You remember the last time you felt this way. You can pinpoint the day it happened. This time, the shame and guilt fill your heart more than ever because you promised—both to yourself and to God—that you wouldn’t do this again. And yet here you are.
If you’re trapped in a besetting sin, you are not alone. As I counsel girls battling lust, I walk them through this struggle on a weekly (sometimes daily!) basis. The struggle against sin is not new to the human experience; it characterizes the battle every Christian must face.
When we accept Christ, we are freed from our sinful destiny and identity. We are given access to the power of God to say “no” to sin. But though we are no longer captive to sin’s power, we still have to choose holiness at every opportunity. As imperfect beings, there are times that we fail in the very sins we are trying to put off. So does God forgive repeated sin? Let’s answer that question.
Christ’s sacrifice atones for ALL sin.
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)
Do you know why Jesus died? Jesus allowed Himself to be killed in order to bridge the gap between humanity and God. Because God is perfect, He could not commune with men and women because we are a fallen race. To be in a close relationship with us would tarnish His purity. That’s why “God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16). Our hope is found in the latter half of that famous verse, which says: “Whosoever believes in Him will not perish (be separated from God) but will have everlasting life.”
What Jesus did on the cross atoned for your sin. The law of God, being perfect, cannot accept sin. There is no such thing as “good enough” apart from perfection. This isn’t because God is cruel, but because He is holy (and without being perfectly holy, He could not be perfectly loving or perfectly good—we wouldn’t even know what love is apart from God’s holiness!). Christ made us “good enough” by dying on the cross and paying the price for our sins. When He died, it wasn’t a partial death—dying for some sins and not for others. He died for all. That means every sin you have committed or will commit is covered by His blood.
We are promised forgiveness if we confess and repent.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
When we do sin, it isn’t that you necessarily “hate God” or no longer love the Lord. But it does mean that, in that moment, you didn’t trust that Christ was enough for you. You believed the lie that sin would be more physically, emotionally, or spiritually satisfying than God Himself. You made God small and powerless in your heart.
How do you recover from a fall like this? Confess and repent. Confession is acknowledging your sin before God, telling Him what you did and accepting that it is offensive to Him. Repenting is the determination to “turn around” or do a 180-degree turn in the other direction. These two actions bring our heart into alignment with the will of God, who offers hope and forgiveness to the humble.
God’s grace motivates us say “NO” to temptation.
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)
This grace through Jesus is amazing, but some people take advantage of it. Paul warned against this in Romans 6:1-2: “Shall we continue in sin so that grace may increase? By no means! How can we who died to sin live in it any longer?”
Jesus grants us grace for our sin not so we can abuse His grace, but so we can be in daily conversation and relationship with Him! This is the difference between obedience out of fear and obedience out of gratitude. We choose to reject sin because we are so grateful for Jesus’ sacrifice.
When we fail, our only hope is to run back to Christ:
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10)
This “full assurance” is the promise of forgiveness to the repentant. Throughout Scripture God’s patient, loving nature is revealed. He hates sin, but He loves us equally. Dedicate yourself to pursuing God daily. Arm yourself with His Word. Be ruthless with sin and temptation, putting off anything that hinders you. Confess, repent and run to the throne of grace when you fail, and trust what He promises: “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12)