Who Are Christians?
A Christian is an individual who has wholly given themself to God through Jesus Christ. A Christian is one who, believing in Jesus, has made the good confession, repented of past sins, and been washed in the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, by immersion into the watery grave of baptism, in order to receive the forgiveness of sins.
A Christian has had his or her sins forgiven, by God, through Jesus Christ. And who, from that time forward, continues to “walk in the newness of life.,” Romans 6:4.
Can a Christian Sin?
Some teach that once a person has become a Christian it is impossible for them to commit sin. These teachers claim that a Christian can, in no way, transgress God’s law. When asked, “What happens when a Christian sins?” their answer usually comes across in this manner, “Well… a person claiming to be a Christian who then sins was never truly a Christian to begin with.” With that logic, how can one ever know that he or she is truly a Christian? Who can ever be spiritually secure with that line of thinking?
Friends, we can know assuredly that we are Christians – that we are saved if we “have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered,” Romans 6:17.
What is the Doctrine?
What form or pattern of doctrine? The commandments of Christ (John 12:48) and the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42), which includes the righteous works of faith (John 6:28-29; Acts 8:37), confession (Matthew 10:32-33; Romans 10:10), repentance (Luke 13:3; Acts 3:19), and baptism (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 22:16).
What Does Happen When a Christian Sins?
Yet the question remains, “What does happen when a Christian sins?”
We must first recognize that Christians do sin (1 John 1:8, 10). If Christians sin and sinners sin, what is the difference between the two?
Observe the following comparisons:
- Sinners are enslaved to sin; faithful Christians have been freed from sin.
- Sinners are spiritually dead; faithful Christians are spiritually alive.
- Sinners live a sinful lifestyle; faithful Christians live a lifestyle that does not include willful sin.
Sin is described as willful, when one has chosen sin. Willful sin can be a sin of omission, such as when one chooses not to attend worship services (Hebrews 10:25; James 4:17), or it can be a sin of commission, such as when one chooses to drink alcoholic beverages.
When a Christian commits willful sin, he or she has become unfaithful. If a Christian continues to willfully live in sin and dies in that condition, he or she is worse off than the alien sinner (2 Peter 2:20). So then, the major difference between a sinner or unfaithful Christian and a faithful Christian is seen in the choices they make.
One group makes lifestyle choices that are centered upon self and the other group makes lifestyle choices that are centered upon Christ. When a Christian willfully sins and refuses to repent, that person is lost.
“But what about when a Christian sins incidentally?”
Sin is described as incidental when it is unplanned or not motivated by ungodly desire. Such as when one accidentally drops a brick on his toe and consequently uses foul or disgusting language. Perhaps in such a situation one did not intentionally plan to use improper or immoral language, but in the heat of the moment, it just happened.
Another example of this type of incidental sin that Christians sometimes fall into is out of ignorance, such as when one is unsure if something is sinful or not – and does it anyway.
“And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”— Romans 14:23
Is this incidental type of sin still fatal? Yes, if the Christians does not repent. Sin is what separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2).
God does not distinguish between levels and varieties of sin.
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”— Revelation 21:8
Every kind of lie is condemned, even “little white lies.” To God, all sin is abomination.
“Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity”— Habakkuk 1:13
All sin carries the same punishment: “For the wages of sin is death…, ” Romans 6:23.
But there is good news for those who have sinned. Coming into contact with the saving blood of Jesus Christ will purify and justify the transgressor in the eyes of God. For the non-Christian that contact is made by faith, confession, repentance and baptism.
For the unfaithful child of God, the blood of Jesus will cleanse him from sin once more, through repentance and confession that he or she has sinned and by fervent prayer. The faithful Christian who sins, because he or she is faithful, is one who by godly habit and spiritual exercise, constantly goes to God in prayer and supplication, in recognition their continuing need for God’s grace and their own “unprofitable-ness” (Luke 17:10).
by Jack McNiel