1 John 3:6 Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him.
...I know, way to pick a subject so highly controversial, right?
My only response is that it shouldn't be. Along with every other difference in doctrinal beliefs, there should be no controversy over what the bible states plainly. The bible is plain. There is no private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20)
I got into a conversation about this with one of my friends, and it's been strong on my heart ever since. I don't know that any of this will change anyone's minds.. but I pray that everyone who reads this is receptive to the truths in the Word of God. You can't live your life with an "it's okay to live my life however I want to because I'm forgiven" attitude and expect to make it into heaven. It won't happen. You CANNOT willfully commit sin and remain in grace. Yes, I said it.. christians do not have to sin. 1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. There are several places in scripture that God tells people "Go and sin no more". Why would He tell someone to do something if it is impossible? Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
There is, however, a huge difference between willful and un-willful sin. Working up a lie to tell someone is willful sin, breaking the law by accidentally speeding is not. God does not count un-willful sin to us. James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. Our knowledge has a lot to do with what is sin to us. But you can't not study to find out what is sin and what is not with the excuse that "if I don't know, then it's not sin". God knows all things, He expects us to get into His word and find these things out. Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me:
It is not to say either that people who have never heard the gospel are going to heaven. That's also false. Why did God tell us to go and tell people about Him if they're already going to heaven because they don't know? I heard this example once: If you have an island that has 1000 people on it, and a missionary goes and preaches to all of them. If 500 accept Jesus and 500 people deny Him, you've just done half of them a major injustice if they were already going to heaven.. because they aren't now that they've denied Him.
People are perishing because of a lack of knowledge.. The bible says that they are without excuse because creation tells us there is a God.
In Romans it says that we should not continue in sin that grace may abound.. Yes, God is a merciful, graceful God. But, in order to be a God of mercy and grace He must be a God of judgment. He is coming back for a pure and spotless bride. A bride with spot and blemish will not do.
We must be careful of taking scripture out of context.
YOU CAN BACKSLIDE
Jam 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
Jam 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
1. Verse 19 it says "brethren", in other words, a brother in the Lord. Sinners are by no means "brethren".
2. Why would it even mention erring from the truth if it is impossible to do so?
3. In verse 20 he is now called a "sinner" - after erring from the truth.
4. If he is converted back his soul will be saved from death (hell)
There will by no means be sinners in heaven.
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
One of the main arguments that someone brought to me was John 3:16 that says whosoever "believes" on Him shall be saved, and John 6:47 that says "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that 'believeth' on me hath everlasting life." . saying that the verses don't say anything about continuing to believe. However, that is taking things out of context. Yes.. you must BELIEVE to be saved. But you must CONTINUE to believe and to take up your cross DAILY and follow Him. You must read the word of God in it's entirety. Compare scripture to scripture! Why would He waste His time warning us against backsliding and falling away if it is impossible to do so??
To take it a notch further, even believing alone isn't enough. The Word of God says in James 2:19 that if you believe that there is one God you do well, the devils believe also... and they TREMBLE. Do you think that there will be any devils in heaven?? Absolutely not!
As you can see in Matthew 7:22-23.. those people, without a doubt, believed in God. They did signs and wonders in His name and He still didn't have intimacy with them, He didn't KNOW them. Many people in this day and age fall into that category. They build mega churches and spend their days "working for the Lord", but in the end, without intimacy with the Lord, He will say that He never knew them.
Heb 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
Doesn't get too much more plain than that...
Heb 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
You must walk with the Lord in order to be able to "depart" from Him...
Mat 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Why would anyone have to "endure to the end" to be saved if you cannot lose your salvation?
1Co 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
1Co 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
It doesn't matter if you "believed" or said a prayer at some point in your life.. if you are living in unrighteousness, you will not inherit the kingdom of God.
1Jo 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
1Jo 2:2 And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
1Jo 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
1Jo 2:4 He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
1Jo 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him.
1Jo 2:6 He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
1Jo 2:7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.
1Jo 2:8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in Him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.
1Jo 2:9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
1Jo 2:10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
I pray that you'd consider all that is written here and in the bible. Please don't let doctrine fog your mind. Get into the bible and find out what it says! Study it out! Compare scripture with scripture! and know that this is written 100% in love.