If it’s possible to live a life of deliberate sin and still go to heaven, then some Christians might choose to take advantage of God’s grace and devote their life to intentionally sinning every day.
If it’s not possible to live a life of deliberate sin and still go to heaven, then some Christians might spend their life wondering if they are going to hell because of their ongoing struggle with sin.
Why we can live a life of deliberate sin
1. If we can’t live a life of deliberate sin, can we live a year of deliberate sin, or a month of deliberate sin, or a week of deliberate sin, or a moment of deliberate sin? Where do we draw the line? And what happens if we have a bad week or a bad month or even a bad year?
2. If we can’t live a life of deliberate sin, does this mean that Jesus only paid for accidental sin? If so, is it even possible to commit an accidental sin? Isn’t all sin to some extent deliberate?
3. If we can’t live a life of deliberate sin, what do we do with sins of omission? The Bible teaches that sin includes both sins of commission (i.e. doing wrong things) and sins of omission (i.e. failing to do right things). A day spent avoiding doing wrong things is not necessarily a day without sin.
4. If we can’t live a life of deliberate sin, why did Jesus expect us to sin daily? In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus says: “Give us today our daily bread”. So we know that this is a prayer that Jesus expects us to pray daily. He then says: “Forgive us our sins”. So no matter how much we may try not to sin, Jesus fully expects that we will need to confess our sin daily.
5. If we can’t live a life of deliberate sin, how do we make sure we don’t start thinking that we deserve heaven because of our willingness to avoid sin? The Bible teaches that we are saved by grace “so that no one can boast” (Eph 2:9). If our willingness to avoid sin affects where we spend eternity, we would have grounds to boast because we would feel that we are better than those who don’t avoid sin.
6. If we can’t live a life of deliberate sin, why does the Bible teach that some Christians will get to heaven and have nothing to show for their life, but will still be saved? “If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames” (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).
7. If we can’t live a life of deliberate sin, how could the Bible teach that we receive eternal life at the point of salvation? If the level of our sin affected where we ended up, our eternal destination could only be determined at the end of our life.
8. If we can’t live a life of deliberate sin, what do we do about the fact that our sinful nature continues to crave sin? “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it” (Romans 7:18-20)
What God does to motivate us not to sin
The Bible teaches that there are lots of reasons why Christians won’t want to live a life of deliberate sin. It’s just that none of these determine our eternal destination.
1. God motivates us not to sin by giving us the the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s job is to wage war against our sinful nature. There is no way a person can receive the Holy Spirit and stay the same.
2. God motivates us not to sin by reminding us of what He has done for us. We love because Jesus first loved us. We serve because Jesus served us. We forgive because Jesus forgave us. We live for God because Jesus died for us.
3. God motivates us not to sin by reminding us that sin is destructive. When a person becomes a Christian they ‘repent’. Repent means to change our mind. We know longer see sin as something to be embraced. We realize that it is destructive and that it destroys our relationships and our lives.
4. God motivates us not to sin by reminding us that He’s willing to discipline us. The Bible teaches that “the Lord disciplines the one he loves” (Proverbs 3:12). If we continue to embrace sin without any hint of repentance, God will discipline us so that we will get our lives back on track.
5. God motivates us not to sin by reminding us that there are rewards in heaven. The Bible teaches that where we spend eternity is determined by how we respond to Jesus. But our experience in eternity is determined by how faithful we were with the opportunities to serve God.
So in theory a Christian can live a life of deliberate sin because Jesus paid for all our deliberate sin. But in practice, there are many reasons why a Christian will find themselves not wanting to live a life of deliberate sin.