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Can christians still sin and what are we to do about it? I was verbly fighting with my husband as he was with me, and told him I was sorry for every word that came out of my mouth. I asked Jesus for forgiveness but I still feel really bad for what I had done and feel like he won't forgive me. - P. Burkhart

The Bible clearly states that even as believers, we still sin (1 John 1:8). This means we are still sinners. The ideal is that we not sin, but if we do sin, Jesus is our advocate who speaks to the Father on our behalf (1 John 2:1). This is not a license to sin willfully (Romans 6:1). When we are baptized, our old self is supposed to be laid to rest, and a new person comes up out of the water (Romans 6:1-7, Colossians 3:10ff). Part of that renewal comes from the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). The Spirit helps us in our weaknesses and strengthens us inwardly (Romans 8:26; Ephesians 3:16). If you are a converted, baptized believer, you have the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38) who strengthens you.

The guilt is understandable. It is natural to feel disappointed in yourself when you have fallen short. It is natural to feel this way because we know that God grieves for us due to our sin. However, guilt does not always stem from a problem that God has with us. It sometimes stems from a problem that we have with ourselves. God forgives us when we repent and confess our sins. That means he has wiped it clean. Satan doesn't want us to believe this. He has a "scheme" to defeat us by using guilt and shame (2 Corinthians 2:5-11). When one repents, God forgives, and brethren forgive, and we should therefore forgive ourselves, "so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11)."

If the problem is not a one-time sin, but a habitual one, then there is indeed a problem. The only type of sin that can keep you in bondage is the unconfessed sin. That is why the Bible tells us to confess our sins to each other and pray for each other that we may be healed (James 5:16). As long as it remains unconfessed, it will still plague you. Once it is confessed, it will lose its power over you. As long as it is secret, it will clutch you tighter. That is why the Psalmist writes, "When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long (Psalm 32:3)." Confession along with repentance may be what is needed.

Do not base the condition of your relationship with God on your feelings. Feelings are notorious for being fickle and unstable. However, God is stable. Base the condition of your relationship with him on the promises that he has made in the Bible. This is sure and steadfast as an anchor (Hebrews 6:19). God has promised to forgive us. The blood of Jesus washes away our sins when we confess them (1 John 1:7-9).

John Telgren
P.O. Box 452
Leavenworth, KS 66048
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