If I claim to be born again and still live habitually in sin, am I still a Christian; and if I die would I go to heaven?
“Brethren, if ANY OF YOU (emphasis mine) do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the SINNER (emphasis mine) from the error of his way shall save a soul from DEATH (emphasis mine), and shall hide a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19,20).
Please note that James was writing to fellow Christians whom he addressed as BRETHREN. If any Christian goes back into his sinful ways and continues therein, he becomes a SINNER; no more a Christian; for whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin. (1 John 3:8). Except he gets truly converted he’ll die (not just physically but spiritually) and go to hell.
In writing to the Galatian Christians in Galatians 5:19-21, Paul the apostle listed the works of the flesh. He concluded by saying that the people (including Christians) who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
What then should Christians who sin do? One, they should know that whosoever is born of God does not sin, but that IF we sin we have an Advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1,2).
Two, whenever we sin, we should immediately CONFESS and FORSAKE our sins (1 John 1:9; Proverbs 28:13). Confession and forsaking of our sins is the basis for our forgiveness.
Brethren do not be deceived by those who tell you that you can remain in your sinful ways, though claiming to be born again, and still go to heaven. I once watched a respected pastor preach on satelite TV. He said if you still smoke as a Christian you won’t go to hell. Rather, smoking will make you go to heaven faster. I watched in pains as I saw his gullible congregation scream for joy. If the salvation you’ve got can’t break your sinful habits, then you’ve got the wrong experience.
BE NOT DECEIVED BRETHREN.
If I’m under God’s grace, am I required to do any other work to be acceptable to God?
As Christians, we must understand the dynamics of God’s grace. Firstly, we need to understand what grace is. Grace has popularly been defined as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. I’ll like to further define grace as the action of God’s divine ability in our inner man that makes us to effortlessly express God’s inner workings. Grace is the supernatural IMPRESSION in feeble men that enhances supernatural EXPRESSIONS by feeble men. Grace is the abilities of the Omnipotent God seizing the inabilities of impotent men and converting man’s impotence to God’s potency.
It will be futile for anyone to attempt to do any work to please God when grace has not first worked upon such heart. Whatever we do, no matter how religious or righteous, that does not flow from an inner reservoir of grace is seen by God as a filthy rag.
However, when grace has worked upon our hearts, it is expected of us to work out that inner working of grace for men to see it.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16.
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5.
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12, 13.
The modern teaching on grace that grace does it all and that we are not expected to do any work was crafted by the devil. Grace actually teaches us to DO several things. Grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lust. It also teaches us to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Titus 2:11). Grace enables us to WILL AND TO DO God’s good pleasure. If you claim to be under God’s grace but still continue to sin as sinners do, then you’ve not found grace. The grace of God frees the heart from sin and breaks the power of sin over lives.