Can a person really be saved who commits sin, seeks forgiveness, and sins again?
Really important question, which many new and mature Christians struggle with regularly, is it quite so simple?
by Matt Slick
Yes, a person can really be saved if he commits sin, asks for forgiveness from that sin, and then commits the same sin again. Our salvation is not dependent upon how little we sin or how good we are. It is dependent upon the grace of God. Now, please let me make it clear that I am not saying it is okay to go out and sin all we want so that we can be forgiven over and over again. This is not a license to sin. The Bible speaks against that.
Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”
We have to realize that part of being saved is also being regenerated, which means that the Lord God lives in us and has changed us. We are new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17) who have been born again (John 3:3). It is this change in us that produces our struggle against sin. Often, critics of our eternal security with the Lord will say that if we cannot lose our salvation then it is a license to sin. However, such critics always ignore the fact that we are regenerated, and the result of that regeneration produces a desire to fight against sin. We cannot lose our salvation (see Can the Christian believer lose his salvation?), but it is not an excuse to do what is wrong. After all,1 John 2:4 says that if we say we are Christians and then go out and sin willingly, that we were not really saved to begin with.
We all sin. Christians sin in varying ways and in varying degrees. We all should repent and seek the Lord and turn from our sins as best we can. However, the fact remains that many of us fail, and many of us even get caught up in our sins. It is when these sins become dominant and retain a measure of control over us that we wonder if we can be forgiven – even though we have sinned the same way before. But yes, we can be forgiven because Jesus is the one who forgives us. The Bible does not tell us there is a number of times we can ask for forgiveness, and then anything past that number we can’t be forgiven. If anything, we’re told that God’s love for us is truly great.
What about Hebrews 10:26?
The book of Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians since it begins referring to “the fathers and the prophets” (v. 1) and quotes the Old Testament more than 30 times, with many more references to Old Testament occurrences (Heb. 3:16; 5:10; 8:5; 9:11-22; 12:16-18, etc.). It appears that the writer of Hebrews was trying to persuade the Hebrew Christians to not revert back to the Old Testament sacrificial system, but remain faithful to Christ. Therefore, when we get to Hebrews 10:26 we can understand that it is talking about those who go on sinning willfully by rejecting the sacrifice of Christ and going back to the old system. That is why there would be no more sacrifice for sin, because Jesus is the only sacrifice and because the blood of animals cannot cleanse (Hebrews 10:4).