Do Christians Have a License to Sin?
by David J. Stewart | February 2005 | Updated April 2015
"Do we then make void the law through faith? God Forbid: Yea, We Establish the Law." —Romans 3:31
Over the years I have frequently received e-mails from people who are upset at the idea that a person can be saved simply by trusting Jesus Christ as one's personal Savior, without obligation to live a moral life and surrender to Christ's Lordship. In particular, they are upset at the idea that someone can profess faith in Christ and still continue to live in sin, in effect... A LICENSE TO SIN!
I've been accused of teaching antinomianism. What in the world is “antinomianism”? . . .
Antinomianism comes from the Greek meaning lawless. In Christian theology it is a pejorative term for the teaching that Christians are under no obligation to obey the laws of ethics or morality. Few, if any, would explicitly call themselves "antinomian," hence, it is usually a charge leveled by one group against an opposing group.
Antinomianism may be viewed as the polar opposite of legalism, the notion that obedience to a code of religious law is necessary for salvation. In this sense, both antinomianism and legalism are considered errant extremes.
SOURCE: Antinomianism - Theopedia, an encyclopedia of Biblical Christianity
I DON'T AGREE WITH ANTINOMIANISM. It is a false doctrine! I DO believe that Christians are under obligation from God to obey His laws and ethics, BUT NOT AS PART OF THE PLAN OF SALVATION!!! That's all I'm teaching! Romans 3:31, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God Forbid: Yea, We Establish the Law.” Every born-again believer is obligated to obey and fulfil the law, not to be saved, but because WE ARE saved.
Some people have wrongly criticized me for saying that Christians have a license to sin. They have deliberately taken my words out of context. Christians only have a “license to sin” in the sense that they have eternal security. If you believe otherwise, then you are saying that Christians can lose their salvation. I don't even like the term “license to sin,” because NO ONE has God's permission or blessing to commit sin. NO ONE!!! I only say that “Christians have a license to sin,” as a counter to the common saying which says, “Just because you're saved doesn't give you a license to sin” (as an attempt to teach Lordship Salvation). That is simply not true. You can live in sin if you want, but there are always consequences (Hebrews 12:6-8).
I am not saying that it is acceptable to live in sin, God forbid. I am simply saying that if a person is saved, they are always saved. God has given to each person a freewill, to decide how we each behave. I have to edit articles continually, to counter the retarded bickering of psuedo-scholars who run to extremes to bolster their straw man heresies. I don't sanction anyone living in sin, saved or unsaved. I'm simply defending the gift of God, which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).
No Christian has a license to sin in the Lord's eyes concerning practical righteousness as His children; but we DO HAVE A LICENSE TO SIN when it comes to salvation, because we are saved by the imputed righteousness of God, and it has absolutely nothing to do with how we live. Romans 4:5-6, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.” This one Scripture passage alone says it all.
Please read the following, doctrinally correct, words by former Moody Memorial Church Pastor Harry A. Ironside (1876-1951)...
One man who e-mailed me was very sarcastic and thanked me for opening his eyes. He said that he was extremely happy now that he knew he could live in wild sin and still be saved. He said that my teachings on salvation had given him a license to sin.
I would like to just share a few thoughts with you on this matter and clear up any misunderstandings. I think the problem that quite a few people have is a lack of understanding about Biblical "repentance." They confuse the "root" of the believer's faith (Romans 4:3-5) with the "fruit" of the believer's faith (James 2:18-21). The word "repentance" in the Bible means "a change of mind." The Bible clearly teaches that repentance is necessary for salvation (Acts 2:38). It is impossible for anyone to be saved without repentance. But what exactly is repentance in the Bible? Repentance is when we make a U-turn in our mind concerning Christ and our sins. Dr. Harry Ironside said it well...
"Repentance is the recognition of my sinnership — the owning before God that I am as vile as He has declared me to be in His holy Word."SOURCE: Except Ye Repent, by Dr. Harry Ironside, chapter 3
To be saved my friend, you MUST come to Christ as a SINNER (1st John 1:8-10). If you are not a sinner, then why would you need a Savior? It would not make any sense at all for a self-righteous person to ask Christ for forgiveness. This is exactly why Jesus said that He DIDN'T come to save the righteous; but to call sinners to repentance. My point is that you must turn from your "good" image of yourself and confess to God your "sinful" condition. This does NOT mean ceasing from deliberate sins. Eternal life is a gift. It is received, not achieved. We simply trust the SAVIOR, Who then forgives us SINNERS. That's what salvation is, i.e., getting your sins forgiven through faith in Jesus' name (Acts 10:43).
Biblical repentance is turning TOWARD Christ Jesus to be forgiven of one's sins; not first giving up one's sins as a prerequisite to placing one's faith in Christ. You let the horses in first, then you close the barn doors. Faith comes first, and then God makes the necessary changes over time in a person's life. No one can run until they first learn to walk, and a person cannot walk who doesn't first learn to crawl. Getting saved is a gift that is freely offered (Romans 6:23), freely paid for by Christ's literal blood (1st Peter 1:18-19) and is freely received (Romans 10:13). A changed life is the FRUIT of genuine repentance (James 2:18-23; Genesis 22:1-12); and NOT a part of the ROOT of saving-faith (Romans 4:5-6; Genesis 15:6).
Most people reject Jesus as their personal Savior and continue their downward spiral into hellfire and damnation. But a FEW people, and only a few (Matthew 7:13-14), decide to come to Christ. It is at the very moment that they decide to turn to Jesus Christ that repentance has taken place. They've "turned" towards the Savior to be forgiven of their sins. Note that a person cannot turn to Christ without also turning their back against sin. Think about it. If you turn about face toward the Savior, then you have turned your back to the world, sin, and self. But this is a natural consequence of repentance and not a mandatory requirement for salvation.
God requires repentance; but Biblical repentance is properly: a change of mind, which happens simultaneously the moment you BELIEVE on Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. Believing and repentance always go together and are inseparable. This is why the words "believe" and "believeth" are mentioned 85 times in the Gospel of John, but the word "repent" is never mentioned even once. The man who believes has repented, and the man who repents has believed.
This is quite different than forsaking one's deliberate sins as a prerequisite to be saved. Some false prophets teach that a person must stop committing deliberate sin, or at least be willing to stop committing sin in order to qualify for salvation. However, that is damnable heresy which negates the gift of God. Giving up deliberate sins, and the desire to give up sins is a result of genuine Biblical repentance. If true salvation has happened, then God has done a miracle in that soul and somehow in some way it will show as time passes. But you have to be real careful about judging who is saved or not merely by one's lifestyle. The only sure test of a person's salvation is to simply ask them if they have placed their trust in Jesus as their Savior to forgive their sins.
Jesus paid for our sins so we wouldn't have to. All a person needs to do to be saved is to acknowledge their guilt of sin (Romans 3:19) and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be forgiven (Acts 10:43; 16:30-31). If anyone goes away saying on the internet that Brother Stewart teaches Christians have a license to sin, you are wickedly misrepresenting me. All I'm saying is that every believer has eternal security, and ONLY in that sense, we do have a license to sin; which is why there will be a separate judgment solely for believers, called The Judgment Seat Of Christ (2nd Corinthians 5:9-11). Hebrews 12:6-8 warns that God will chastise (disciple) and scourge (whip) His children when they sin, otherwise they are “bastards” (and that's the actual word the Bible uses).
Anyone can be saved simply by receiving the free gift of God, which is completely without works (Romans 4:5-6); but then God expects us as His children to walk in the indwelling Holy Spirit (1st Corinthians 3:16-17; Romans 8:9) in obedience to His holy Word. If we choose to walk in the flesh instead of walking in the Spirit, then we will face the terror of the Lord (2nd Corinthians 5:11; Hebrews 10:31).
You Can't Tell How Much Gas is in a Car's Tank by the Sound of the Horn
I was watching the news one day and heard something disturbing to me as a Christian. A woman who makes a living as a porn model professed to be a Christian. She said that Adam and Eve were naked in the Garden of Eden and she didn't see anything wrong with being naked. You see, she is seeking to justifying her evil deeds. We'll Adam and Eve were the only two people in the world at that time. Mankind has a sinful tendency to rationalize evil into good. Jesus foretold of the time when the unsaved will murder Christians, thinking they are doing God a favor (John 16:2). We are living in apostate times, when pastors are saying it's ok to be gay. Could this porn star secretly be saved? Sure, of course, but we do not know. We cannot see her heart as God can.
Many of the chief rulers believed on Jesus in John 12:42-43, but they DID NOT CONFESS HIM, because of the wicked Pharisees who would have kicked them out of the synagogue. The Bible says those chief rulers loved the praise of men more than the praise of God, yet they were saved. By outward appearance, you never would have known that they were saved.
America is going to Hell. Our churches are filled with unsaved religious hypocrites who know not the Lord Jesus Christ. They've made commitments to serve God, have joined churches and many claim to have prayed the salvation prayer; but they are as lost as the Devil himself. They've never repented, i.e., come to God as a dirty, rotten, hell-deserving sinner in need of the Savior, Jesus Christ. They've never trusted upon the name of Jesus, the Christ, to forgive their sins.
The only way to know if someone is saved is by the direct testimony of a person's mouth. Dr. John R. Rice taught that truth, and I agree with him 100%! Even the most vile sinners may be saved, in a backslidden condition, where no one would ever suspect that they are God's child. There are Christians serving life prison sentences in America, who committed crimes long after they were saved. Does that mean they were never saved to begin with? It doesn't mean that at all, it just means that Satan sifted them as wheat, just as Jesus warned the Apostle Peter Satan wanted to do to him (Luke 22:31). Let me ask you a question: If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Look at sinful Lot, Abraham's nephew. If all we had to go by was the Old Testament, we'd never think that Lot was a born-again believer. Yet, we know Lot was a just man from reading 2nd Peter 2:7. Sinful Lot was indeed saved, and is in Heaven this moment.
Do you know how evil Lot was? Lot was covetous. Lot wickedly moved to Sodom (a very evil city). Lot offered two of his virgin daughters to be abused by an angry mob of homosexuals. Lot brought alcohol with him out of Sodom. Lot got drunk with that alcohol and commit incest with his adult daughters, impregnating both of them. Lot's family was a mess. Lot's wife looked back toward Sodom, after being warned not to do so by God's angels, and she turned instantly into a lifeless pillar of salt (like mother like daughters). What a nightmare!!! Yet, the New Testament doesn't mention any of Lot's horrible sins (unlike the average critical American churchgoer today). The Bible calls Lot a just (righteous) man! You see, Lot's sins were washed in the blood of Jesus, and in God's eyes He saw Lot through the filter of the blood of the cross of Jesus.
We read in James 2:18: “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” James was speaking about being justified in the eyes of men. Notice that the Apostle James plainly says, “SHEW ME” and “I WILL SHEW YOU.” This is speaking about being justified in the eyes of men by our works, because men cannot see our heart. Albeit, Genesis 15:6 teaches that Abraham was justified BY FAITH, without works. We must rightly divide the word of truth as 2nd Timothy 2:15 teaches. Many psuedo-scholars butcher the Bible. With God we are justified by faith alone; but with men we can only be justified by our works because men cannot see our heart (1st Samuel 16:7).
And may I say, although a changed life is the FRUIT of genuine repentance, and not a part of saving faith, it is wrong to mandate such changes for salvation itself. I certainly question the salvation of anyone who professes to be a Christian, while still living in open sin; such as, Dave Mustaine of the Rock band MEGADETH, and Alice Cooper, and the porn star I mentioned earlier. However, only God knows if they are truly saved. The reason why I doubt the salvation of Alice Cooper and Dave Mustaine is because of their shallow testimonies, speaking of praying a prayer to get saved. I know it is hard to stomach hearing a transvestite profess to be a Christian (as Ray Comfort attempts to use to justify the heresy of Lordship Salvation), but only God knows a person's heart.
Solomon was a mega sex pervert, having sexual relations with at least 1,000 whores. Solomon was a Christian. In Judges 16:1 we read that Samson (God's man) went in unto a harlot to have sex with her. Samson is in Heaven today, because he was a Christian. I'm not trying to lessen the awfulness of sin, God forbid. What I am trying to accomplish in this article is to convince you from the Bible that salvation is a free gift, which has absolutely nothing to do with the manner in which we choose to live. Many religious hypocrites are trying to force people to forsake sins, by adding holiness and living a consecrated life to the plan of salvation. It is heresy!
The following MP3 sermon by Pastor Jack Hyles settles the issues, brilliantly explaining the matter from the Bible. I plead with you to listen to this sermon, titled, “STEPS IN SANCTIFICATION (OR, THE ROOT OF ALL HERESY),” which I like to call . . .
Although becoming a born-again child of God is NOT a process, a growing in grace process does begin at the time of salvation and continue throughout life (1st Peter 2:2). This process of growth is the direct result of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Just as a newborn baby must learn to crawl before it can walk or run, so must a new convert grow in the knowledge of God. Every believer must go through the trial of their faith to please God (Hebrews 11:6; 1st Peter 1:7). A faith MUST be tested! The faith you placed in Christ to be saved is the same faith that carries you through the Christian life, and it's all by God's grace. A believer's faith never dies out, quits, nor disappears. People who claim that they "used to be saved" are liars. They may have had the psychology of Christianity, or have belonged to some religious organization, or what have you; but they were never born-again to begin with if they're not saved now. IF SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED!
The Bible says that the Christian walks by faith and not by sight (2nd Corinthians 5:7). Most believers choose, sinfully so, to walk by sight; they are carnally-minded and worldly (Luke 8:14; Romans 12:1-2; 1st Corinthians 3:1; 5:1-5). Does this mean they are not saved? You don't know by merely observing. The Bible is filled with examples of believers who sinned horribly: David, Jacob, Noah, Samson, Jonah and Solomon. They all sinned horribly at times; yet they were saved. It is important to notice that of all the believers who sinned in the Bible, not one of them attempted to justify their sins, parading up and down the street like homosexuals do, and defying the Law of God. This is the difference between heathens like Marsha Stevens, a proud lesbian who claims to be a Christian; versus the Apostle Peter, who wept bitterly over his sins. Judas claimed to be a Christian also, but Jesus said Judas had a devil (John 6:70).
Salvation is more than mere head knowledge or acknowledgment of some historical data concerning a man who once lived by the name of Jesus. Salvation is when you personally believe that Jesus is the Christ, the only begotten Son of God, Who died for YOUR sins on the cross and rose up the third day. If that's you, then you are my beloved brother or sister in the Lord.
The Bible instructs us as believers to judge “righteous judgment” (John 7:24). We are to separate from carnal believers who indulge in sinful living, and from those who attempt to justify sin (1st Corinthians 5:11). Romans 16:17 reads, "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them." Biblically, we are supposed to expose false prophets and contend for the faith. Certainly, we are not wrong to question the salvation of those who live contrary to the Scriptures. In 2nd Corinthians 13:5 the Apostle Paul questioned the salvation of certain members of the church at Corinth.
In a way, each believer DOES have a license to sin; meaning, a believer is safe and secure in the arms of the Savior, regardless of the sins they commit. BUT, no one, and I mean no one, has God's permission to sin. Romans 6:14-15, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” Plainly, these Scriptures teach that just because a believer is no longer under the curse of God's Law, does not give us the right to continue in sin. God expects some changes and He wants to make them for us. 1st John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” What a precious Savior!!!
ROOT versus FRUIT of the Believer's Faith
It is important to discern between the ROOT of a believer's faith; and the FRUIT of a believer's faith. The FRUIT should be present in the life of a genuine believer, but that believer will still falter at times... “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief” (Proverb 24:16). There should be some type of evidence of a changed life to validate a person's claim of being a true Christian. HOWEVER, YOU CANNOT MANDATE SUCH CHANGES FOR SALVATION. This is NOT a part of saving faith. It is the result of genuine repentance. In other words, a person should live right because THEY ARE a believer, and not live right as a prerequisite in order to be saved. If someone claims to be a Christian, but their life denies their words, then I certainly am going to doubt their testimony. This is Biblical. But that doesn't mean they aren't saved. It just means that I don't think they are saved. I cannot know for certain whether you are saved or not, accept from the direct testimony from your mouth or writings.
I am not going to fabricate a false doctrine, as the Lordship Salvation crowd has done, to require sinners to cease from sinning in order to qualify for salvation. I am not going to deny the Biblical teaching of Eternal Security and require believers to endure in holy living to be saved. That would be Works Salvation (human effort). Such damnable heresies corrupt the simplicity that is in Christ (2nd Corinthians 11:3). Eternal life is a free gift (Romans 5:15;6:23), paid for by Jesus' precious, literal, redeeming, blood (1st Peter 1:18,19). We have no part in salvation except to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:43; 16:31). God does the saving, all of it!
Does a Sinful Lifestyle Have to Be Forsaken to Be Saved?
When a sinner turns to Jesus Christ by faith to be saved, that person's sins are forgiven. They have forsaken their sins already in their heart, for a man cannot even be saved without acknowledging his SINNERSHIP. This doesn't necessarily mean that such a person will have a desire to stop committing sins, nor does it mean that they hate sin. It just means that they have acknowledged their sinnership before God.
A man asks, “Do I have to stop cheating on my taxes to be saved?” That's the wrong question. The question should be, “Will the Lord forgive a man who is cheating on his taxes?” When the women allegedly CAUGHT IN THE VERY ACT of adultery was dragged before Jesus in John Chapter 8, Jesus wrote something on the ground and they all left one-by-one until they were all gone. I think Jesus drew a picture of a man on the ground (but I don't know for certain). As the older scribes and Pharisees figured it out first, they left; and then the younger men figured it out eventually and departed in their self-righteous shame. I think Jesus drew a picture of a man on the ground to say to all of those hypocrites... WHERE'S THE MAN? You brought the woman whom you claimed was caught in the very act; so why did you not bring the man too? The reason is because they had condemned the women, but let the man go. They were hypocrites. Jesus had them on the spot. Their plot backfired on them horribly so.
Does an individual need to stop living in sin to be saved? No. We know that a person must realize their guilt of sin (Romans 3:19) and believe on Jesus Christ for salvation (Acts 16:31). But does a person actually have to forsake those sins to be saved? You forsook them the minute you trusted Christ to be forgiven of them. What you're really asking is, do I have to stop committing deliberate sins to be saved? The answer is no, because we all sins deliberately every day. We shouldn't, and God will hold us accountable for each deed, work, and word spoken; but our salvation rests in what Jesus did for us, and not in what we can do for Him. Eternal life is receiving, not giving. We are saved by trusting, not by trying. Salvation is a take proposition, not a give proposition.
True Biblical repentance (Greek: metanoeo) means “a change of mind,” i.e., acknowledging one's guilt of sin before God (Romans 3:19), which compels a man to believe on the name of Jesus Christ. The “turning” is not from the act of sin itself; but rather, TURNING TO THE LORD to be forgiven from the condemnation which sin has brought upon all mankind (Romans 3:19-23; 5:12). Repentance is more than just realizing that I have done wrong, it is acknowledging my guilt of violating God's holy Law and turning by faith to Jesus, the Christ, to be forgiven. Lordship Salvationists have perverted the Gospel. Charles Spurgeon said that God will never save a person in their sins, but from their sins. I agree with that, in the sense that God saves us to deliver us from sin. But Spurgeon didn't mean that God won't save a person who is not ready to forsake certain pet sins and sinful bah habits.
“'Repentance' is a grace. Some people preach it as a condition of salvation. Condition of nonsense! There are no conditions of salvation.” —Charles Spurgeon
SOURCE: http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0044.htm (Charles Spurgeon, from a sermon titled, REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE, preached at the New Park Street Chapel, Southwark, on Sept. 23, 1855)
Amen! Spurgeon is correct! Don't ever allow any reprobate to convince you that Charles Spurgeon taught Lordship Salvation. Actually, Spurgeon DID teach heresy in some of his sermons (as all preachers who've really been preaching for a lifetime do). However, form considering the WHOLE of all of Spurgeon's sermons and writings, it becomes clearly evident that he didn't believed in Lordship Salvation. The quote I just gave you proves my point.
The heretics who teach Lordship Salvation teach that repentance and faith are two separate steps to salvation, and that faith alone in Christ is insufficient to save anyone unless they've turned away from their sinful lifestyle too. They are liars! Salvation is receiving, not giving. Salvation is turning to Jesus to be forgiven of one's sins, NOT turning from one's sins in order to be forgiven by Jesus. There's a big difference. The former truth places salvation unconditionally in the hands of God; but the latter lie conditions salvation upon the self-righteousness of men. My salvation is rooted in the PROMISES of God. Titus 1:2, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”
In a sense, every believer DOES have a license to sin, i.e., one's salvation is not conditioned upon works. Romans 4:5 plainly states this: "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." You need HIS righteousness!!! Don't you dare go say that Brother Stewart said Christians have a license to sin. That's not what I said. Romans 3:31 commands believers to fulfil the law, even though we are no longer under the curse of the law. No one has God's permission to live in sin. NO ONE! I am simply saying that a believer cannot lose their salvation. We were not saved by good works, and we cannot be lost by bad works. The only work by which a man can be saved is to believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 6:28-29).
As I've pointed out from Romans 3:31 and Romans 6:15, God expects us to fulfil God's Law as believers. Anyone who would rejoice in the fact that they can live like Hell and still go to Heaven has never experienced true saving repentance (a change of attitude). Hebrews 12:6-8 teaches that God chastises and scourges His children when they sin, otherwise they are not God's children. No genuine believer can happily live in sin, because God's Holy Spirit Who indwells them will convict them.
It's been said that faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone. In other words, saving faith should produce works as the FRUIT of faith. If faith doesn't produce works, then something is radically wrong. And I'll tell you what is wrong, churches do not mentor converts. Part of The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 is to indoctrinate new converts with Christ's teachings (the Word of God). We are saved by faith alone. Pastors need to stop accusing worldly believers of not being saved and instead help mentor them back to spiritual maturity. The Apostle Paul called the believers at the church at Corinth “babes in Christ” and “carnal” (1st Corinthians 3:1).
Thus, if we have truly been found in Christ, then our faith should compel us to live for God; but without proper mentoring, we cannot reasonable expect babes in Christ to grow on their own. The Holy Spirit is our Teacher (John 16:13), but new believers need to be taught about the Holy Spirit. If it were not important to teach new converts, then God would not have included it in The Great Commission. Most churches win folks to Christ and then never follow-up, boasting of the number of souls saved. This is why we have so many worldly believers nowadays. New believers need to be mentored with Bible-preaching, Christian fellowship and believer's baptism into a local church.
God Does Not Approve of Believers Who Sin
Romans 3:31 states: "Do we then make void the law through faith? God Forbid: Yea, We Establish the Law." Just because a born-again person is free from under the condemnation of the Law, it does NOT give him or her permission to sin; rather, we must establish the law and keep it. Does a believer have a license to sin? ... "Yes!" A believer can sin without fear of going to Hell. If this is not true, then the Bible is lying in Romans 4:5, Ephesians 2:8,9 and Titus 3:5—which all plainly state that salvation is NOT by works! Get mad at God because He said it. However, no believer has God's permission to sin, nor to make light of evil. God hates sin and commands every believer to hate sin (Psalm 97:10; Hebrews 1:9).
The Bible clearly warns all believers in Hebrews 12:5 that God WILL chastise His own children. Listen friend, no one is going to get away with anything. I think oftentimes that many people get frustrated with the simple plan of salvation because they think being saved gives believers a ticket to hurt and abuse others—IT DOES NOT! Romans 12:19 clearly teaches that God will "repay" (Greek: punish) those who defraud and hurt others. This includes believers (2nd Corinthians 5:10). 1st Thessalonians 4:6 is a warning to all believers not to defraud each other because God will "avenge." Why would God have to say something like like that? Why would God have to assure us that justice will eventually be executed? Simply because sometimes we cannot obtain justice in this world. God is more fair than any human judge could ever be. We will receive justice and restitution at some point (or else the Bible is a fraud and God is not Holy). God's Judgment Seat and Laws supercede any of man's courts or laws. The Supreme Court may say that abortion is legal and acceptable, but God says it is cold-blooded murder. If someone wrongs you, whether there is a law against it or not, God WILL avenge you if it was wrong. A man desperately tried to stop his separated wife from aborting their child, she did it anyway with the backing force of the courts and law enforcement. That wife will stand trial before God for murder and her husband and child will receive justice.
So don't think that Christians have permission to sin. On the contrary, believers will be held more accountable to God if they are deliberately sinning in the knowledge of the truth. They have been enlightened. They know better.
No one has God's permission to live in sin; nevertheless, the Bible does teach that God only requires simple child-like faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved and eternally secure. To those false prophets who would add holy living and works as requirements to receive the gift of God... you are in league with the Devil. No person can be saved by good works; and no man can be lost by bad works. Salvation cannot be by God's grace AND works (Romans 11:6). The Bible declares that it is through a person's FAITH by God's GRACE that they are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9). Titus 3:5 proclaims, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done..." No person is saved by works, or lost by lack of them. When the Apostle James speaks of "works," he clearly says to show "me" your faith without your works. You see friend, we are justified with mankind by works because he cannot see into our heart; but with God we are justified by faith because He can see into our heart (1st Samuel 16:7). If you add "works" to your faith, then it is no faith at all and you are still bound for Hell in your self-righteousness.
Please don't allow anyone to deceive you on this matter—you do NOT have to live above sin to be saved. I'm not saying that God approves of such wickedness. I'm simply saying that eternal life is a free gift. Can any believer live above sin? Of course not (but we can live above reproach). I don't care how close you get to God, you will always sin as long as you are in the flesh. I am not condoning sin, not one bit. I am just saying that human beings cannot escape the “body of this death” as the Apostle Paul called it (See Romans 7:14-24). We are flesh, which makes us inherently hateful, greedy, lustful, envious, et cetera. It's in our tainted blood. The ONLY escape is through the blood sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who lived a sinless life and is the perfect Lamb of God.
Only when believers walk in the Spirit of God can we live righteously. Galatians 2:20 teaches that Christ lives the Christian life through us (Christ liveth in me). The Christian life is not hard to live... it's impossible! Jesus wants to live the Christian life through us, if we'll let Him. Unfortunately, no Christian walks in the Spirit ALL the time. We are still cursed by the flesh. We shouldn't sin, but as long as we are in the flesh we will sin at times. It is a dangerous thing to teach (as the Charismatic Pentecostals and Seventh-Day Adventists do) that a person needs to maintain good works to keep their salvation. It is a lie of the Devil. To go to Heaven, God only requires a simple child-like faith in THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. We are eternally safe in Christ, apart from our own faults, sins and shortcomings in the flesh. To teach otherwise is to negate the gift of God, which is eternal life (Romans 6:23).
Howbeit, no Christian has God's permission to sin. Just because we are saved and can live in sin without fear of going to Hell doesn't give us permission to do so. 2nd Corinthians 5:10 plainly warns that every believer will stand trial at the Judgment Seat of Christ, to be judged according to his works (i.e., the good and the bad). This will be a civil court; not a criminal court. The condemnation of the believer's sin is taken away by the blood of Jesus; but the consequences of the sins themselves must be given account for. 1st Corinthians 3:15 tells us that some believers will have no rewards in Heaven. Tears will flow. There will be sorrow and remorse for our sins and failures of this life.
Do believers have a license to sin? Yes, in a sense! Our salvation rests upon the redeeming work of Jesus Christ, and not upon our own self-righteousness. However, no believer has God's permission to sin and Hebrews 12:6-8 promises that God will chastise his children who do live in sin. No genuine believer can live in sin and truly be happy, because the Holy Spirit of God will convict the soul. Nevertheless, our salvation is not conditional upon our works, good or bad. Salvation is the unconditional gift of God—paid for by Jesus' precious redeeming blood (1st Peter 1:18,19). Thank you Lord Jesus!!!
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