Question from a Site Viewer
Every single horrible day of my life, I worry that I might not make it to heaven, and that I have committed the unpardonable sin. I also think that if I do something wrong, fail a test, or hurt someone’s feelings that I won’t make it to heaven. I’ve called Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit names. And every time I do something wrong, I say, “Oh Lord, forgive me!” At times my sins are very intentional. Will God abandon me because I continue sinning? I want to be with Him, but I’m continually frightened.
I commend you for wanting to be with Jesus. I also believe it is good to have a healthy fear of God and thereby avoid sin. However, I think you may yet struggle with what it means to be saved. Salvation comes from God to us when we put our trust in Jesus Christ. Jesus said that whoever believes in Him has eternal life (John 3:16; 5:24). It is not by works of righteousness that we do, but His mercy that saves us (Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8-9). Accordingly, it is not what we do but in whom we believe that opens the doors to heaven. If we trust in Jesus, and not in our own works, we will be saved.
This is very freeing to us when we realize the truth of this awesome gift from God. So while we do not want to sin, the fact that we do sin does not condemn us when we are trusting in Him. As long as we are in Jesus, there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1). As Scripture says, if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Our relationship to God is not based on our perfection, but on the perfection of Christ (Romans 3:21-26; 4;5; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:8-9).
This frees us from a life of trying to live up to some standard to get to heaven. We can never be good enough to enter into God’s kingdom. But God accounts us to be righteous, notwithstanding what we have done, when we trust in Christ. This is the way Abraham was justified (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:1-3).
Having come to Christ through faith, the next question is how should we live? Certainly, we do not want to continue in sin (Romans 6). But yet we all offend in many ways (James 3:2). As John says, if we say we have no sin we make God a liar (1 John 1:8). John tells us that he writes his letter so that we might not sin, but that if we sin we have an advocate on our behalf, even Jesus (1 John 2:1). But as we grow in Christ, we should be gaining victory over sin. And, as we have said elsewhere, the evil thought that comes into our mind is not sin, but a temptation (James 1:13). If we choose to embrace the bad thought and think on it, then we have fallen into sin (James 1:14). If we choose to reject the thought and turn to thoughts that are good (Philippians 4:8), then we have rightly overcome the temptation. I suggest you may want to review some of our articles on overcoming sin, such as Overcoming Sin, and on how we should live, such as Let Go and Let God. The transforming of the mind takes time and effort. I trust that you will make the effort to engage in that transformation by memorizing Scripture, developing a life of communication with God, and loving and helping others.
So, in conclusion, my encouragement to you is to trust Christ. Don’t look to your own righteousness, but look solely to His righteousness for your salvation. And if you do sin, confess and return to Christ in your heart and mind, and seek to walk with Him. Walking with Him involves talking to Him throughout the day, memorizing and then meditating on His word, loving others and loving Him. Develop a life listening to the Spirit’s quiet voice in guiding you. We have several articles on the site that may be of some help to you as you seek to transform your life.
You raise a question about whether God will forgive intentional sin. The Biblical answer to your question is easy but the cost of the forgiveness was high–the death of Jesus. God forgives intentional sins. Many of the sins we see in Scripture are intentional sins (see Intentional Sin). And God forgave them. If God did not forgive intentional sins, none of us would have a chance. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to God for His forgiveness.
You also raise the question of the unforgivable sin. My short response is that if you want to seek Christ, then you have not committed the unpardonable sin. God has promised that everyone who seeks Him will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). And Jesus said that those who come to Him He will not cast out (John 6:37). There is grace with Jesus who came to save people just like you and me. If you have further interest in this subject, you might type in “unpardonable sin” into the search of the website and read some of the articles.
May you find in Jesus your righteousness and the hope of your life. And may you come to enjoy a sweet relationship with Him, growing each day into His likeness, following Him in service to others, and increasing your hope in His salvation.
a fellow recipient of His mercy,