Can a Christian Die in Sin and Still Go to Heaven?

Question from a Site Viewer

How Important Is It to Ask God for Forgiveness?

If you are a Christian living for God and you get mad and say a curse word then die a few seconds later, say in a car wreck, do you believe that that person will still go to heaven? In other wordsd, can a Christian die in sin and still get to heaven? A friend of mine is a Christian and thinks you can get mad and curse and still go to heaven without asking God’s forgiveness.

Tim’s Answer

Thank you for your question concerning sin and salvation. Scripture is very clear that we are saved by faith and not by works that we do (Romans 4:1-5; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5). Jesus said that the one who believes in Him has eternal life (John 3:16; 5:24). Thus, we are not saved because we do not get angry or because we do not curse. We are saved solely by trusting in Jesus Christ. This is important to understand. If we had to confess all of our sins in order to get to heaven, none of us would have a chance. But salvation is not based on our confession of sins, but on our confession of Christ (Romans 10:9-10).

And if a person is saved and they sin and then die without asking for forgiveness, they will go to be with God. So yes, a Christian can die in sin (as long as they are truly saved) and still go to heaven. As Paul says in Philippians 3:8-9, we do not stand in our righteousness, but in the righteousness of Christ. If we are in Christ, there is no condemnation for us (Romans 8:1). We belong to Him. Nothing can separate us from Him.

But, you might ask, if the Christian life is such, then what keeps a person from coming to Christ and then using the liberty that person gains to go out and sin all they want? Paul answers this question as well in Romans 6. If we have been freed from sin by coming to Christ, why would we want to be entangled back into that yoke of bondage? When we sin, sin takes hold of us and destroys the sweetness of our relationship with Christ and brings us back into bondage. Additionally, if we are truly Christians, God will discipline us (Hebrews 12:4-13).

So, in answer to your question, we are not saved by our works and we are not kept saved by our works. We are saved by faith and God has sent His Spirit to seal us until the day of redemption (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 4:30). What we do, or do not do, does not affect salvation. Our salvation comes from trusting in Jesus.

But there is so much more to life than simply being saved and getting to heaven. Salvation is only the beginning. The point of the Christian life is to transform us into the image of Jesus Christ, so that we will represent God well on this earth. Thus, we are exhorted to put off our old man and put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Christ (Colossians 3:9-10).

I do not know your friend. I do not know if your friend is simply trying to establish that salvation is based solely on faith and not works, or whether your friend actually thinks that it would be okay to be angry and curse and that such is no big deal. It is a big deal for a Christian to be angry and curse! How can we who have died to sin live any longer in sin? (Romans 6:2) If a person thinks they can have a belief in Christ that provides a fire insurance from hell but does not transform the way they live on this earth, they are mistaken. John writes a little epistle so that we may know that we have eternal life. And in that little epistle he tells us that the one who goes on hating his brother is a murderer and we know that no murderer has eternal life in him (1 John 3:15). Our true beliefs ultimately determine how we live. The one who says they believe in Christ but have no desire to honor Christ are demonstrating with their actions that their words are false. They do not believe in Christ.

Let me give you an example. Suppose I am driving down a road for the sole purpose of going home. The road ends at a T-intersection. I then must make a choice. If you tell me that the right-hand turn will take me home and I turn left, what does that tell you? Does it not tell you that I do not believe you? But, if I turn right, then you know that I put my faith in you; I trusted you. Our true beliefs determine how we live.

So it is with trusting Christ. I cannot say I trust Christ and then go out and do the opposite of what He says. What kind of trust is that? To trust in someone means that you believe that what they tell you is true and if you believe they are true, your life will reflect that belief.

This is not to say that Christians are perfect, or even that Christians will not sin. John also addresses this issue in his little epistle (see 1 John 1:6-2:2). None of us who seek to follow Christ are sinless. But each of us should be able to look back at our lives and see that our minds and actions reflect more holiness and less sin now than they did before we came to Christ, and that the trajectory of our lives is towards being conformed into the image of Christ.

And as we seek to follow Christ, if we should sin and die before we confess, we have confidence that our salvation is not based on our righteousness, but on His righteousness. This is such a tremendous blessing that we should praise Him for this great gift. We have no fear of condemnation (Romans 8:1). He has already brought us into the kingdom of His dear Son (Colossians 1:13-14).

I hope this helps. May the Lord Jesus and His Spirit guide you into the incredible freedom given to us in Jesus Christ; not a freedom to sin, but a freedom from fear of condemnation and a freedom to serve one another in love.

a pilgrim

Tim's signature on his article -- Can a Christian Die in Sin and Still Be Saved?

42 thoughts on “Can a Christian Die in Sin and Still Go to Heaven?

  1. busala

    I find your treatise quite confusing, you mean if I am a believer in Jesus, and I decide to sleep with my neighbours wife, and die in the process I can still go to heaven? this sounds like the old trick of the devil; “HAS GOD SAID …?” in Gen 3. Jesus told the Woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more, you mean if she sins she will still go to heaven? Well I was taught in the Bible that the wages of sin(whether by christians/non christians) is death. The prodigal son had to come back(repent) before he was forgiven and accepted back to the Kingdom of God. Mathew 15 says Jesus is the vine and His believers are the branches. If any branch fails to produce fruits , they cut off and burned in hell(that is even though you were part of Himb4

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    1. Godsaves

      Amen repentance is the key to being save and forgiven and the bible says

      Matthew 7:21 says
      Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
      Galatians 5:19-21(NIV)
      19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

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      1. Robert Hill

        The sinning Christian is an example of the Calvinistic teaching of eternal security. You can murder, rape, rob and pillage, die in your sin and still go to heaven. This is what Charles Stanley and all the other Calvinists teach. Check these news stories out, you will see what the Calvinist believe. A killer can go to heaven.
        http://www.today.com/id/32350576/ns/today-today_news/t/no-prayers-gunman-his-former-church/#.WA1zuoWcFi4
        http://www.nbcnews.com/id/32350576/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/no-prayers-gunman-his-former-church/#.WA10TIWcFi5
        http://triblive.com/x/valleynewsdispatch/s_637429.html
        Charles Stanley wrote “A christian who kills himself will still go to heaven; however, he will lose eternal rewards because of his action.”

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    2. Elena Nash

      You are Saved immediately by Faith/Belief that all the things Christ did on the Cross, He did for you. 1st Corinthians 15:1-4.
      At the same time you are sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise until the day of your Redemption Ephesians 1:12-14.♡

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      1. Mike

        Elena Nash,
        I am so confused with all this contradiction Please will/can you tell me If a Christian who believes in Jesus and that he died for us BUT that Christian still carries hate in his heart of his fellow man (ie, ISIS) also still endulges in venial sin (eg, watches porn) “Will he or will he not” still go to heaven? I ask this from not a minister of God but as a fellow Christian, I hope you will offer a straight answer? Thank you.

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  2. busala

    My answer to the question”can a christian die in sin and still go to heaven?” is capital NO!. Heaven is for those that endured to a faithful life in Jesus Christ to the end. The difference between a Christian and a non Christian is the offer of forgiveness when we sin. The non believer has not accepted Christ as His intercessor, so his sins remains with him. I think its our duty to show sin as it is REPULSIVE to the Lord and never to encourage Christians to toy with it and end up in Hell. Please quietly read Mathew 24, and 25 which talk about the last days and even what will happen to BELIEVERS in Christ who think ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED, this is the DOCTRINE of the BEAST of Rev 12, 13 that we are to come out of her Rev 18: 4. God Bless U

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    1. Moses

      Dear Busala, please study the Bible carefully, a born again can not sin and even if he sin, Jesus has already paid for his sins. Jesus Christ came to take a way sin John 1:29, he died to deliver and set us free from the punishment of sin Hebrews 9:15, we are not saying a Christian should sin, but there is security for believer in Jesus.

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      1. Ann

        What is the difference in terms of salvation (going to heaven, joining the eternal life in the Kingdom of God) between a Christian who lives a godly /holy life, and a Christian (or claimed to be) who lives in sins and darkness without turning back (repentance) to God ?

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    2. Desiring Victory

      Throughout Galatians, Paul is telling the Galations not to return to living under the law, as the religious leaders of the day were preaching to them. If a Christian has to repent every time they sin(or else go to hell if they die before repentance), then what is the point of Trusting in Jesus as the final sacrifice? do you really think Jesus wanted us to live so spiritually OCD, that anytime we thought something wrong or didn’t treat someone perfectly, we were scared of going to hell? Paul writes that we have peace with God through Jesus Christ, not through our own continual repentance. Also, I believe the grace of God is powerful enough to draw us to repentance and obedience out of the right motivation: love, not fear.

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      1. Tia

        Repentance is the acknowledgment that you did something wrong. If Christian don’t repent daily, then they will think that they are alright. The Bible says that the righteous scarcely make it in, where does this leave the ungodly? John the Baptist whole message was to repent and be baptised. Christian must ask for forgiveness because just like you like for someone to acknowledge they did something wrong, God likes for you acknowledge that you need him and one way to do it is by repentance. Think about it when you first get saved you have to repent of your sins. It doesn’t stop just because you are saved. Repentance also says I’m wrong Hid, but I need you. If you feel like you don’t have to repent, than do you really need God?

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      2. Tia

        If the Pharisee and the Sadducess would have repented which means turn from their wickedness, than Jesus wouldn’t had to be so hard in his teaching, but because they felt no need to repent, they were self righteous. Please don’t take on the same spirit.

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      3. V

        Well what about the scripture that says if your bother trespass against you how often do we forgive 70 times 7?? So it is a necessity to repent with our brothers or sisters and not God. Matthews 7:22 ” Many will say To me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name,? And in thy name casted out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? 23″…….I never knew you, depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Again why take a chance on grace? Many people confess with their mouths but their hearts are far from Him, Isaiah 29:13 & Matt: 15:8,9. God knows the heart but we see the fruit.

        Reply
  3. Johanon

    Jesus came to RESTORE mankind back to a relationship with God, the Father. He came to provide what dead men (spiritually) need : LIFE. His Life. He came not to get men out of hell & into heaven, but rather to get himself out of heaven & into a man through the Holy Spirit. Christ Jesus IN YOU, your hope of Glory. He came to make All things New, so that old things would pass away. He came to adopt us as children of God so that we can now be Saints & not sinners & we can approach God with pure hearts & call Him Daddy (Abba). He said “My sheep HEAR my voice”
    Relationship instead of religion. Holy Spirit instead of our works.. Adoption instead of condemnation. Saint instead of a sinner. New life for old!

    Reply
  4. Leo

    I have signed most of my life to survive also some greed and drug addiction I am scared it may be to late for me to sort myself out I want JC in my life and to trust in him but if I become a non sinner I think in someway I will be worse of materially but spiritually awake JC please come into my life I am knocking but what do I do

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    1. Donna McNeal

      Leo, you dont have to sort it out. Give it to God and He will sort it out for you. You asked Him into your life now find a Bible believing church and read your Bible daily and pray much! God will not turn you away but He will draw you to Him. My husband and I will pray for you. God bless!

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    2. ....

      It does not take works to accept Jesus into your heart. He knew that it would be impossible for us to be perfect and live a perfect life. That is why he came to earth, to endure our sin. He knows that we are gonna sin. He came so that he could be at the side of God and intercede for us. He knows us now and knows how we struggle as humans. and just as a comment to everyone. IF WHAT YOU ARE ALL SAYING IS TRUE. THEN REPENTANCE IS HOW WE GET TO HEAVEN? NO. ANYONE WHO (BELIEVES) IN (JESUS CHRIST) WILL HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE. WE WILL FAIL. WE ALL FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD. BUT THE THING IS .. HE KNOWS US. AND HE KNOWS OUR HEARTS, OUR LOVE, AND OUR TRUE INTENTIONS. IF NOT… THEN I NEITHER ANYONE ELSE ON EARTH WOULD ENTER INTO HEAVEN.

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    3. Amy

      There are the people who spend most of their lives as christians and then there are the ones who ask Jesus into their lives on their death bed. Both people will go to heaven no matter how long one sinned that doesn’t matter as long as you ask for forgiveness and for Jesus to be your personal savior you are good!!!

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  5. Beth

    My husband died Friday night and he loved Jesus Christ. He prayed daily. He had a drink of alcohol before he passed. Is he in he’ll. I’m praying for him.

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    1. Phil

      Having one drink don’t make you drunk.The bible only talks about being drunk as sinfull.Remember JESUS changed water into wine so having one drink is not sinfull.

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  6. Beth

    My husband passed May 7 2016. He’s with the Lord. He was a Christian. Does he remember now. Or Will he remember to see me when I pass.

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  7. Richard Bekker

    Good day, I have been in a church that lives by the law and not by grace. I always felt unworthy, dirty. Was never sure if I will go to heaven, did I do enough? But now I realize, it’s not what I do, but what Jesus did. The old law could not save you, because you always felt short. But the Holy Spirit will lead you to the whole truth! I do not anymore focus on my Mistakes, but on Jesus! He is the finisher!! Did you make a mistake, I also did! But go to Jesus, He will take your sorrows away! Jesus wants you to live a life of Abundance (more then enough!!)

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  8. Richard Bekker

    I don’t have to do anymore. I believe more, enjoy more!! It’s not what you have to do, but what Jesus did! Give Him glory, give Him prays!
    We walk by faith and not by sight!!

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  9. Apostle Orijesu

    please these two scriptures are confusing the matter of grace and works,
    1.Revelation,21:27
    2.Ephesians 2:8_10
    please reconcile them

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  10. Alicia

    John 8:21
    Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and you shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: where I go, you cannot come. Simple truth. Why couldn’t they come where he was ?

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  11. Michael Bruce

    You know it grieves my heart that many Christians can not see all that God has done for His creation in what Jesus the Christ has done for us on the Cross. Why are they so willingly to trust in the power of Satan and the influence he had over Eve which led to Adams disobedience, and the Curse of Sin which corrupted God’s Creation, but they can’t accept the Power of God and His redemptive Plan of Salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord. Doesn’t what God do OUTWEIGHS what Satan does? Yes, God’s Righteousness, Grace, Mercies, and Justification is established in our faith in Jesus work on the Cross. when we accept this by FAITH, we become Children of God, and as His Children, joint-heir with Christ. God no longer sees us as SINNERS, but as His…

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    1. Jeff Grant

      Thank you so much for that! You really nailed it! It is all about te fact that wgen God looks at us he does not see our imperfect sinful flesh. He sees a new creation (II Cor 5:17) covered by the blood of the Lamb! We will trip up in this imperfect flesh and when we do we should confess and apologize to God because we feel bad and apologizing will make us feel better but it is absolutely of NO eternal consequence!

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  12. Tom

    I am not a Baptist but recently asked my wife’s Pastor (Baptist) about people who are “born again” but sin after being saved. Do they go to heaven? His answer was an unequivocal yes, because once saved you are saved forever. He said that Jesus died for our sins and someone accepts Jesus as his Savior his sins are forgiven. I then inquired about a horrific habitual sinner who had been saved and his answer was that he questioned whether that person had truly accepted
    Jesus in his heart when he was saved.

    I’m not suggesting that is right but just what one faith believes about sin and salvation. I think only God knows who is worthy of entering his Kingdom and who I’d saved or not saved. I also think repentance is required to go…

    Reply
  13. Darryl Tatum

    Peter cut off a soldiers ear in rage defending Jesus/Yeshua while alsi denying him thrice 3 times while walking with him.This was a very huge sin.Jesus said those whi deny me before men will i deny before my father.Judgment is in God/Yaweh hands.Is also amazing how God used Sinners to fulfill his purpose on earth.The blood is whats most important it cleanse all of our sins for those who call on Christ.The sinner on the cross did not know Christ but in his last hour he believe Jesus was the son of God.Christ told him this day shall you enter into paradise.

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  14. Tanya Wood

    My son was brought up in church he was diagnosed at age 5 with adhd and bipolar disorders…he knew god but when I was married and drifted away from god, I sinned and my son seen my sins. I came back to god and we were saved but as he grew older he didnt go to church as often. He was in special education classes his whole life and never could read over a 5th grade level he mentally was not his age. He was shot and killed at age 20 and im struggling with his death alot. I know he knew god and jesus, but his life was taken away so fast I dont know if he had time to ask for forgiveness. A few months before he died we got into a fight and I brought up my mother (his grandma) dying of cancer. He said there is no god why would he lwt grandma hurt

    Reply
    1. John

      Tanya, I am so very sorry about your son, but if he were saved, he is with the Lord right now! You see Romans chapter 8 tells us because of justification, which is Jesus paying for our sins on that Cross, once and forever payed that price for us! We repent, accept Christ as Savior, we no longer are condemned but justified by His blood! The body still sins, and is why we die, but the Spirit becomes holy, and can no longer sin! Because it now belongs to Christ, by our faith, and because the spirit is now holy, will live forever in heaven! Don’t fear! Praise God he is with the Lord! Read Romans chapter 8…separate the body and the spirit! Your son is saved! Praise God!!!! His Sins were and are forgiven forever!!!

      Reply
  15. Teresa Hoover

    I’ve heard alot of different OPINIONS and I’ve heard a lot of different interpretations of verses in the bible . I believe in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know without a doubt that I am only alive today by the grace of God . But I am living with a man because I have no choice . I’m 52 years old my life won’t last much longer if I end up homeless AGAIN. So all of you holyer than thou people out there ? Walk in a beat up , homeless , widowed , 52 year old women’s shoes for a couple minutes ! I guarantee you you would probably make a deal with the devil . I’ve been saved , I am a Cristian , I know the truth . But this is about survival , I have to keep breathing ! It really is a lonely road of faith . If the oxen is in the ditch…

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    1. Raj.K.Ashok

      Dear Sister in Christ, Each one of us is alive today by the grace of God. No doubts there. But Jesus said, “Sin no more” to two different people. Two different incidents. But same words. There must be an alternative to your difficult circumstance. I am sure Jesus Christ will provide you the answer. Ask. Remember, God does not tempt anyone beyond what they are able to bear. In my experience, I have never seen a true Christian take the “Holier Than Thou” approach. People who take that approach don’t know Christ. Jesus Christ works miracles. He did it in my life. And He will do it in your life. Like you said, the road of faith is lonely, sometimes. But God is never too late or too early. Your trials on earth are just temporary. Be…

      Reply
  16. josh ola

    1. if Jesus is has brought grace unto us, why will he remind us of the law
    2. and if we cant meet up the law we arent fit 4 the kingdom
    john 5:20
    how confusing!

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  17. Eddy

    how can we go to heaven just by believing, while the bible say 1,faith without works is dead
    2,Christ is talking about self denial
    3.The bible tells us about believes judgement,so u die in sin you wll be judged too

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  18. Pretty-Nora Essia

    Please i want to ask a question. What if a unbeliever was living in sin and one day, he had an accident and on his deathbed he gave his life to Christ, asked for forgiveness and repented and he died. Please after this, what will happen to him in his after life. Please i need answers.

    Reply
  19. Sheila Njoki

    I find Tim’s answer lining with what my pastor teaches in our church (in vanacular). I’m from Kenya and I’m pretty sure my pastor and Tim have never met before such that their teachings nearly match…it’s quite intriguing! We are taught about Jesus’ finished work at the cross and how to acquire the full stature of Christ through Faith that we died, cleansed by Jesus blood and resurrected as new creation in Christ . So, whenever our old man arise (eg, anger, lies, unforgivess, etc) we believe and confess we died, buried, cleansed with Jesus’ blood and resurrected as new creatures in Christ. Initially, I never understoo and viewed it as craziness and through the years the faith and confession has been transforming me. I now know it’s…

    Reply
  20. Brandi Rose

    If an unbeliever truly repents, they become a believer and will go to heaven. If we have freedom in Christ, we cannot live under the spirit of fear (that comes from the enemy) that we will burn in hell for every unjust, unrighteousn thought or action. If that was the case, nobody and I mean NOBODY would make it to the kingdom. What kind of life would that be? As a believer, we have Gods grace, but also, we know grace is not a green light to sin. But if any believer says they never willfully do or have thoughts of something that is not righteous in the eyes of Christ, they are lying to themselves. But the spirit of truth lets us know that it’s sinful whereas an unbeliever feels no need of repentance.

    Reply

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