I’ve heard someone ask if as believers in Jesus Christ, would we be kept from heaven if we were die with unconfessed sin in our lives. I would say ‘No’, if you died with unconfessed sin in your life that would not keep you from heaven if you are a born again, blood-bought believer in Jesus Christ. The proposed question sounds more along the lines of Catholicism for this is exactly what they believe. Their faith is based on works of man-not on the the finished works of Christ Jesus.
For those who believe that you would perish for eternity if you died with unconfessed sin, what happens if you sin (whether accidental or purposeful) and you are suddenly killed in a car crash or some sort of accident in life; or you suddenly die from a stroke or heart attack; or if you were suddenly martyred for your faith? Will you then die and be eternally separated from Christ because you weren’t so careful to immediately confess your sin? Does not God’s grace cover us? Or is God’s grace even involved?
Many will stress repentance! They will say we must repent, repent, repent. I agree, we must repent before the Lord to receive salvation and we should maintain a life of continued repentance after being born again because we will mess up in this life-whether it be intentional or unintentiional. We are going to sin in this life because even though we have been given a new spirit at the moment of conversion to Christ, we still live in the frail tent of this body which is still bent towards sin (Romans 5 & 7). I see so many putting it all back on themselves to maintain and keep themselves saved based on their ability to live a sinless life and/or confess every single sin they commit so as not to lose their salvation. I’m sorry but that truly saddens me. Jesus died and rose from the grave for so much more than that. His work in this life accomplished what God’s Law was never able to do. We should have victory in Jesus and freedom in Him to know He loves us and has saved us from our sins-a freedom that doesn’t hang over our head every minute of the day leaving us wondering whether we are still saved!. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!! (Gal 5:1)
Of course this doesn’t mean we just go out and start sinning and living however we want-why would it?. I’m not sure why people automatically jump to that conclusion. When one is born again, they are filled with the Spirit of the living God which changes them, leads them towards holiness, His Word and living a life to reach others with the same awesome salvation they have received. I know when the night I was born again, I instantly quit swearing, stopped drinking alcohol and suddenly wanted to read the Bible. No one told me to do these things I just inherently wanted to do them. Why? Because I had received a new Spirit. I didn’t get saved and then think to myself “Hmmm, now that I’m saved let me go out an sin it up!”. No, I wanted to draw closer to the Lord. Now as time progressed I continued to draw near to the Lord but also the temptations of sin and this world presented themselves. I had to continually kill the flesh and draw near to Christ but there have been times that I didn’t do EVERYTHING possible to always draw near to Christ and have done some worldly things. I have gotten off the exact path at times. I’ve messed up many times and I have sinned many times. But guess what? The grace of Christ always draws me back to Him though and convicts me of things that are either displeasing or that He may have me change. It’s a process in this life-it’s the process of sanctification and it’s just that…a process.
Our sins have been covered-all of our sins: past, present and future-by the blood of Jesus. When we as believers confess before the Lord that we have sinned and ask for forgiveness, its more about putting us back in right relationship with the Lord-about us drawing nearer to Him because sin always separates. Now as a Christian, if I sin it can put separation between myself and the Lord-it doesn’t mean I lose my salvation but rather that my relationship with Him is strained.
A good example of this would be earthly marriage. In marriage, we come into covenant with our spouse (just as we come into covenant in our relationship with Jesus). Now if I do something that hurts my spouse (ie; yell at them, lie to them, say something mean, not being transparent and honest with them, slander them, be irresponsible, etc.) it doesn’t mean I’m not married any longer or even that my spouse no longer loves me, it simply means my marriage becomes strained until I ask forgiveness and get right with my spouse. (Now I know some will bring up adultery and murder but I’m talking about an Earthly example to use as a word picture). If I was to yell at my spouse and then die suddenly without asking forgiveness from them, would they love me any less when I died? Would it make me any less their spouse? Of course not. The same is true and even more so regarding our relationship with the Lord.
I’m not saying you are saved without repentance. Repentance accompanies salvation and it accompanies our lives in Christ. I will make this statement. Someone doesn’t go to hell because of their sin. Now I know some may get into an uproar at that statement but what does the Bible say? The Bible says in 1 John 2:2 that ‘Jesus already died for the sins of the whole world’. Sin has already been atoned for-the work of the cross is finished. No, a person doesn’t go to hell for their sin but they go to hell because they have rejected God’s one and only Son (John 3:18, 36; 6:28-29, 40; Mark 15:15-16). It isn’t necessarily a sin issue-it’s a faith/belief/trust issue. One goes to hell because they refuse to surrender and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ. One goes to heaven and inherits eternal life, not because of their works but rather because of their confession and faith/trust/belief in the work of Jesus Christ. Of course believing in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation includes confession of sin, surrender to Him, belief on Him as the spotless Lamb of God, the sinless Son of God and trusting alone in His works to save us. Thus when we come back to this issue of confessing every sin at every moment, it doesn’t hold the same weight. Yes we should most definitely confess our sins before the Lord-whether its from something we know we did at that moment, or whether the Holy Spirit convicts us of something done earlier but either way, we should be secure in knowing we trust in Jesus Christ, what He has already accomplished for us and that He is always interceding for us before the Father. We are safe in His hands and in His hands alone.
Sin was originally the issue-thus the reason for the the Law originally being given (another post for another time) for the Law shows us our sinfulness (Rom 3:19-20; Rom 7:7; Gal 5:24). Sin in a sense is still the issue because when one doesn’t accept the sacrifice made by the Lord Jesus Christ, his sin is still in play and keeps him separated from God but if you lookat what the New Testament really says, it puts the emphasis on our faith/belief in Jesus as being the component whether we spend eternity with God and are saved or whether we reject the Son and thus are condemned.
John 3:18: He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:36: He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.
So yes, when one does NOT confess/repent/believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation, God’s wrath remains on them because sin still separates them from God. But in essence its still about belief or unbelief-sin becomes the secondary byproduct of rejecting the Son, hence: If I reject the Son, THEN my sin becomes the issue.
The bigger point I’m trying to make here is it is not is an issue of works for the believer (trying to constantly confess every sin) but rather one of faith and trust. Our faith and trust in Christ will produce Godly repentance because when we come to Christ we are to be born again (if one truly comes to Christ) which provides us with a new spirit man inside of us that is from the Lord. That new spirit man/spirit nature is of the Lord and continually draws us to Him, thus leading a Christian to repent of sin throughout their walk with God because of the grace bestowed upon them by the Lord. The believer should not have to walk in fear of trying to constantly confess every sin they commit but can graciously come to the Lord to ask for forgiveness for their sin (all sins they have committed) to restore them to right relationship to their Heavenly Father. (1 John 1:9; Heb 4:16)
The Lord loves us. He desires for us to live for Him. He desires for us to take up our cross and follow Him. We should always be in a state of confession and openness before the Lord, asking Him to forgive us daily-even though technically, His sacrifice already covered all our sins: Past, Present and Future. The Bible tells us in 1 John 1:9 ‘If we confess our sin, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleans us from all unrighteousness.’! Our God is gracious and compassionate. He is full of mercy and grace. Jesus died for the sins (1 John 2:1) and He is always there to speak to the Father in our defense (1 John 2:2) because He always lives to intercede for us (Heb 7:25). Glory be to God in the highest.