Will One Sin Send Me to Hell?
There is ample scripture to assure anyone attempting to live a life apart from God that one violation of God’s moral law is all that is necessary to make them a rebel in God’s moral government and deserving of death. The question on most people’s mind is “But what about the Christian who sins?”
When individuals commit their entire lives to Jesus Christ in salvation, a fundamental change occurs in their relationship to God. Where before we were only subjects in God’s moral government now we have become children in His household. God becomes our heavenly Father and “whom (a father) loveth he chasteneth” (Prov. 3:12,16 and Heb. 12:6). No, one sin will not get us booted out of God’s household, but it will get us a spanking. If we persist, however, in doing those things that are displeasing to God, then the basic love relationship is put in a precarious position.
Most children fortunate enough to have been brought up in a home where the parents were in love have, nonetheless, likely seen their parents in an occasional spat. Even though these times were unpleasant, it would be ridiculous to look upon an isolated incident and conclude that the parents were no longer in love. If, on the other hand, their conduct was such that they were consistently and knowingly hurting each other, the child would begin to question whether or not there was indeed a motive of love.
To sum up what we have said on the subject of holiness, let’s keep in mind that:
- God expects us to be holy or perfect.
- This holiness is a perfection of motive or heart intention.
- We cannot simultaneously lead a holy life and a selfish life.
- Holiness is living up to all the light we have at any given time.
- The seriousness of sin is weighed according to our understanding of what the will of God is.
When the Bible talks about sin as a manner of life, it always refers to it in the past tense. We must necessarily, and in an act of repentance, turn away from all known sin and humbly reach out to Jesus to cleanse us from our sin and forgive our unrighteousness. If we have not done this, then we have never experienced salvation.
You do not need to know a great deal in order to be a Christian or to be holy, but you must be willing to respond by living up to what you do know. It is just as possible for a two-week-old Christian to live a holy life as it is for a seasoned, mature Christian. We quoted Duncan Campbell at the start of the chapter, “Purity of heart is not (necessarily) maturity of Christian experience.” The mature Christian has a great deal more understanding to be sure, but he is therefore responsible to live up to a great deal more than the babe in Christ. Moral character is what we are doing with our capability of moral response and the amount of light we possess.