Do Christians Have a License to Sin?
by David J. Stewart
Romans 14:12, “So
then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
Romans 3:31, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God Forbid: Yea, We Establish the Law.”
Do Christians have a license to sin? Yes, Biblically in a sense they do, for no Christian can lose their salvation. I'm tired of self-righteous hypocrites going around deciding who's saved and who's not. You have no idea apart from the direct testimony from a person's mouth whether they are saved or not.
No one has God's permission to sin. There's a big difference between a license to sin verses having permission to sin. A lot of religious hypocrites today have crept into the churches, teaching that no one has a license to sin and so a person is not saved if their still living in deliberate sin. That's simply a lie of the Devil. Every Christian believer commits deliberate sins on a daily basis. Gossip is one of the worst, most damaging, and prevalent sins in churches today. Gossip is also one of the most subtle of all sins (and most gossip is true, which makes it so dangerous). Shut your mouth!
Eternal life is a free gift of God. God the Father gave up His only begotten Son as John 3:16 teaches, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Jesus suffered, bled and died for our sins. Jesus was buried and rose again and ascended into Heaven to appear before God on our behalf (Hebrews 9:12,24). It is Jesus' literal precious blood that washes away our sins (1st John 1:7; Revelation 1:5; 7:14). Salvation is ONLY found in the precious name of Jesus (Acts 4:10-12).
I am not teaching that it's ok to sin, God forbid. I'm simply saying that if saved, always saved. No matter how delinquent or rebellious a child may become, one's biological parents can never change. A parent(s) can disown their child, but they can never erase the biological birth that has taken place. The physical, earthly, birth is irreversible (just as is the second, spiritual, birth into God's family). God has PROMISED eternal life (Titus 1:2) to those who believe (John 1:12). Those evil men today, such as Calvinists and Lordship Salvationists, who teach that there can be no salvation without trying to stop sinning are liars of the Devil. You don't have to give anything to be saved, because Jesus gave it all for you and me.
Living a consecrated life and ceasing from one's sinful lusts and bad habits, has absolutely nothing to do with THE GIFT OF GOD (Romans 6:23). Salvation is A GIFT. Eternal life is A GIFT!!! The Bible makes this truth very, very, very clear...
Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
God saved us so we wouldn't live in sin anymore; but God doesn't require that we stop sinning in order to be saved. Some believers do continue in sin, and are miserable like Lot, Solomon and Samson, but God will hold such believers accountable (as God will all of us). No person is without sin. It is not anyone's proper place (nor authoritative place) to change the gospel in an attempt to force people to live right. That's exactly why Calvinists and Lordship Salvationists are trying to do, that is, doing the Holy Spirit's job. God changes lives, not you, not me, not anyone. We trust Christ for salvation and then God changes our life day-by-day as we grow in the sincere milk of the Word (1st Peter 2:2).
No baby can walk, let alone run a marathon. Likewise, a new believer in Christ cannot walk, let alone run for the Lord until they grow spiritually (which takes time, each believer varying in their level of growth, much depending on what type of life they've come out of).
Calvinists and Lordship Salvationists have it all backwards. Calvinists put the cart before the horse, requiring men to stop sinning if they're truly going to be saved. This heresy is called the “Perseverance of the Saints.” This is what the Salvation Army teaches (point number nine in their statement if faith). The Salvation Army (William Booth) teaches that a person must “continue” in faith to be remain saved. This violates the Scriptural teaching of being born-again, which is an instantaneous miracle of God, a new birth. You cannot lose it! We are not saved by good works, and we are not lost by bad works. The second birth is not a process that can stop at any time if a person departs from the faith.
Once your saved, you're SAVED! Followers of John Calvin (1509-1564) believe that if a person is truly saved, they will persevere; but if not, then they are not saved. It is works salvation. This is what Evangelists Paul Washer teaches, and it's a doctrine of devils that corrupts the simplicity that is in Jesus Christ (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4). Eternal life is a free gift that you simply receive by trusting upon the Lord Jesus Christ Who forgives your sins.
The ROOT verses the FRUIT of the Believer's Faith in Christ
Lordship Salvationists are almost identical in false doctrine as Calvinists, but require the changes (works) at the time of salvation. They put the horse in the cart. They mix and confuse the ROOT of a believer's faith (Romans 4:3-5) with the FRUIT of the believer's faith (James 2:21). Abraham was saved in Genesis 15:6 by faith (the root of faith) and justified in the EYES OF GOD; but he was justified in the EYES OF MEN in Genesis 22 (the fruit of faith) when he offered up Isaac in obedience to the Lord's command. Still, Lot had no such fruits and his sons-in-law laughed him to scorn as one who mocked when he tried to warn them of coming judgment (Genesis 19:14). They perished in the fiery destruction of Sodom because of Lot's poor testimony. Yet we know that Lot was saved, a just (righteous) man (2nd Peter 2:7).
Calvinists say that if a person really got saved, then they'll live righteously; so in their little world, if a person has deliberate sin in their life they must have never been saved at all. This is a false gospel. Certainly, I would also question the salvation of a person who lives in open sin; however, only God knows for certain apart from the direct testimony of a person's mouth whether they are saved or not. If a person professes trust in Christ, and that their sins have been forgiven in Christ; we have no right to point fingers and accuse them of being unsaved simply because they are still living in open sin. It's not out place to judge (James 4:12, 5:9).
I frequently receive e-mails from people who are upset at the idea that a person can be saved simply by trusting Jesus Christ as one's personal Savior. In particular, they are upset at the idea that someone can profess faith in Christ and still continue to live in sin, in effect... A LICENSE TO SIN! Like it or not, eternal life is a gift that is freely available (Romans 6:23), freely offered (Romans 10:13), and freely received (Revelation 22:17). The way a person chooses to live has nothing to do with the gift of God available by faith in Christ Jesus. God is going to judge everyone who lives in sin, saved and unsaved alike; but the gift of God has absolutely nothing to do with the decision to stop living in sin.
Revelation 22:17, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
One man who e-mailed me was very sarcastic and thanked me for opening his eyes. He said that he was extremely happy now that he knew he could live in wild sin and still be saved. He said that my teachings on salvation had given him a license to sin. This man is woefully ignorant of the Scriptures. Just because salvation is freely available, freely offered and freely received in Christ Jesus does not give anybody God's permission to live in sin.
The Bible is abundantly clear that “God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14). Jesus said that God will hold all men and women accountable even for the words they speak (Matthew 12:36). The Bible teaches that every person will be individually judged by God (Romans 14:12). Christians will be held accountable for every work done in the flesh, good and bad alike (2nd Corinthians 5:9-11). 1st Thessalonians 4:6 warns against defrauded others, for the Lord will avenge them. Romans 12:19 promises that God will punish evildoers (Romans 12:19). The unsaved will be judged and sentenced to the Lake of Fire, punished according to their works (Revelation 20:11-15).
Christians will be judged for their works, and many will have no rewards at all in Heaven (1st Corinthians 3:15), facing the “terror of the Lord” (2nd Corinthians 5:11). Those believers who never obey the Bible's teaching to share the gospel (Luke 8:15; Romans 10:15; Proverb 11:30; Matthew 28:19-20) will not shine as the brightness of the stars (Daniel 12:3), having never won anyone to Christ. Daniel 12:3, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”
I would like to just share a few thoughts with you on this matter and clear up any misunderstandings. I think the problem that quite a few people have is a lack of understanding about Biblical “repentance.” They confuse the “root” of the believer's faith (Romans 4:3-5) with the “fruit” of the believer's faith (James 2:18-21). The word “repentance” in the Bible concerning salvation means “a change of mind.”
The Bible clearly teaches that repentance is necessary for salvation (Acts 2:38). It is impossible for anyone to be saved without repentance. But what exactly is repentance in the Bible Repentance is when we make a U-turn in our mind concerning Christ and our sins. Dr. Harry Ironside said it well...
"Repentance is the recognition of my sinnership — the owning before God that I am as vile as He has declared me to be in His holy Word."SOURCE: Except Ye Repent, by Dr. Harry Ironside, chapter 3
To be saved my friend, you MUST come to Christ as a SINNER (1st John 1:8-10). If you are not a sinner, then why would you need a Savior? It would not make any sense at all for a self-righteous person to ask Christ for forgiveness. The heathen world does not see themselves as sinful; but rather, unenlightened, uneducated and unevolved. Jesus said that He DIDN'T come to save the self-righteous; but to call sinners to repentance (Matthew 9:13). My point is that you must turn from your “good” image of yourself and confess to God your “sinful” condition. Romans 3:23 declares all men sinners.
It is important to discern between the "root" of a believer's faith; and the "fruit" of a believer's faith. The FRUIT should be present in the life of a genuine believer, but that believer will still falter at times... "For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief" (Proverb 24:16). There should be some type of evidence of a changed life to validate a person's claim of being a true Christian. This is NOT a part of saving faith; It is the result of genuine repentance. In other words, a person should live right because they are a believer; and not live right as a prerequisite in order to be saved. If someone claims to be a Christian, but their life denies their words, then I certainly am going to doubt their testimony. This is Biblical.
However, I am not going to fabricate a false doctrine, as the Lordship Salvation crowd has, to require sinners to cease from sinning in order to qualify for salvation. I am not going to deny the Biblical teaching of Eternal Security and require believers to endure in holy living to be saved. That would be Works Salvation. Such damnable heresies corrupt the simplicity that is in Christ (2nd Corinthians 11:3). Eternal life is a free gift (Romans 5:15;6:23), paid for by Jesus' precious, literal, redeeming blood (1st Peter 1:18,19). We have no part in salvation except to "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 10:43; 16:31).
New Age Rejects the Reality of Sin
“Sin” is a Biblical term, which is why Wiccan witches, heathen humanists and New Agers reject it entirely.
The New Age religion teaches people to connect with their higher self through meditation, yoga and reflective prayer; but these are demonic practices. The Bible says that mankind is inherently sinful, dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). What all men need is to be born-again (or born anew) of the Seed of God's Word by the Spirit of God (1st Peter 1:23; John 3:5-7). Every believer has the Spirit of Christ (the Holy Spirit) dwelling within them (Romans 8:9). 2nd Corinthians 5:17 says that a believer becomes a new creature in Christ. That “new creature” is the Spirit of Christ Who comes to live in our body, soul and spirit. To be “born again” means to have He (Jesus) Who is the beginning (Revelation 1:8) born in you. That only happens in response to one's faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God (John 20:31). Salvation is a miracle of God (John 1:12-13).
The unsaved unrepentant man wants NOTHING to do with God nor His Word (John 3:20). When a person repents, whereas they were living in the pleasures of sin away from God, now they are in agreement with God that their sins are woefully wicked and they turn to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of those sins. This is Biblical repentance.
Most people reject Jesus as their personal Savior and continue their downward spiral into hellfire and damnation. But a FEW people, and only a few (Matthew 7:13-14), decide to come to Christ. It is at the very moment that they decide to turn to Jesus Christ that repentance has taken place. They've "turned" towards the Savior to be forgiven of their sins.
This is quite different than forsaking one's personal sins as a prerequisite to be saved. Some false prophets teach that a person must stop committing sin, or be willing to stop committing sin, in order to qualify for salvation. That is damnable heresy which negates the gift of God. Jesus paid for our sins so we wouldn't have to. All a person needs to do to be saved is to acknowledge their guilt of sin (Romans 3:19) and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be forgiven (Acts 10:43).
I was watching the news one day and heard something disturbing to me as a Christian. A woman who makes a living as a porn model professed to be a Christian. She said that Adam and Eve were naked in the Garden of Eden and she didn't see anything wrong with being naked. You see, she was seeking to justifying her evil deeds. We'll Adam and Eve were the only two people in the world at that time. Mankind has a sinful tendency to rationalize evil into good. Jesus foretold of the time when the unsaved will murder Christians, thinking they are doing God a favor (John 16:2). We are living in apostate times, when pastors are saying it's ok to be gay. America is going to Hell. Our churches are filled with unsaved religious hypocrites who know not the Lord Jesus Christ. They've made commitments to serve God, have joined churches and many claim to have prayed the salvation prayer; but they are as lost as the Devil himself. They've never repented, i.e., come to God as a dirty, rotten, hell-deserving sinner in need of the Savior, Jesus Christ. They've never trusted upon the name of Jesus, the Christ, to forgive their sins.
I am convinced that any porn-star who claims to be a Christian is a liar. Why? Because there is no evidence of salvation. Repentance is supposed to bring forth a changed life (1st Corinthians 5:17). This is what James meant when he said in James 2:18: "Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works." James was speaking about being justified in the eyes of men. With God we are justified by faith alone; but with men we can only be justified by our works because men cannot see our heart (1st Samuel 16:7). A changed life is the FRUIT of genuine repentance; but not a part of saving faith. I wouldn't give you a dime for any believer's testimony who attempts to justify abortion, homosexuality or other sins. Does this mean they are not saved? The Bible is filled with examples of believers who sinned horribly: David, Jacob, Noah, Samson, Jonah and Solomon. They all sinned horribly at times; yet they were saved. It is important to notice that of all the believers who sinned in the Bible, not one of them attempted to justify their sins, parading up and down the street like homosexuals do, and defying the Law of God. This is the difference between heathens like Marsha Stevens, a proud lesbian who claims to be a Christian; versus the Apostle Peter, who wept bitterly over his sins.
The Bible instructs us as believers to judge "righteous judgment" (John 7:24). We are to separate from carnal believers who indulge in sinful living, and from those who attempt to justify sin (1st Corinthians 5:11). Romans 16:17 reads, "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them." Biblically, we are supposed to expose false prophets and contend for the faith. Certainly, we are not wrong to question the salvation of those who live contrary to the Scriptures. In 2nd Corinthians 13:5 the Apostle Paul questioned the salvation of certain members of the church at Corinth.
Do Sins Have to Be Ceased to Be Saved?
Forgiven, yes; ceased, no. Who can stop sinning? Even the mighty Apostle Paul struggled daily with temptation and sin (Romans 7:15-25). Does an individual need to stop living in sin to be saved? No. We know that a person must realize their guilt of sin (Romans 3:19) and believe on Jesus Christ for salvation (Acts 16:30-31); but does a person actually have to cease from committing those sins to be saved? No!
True Biblical repentance (Greek: metanoeo) means “a change of mind,” i.e., acknowledging one's guilt of sin before God (Romans 3:19) and turning to Jesus Christ by faith to be forgiven. The “turning” is not from the act of sin itself; but rather, acknowledging one's sinnership, and TURNING TO THE LORD to be forgiven from the condemnation which sin has brought upon all mankind (Romans 3:19-23; 5:12). Sin brought the curse of death upon all men (Romans 5:12).
Repentance is more than just realizing that I have done wrong, it is acknowledging my guilt of violating God's holy Law and turning by faith to Jesus, the Christ, to be forgiven. Lordship Salvationists have perverted the Gospel. They teach that repentance and faith are two separate steps to salvation, and that faith alone in Christ is insufficient to save anyone unless they've first turned from their sinful lifestyle. They are liars! Salvation is receiving; not giving. Salvation is turning to Jesus to be forgiven of one's sins; NOT turning from one's sins in order to be forgiven by Jesus. There's a big difference. The former places salvation unconditionally in the hands of God; but the latter conditions salvation upon the self-righteousness of men.
Biblical salvation places the BURDEN upon Jesus Christ, Who bore the weight of our sins at Calvary on the cross. In sharp contrast, Calvinists and Lordship Salvationists place the BURDEN of salvation upon the sinner to give up their sins in order to be saved (and what a heavy burden that is). Do you see the drastic difference between the different gospels? Any so-called gospel (plan of salvation) that places a burden upon the sinner to get saved is a false gospel of Satan. Jesus paid it all!!! So if you want to get technical, yes, believers do have a license to sin; but God does not give anyone permission to sin and will hold everyone accountable for the sins they commit.
No one should sin. I've never know one single believer who rejoiced in their salvation so they could go out and live in wild partying and sin. If such a person did exist, it would strongly indicate to me that they were not saved, since they don't have the spirit of repentance in them. You must admit your guilt of sin before God to be saved. A new convert may not be ready to forsake the sins in their life (like drunkenness or shacking up in fornication with a girlfriend), but they will not boast and defy God arrogantly in their sins like the wicked do. Proponents of Lordship Salvation and Calvinism are no better than abortionists who always attempt to use extremes to justify their heresy. Abortionists always bring up the back-alley coat-hanger incident, claiming that women will use coat-hangers to self-abort if it's not legalized. The truth is that no such incident is on record in the United States. it's a ploy by wicked feminists and abortionists to justify their wickedness against God and humans in the womb.
In a sense, every believer DOES have a license to sin, i.e., one's salvation is not conditioned upon works. Romans 4:5 plainly states this: "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." You need HIS righteousness!!! However, a person who is truly saved won't rejoice in their sins because they do have Christ in them. As I've pointed out from Romans 3:31 and Romans 6:15, God expects us to fulfil the Law as believers. Anyone who would rejoice in the fact that they can live like a devil and still go to Heaven has never experienced true saving repentance. Hebrews 12:6-8 teaches that God chastises His children when they sin, otherwise they are not God's children. No genuine believer can happily live in sin, because God's Holy Spirit Who indwells them will convict them. Having said that, most believers do live in deliberate sin, and every believer battles with temptation and sin. Gossip is perhaps the most evil, destructive and prevalent sin amongst Christian believers in churches today, and God hates it with a passion (Proverb 6:16-19; Romans 14:10-12; Matthew 7:3-5; James 4:12; 5:9).
God Does Not Approve of A Believer Who Sins
Romans 3:31 states: "Do we then make void the law through faith? God Forbid: Yea, We Establish the Law." Just because a born-again person is free from under the condemnation of the Law, it does NOT give him or her permission to sin; rather, we must establish the law and keep it. Does a believer have a license to sin? ... "Yes!" A believer can sin without fear of going to Hell. If this is not true, then the Bible is lying in Romans 4:5, Ephesians 2:8,9 and Titus 3:5—which all plainly state that salvation is NOT by works! Get mad at God because He said it. However, no believer has God's permission to sin, nor to make light of evil. God hates sin and commands every believer to hate sin (Psalm 97:10; Hebrews 1:9).
The Bible clearly warns all believers in Hebrews 12:5 that God WILL chastise His own children. Listen friend, no one is going to get away with anything. I think oftentimes that many people get frustrated with the simple plan of salvation because they think being saved gives believers a ticket to hurt and abuse others—IT DOES NOT! Romans 12:19 clearly teaches that God will "repay" (Greek: punish) those who defraud and hurt others. This includes believers (2nd Corinthians 5:10). 1st Thessalonians 4:6 is a warning to all believers not to defraud each other because God will "avenge." Why would God have to say something like like that? Why would God have to assure us that justice will eventually be executed? Simply because sometimes we cannot obtain justice in this world. God is more fair than any human judge could ever be. We will receive justice and restitution at some point (or else the Bible is a fraud and God is not Holy). God's Judgment Seat and Laws supercede any of man's courts or laws. The Supreme Court may say that abortion is legal and acceptable, but God says it is cold-blooded murder. If someone wrongs you, whether there is a law against it or not, God WILL avenge you if it was wrong. A man desperately tried to stop his separated wife from aborting their child, she did it anyway with the backing force of the courts and law enforcement. That wife will stand trial before God for murder and her husband and child will receive justice.
So don't think that Christians have permission to sin. On the contrary, believers will be held more accountable to God if they are deliberately sinning in the knowledge of the truth. They have been enlightened. They know better.
No one has God's permission to live in sin; nevertheless, the Bible does teach that God only requires simple child-like faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved and eternally secure. To those false prophets who would add holy living and works as requirements to receive the gift of God... you are in league with the Devil. No person can be saved by good works; and no man can be lost by bad works. Salvation cannot be by God's grace AND works (Romans 11:6). The Bible declares that it is through a person's FAITH by God's GRACE that they are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9). Titus 3:5 proclaims, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done..." No person is saved by works, or lost by lack of them. When the Apostle James speaks of "works," he clearly says to show "me" your faith without your works. You see friend, we are justified with mankind by works because he cannot see into our heart; but with God we are justified by faith because He can see into our heart (1st Samuel 16:7). If you add "works" to your faith, then it is no faith at all and you are still bound for Hell in your self-righteousness.
Please don't allow anyone to deceive you on this matter—you do NOT have to live above sin to be saved. Can any believer live above sin? Of course not! I don't care how close you get to God, you will always sin as long as you are in the flesh. I am not condoning sin, not one bit. I am just saying that human beings cannot escape the "body of this death" as the Apostle Paul called it (See Romans 7:14-24). We are flesh, which makes us inherently hateful, greedy, lustful, envious, et cetera. It's in our blood. The ONLY escape is through the blood sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Only when believers walk in the Spirit of God can we live righteously. The Christian life is not hard to live... it's impossible! Jesus wants to live the Christian life through us, if we'll let Him. Unfortunately, no Christian walks in the Spirit ALL the time. We are still cursed by the flesh. We shouldn't sin, but as long as we are in the flesh we will sin at times. It is a dangerous thing to teach (as the Charismatic Pentecostals and Seventh-Day Adventists do) that a person needs to maintain good works to keep their salvation. It is a lie of the Devil. To go to Heaven, God only requires a simple child-like faith in THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. We are eternally safe in Christ, apart from our own faults, sins and shortcomings in the flesh. To teach otherwise is to negate the gift of God, which is eternal life (Romans 6:23).
Howbeit, no Christian has God's permission to sin. Just because we are saved and can live in sin without fear of going to Hell doesn't give us permission to do so. 2nd Corinthians 5:10 plainly warns that every believer will stand trial at the Judgment Seat of Christ, to be judged according to his works (i.e., the good and the bad). This will be a civil court; not a criminal court. The condemnation of the believer's sin is taken away by the blood of Jesus; but the consequences of the sins themselves must be given account for. 1st Corinthians 3:15 tells us that some believers will have no rewards in Heaven. Tears will flow. There will be sorrow and remorse for our sins and failures of this life.
Do believers have a license to sin? Yes, in a sense! Our salvation rests upon the redeeming work of Jesus Christ; and not upon our own self-righteousness. However, no believer has God's permission to sin and Hebrews 12:6-8 promises that God will chastise his children who do live in sin. No genuine believer can live in sin and truly be happy, because the Holy Spirit of God will convict. Nevertheless, our salvation is not conditional upon our works, good or bad. Salvation is the unconditional gift of God—paid for by Jesus' precious redeeming blood (1st Peter 1:18,19).
The Eternal Security of the Believer (by Dr. Harry Ironside)
The Hypocrisy of Those Who Don't Believe in Eternal Security
Repentance Heresy | Eternal Security
Lordship Salvation Exposed!
The Curse of Lordship Salvation!
What is Biblical Repentance?
Who's the Real Hypocrite?
Ye Must Be Born Again! | How to Be Saved
"In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."
—2nd Thessalonians 1:8