Adultery is one of the most painful acts of betrayal that one person can commit against another. It betrays a trust, violates your sacred vows, attacks your self-worth, and turns a home into hostile territory. We all know how adultery can destroy marriages, families, and careers. But as bad as it is, does it disprove eternal security? In other words, is adultery so heinous that anyone who commits it—even a believer—must go to hell?
I recently came across a Facebook post by Katie Brown about a dialogue she had with a woman on the issue of sin and eternal security. I thought her answer was clearly written and worth being read by a wider audience. I especially appreciated her clear distinction between Law and Gospel. Katie gave her permission to share this post with my readers.
A woman on Facebook asked me the other day whether or not Once Saved, Always Saved is true. She asked, “Does this mean someone could believe in Jesus but still be an adulterer, a liar, or a murderer, and there are no consequences whatsoever?” I wrote her a reply…
This is an excellent question and deserves a good answer. I pray the Lord directs me as I try to answer you accurately.
First of all, what we don’t want to do is disrespect God or diminish the importance of the Law. God is serious as a heart attack about sin. Sin destroys us and separates us from God. He’s so serious about sin that He sent His only Son to be born into flesh and die for it. So, we don’t want to take sin lightly at all.
Next, we need to recognize how sinful we are. You asked, “Does this mean someone could believe in Jesus but still be an adulterer, a liar, or a murderer, and there are no consequences whatsoever?” The thing is, we’re all guilty of these things. Have you ever told a lie? God says that makes you a liar. Have you ever looked at someone with lust? God calls that committing adultery in your heart (Matthew 5:28). We have a major sin problem that we’re born with (Romans 3:23), and we cannot take care of it by trying to do better (Isaiah 64:6). We need a Savior. That’s why God sent His Son to save us (John 3:16). He lived a perfect life and kept the Law perfectly, then died the death of a criminal, even though He never committed a single sin, to pay for all of our sins.
The Bible says that the Law was given to as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24). God knew from the beginning that we wouldn’t be able to keep the Law. He gave it to show us what sin is. He gave it to show us that we all fall short of His righteousness (Romans 3:19). Christ is the only one who ever kept the Law perfectly; all the rest of us fall short. And since God requires that we keep the Law perfectly to enter Heaven, we have a huge problem. That’s where Jesus as Savior comes in. When we believe in Jesus, our sins are put onto His account (He paid for them all on the cross), and His righteousness is applied to our account (this is called “imputed righteousness”). This is wonderful news because it solves the sin problem. God is satisfied with Christ’s perfect sacrifice for our sins and calls us “justified” by it (Romans 5:9).
God has made it clear in the Bible that only blood atones for sin. All of the animal sacrifices and their blood in the Old Testament were foreshadowing (looking ahead to) Christ’s sacrifice. Only the blood of Jesus can pay for our sins because God will only accept blood as the payment for sin, not our works or obedience (Hebrews 9:22, Romans 4:5). So when we place our faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross, in His blood, we are forgiven of all of our sins past, present, and future. God says that when we believe in Jesus, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). We cannot do anything to save ourselves, and we cannot do anything to keep ourselves saved—salvation is all a work of God. Jesus told us that no one can snatch us from His hand (John 10:28). When we believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our sins are fully paid for, and we are given everlasting life (Ephesians 1:7, John 6:47).
I hope this has helped somewhat. We cannot work/obey our way to Heaven. Our only hope is to have the righteousness of Christ applied to our account. On Judgment Day, God will be looking for the blood of His Son. Only those covered by the blood will be accepted into Heaven.
Adultery is terrible. But it might seem so big that you forget how Christ is so much bigger. As Martin Luther once reminded Philip Melanchthon:
“No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day” (Luther to Melancthon, n. 99, August 1, 1521, p. 6).
Send your questions or comments to Shawn.