Will God Forgive Purposeful Sin?

Question from a Site Viewer
I have sinned purposefully against God by watching porn. Will the almighty God forgive me because I have come across some Christian brothers who say that sin committed deliberately is an act of rebellion against God and as such God will not forgive. God will punish such a soul. Do I still have hope?

Tim’s Answer
Thank you for asking the question. I do not know what Scripture your Christian brothers are using to state that God does not forgive purposeful sin. But I can assure you that if God does not forgive purposeful sin, then there is no hope for any of us. We all have sinned intentionally. Was not David’s sin of adultery with Bathsheba a purposeful sin? God forgave David (2 Samuel 12:13; Psalm 32:5). Were not the sins of ancient Israel deliberate? Yet, God calls them to return to Him and He will forgive their sins (Hosea 14:1-4). Peter, in lying to the women around the fire, sinned deliberately (Mark 14:66-72). Christ forgave his sin (John 21:15-21) and Peter became a great person in the early church.

Perhaps your Christian brothers are extrapolating from the Old Testament concept of the sin through ignorance (Numbers 15:24-29) and the sin with a high hand, sometimes translated as intentional sin (Numbers 15:30). There was no sacrifice in the Old Testament for sins of the high hand. Some have seen a link between the sin with the high hand and the passage in Hebrews 10:26-31, where we are told that those who sin willfully have no more offering for sin, but a certain fearful apprehension of judgment. Notice, however, neither the Hebrews passage nor the Numbers passage state directly that there is no forgiveness for deliberate sins. (For more information on the Hebrews passage, please see Does God Want Me Back?) A conclusion that deliberate sins cannot be forgiven is simply bad theology and is contrary to Scripture.

Jesus taught that all sins that people commit can be forgiven, except for the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31). (For more information on the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, see The Unpardonable Sin). That fact that you are conscious of your sin is a good indication that the Spirit is still at work in your life. Thus, I think it is safe to conclude that you have not committed the one, unforgivable sin. All other sins can be forgiven according to Jesus. The heinous sins of wicked king Manasseh, who caused the people to do more evil than the evil nations that were in the land before Israel, and who though warned by God persisted in his sin (2 Chronicles 33:1-10); even he was forgiven (2 Chronicles 33:12-13). John tells us that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins (1 John 1:9). There is no exception made for deliberate sin. The prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 certainly sinned willfully. Yet, Jesus drives home the point in the parable that when the son returned to his father, he was readily forgiven. We have all been prodigal sons, in need of the forgiveness of the Father. And those who think that they have not sinned deliberately and have no need to return to the Father simply are in error. They are like the older son in the parable of the prodigal son, who though having never gone away, still had a heart that was far from the father’s heart. James says that we all offend in many ways (James 3:2). John says that we all sin (1 John 1:10). There is forgiveness whenever we return to the embrace of the Father.

Some who have thought about the fact that we all sin deliberately have suggested that the focus in the Numbers and Hebrews passage is not simply on the deliberateness of the sin, but on turning one’s back deliberately against God. But again, it is hard to reach that conclusion if one follows the teaching of Scripture. If anyone turned their back on God, it was Manasseh, who had a very godly dad, who was warned by God’s prophets against his sin, and yet deliberately sinned more and more, doing horrific things. If anyone sinned with a high hand, it was wicked king Manasseh. Yet, when he turned to God, God forgave him. I do not know of a person who has not at one time or another knew that God wanted them to do one thing, and they chose not to do it. Is not this deliberately turning one’s back on God? Yet, we all have experienced His incredible mercy and forgiveness.

Your sin will find forgiveness if you turn to God from your sin and seek to serve the living and true God.

However, I think you understand that your sin is a problem. The sin of pornography is not necessarily worse than other sins, but it can be deadly to one’s spiritual health, and it grieves our dear Savior. See our article Addicted to Pornography to understand the problem of this sin and for some Biblical approaches to overcoming this sin.

May the Lord Jesus become the focus of your thoughts, the longing of your heart, and the desire of your eyes. May He forgive, restore, and use you in His great kingdom.

A fellow pilgrim,

tim

Related Content:
Intentional Sin
Can God Ever Forgive Me?
Does God Want Me Back?
Addicted to Pornography

13 thoughts on “Will God Forgive Purposeful Sin?

  1. Gary

    Good comment…I have seen this argued both ways and honestly is one reason why “Christians” can unintentionally (maybe) turn others off. Common sense tells me that all sin can be forgiven other than non belief in Christs shed blood. If we could willfully NOT sin then there would have been no reason for a savior. Simplified as stated in the Bible we are conceived in sin so I think we are going to sin wether its by ommission or commission on purpose or not. The thing is Paul talks about “should we sin so grace can abound…no way” I do think that if you commit this temptation to God that you will be supplied with greater success in avoiding the sin. Call on the name of the Lord and you will be saved…there are no conditions attached…thankfully for us sinners. :o)

    Reply
    1. truthsaves Post author

      Agreed. One must be self-deceived to argue that intentional sins cannot be forgiven. We all have sinned intentionally. Christ’s death would be meaningless for humanity if intentional sins could not be forgiven. No one could be saved, and if they were saved they would quickly be lost. It reminds me of a person who in his old age thought he had reached sinless perfection, but he still committed the same sins we all did. If intentional sins cannot be forgiven, then those arguing that position are themselves condemned. Redrawing the line between intentional/unintentional sin does not help the cause (1 Corinthians 10:12).

      As for the entanglement with pornography, I agree that going to God is the answer. What I think is critical is not simply to pray when one’s thoughts are being high jacked by sexual desires, but also to submit to righteousness in the moment. Don’t give occasion for the sin. Stay off of the computer, keep porn out of the house and property, do not get in the car, do not take a walk anywhere close to pornography, and in a word “Do not submit your members to sin.” Rather, draw near to God. Victory does not come simply be calling on God, but by submitting to the Father in one’s actions and reforming one’s mind to a focus on the heavenly kingdom. Of course, as you note, prayer is critical in all of this.

      Reply
  2. gregg

    Careful here; this is close to giving license to sin and a teaching of the evil one. Can an individual be forgiven for an intentional sin? Scriptually, it would seem so. However there are two cases where this would seem to fail based on other scriptures. The first is when an individual is committed to rebelling against God; that is they are committed to an ongoing sinful lifestyle in rejection of God’s teaching. The second is related and is where an individual confesses the sin, but is not sincerely sorrowful for the sin for “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” and the Word of God is “Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” We cannot fool God. We must in our own walk, try to share the conviction of God’s hatred of sin in our own hearts and the incredible price paid by our Savior. Those who do not earnestly attempt to avoid sin and yet name Christ as Lord and Savior will be asked the prodigal question “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

    Reply
    1. truthsaves Post author

      Is not the first situation you mention exactly the story of Manasseh, the prodigal son, and of Israel itself? I remain awed at the mercy of God when I read passages like Hosea 14, which have moved me away from a position that deliberate and purposeful long-term rejection of God leaves no room for repentance. I have known many people who have firmly and purposefully turned against God for substantial periods of their lives, but who upon returning to Him have found peace and acceptance. When I now see in their lives the same evidence of the Spirit that exists in us, I conclude that the Father indeed rejoices over the return of long-away intentional sinners. Accordingly, I write no person off who is still alive.

      Yet, I agree fully that an insincere repentance is no repentance at all. I also agree that holiness is needed to see the Lord. And I believe those who come to Christ and then turn away deliberately stand in a precarious place. When they refuse to heed the Holy Spirit’s counsel, they may find their heart hardening and not wanting to return. They also should have no confidence of heaven, as Jesus, Paul, and John make clear. Our confidence and seal is the transformed life of an abiding and active Spirit.

      As for giving license to sin, I would say with Paul, “May it never be!” Those who have escaped sin should never seek a return to that bondage. And those who do are both missing the best of abundant life and are piercing themselves with many sorrows. In the big scheme of things, it is our growing love and delight in Christ that is the best antidote to sin. When we love Him, we will keep His commands. I do not give license for sin, but I do proclaim the hope of freedom from sin for anyone who sincerely will repent.

      Reply
  3. Gary

    I agree with what you say to a point…but the fact remains you are still forgiven even of purposeful sin. If you read my earlier reply when I stated that Paul said “what…should we sin even more so grace may abound” Paul’s reply is NO…but this doesnt keep Christians from still sinning on purpose or not. God gave the law so we whould know what sin is…not to condemn. No disrespect but some legalistic Christians need to wake up!

    Reply
  4. Gary

    Your being foolish…for no one escapes sin until their death and rely on the shed blood of Christ.

    Reply
    1. truthsaves Post author

      Thanks for your comments and for your concern to get this matter right. I would say that no one escapes temptation until death, but we can escape sin. I think Scripture supports a view that we cannot both walk in sin and walk in the Spirit. It is one or the other. If we walk in the Spirit, we are not sinning. If we walk in the flesh, we sin. Every moment of every day we have the choice as to with whom we will walk. When we sin, we make clear to ourselves that we were not walking in the Spirit. But if we walk in the Spirit, we are set free from the bondage of sin. As Paul and John both argue, we who are in Christ are no longer under the power of sin. Sin no longer has dominion over us. However, walking in the Spirit takes diligence, which tends to be in short supply among us humans, and so we sin.

      As I have explained it to some, at any given moment I can be in right relationship with God and walking in the Spirit. As long as I stay close to Christ, abide in Him, and stay in communication with His Spirit, I am not sinning. When I turn away from God and seek to do my own thing, then I sin. But when I repent, then I am restored to a condition of walking righteousness. Progression in the spiritual life is when we lengthen the times we are walking in the Spirit and shorten the time we are walking in the flesh, and therefore sinning.

      I realize not everyone shares the same model of Christian living, but I see nothing in Scripture to support a position that I can both be sinning and pleasing God. If I conclude that I cannot be free from sin here, then I must conclude that I cannot please God here. This is not what I see taught when I read the Word. He has set us free from sin. It is our responsibility to live in that freedom and not become entangled again. This is how I read Scripture.

      Reply
  5. Gary

    Respectfully, I understand what your saying, I just dont completely agree with it. I have witnessed this point argued many times and it seems this belief is saying that we can be sinless walking in the spirit. I admittedly know I have walked in the spirit but still have sinned. There is no way we can be sinless in the body in this world. I guess we have to agree to disagree.

    Reply
    1. truthsaves Post author

      I certainly understand your point. Walking in the Spirit does not make us infallible, without mistake, all-knowing, or any such thing. Yet, in seeking to understand Scripture, I find several passages that seem to assume that we can live in freedom from sin, some that appear to state this clearly, and few passages that would support that we can live in righteousness and sin at the same time. I find the Biblical passages convincing. Romans 6:6 states that our co-crucifixion with Christ was for the purpose that we should no longer be under bondage to sin. In verse 12, Paul argues that we should not let sin reign in our bodies. He says in verse 14 that sin shall not have dominion over us. He says in verse 18 that we have been set free from sin. When I read this passage, I conclude that Paul is talking about the practice of sin, not the penalty of sin. He speaks of a freedom from practicing sin. Jesus said in John 8:34 that anyone who practices sin is a slave of sin. Paul argues that we should not yield our bodies to sin. Paul carries this argument forward in chapter 8 explaining that righteousness is fulfilled by those who walk in the Spirit. He makes a big contrast between flesh and Spirit living. He says in Galatians 5:16 that if we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. In Ephesians 4:20-24 he instructs us to put on the new man which was created in true righteousness and holiness, repeating the same idea in Colossians. In Hebrews 12:1 we are told to lay aside all sin. Peter speaks about those who have ceased from sin (1 Peter 4:1). John writes to us so that we would not sin. But then he states with a third-class condition in the Greek (a less probable future condition) that if we do sin we have an advocate. John certainly does not argue that we are bound to sin, and neither does Paul, Peter, or Christ. In taking these passages to heart, I have found that whenever I sin overtly (to my knowledge), I can always look back and see that my fellowship with the Spirit was not what it should have been. When I am close to the Spirit and seeking the will of God in loving others, I do not struggle with sin. There is a power, energy, and drive to accomplish the work of God. When I try to please God without taking the effort to abide in Christ, I inevitably become frustrated, irritable, and not very loving.

      Accordingly, while I do not claim to have God’s workings fully comprehended, I believe from Scripture that there is freedom from sin offered to us now and that this freedom only comes through a life of faith in step with the Spirit of God. It is the life of His Son lived in and through us.

      I do not accept sinless perfection, that is the idea I can reach a state where I no longer will be tempted by sin. But I think at this moment I can look in my life and say that I have no known sin to confess or say that I have sin to confess. And the condition of my life the next moment may be different, depending on whether I am walking in the power of my own flesh or walking in the Spirit.

      Reply
  6. Man of God

    Thnx for all comments,i also say that the bible states that we must be filled with the Spirit of God and be imitators of Christ,if our minds are filled with meditation of the word, we cnt commit sin because to be filled Means there’s No Space for anything opposing wht you are filled with!?!

    Reply
  7. Gary

    That is just foolishness…if being filled with the spirit of God is all that is required there would have been no reason for Christ to have been sent and sacraficed. In sin you were conceived.

    Reply
  8. Greg

    If I am correct Adam and Eve were created sinless and perfect and yet they were able to sin because they possessed free will. They in fact did sin and were given the death sentence as they were warned of prior to sinning. There was no ransom provided for them because as perfect humans there was no reason for them to sin other than a desire to satisfy personal desires. Eve sinned by disobeying her husband and allowing the serpent to deceive her. Adam sinned by disobeying his father and choosing to stay united with Eve. This was prior to having any children which were unable to be born into this world perfect because it was no longer something their parents possessed to pass along to them. Born outside the Garden of Eden with imperfections Adam’s children had a natural inclination to sin that were not due to their own doing. Instead of wiping everyone out God set up a ransom for all born into sin to have a way out but only if they choose it. Therefore we sin but have hope in Christ.

    Reply
    1. truthsaves Post author

      We agree that Christ has paid the ransom and we all have hope in Him if we choose to believe in Christ. But we are of the opinion that this ransom was also available to Adam and Eve, who sinned in disobeying God. According to Romans 5:12-21, the sin and death that we experience is equated with the sin and death of Adam. Even for those who sin in different ways than Adam, there is an equation. If Christ paid for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2), then would that not also include Adam and Eve’s sins? We do not believe that there are any sins left out of the atonement brought by Christ. Accordingly, if Adam and Eve, after their sin in the garden, walked with God, then we believe that they would have found mercy with God. We are not told whether they did or not, so to conclude one way or another would be speculation. But we would not conclude that Christ’s ransom was not available to them. In speaking of the payment for sins, Paul says in Romans 3:25 that God in His forebearance passed over the sins of the those coming before Christ. We think Adam and Eve fall within this statement, just as does Abel, Seth, Noah, and other men and women of old.

      And we find no place in Scripture where Eve’s sin is described as not obeying her husband. What we find is that God told Adam not to eat of the tree of Knowlege of Good and Evil, that Eve knew this command as shown by her interaction with the serpent, and that Eve was deceived (1 Timothy 2:14) and ate. Her sin is therefore a failure to obey God. She fell short of the mark God had set. Scripture does not tell us how Eve knew of the command or whether Adam had given her a separate command not to eat. Thus, though one can speculate that Adam told her not to eat and she ate anyway, thus disobeying Adam, this is not what Scripture tells us. All Scripture tells us is that she knew what God had said and she ate anyway, because she was deceived.

      Nevertheless, we fully agree with you that God gives to each of us a choice to make and goes further and urges us to choose to believe in Christ. As Paul states in 2 Corinthians 5:20, God implores the world through the believers to be reconciled with God.

      May the Lord be with you and guide you in your walk with Him.

      Reply

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