How much sin can I commit and still be saved?

I hope you’re asking that out of a feeling that you might be too bad of a sinner to be saved. If you’re asking the question because you want to be saved but still want to go on living in sin as much as you can--then you probably aren’t saved to start with!

The answer is, you can be guilty of all the sin in the world and still be saved. But it’s difficult to be saved if your idea of salvation is to keep on sinning like you did before you came to accept Christ--that is, with no feeling of guilt or recognition over your lifestyle leading to a desire to act differently. The blood of Christ washes away our sins--past, present and future, but to be placed in a position to take advantage of that blessing, we must repent--that is, change our attitude about the way we have been living our lives, and through that change of mind change our behavior. Here are some scriptures which deal with sin in the life of a Christian.

About what our heart’s attitude toward sin should be.

King James Bible

New Jerusalem Bible

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

But whoso keepth his (God’s) word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby we know that we are in him.

He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also to walk, even as he walked.

--1st John 2:3-6

In this way we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.

Whoever says, ‘I know him’ without keeping his commandments is a liar, and truth has no place in him.

But anyone who does keep his word, in such a one God’s love truly reaches its perfection.

This is the proof that we are in God. Whoever claims to remain in such a person must act as he acted.

--1st John 2:3-6

Yet at the same time about whether we will ever end the sin in our lives.

King James Bible

New Jerusalem Bible

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

--1st John 1:8-10

If we say, ‘we have no sin,’ we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth has no place in us.

If we acknowledge our sins, he is trustworthy and upright, so that he will forgive our sins and will cleanse us from all evil.

If we say, ‘We have never sinned,’ we make him a liar and his word has no place in us.

--1st John 1:8-10

And why it’s so hard not to sin even though  we want to do good.

King James Bible

New Jerusalem Bible

I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present within me.

For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

--Romans 7:21-25

So I find this rule: that for me, where I want to do nothing but good, evil is close at my side.

In my inmost self I dearly love God’s law, but

I see acting on my body there is a different law which battles against the law in my mind.

So I am brought to be a prisoner of that law of sin which lives inside my body.

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body doomed to death?

God--thanks be to Him--through Christ Jesus our Lord.

So it is that I myself with my mind obey the law of God, but in my discordant nature I obey the law of sin.

--Romans 7:21-25

And, knowing we will always be sinners, whether we can then freely commit sin without fear of Hell because we have now been saved.

King James Bible

New Jerusalem Bible

What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

Know ye not, to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

--Romans 6:15-16

What is the implication? That we are free to sin, now that we are not under law but under grace? Out of the question!

You know well that if you undertake to be someone’s slave and obey him, you are the slave of him who you obey: you can be the slave of either sin which leads to death, or of obedience which leads to saving justice.

--Romans 6:15-16

The bottom line is, sin always leads to some sort of “death,” even if death is defined as nothing more serious than "negative consequences". And the more we arrange our lifestyle in ways that are against those approved by God, the more we will push God out of our lives, to the point where some of us could simply fall away from Christ through the apathy and disinterest that are the fruit of willfully living a lifestyle of sin. But at the same time, while God calls on us to live our lives in a manner consistent with Christianity, and while obedience to the precepts of Biblical Commandments is a part of that, we are to live that lifestyle because and as proof we have been saved, not as a means of getting saved or even staying saved. The wrong emphasis on obedience sends many to Hell simply because their religious leaders themselves have misunderstood what the Bible teaches on the subject, and interpreted passages like 1st John 2:3 to say that salvation ultimately depends not on faith in Christ's righteousness alone, but also on our own righteousness which is based on how well we follow those Commandments.

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