who. Person after person that they brought to Pistone’s interrogation rooms were nothing but low level thieves, some who had committed retaliation murders, a few gun runners, but none of the heavy hitters. Pistone’s fellow agents had to pull him aside. He didn’t even realize that he just said that thieves, murderers, and gun traffickers weren’t “heavy hitters.” Since that time, there have been numerous case studies that have concluded that an agent can simply not be undercover that long without serious consequences. The same is true for Christians. If you try to live two different lives, one where you go to church on Sundays and Wednesdays and praise Jesus like you’re on the front row of a Hillsong concert and another where you live a life like an episode of Secret Life of the American Teenager (or for those over 30 years old, 90210.) This type of life cannot be sustained. You will lose all concepts of right and wrong and have absolutely no idea where Jesus is. When sin is done so casually, it will not stay confined to wherever and whenever the Believer is trying to contain it. Sin is a virus and it will wreck your entire life. If you are serious about changing your schizophrenic lifestyle than you will immediately get someone to keep you accountable, and you will start systematically ending relationships you have built in the world. Everyone asks, how can they be a light to the world if they cut everyone out? For the short term, you need to build a network of Christians that will hold you up. Invite those in your life to join this new fellowship, but if they don’t, you will go back for them when you are ready to be a light in the world and not just part of its darkness.
The Less-Terrible Option
If you are noticing that you are just continually sinning, the one good thing I can say is that at least you’re noticing it. When Jesus saved you He didn’t take away your ability to sin. (I’m about to use a double negative on purpose.) He actually took away your ability to not not sin. Before Christ came into your life, your only option was to sin. Now with Jesus, you can finally choose to do what’s right and follow Christ. You can either go back to the dark choices that Jesus rescued you from or step into the light and follow Jesus a moment at a time. Most often when Christians sin it’s because they put themselves in a difficult circumstance. A Believer who struggles with pornography shouldn’t be on his computer late at night. A Christian who struggles with gossip cannot sit down at the lunch table with her school’s version of Regina George. Our flesh will continually tempt us until the day that God gives a completely new body in heaven. Until that day comes, pray multiple times a day that God protects you from such temptations, but remember that God is not in the business of tempting us. That’s what the World does, and it’s really good at it. God’s desire is for us to be holy as He is Holy. Stay close to Jesus. Be aware of your particular pitfalls. Run anytime sin appears. Be quick to confess your sins, and He will be faithful and just to forgive you your sins.