Is Habitual Sin a Sign of Being Lost?

From my limited point-of-view, I have noticed that many people would be happy to say that Christians continue to sin after they are saved. But when you ask them if Christians commit habitual sin, they turn tail and run, saying that “true” Christians cannot sin persistently.

So my question is: is a person a Christian if they sin habitually? Or is that a sign of their lostness?

Or is there something deeper within the Christian who continues to sin and the habitual sinner that proves they are saved? Hmmm……

Published in: on July 15, 2008 at 4:03 pm  Comments (23)  

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  1. It is not possible to be a Christian and at the same time embrace sin as a way of life(1Jn 2:4). Now as Christians we sin and will continue to fight sin(Rom 7, Gal 5). But if someone is living in sin and it is part of their lifestlye and there seems to be no repentance and a broken and contrite heart, these people are not saved(1Jn 3:6, 1Jn 3:9-10) no matter what they claim.

    Here is an example; if a person is a sheep(a true Christian) and that sheep falls in the mud(sin), he runs out wants to get clean and has no desire to go back in. But if a pig(a false convert) falls in the mud(sin) he likes it and wants to stay their, so it is with the phony Christian.

    Look, its pretty simple, we are the ones who make it hard. The bible is replete with examples that those who live sinfully will not inheret the Kingdom of God(1cor 6:9-10, gal 5:19-21, jam 2:14, heb 10:26-39, heb 12:14, jude 4, rev 21:8, rev 22:15, matt 7:23).

    Here is another example, yes I love my wife and time to time I sin against her. But if I continually committed adultery against her, physicall abused her, and continually demeaned her, I can say I love her all I want but my actions prove my love to be false no matter what I claim. So it is with false converts they can say they are Christians all they want but if they live in sin they are not saved.

    The book of 1st John shows true what I’m saying. 1Jn 1:8 and 2:1 shows that as Christians we do still sin. The doctrine of perfectionism is false and complete heresy. But you will then see 1Jn 2:4 and especially 1Jn 3:6-10 make it plain as day that those who profess Christ but make a practice of sin are not christians at all but decieved souls on their way to hell.

    • Great topic. If you are a human, Christian or not, you sin. Every single day. That is habitual. It’s not a matter of whether you like the sin or not. Therefore everyone is a habitual sinner, Christians included.

  2. “It is not possible to be a Christian and at the same time embrace sin as a way of life(1Jn 2:4). Now as Christians we sin and will continue to fight sin(Rom 7, Gal 5). But if someone is living in sin and it is part of their lifestlye and there seems to be no repentance and a broken and contrite heart, these people are not saved(1Jn 3:6, 1Jn 3:9-10) no matter what they claim.”

    I like what you say here. Cause that is all true. But what if someone is struggling with the same sin their WHOLE life. Not that they are willfully living in this sin, but they struggle with it, repenting and having that godly sorrow that accompanies true repentance.

    I ask this because I was listening to “The White Horse Inn” and they asked pastors from all over at a certain pastor conference what they thought and they replied that those who were sinning habitually weren’t saved. Then Michael Horton got on with his buddies and refuted that idea.

  3. David,

    I agree with what you are saying. Me for example, I struggle with the sin of anger or a bad temper at times. My point is that when a person is regenerated they can’t live in their former lifestyle. After a person is saved the old value systems, priorities, beliefs, loves, and lifestyle are done away with. Evil and sin are still a present and true reality, but the believer will see them in a new hateful perspective.

    But if I said I was a Christian and lived the way I used to(strip clubs, get high and drunk, gambling, fornication, every other word is the f bomb, using the Lord’s name in vain, listening to blasphemous secular music, watching godless movies and being entertained by them) then it wouldn’t matter what I claim, the bible says that i am a liar and not saved. Again, we must always test our profession against what the bible says and not what men, especially 21st century American “christians” say. The bible says that MANY not just a few but MANY on the Last Day will call Jesus Lord, Lord and think that they are saved but since they PRACTICED LAWLESSNESS(habitual sin), Jesus will tell them I never knew you, and they will go away to eternal torment(Matthew 7:21-23). This is why Paul urged us to examine ourselves as to whether or not we were in the the faith(truly saved).

    A few books that are worth reading on this subject are; the doctrine of repentance by Thomas Watson, the almost christian discovered by Matthew Mead, and the gospel according to jesus by MacArthur.

  4. Andy,

    Great comment. It’s sad, but true that so many are deceived. I pray for the 3rd Great Awakening for America, but let it not be totally like the 2nd. 🙂

    Great books to recommend. I’ll check them out.

  5. Yes, we sin, but we cannot sin without the guilt and the shame and condemnation in the heart. This is what separates us.

    I am linking your article to one I just wrote on called “Sin – Of the Devil.”

    Thanks for sharing. There are too many who embrace sin without remorse or guilt. These deceive themselves about their faith. John is very clear about this, When he says, those who sin or continue in it, neither know Him or have seen Him.

    God Bless,


  6. […] Is Habitual Sin a Sign of Being Lost? […]

  7. But isn’t every sin weighted the same? And didn’t Jesus wipe away all that sin when he was crucified and if we believe in our heart and confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord(romans 10) then we will have eternal life. Are you saying that we can lose salvation?

  8. Not saying that we can lose salvation. Scripture clearly teaches that if someone “falls away”, they were never truly saved in the first place (1 John 2:19).

    But you have to understand that true faith in Christ produces works. Read the whole book of James for that explanation.

    So if a person claims to be a Christian, yet lives and practices sin continuously without:
    1. repenting
    2. being disciplined by the Lord
    then we can see that they were never Christians in the first place. Jesus said you will know them by their fruit. And that many will come to Him and call Him Lord, yet still be sentenced to hell because they did not follow the will of God.
    (Matthew 7:21-23).

    “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15
    “If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice truth.” 1 John 1:6

    And yes, Christians may backslide and fall into sin, but they will never live their lives in sin without repenting or being disciplined by the Lord. Beware lest you believe in vain. Repent and believe upon Christ and be saved.

  9. Ok…so my husband has been saved for 20 years. We have married 16 yrs. He has struggled with porn for the whole marriage. He has committed adultery about 4 times. This last time over a year without my knowledge. MANY times he “repented” and stayed away from it for a long time, then “fell” back into it….He is VERY knowledgeable in the Word!!! Is he NOT a Christian? He says he feels “remorse” yet struggles all the time with it.BTW…I have asked him to leave, because my kids I and I are sooo damaged after this last time! I TRULY want him to be transformed…..

    • Hello Cathleen,

      I am so sorry you have gone through this. I have to say that I do not believe that any of us are qualified to answer this question. I can say that my heart goes out to you because my Mother and sisters went through this. Pray for your Husband, asking God to deliver him. In the meantime may I suggest you google the following and submit your questions to them. David Jeremiah, Tony Evans, Chucks Swindoll, John MacArthur, and Charles Stanley. These are POWERFUL men of God who rightly divide the Word. God Bless you and I will keep praying.

  10. I can’t help but comment on this post. Being saved has nothing to do with our works, whatsoever. We are saved solely by the GRACE of God and believing in Jesus’ work on the cross and its paying for our sins is the ONLY thing that dictates our salvation. A Christian can still live in habitual sin and still be saved, and if this were not the case, it would imply that we have something to do with our own salvation, as if Jesus’ work on the cross only cover sin up to a certain point. It is very dangerous to speak as if some sin is worse than others or if some sin can only be committed a certain number of times. His blood covers ALL sin, no matter what it is or how many times its continually committed.

    Now LIVING in the light of this glorious gift of grace is a whole other thing. This is about working God’s salvation into your daily life. The discipline of grace, if you will. We’re saved, now what? We must focus on the Lord’s work, his love for us, and this should make us WANT to turn from sin.

    We reject sin because we’re saved. We’re not saved because we reject sin.

    May the Lord bless all of you and I hope that I haven’t offended anyone or some off as self-righteous.

    • Bingo. Couldn’t of said it better myself.

    • I have struggled with this debate for years until I read the works of Dr. Bob Utley Professor of Biblical hermanuetics

      Question: How does one Inspired text overide another inspried text? We are to look at the scripture from Genesis to Revelation and develop a doctrine.


    This is a great example of what I believe is the way we should treat someone caught in habitual sin.

  12. Living in KNOWN habitual sin will cost you the Kingdom.

  13. Romans 8:13….”for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Notice it does not say “HAVE PUT TO DEATH” deeds of the body, but “PUTTING” off…. Yes we were sanctified and yet we are “BEING” sanctified. The true Christian has a concern and desire to put to death the deeds of the flesh/body. If we have no desire to put these off, then there should be an expectation of wrath and judgement. Also, a very important passage is Galatians 5:16…”But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”

    Maybe our focus should be to walk by the Spirit, and not “NOT” walking by the flesh.

    Blessings all.

  14. Me and my mother argue a good bit of the time and I get upset with her. I know that what I am doing is wrong. It’s just that I grew up with a mental and emotional disorder and it causes me to get irritable and angry sometimes. When I was little, I would get fussy with her. I dont really argue with my dad. I argue with my mom because she wont leave me alone. I feel like God is going to punish me or something. I dont want to be hateful to her but I struggle so much with not getting irritable with her. I am 26 now and I have always had my illnesses and I get really IRRITABLE sometimes. I DONT want to be irritable. Is God going to punish me for fussing with her about stuff? I do try to straighten up and be kind but I fall back into it. I dont know what to do.

  15. And that many will come to Him and call Him Lord, yet still be sentenced to hell because they did not follow the will of God.
    (Matthew 7:21-23).

    I believe this talks to people in other religions saying “Lord Lord” and not to Christians… Faith in Jesus Christ does not erase your salvation, it is a free gift from God.

    Repentance of habitual sin and moving forward to removing that is a step in the right direction… It is not of works, but by faith.

  16. You are certainly not saved BY good works, but TO good works, hence the Lord’s message that you can judge a tree by its fruit. As many things as there are in scripture that are difficult to discern, this is not one of them. The first book of John sums this question up clearly. If the Lord is turned to for salvation (except “I’m going to hang on to these few sins of pleasure”) then one will NEVER be able to allow God to control one’s life. I’ve heard it stated that “the devlil will tromp all over everything that a person “gave” to God to get to the little piece that they chose to hang onto. A partial conversion is in many ways worse than none at all.

    Luke 11:24“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.”

    27As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”

    28He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

  17. The question is What is Habitual Sin? It could be a sin in which God through the Holy Scriptures has specifically spoken on. If we practice it, let’s say today, let’s say tomorrow, also later on in the week and there’s no real turning away from it, either we do not care what God has to say about it or we don’t agree with God in the fact that it is a sin or we say we are born again and in fact are denying the power of the Holy Spirit which resides in every truly born again person( born from ABOVE) to empower one with the express purpose to eradicate (overcome) the sin, to have victory turning away from the sin through true repentence …………or in fact it may just well be that one is not truly Born Again. For example; Heres a Male who likes other Males sexually. Question, What does God have to say about said subject? He says No !!!! So the person says; I know that God says its a sin but there’s nobody perfect and everybody sins everyday. He says this as a defense. The difference is the decision to sin in that manner is premeditated or predetermined. One would be clearly denying the Lord, Creator of male and female to be absolutely sovereign over what he has created and if this is your sin you are deying God the right to be Lord over your life. He also calls it a abomination. We must as born again believers be willing to accept God’s word and his absolute Lordship. We must began through the power of the Holy Spirit to allow him to change our minds so that we can walk in Christ’s righteousness. 2 cor. 5:21 He that knew no sin became sin that we might become the righteousness of God. That’s what repentence unto salvation is. It is the changing of one mind as to who God is and because of who he is what shall be your response to his Holy word, to his absolute Lordship. If in fact he is your Lord than you will do what he says. We have been bought with a price. We are not our own.We belong to him. We cannot rationalize habitual sin away. Habitual sin is unrepentent sin,it is a lifestyle, it is Chosen. The willingness to obey or disobey is a choice. Your choice. True repentence brings application, a change, the doing, conformity.

  18. Seeing so many responses to this query, I have to wonder myself as to what is considered “HABITUAL SIN”. Some responses seem to be quite clear and others seem to be a little more “round about”. The bible doesnt give an example or define habitual sin in the sense we would understand, but we sort of have to maturely look at the word “HABITUAL”. Its repeted, and its implied as if it is something purposefully, or someone purposefully does something over and over..Think of smoking, drinking, or any bad habit…Most people consider those practices as addictions but also bad habits, those who try to quit, often go back until they start to starve off the desire. The only way most people actually succeed is usually adding another practice, but a healthier one that draws the attention away from the bad practice in order to slowly ween ones self away. A good way for the woman with the husband addicted to porn to become weened from the porn, is to add in more family and church activities, cut the cable on the internet and cable t.v., find out what radio station and music this guy is listening to, and take him to a christian book store and introduce him to some good equals. There is no exception for sin, we cant assume that because we have grace that were free to roam about and piss in the wind like wild people, and we cant assume that once a person becomes a christian that their minds will be set right instantly….But there will be a change, sometimes a gradual change, sometimes a quick change, and each person is different.

    • I’m disappointed you didn’t say that the “only way most people actually succeed is” the Gospel. You put in works after works after works; and said that that’s the way to conquer habitual sin (or any sin for that matter).

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