When a Christian sins
Can a Christian sin after he has been saved? Here is what the Bible says:
No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.
1 John 3:9
It doesn’t say a Christian will never sin but that he can’t keep on living a life of sin. Someone who professes to be a Christian but lives a life of sin proves that his profession is false. A comparison of two kings, David and Amaziah, shows the difference.
Saul, the first king of Israel, disobeyed God and Samuel told him God had chosen someone else to take his place.
And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the LORD your God, with which he commanded you. For then the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”
1 Samuel 13:13-14
This is the first description of David found in the Bible, a man after God’s own heart.
Here is how Amaziah was described.
And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, yet not with a whole heart.
2 Chronicles 25:2
David and Amaziah both started out well.
David fought his famous battle with Goliath, served Saul faithfully in his wars against the Philistines, and refused to retaliate when Saul tried to kill him. God rewarded his faithfulness by allowing him to succeed Saul as king.
Amaziah also started out obeying God. His father had been murdered and when he became king of Judah he punished the murderers but he didn’t punish their children.
As soon as the royal power was firmly his, he killed his servants who had struck down the king his father. But he did not put their children to death, according to what is written in the Law, in the Book of Moses, where the LORD commanded, “Fathers shall not die because of their children, nor children die because of their fathers, but each one shall die for his own sin.”
2 Chronicles 25:3-4
He assembled an army to make war against Edom and hired 100,000 men from Israel to go with his army.
But a man of God came to him and said, “O king, do not let the army of Israel go with you, for the LORD is not with Israel, with all these Ephraimites. But go, act, be strong for the battle. Why should you suppose that God will cast you down before the enemy? For God has power to help or to cast down.”
2 Chronicles 25:7-8
He obeyed and sent the Israelites home.
Anyone who observed the starts of their reigns would probably conclude that both of them were saved. But then both of them committed serious sins.
It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?”
So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”
2 Samuel 11:2-5
After Amaziah came from striking down the Edomites, he brought the gods of the men of Seir and set them up as his gods and worshiped them, making offerings to them.
2 Chronicles 25:14
The reasonable conclusion to draw from this would be that neither of them was in fact saved. But God sent messengers to both of them to warn them of the consequences of their actions. Their responses showed what was really in their hearts.
Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.’”
David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”
And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child who is born to you shall die.”
2 Samuel 12:7-14
David acknowledged his sin and turned from it and was forgiven.
The LORD was angry with Amaziah and sent to him a prophet, who said to him, “Why have you sought the gods of a people who did not deliver their own people from your hand?”
But as he was speaking, the king said to him, “Have we made you a royal counselor? Stop! Why should you be struck down?”
So the prophet stopped, but said, “I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not listened to my counsel.”
2 Chronicles 25:15-16
Amaziah rejected the message God sent to him and threatened to kill the messenger. His response showed that he was never a true worshiper of God.