The key words people seem to be missing in many of my posts warning believers that unrepentant sin will NOT be forgiven are the words WILLFUL and REPENTANCE. To willfully sin means to go against God's Moral Laws found in the Ten Commandments in Exodus, Chapter 20 with full knowledge of the fact. These Laws that tell us to serve our one Creator God only and not to serve idols, to keep God's name and Sabbath holy, and also tell us not to steal from or cheat others, not to kill, not to lie, and not to covet or unlawfully lust after what others have are summarized in Yahshua's or Jesus' Two Commandments, which are to love God with our whole hearts, souls and minds, and to love our neighbor as ourselves (See Matthew 22:37-40).
It is important to remember here that the way we love God is by following His Moral Laws or Commandments, as it says in 1 John 2:2-4, and 1 John 5:1-3. In addition to the Ten Commandments, and Yahshua's Commandment to love God and one another, the Moral Laws found in Exodus 21, Exodus 22, and Exodus 23, which was called the Book of the Covenant, along with the Moral laws in Leviticus, Chapter 18, Chapter 19 and Chapter 20, and in Deuteronomy 18, Deuteronomy 19, Deuteronomy 21, Deuteronomy 22, and Deuteronomy 23 (with the exception of the Laws pertaining to war or slaves, which Yahshua never supported or condoned) fall under Christ's Commandment that we should love our neighbors as we love ourselves. These Laws speak about how we should treat our family, friends, neighbors, and livestock, and many of these laws specifically condemn the sins of sexual immorality like adultery, incest and homosexuality, and they are applicable to all believers today, both Natural Israel or the Jews, and Gentiles as the part of Israel that is grafted in (See Romans, Chapter 11).
The key to remaining in God's favor is REPENTANCE, and understanding what God expects from us by becoming familiar with His Moral Law. Yahshua or Jesus paid the debt for our sins once and for all time, but we need to repent or turn away from sin, and then ask God for forgiveness before that debt payment will cover our sins that are made after our initial moment of salvation by faith. So an unrepentant sinner is someone who has the full knowledge of the fact that they are breaking one of the Moral commandments of God, but is justifying their wicked actions in some way so that they don't feel that they have to stop. For example, a person who claims to be a believer, but who becomes a thief even though God's Law says that we should not steal or covet, and says it's okay for him to steal from his rich neighbor because he's poor - is willfully sinning.
A good example of this being justified in popular culture are all the books and movies that have been made idolizing the English folk hero Robin Hood, who despite being depicted as a clever man with a righteous cause, was a totally unrepentant thief that repeatedly resorted to robbery and violence to get what he wanted. No matter how justified we feel that his actions may have been in the face of the despotic traitor king he was fighting against, it still doesn't make lying, coveting, and stealing like he reportedly did the right thing to do. As the popular saying goes: "two wrongs don't make a right!"
This also confronts the fact that, though Christians have historically resorted to violence and war in the face of tyranny, and they cite the divinely-sanctioned behavior of the ancient Israelites against their enemies as a case in point, Christ never told us to do likewise. Instead He came to show the world a different way to behave via passive resistance. He did so when He asked His disciples not to fight their enemies, but to love them by preaching the Gospel to them - with the implied hope of drawing them into His Kingdom:
~*~ Matthew 5:43-45 ~*~ “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”We do good to those who hate us not by killing them, but by telling them that God loves them, and that He sent His only Son to die for them, rise from the dead, and save them from their sins - if only they would repent, accept Jesus or Yahshua's blood sacrifice as their pardon from sin by accepting Yahshua as their Savior, and follow His Moral Laws encompassed in His one Commandment that we should love one another as we love Him. Incidentally, we can only love Christ fully by following all of His Moral Laws or Commandments, and repenting when we fail to do so!
The image at the beginning of this article was taken from one of my favorite Robin Hood movies, "Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves", which was made in 1991, and starred Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman. At the time that I watched this movie, I really enjoyed it, and didn't care or even want to face the fact that what Robin Hood and his merry men were doing was wrong. But even the sort of blatant sin that Robin was guilty of can be forgiven, so long as the sinner REPENTS or turns away from sin. This turning away often involved the need to make amends to those hurt by that sin, whenever this is possible.
According to Scripture, the only sin that cannot and will not be forgiven is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. This sin is committed when the Holy Spirit is denied and discounted, and not seen as important in one's walk with God. This sin is therefore committed by those sinners who claim that God's miracles and spiritual gifts are no longer in operation, or are not real. It is also committed by those sinners who treat those who are blessed with spiritual gifts, or who are recipients of miracles - with disdain or mockery.
Again, the only way any sin can be forgiven is if the person who sinned REPENTS, which manifests as remorse over sin, the desire to change, and the desire to make amends to any injured parties. To be remorseful means to be sad or ashamed of one's willful sinning so much that it causes the person to seek God's power to help them change their behavior, and make amends to those they have hurt whenever it's possible. To truly receive God's forgiveness, sinners need to surrender their will to God, and to ask God to change their hearts with His Spirit so they won't sin anymore. This change of heart ALWAYS happens because of the conviction of the Holy Spirit living inside someone who is saved and born again.
So, if there is no desire in the sinner to repent and change, then that person is probably either ignoring the Holy Spirit's call to repent, or is not born again by the Spirit of God in the first place. This is because people who are truly born again are continually being convicted by God's Spirit to flee from sin! I am sorry for those who have been taught the “Once Saved, Always Saved”, and the “Salvation by Grace Alone” doctrines, because both are incorrect. It may be impossible for unsaved sinners to keep the Ten Commandments and the other Moral Laws of God in Leviticus, Chapters 18 through 20 (See text links to these Scriptures earlier in this article), but with the Holy Spirit helping born again believers to repent and stop sinning, it is not impossible. This is just as the Apostle John taught in the Epistle of 1 John:
~*~ 1 John 3:4-9 (NKJV) ~*~ “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. 5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”
~*~ John 3:5-8 (NKJV) ~*~ “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
~*~ John 14:15-21 (NKJV) ~*~ “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19 A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
~*~ 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (NKJV) ~*~ “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”As Yahshua said in the Gospel of John, those who love Him keep His Commandments. Other Scriptures in the New Testament also teach us that, to show our love for God, we need to keep His Commandments, which is only referring to the Moral Law as laid forth in Exodus 20 and Leviticus 18 through 20 that Yahshua or Jesus spoke of that define how we should love God and our neighbor. These tell us not to cheat, lie, steal, or murder, and they warn us to flee sexual immorality. But they do not speak of the sacrificial and dietary laws, which were nailed to the Cross with Christ:
~*~ 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 (NKJV) ~*~ “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; 2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.”
~*~ 1 John 5:1-5 (NKJV) ~*~ “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
~*~ Revelation 22:14 (NKJV) ~*~ “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.”So, as you can see, we are called to be born again so that we can become holy and keep God's Moral Law, and we are warned that those that do not keep His Commandments are not born again, and therefore are not truly saved, no matter what they may profess with their mouths. We are also told that only those who do God's Commandments as Christ taught them will have access to the Tree of Life in the New Jerusalem. In other words, if you say that you believe in Jesus or Yahshua but do not keep His commandments, and you do not repent when you break His Moral Law after being convicted of your sin by the Holy Spirit, you will not enter the New Jerusalem, which means you will not live with Christ in eternity, but will be cast into the outer darkness forever.
The Scriptures make it clear, over and over again, that we are called to keep God's Commandments regarding His Moral Law, and UNREPENTANT SIN IS NOT FORGIVEN! If you are sinning willfully - and you're NOT sorry about it, and don't want to change - how can you expect God to forgive you, and how can you claim that you are born again? As the Apostle John taught, those who are born again do not sin because the Holy Spirit convicts them not to! So, whenever we willfully sin and do not repent, it is as if we are slapping God in the face, and it is also a possible sign that we were never saved in the first place!
This is because only those who are truly saved receive the inner spiritual baptism of the Holy Spirit, and are born again - which means they hear from God in their hearts, and are directed on how to behave by God Himself through His Spirit living within them. This is the essence of how a saved person gradually becomes godly and reflects God's holiness in the process known as sanctification. As a part of this sanctification process, sinners who repent and are forgiven by God through Yahshua are also called to forgive others when they repent and ask us for forgiveness, as it says in the following Scriptures:
~*~ Matthew 6:14-15 ~*~ “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
~*~ Matthew 18:21-22 ~*~ “Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”So, to sum up what this Bible Study has shown, we are not saved by Grace or by belief in Christ alone. We are instead saved by the Grace of God that extends mercy to us in the Person and by the blood of Yahshua when we believe that He is our Messiah or Savior, and that only He can save us from sin, death, Hell and the Devil. In addition, Christ expects us to be baptized and filled with His Spirit so that we will gradually stop sinning, and will want to love and follow His Commandments because we love and believe in Him. Of course, none of us can do this without the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, which is the seal of our salvation, and our guarantee that we have inherited everlasting life through Christ (See 2 Corinthians 1:22-23, and Ephesians 1:13-14). We need the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit to guide us on how we should show God's love, mercy and forgiveness to others, and how we can sin less as time goes by until we are fully sanctified, and are incapable of sinning any more.
According to Yahshua, Who said that those who love Him will keep His Commandments, and the Apostle John, who said that this state of being unable to sin can be achieved by those who are born again, believers are called to keep Christ's Commandments, and to strive to stop sinning in every respect. So believers that are saved by faith in Yahshua, and who are born again, are extended God's Grace, which is His unmerited favor and forgiveness through Christ. This Grace fully covers all of their sins up to the point of conversion.
But when a believer slips up and sins after that time, God still fully expects believers to be convicted of any new infractions of His Law by His Spirit dwelling within them, to repent of these sins, and to listen to the Holy Spirit better in the future so they won't commit these same sins again. This process is known as sanctification, and it is a necessary preparatory step in our walk with God that helps us become fully ready to enter His Kingdom. This is why James the brother of Yahshua stressed that fact that faith in Christ without Spirit-led works is dead. It is because good works are necessary to define and show our faith in Christ to others.
I'm sorry if this teaching upsets some of you. I just wanted to give you all a clear answer as to why I teach what I do about how God forgives sin. As you can see in this article, what I teach is based fully on Scripture. Some of you seem to be ignoring the fact that repentance to God and mercy to others are the keys to being forgiven, and we all need to repent and show mercy because none of us is perfect, and we all still may slip a bit and sin sometimes in the little things (i.e. swearing, giving in to various lusts in our mind's eye, lying to others to avoid an unpleasant confrontation, etc.) even when we don't want to.
That's when we need to go to the Cross and ask Yahshua or Jesus to forgive us, to help us to resist future temptation, and also ask Him to help us to be merciful to others, just as He is to us. It's not a one time deal either. We need to keep doing this until we don't need to do it anymore. It's a life long process called sanctification.
A Bible Teaching From
Your Sister in Yahshua,
Helena Lehman of
The Pillar of Enoch Ministry
Ministry Web Site: http://pillar-of-enoch.com
PLEASE NOTE: This article was preceded by a similar article that gives scriptural support to the idea that there is a continual need for repentance in a believer's life whenever their sinful behavior becomes evident to them through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. For those who still are having trouble understanding what the Bible teaches about sin and repentance, I highly recommend reading this shorter article that is linked to first in the list below, as well as the second and third articles listed:
WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN!
NEED TO LOVE AND FOLLOW CHRIST!