Level 1 • Lesson 11
What Happens When a Christian Sins?
By Don Krow
Audio Lesson

Today we want to look at the subject of "What Happens When a Christian Sins?" The Bible tells us in 1 John 1:8‑9, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." As Christians, we will eventually stumble and we will eventually sin. What makes us different from what we were before conversion is that now we have a new nature. It grieves us to sin. We don't want to sin; we want to live a righteous life. But what happens when we do sin? Do we need to get saved again? Is that what the Bible is teaching? In that case, we have no security, and in some sense, we're worse off than the world. At least the world is not tormented by a sin conscience. As believers, sin is not to be our focus of attention. Hebrews 10:2 states that through the sacrifice of Jesus, the believer should have no more conscience of sins. In other words, sin should not be the focus of our lives. God should be our focus.

Romans 4:2 says, "For if Abraham were justified [declared righteous] by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God" (brackets mine). If salvation was based on our merit, the things we do, then we could brag. We could say, "Hey, Lord, I really appreciate what you did on the cross, but remember the things I've done!" So throughout eternity, we're going to pat Jesus on the back and pat ourselves on the back for the things that we've done. No! God has designed salvation in such a way that there will be no boasting or glory on man's part. The only glory and boasting will be in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 3:27). The gift of eternal life is indeed a gift, and it cannot be earned (Romans 6:23).

Romans 4:2 says that if Abraham were justified by his own actions, he would have some reason to boast, but that's not what happened. How does the Scripture say a man is saved? By his own performance? By his own works? By the things he does? How was Abraham counted righteous, or declared righteous? Was it through the things he did or didn't do, or was it that he simply believed, trusted, and relied on God through faith? The Bible says in Romans 4:3, "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness."

What holds me in position and keeps me from perishing, even though there are times when I fail and sin? It is that Jesus bore all of my sin on the cross, and through faith in Him (not by my own works), I am justified (made righteous before God).

Romans 4:6 says, "Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works." David of the Old Testament is saying there will be a day through a new covenant when God will impute righteousness, right standing, without man working for it. Then he said in verse 7, "Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered." This is the clincher: "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin" (Romans 4:7). It doesn't say He might not, sometimes He will and sometimes He won't. It says, "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." In the Greek that's what is called an emphatic negative. It means He'll never, not ever put sin to our account. This is the good news of the New Covenant. Hebrews 10:16 says, "I will put my laws into their hearts [on their heart] and in their minds [upon their mind also] will I write them" (brackets mine), and part of that agreement is that God says this in verse 17: "And your sins and iniquities I will remember no more."

What holds you in position, in righteousness and right standing, even when you sin and don't have time to confess it? It's your faith in Jesus Christ. His name is Jesus, and He saves people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).

Discipleship Questions
  1. Read Romans 4:5.
    "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." - Romans 4:5
    God justifies (makes righteous) people who are ungodly.
  2. Read Romans 4:2‑3.
    "2For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." - Romans 4:2‑3
    God put something to Abraham's account (when he believed) which he did not have before. What was this?
  3. Read Romans 4:22‑24.
    "22And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead." - Romans 4:22‑24
    If we believe as Abraham did, what will God put to our account?
  4. Read Romans 4:6.
    "Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works." - Romans 4:6
    God puts righteousness (or right standing) to a person's account:
    1. according to their works.
    2. apart from their works.
    3. according to how nice they are.
  5. Read Hebrews 10:14.
    "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." - Hebrews 10:14
    How long are believers perfected before God?
  6. Read Romans 5:17.
    "For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." - Romans 5:17
    Righteousness is received:
    1. by earning it.
    2. as a gift.
    3. by working for it.
  7. What does the word "gift" imply?
  8. To trust Jesus to be your personal Savior, you must trust Him to take you all the way to:
    1. church.
    2. heaven.
    3. Russia.
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We would love to hear your feedback on these lessons and how you use them in your own study or in discipling others. If you have any thoughts, stories, or testimonies to share we would love to hear them!

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Integrity of God's Word