Mailbag: Can Christians Still Go To Hell If They Sin After Asking For Forgiveness?

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M wrote:

I came here looking for answers to an issue I have had with a cheating ex and why God continues to bless him with the girl he cheated on me with, as well as he has cheated on her, too and she knows nothing about any of it. I came here for advice and answers, but I read your response to one of the people who already wrote in and you quoted a passage from the Bible that says there will be fiery consequences for thfose who ask for forgiveness yet continue to sin. Does that mean that saved people, those who have become born again Christians can still go to hell if they sin after asking forgiveness for sins they already committed?

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Dear M,

I assume that you are referring to my post on Hebrews 10:26-27. That passage says,

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. (NIV)

Ongoing sin suggests someone is not a follower of Christ. I say suggest as only God knows for certain as only God sees our hearts.

That said, this passage in Hebrews is bolstered by the teaching in I John 3:6. These Scriptures make it crystal clear that a follower of Christ will not engage in ongoing, unrepentant sin. If they do, then that raises the question if they are truly Christians.

Let’s examine this from a more practical stand point. I find it very unlikely the Holy Spirit is indwelling someone who repeatedly chooses to cheat (commit adultery) willfully and lie about it as your ex seems to be doing per your report. Someone with the Holy Spirit inside would be crucified by the guilt over these matters as they are contrary to godliness. The Holy Spirit would not leave them alone until they truly turned from the sin.

And just asking for forgiveness is not enough. We must repent. 

Both Hebrews 10:26-27 and I John 3:6 teach this. A lifestyle change is required. Repentance is needed.

Some may point to I John 1:9 to say that asking is enough, but they fail to read that in context. They do not read to chapter 3 where John makes it clear that a person who keeps sinning has no living relationship with Jesus (ergo, he or she is not “saved” from the final Judgment.)

God is no fool. He understands that humans sometimes say one thing and do another.

Just saying that we are “‘born again’ Christians” does not make it so. Jesus tells us as much in the Gospel of Matthew when he warns us about Judgment Day when people will call him Lord but find out He does not claim them as His (Mt 7:21-23).

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 7:21, NIV

It is safe to say that committing ongoing adultery and speaking in the tongue of Satan–i.e. lying–does not qualify as doing the Father’s will. So, what does this verse say about those people in regards to entering Heaven?

As far as the injustice of him being “blessed,” I would encourage you with the fact that God will not be mocked over what is sown:

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction;whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. – Galatians 6:7-8, KJV

God sees what is happening. And justice will be delivered either in this life or the next as Scripture states above.

However, I would encourage you to work on not worrying about what is happening to him. Hand him and his drama filled life over to God. Unlike the Prophet Jonah, do not build a smiting shelter.

He is God’s mess now. That why we call them “exes.”

You are free of him. Focus on investing in yourself and your future. You are the faithful spouse, and so, you already are starting from a place of tested character. Build on that. God can truly and eternally bless faithfulness. That is aligned with the Father’s will.

A few final thoughts:

It is okay if you need time in handing over your ex to God. Plus, it is completely understandable that the injustice over him prospering pains you. I can relate as well as many others that come here. Those injustices are real.

But why waste any more energy over this individual when you can use that energy in rebuilding your life and future? 

God will deal with your ex’s sin in one way or another. Trust Him.

Then get busy building your new, incredible life (Jeremiah 29:11)!

Blessings on your journey, M!

-DM

PS If you do have a way to communicate with the OW, then I think it would be kind of you to inform her of the cheating. But you are not obligated to do so. I know I would want to know if I were in her shoes.

 

1 thought on “Mailbag: Can Christians Still Go To Hell If They Sin After Asking For Forgiveness?”

  1. The Lord knows how painful it is to witness the prosperity of people who have deliberately harmed us or others, with no seeming consequences. Psalm 37 says a lot about this, I find it comforting and reassuring when I’m especially sad about the injustice in this world.

    Psalm 37 NASB (excerpts)

    Do not fret because of evildoers,
    Be not envious toward wrongdoers.
    For they will wither quickly like the grass
    And fade like the green herb.
    Trust in the Lord and do good;
    Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
    Delight yourself in the Lord;
    And He will give you the desires of your heart.
    Commit your way to the Lord,
    Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
    He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
    And your judgment as the noonday.
    Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
    Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
    Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes….
    For evildoers will be cut off,
    But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land…
    The wicked plots against the righteous
    And gnashes at him with his teeth.
    The Lord laughs at him,
    For He sees his day is coming…

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