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.
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.