Do I Have to Give Up My Sins to be Saved?
"And they went out, and preached that men should repent." —Mark 6:12
The answer is No! You do NOT have to stop sinning to be saved. No one can stop sinning (Romans 3:23)! No one can live above sin—no one (Isaiah 64:6). Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners. You do NOT have to give up anything to be saved except your UNBELIEF. However, you DO need to realize your sinful condition and "confess" (or admit) to God that you are a sinner, deserving of hell. This is Biblical repentance, i.e., "a change of mind."
To be saved, a sinner simply needs to become "guilty" before God (Romans 3:19). Repentance is NOT forsaking one's actual sins, for that would be self-righteousness? Repentance is acknowledging that I am guilty of violating God's holy Law, and that I deserve to be punished in Hellfire for my own sins. Thus, realizing one's need for a Saviour. This is exactly what Galatians 3:24 teaches, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith."
A person who is convicted about their sin won't have the joyous attitude that they can continue living in sin and still go to Heaven. I would greatly doubt the salvation of anyone who rejoices that they can continue living in sin. This is one of the favorite arguments of Lordship Salvationists. The truth is that God holds believers accountable for their words and actions (Romans 14:12; 1st Peter 4:17; 2nd Corinthians 5:10).
Repentance is a turn of mind. When you turn to Christ for forgiveness, you have just turned your back on sin.
What is Biblical Repentance?
Repentance is a turn-around of mind! Whereas we were heading towards hell-fire and destruction, we realized our sinful condition and turned to the loving Saviour Who shed His precious blood for our many sins (1st Peter 1:18,19). Repentance is a change of heart. Before we were saved, sin was magnified in our life while Jesus was diminished. Now that we've been born-again, Christ is magnified and sin is diminished. As we grow in the Lord, this trend should continue to where Jesus becomes everything to us, and sin nothing.
Notice from the picture above that for a person to turn to Christ in Heaven is to turn one's back on sin and hell. Does a believer have to repent to be saved? Absolutely! But it's a repentance of the heart (a turn-around of our heart) concerning Jesus Christ and our sins. Whereas before we did not believe on Christ, now we do! Whereas before we lived in sin with no conviction, now we are convicted for our sins. It is uncommon that new believers simply clean up their act right away; it takes time for the Holy Spirit to work in one's heart. It's a lifetime process of growing. We grow with the milk of God's Word (1st Peter 2:2).
We are all woeful sinners (Romans 3:10,23). To be saved, a person MUST realize their sinful condition. It is NOT enough simply to commit your life to God or decide to turn over a new leaf. This is self-righteousness and a false gospel. To be saved, you must confess to God (not to men) that you are a wicked sinner in need of forgiveness, and then believe on Jesus Christ to forgive you (Acts 10:43).
What a Wonderful Saviour!
Do you need to give up your sins to be saved? No; but you must acknowledge them for what they are, wicked sins. You see friend, most people refuse to acknowledged their sinful condition. I've heard a young woman say that since Adam and Eve were naked in Eden that pornography must be acceptable with God. She is woefully wrong. Some people justify immoral sex on the basis that God made the body beautiful. This is wrong thinking. Others seek to justify smoking cigarettes on the basis that it grows from God's earth, so it must be acceptable. This is of course absurd. Poison Ivy also grows naturally, should we rub it all over our bodies? Many people attempt to rationalize their sins; but God's Law never changes. Pornography is of the Devil. Substance abuse is sinful. Adultery is sinful. The Bible (Law of God) condemns our sins and we have no excuses.
"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." —Romans 3:20
Do you have to give up your sins to be saved? No, just your unbelief. I get upset when people teach "Lordship salvation." What is that? Lordship salvation is the false doctrine that you must make Christ the "Lord" of your life to be saved, that you must repent and depart from sin. That is impossible! There is no such thing as a believer who does not commit sin. We are all woeful sinners. If I have to give up a certain amount of sin to be saved, then how much do I have to give up? Just because a person accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour does not mean they are above sin. As a matter of fact, getting saved is just the start of a lifelong process. Try as hard as you may, you are going to walk in the flesh at times and sin. I have often said, "Christians at best are people, and people at best are sinners." We can walk in the Spirit at any given time; but the fact is that we're not always going to do so because we are sinners.
A License to Sin?
No one has God's Permission to sin. If you want to be Biblical, a believer does in fact have a license to sin. No sin that a believer commits can ever jeopardize one's Eternal Security. To teach otherwise is to negate the gift of God and teach a false gospel of self-righteousness. Salvation is the gift of God, based upon Christ's imputed righteousness to our account; and not any good of our own. We are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is receiving; not giving.
Believers who choose to live in sin will be "chastised" by God (Hebrews 12:8). For anyone to be able to live in sin without conviction from God's Holy Spirit means they are not saved, i.e., a "bastard" as Hebrews 12:8 states... "But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons." Certainly, many believers do choose to live in sin; but they are miserable and know that God does not approve. Every believer in Jesus Christ will give account to God for the good and bad done on earth (Romans 14:12; 2nd Corinthians 5:10).
Although the genuine believer does in fact has a "license to sin" if they so choose; they certainly do NOT have God's permission to sin and will be judged at The Judgment Seat of Christ (2nd Corinthians 5:10) accordingly. Many believers will receive no rewards at this judgment and will be ashamed and overwhelmed with tears (1st Corinthians 3:15; 5:5).
Nevertheless, say what you will, no believer will ever stand trial at The Great White Throne of Judgment for sins committed in this lifetime (Revelation 20:11-15). This is "why" there will be 2 separate and distinct judgments: one for the SAVED, and one for the UNSAVED.
The Biggest Problem in Winning Someone to the Lord
The hardest part about getting people saved is getting them lost! Most people are relying upon their own self-righteousness for Heaven, which is what most so-called "churches" teach nowadays. The Bible plainly states: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us..." (Titus 3:5). I haven't met too many people, although I've met some, who say they do know they're going to Hell and don't care. Most people want to go to Heaven to live in happiness forever. Sadly, and tragically, most people have been lied to by some priest or sinister minister into believing that good works are a part of saving faith, which is a false gospel.
The Best of Christians are Still Sinners
A lot of religious people have a problem with the idea that a person can be born-again and yet still commit horrible sins. I am not condoning sin at all; I am simply saying that even the best of Christians are still sinners.
King David was a Christian who killed a man to cover up his sin of adultery with the man's wife. It took one year for David to repent. Peter was one of the Apostles; yet denied Christ, cursed Jesus' holy name and quit the ministry. Moses murdered a man. Sometimes Christians do horrible things. This does not mean they're not truly saved.
I knew of a minister with a wicked hot-temper who poured bleach over his wife's head while she sat crippled in a wheelchair. It's hard to believe that a Christian could do such a thing, but it happened. It's wrong and I'm not condoning sin; I'm simply saying that believers are still sinners. You need to be very careful about deciding who's saved or not based on what you see (1st Samuel 16:7). I've known decent believers from my past who later committed some really horrible sins. Though sad and tragic, it does not mean that they're not saved. It does mean they got away from walking with God on a daily basis.
Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not trying to go light on sin here. We should try to live above sin.
"Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." —2nd Timothy 2:19
God wants His children to live righteous; but living right is not a prerequisite for salvation. You do NOT have to give up anything to be saved except your unbelief! Put your faith in the Lord friend to forgive your sins and you will be saved. Jesus will help you to straighten out your life. Give God your heart and he'll comb the kinks out of your head.
Never let anyone tell you that you must depart from sin to be saved, for this is heresy. Again, "repentance" in the Bible simply means "a change of mind." Repentance means that we decide to trust Christ as our Saviour to forgive us of all our wicked sins. Repentance simply means to get saved. We get saved by confessing our sins to God and asking Him to forgive us. To turn to Christ is to turn from sin—this is repentance! This is why we find the word "believe" mentioned 85-times in the Gospel of John; yet the word "repent " is not mentioned even once. Hence, the man who believes on Jesus Christ to forgive his sins has repented already in his heart.
The Lord Jesus had plenty to say about REPENTANCE--
Luke 24:47, "Jesus said to them] that REPENTANCE and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."
Luke 5:32, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to REPENTANCE."
Mark 1:15, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: REPENT ye, AND BELIEVE the gospel."
Regenerated versus Converted
I have known believers who claimed to be Christians; yet they went to nightclubs. I've known people who claimed the name of Christ who were often mean and abusive to other people. Does that mean they're not saved? Not necessarily. It does mean that they've not been "converted" yet. Conversion has NOTHING to do with being regenerated (saved). At the time we are saved we are re-gened, or regenerated with the Holy Spirit of God. Salvation is like being pulled from the garbage. Just because God pulled you out of the incinerator of Hell doesn't mean that you've been RECYCLED yet. The recycling process is conversion. Being saved from Hell is just the very beginning. God has a recycling program for every believer.
Of course, we are instantly saved at the moment we trust Christ as Saviour; but the conversion process to make us what God wants us to be takes time to grow in the Lord. Please don't misunderstand—a person does NOT have to be converted to be saved; but an unconverted person will remain outside of the will of God for their life. A person DOES have to be regenerated (born again) to be saved, i.e., Christ born in us.
Sadly, I knew a minister who went to be honored at a Masonic lodge. When the minister wasn't at his church, he usually would hang out at local bars. Does this mean he's not a Christian? Not necessarily. I just believe he's a dead-beat minister (and there's a lot of them out there!). He has not repented of his sinful ways, just as King David didn't repent of his sinful ways for so long. When a believer chooses to go into sin, they must repent of their sinful ways and get right with God. I've known many people to get saved, live for the Lord for a short time, and then go back into the world again. No doubt, many of them were never saved to begin with; but some were. We must be careful not to judge. Some of the people whom you think are Christians may not be (like Judas, one of Christ's Apostles). Likewise, some heathen (like Lot in the city of Sodom) may be a just man and you would never know it).
To be saved, we must repent of our sins only in the
sense that we must agree with God that we are hell-deserving sinners!
To be truthful, we will be repenting of sins for the rest of our life.
To clarify, we are saved ONCE and only once. Once you accept Jesus into
your heart as personal Saviour (John 1:10-14), you are a child of God forever. You
CANNOT lose your salvation! Now once you've become a believer God is
going to convict you of
sin on a daily basis. Now that has nothing to
do with your salvation because you are already God's child. King David went for
almost a year in denial after killing a man after stealing the man's wife.
It wasn't until Nathan the prophet came to open David's eyes that he repented.
David was saved; but hadn't repented until almost a year later. This
happens to many believers, i.e., we get out of line and fail to see it until someone
else points it out to us.
Beware of Lordship Salvation
Too many Christian want to add holy living to salvation under the guise of repentance. No friend, repentance is simply a turn around of mind. At salvation, a man's mind has changed about sin and the Saviour. This is the beginning of his new life in Christ. Yes, he should be sorry for his sins; but this is a FRUIT of genuine repentance and not a part of saving-faith. Yes, he should have a desire to change his sinful ways to please God; but this is a FRUIT of genuine repentance and not a part of saving-faith.
To say that a new believer should be holy and separated is like saying that a newly born baby should be able to play sports or run a marathon. How ridiculous for anyone to place such a burden upon a new believer. God never asks us to give up anything to be saved. There are two types of religions in the world: "DO" and "DONE" (i.e., either you believe you must do something to get to Heaven; or else you believe it's already done, paid in full by the Lord Jesus Christ). I'm in the DONE group. How about you?
Jesus paid it all,
all to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow!
You do NOT have to make Jesus your
"Lord" to be saved. Jesus is Lord; you don't make Him Lord! The
idea of surrendering to Christ's Lordship as part of saving-faith is a false
gospel of self-righteousness.
Acts 26:20 ...they should repent and TURN TO GOD, AND DO WORKS MEET FOR REPENTANCE.
Acts 2:39, 3:19 REPENT YE therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out...
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to REPENT:
Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
Again, "repent" simply means "a change of mind." If I'm going down the road the wrong way and then make a U-turn, I'll have to spend some time driving back. Likewise, when you get saved, depending how far you've gone down the road of sin, it's going to take time (with the Lord's help) to straighten out your life. Lordship Salvation totally eliminates the growing-in-grace process. It takes years to genuinely mature in the Lord. All you need to do to be saved is to come as a guilty sinner and trust upon the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive your sins (Acts 10:43).
Do you have to give up your sin to be saved? No friend, just admit that you are a sinner. Go to the Lord Jesus and trust Him to forgive you. What's done is done and you can't make up for it, that's why Jesus came to die on the cross for you. Simply place your 100% faith in Christ for salvation. All you need is Jesus, just like the thief on the cross needed Jesus and called out to Christ for salvation. For more info, click HERE
Salvation is More Than Being Saved, by Dr. Jack Hyles:
Chapter 1 - What is Salvation?
Chapter 2 - Regeneration and Salvation
Chapter 3 - Conversion and Salvation
Chapter 4 - Imputation at Salvation
Chapter 5 - Work Our Your Own Salvation!
Chapter 6 - Eternal Life
Chapter 7 - Salvation and the Law
Chapter 8 - Salvation is More than Being Saved!
Chapter 9 - Election at Salvation
Chapter 10 - The Great Hindrance to Salvation
Chapter 11 - Lordship Salvation
Chapter 12 - God's Three Great Loves
Chapter 13 - Justification
Chapter 14 - The Salvation of a Nation
Chapter 15 - So Great Salvation!
Chapter 16 - My Saviour is Also My Friend
Chapter 17 - Why Hell?
Chapter 18 - The Simplicity of Salvation