I was recently asked by a God-fearing brother what a double life is; I responded by saying it is willful sinning and blatant disobedience. We should therefore not take the Lord’s warnings lightly; they are meant to keep us on course. We should also remember that the Lord is Judge and His warnings have eternal consequences. So then, when He warns us He is extending His love and grace, and the Lord is reaching out to us to repent (Ezekiel 18:31).
What Causes Us to Sin Willfully?
Recently (May 4, 2014), the Lord gave me the task to warn a person who is engaging in sinful behavior without regard for God. I took the Lord’s message to her, telling her that the Lord said He is seeing everything she is doing and that she must stop. As is common to human nature she lied and denied everything at first (Genesis 18:15). Only after I told her that it was the Lord saying she did those wrong things did she admit and say the Lord is right, and that she is battling to conquer some of her old habits.
The Apostle James said, “…but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed” (James 1:14). Similarly, Paul encouraged us to walk by the Holy Spirit so that we deny the flesh its sinful desires (Galatians 5:16). Like I alluded elsewhere, human nature requires a law or a rule to base our decisions on. If our decisions are unguarded, we would act only in our interest and often without regard for God and others (Proverbs 3:15-16). Self-interest, which is a powerful weapon that Satan is using to draw us away from the Lord, is one of the biggest enemies against our relationship with our Heavenly Father (Genesis 3:6). Because of human weakness, we often express self-pity and give others blame for our lack of self-control and disobedience (Genesis 3:12). However, whatever excuse(s) we offer will not make us guiltless; it might make us feel a little better, but the guilt remains and in God’s perfect Justice He requires an account or answer (Genesis 3:11). When we act contrary to our “guide” (God’s Word and Holy Spirit), there is a reprisal for our disobedience.
Furthermore, the Lord told us that it displeases Him when we sin deliberately as His children and that is showing contempt for His Word. He once told us whatever well-defined excuse we might offer, we are in violation of His Word and the excuses we offer are often an answer of a guilty conscience seeking His Justice. In other words, we are expecting His justice to justify or condemn us; that is why the Scripture says that “there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26 ESV).
Salvation is Sacrificed in Willful Sinning
Someone in our ministry once decided to stop praying and attending services after being severely rebuked by the Lord; this was willful disobedience and rebelliousness. Like Paul he was “kicking against the pricks”(Acts 26:14). We cannot become bitter with the Lord; we stand no chance of being justified apart from Him! In fact the only remaining reality is “but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God” (Hebrews 10:27). Knowing that a life outside the Lord bears fruit unto death (Romans 6:23), the brother confessed his wrong-doing, picked up his cross and followed the Lord once again.
Sadly, the Lord told us that many Christians who are living deliberately in sin will not see His face but His wrath for despising His Word (Hebrews 12:14). After a life of sadness and hopelessness in my heart, soon after my conversion and deliverance from wicked living, I went to almost all my worldly friends with the gospel. Some immediately praised the Lord for His grace while others asked for a few days. I boldly confessed to them my faith in Christ. I prayed for their deliverance and salvation often, but sadly, some of them died without being saved. The Lord once told Charis, “One of your father’s friends is going to die soon”, and He showed her in a vision two of my former friends’ photographs, but the photograph of the one who was going to die was made bolder. I approached the friend telling him about the Lord’s warning and that the Lord said he should repent. However, he did not heed the warning and later went back to his old way of living and he died suddenly without having the opportunity to make right with God.
Furthermore, a friend I had came to me shortly after my conversion some seven (7) years ago; he was encouraged and excited when he learned that the Lord saved me from my addictions. After sharing my experience with him, he expressed his desire to become saved too. A few weeks later, he paid me a visit sharing with me the good news of his conversion. Soon after his conversion, we decided to break bread daily; this was before the Lord started speaking to us. This brother was unemployed when he came to the Lord, but about a month after his conversion, he was blessed with a job and went back to his old ways of drinking and smoking. When he stopped visiting me for a few weeks, I suspected that he might have become unfaithful in his walk with the Lord. I paid him a surprise visit and he confessed that he had become weak. This confirmed an earlier dream I had about him that he had forsaken the Lord. He promised to make right with the Lord, but sadly He died about two years ago without doing so. The Lord also showed both Charis and I that he procrastinated his salvation. In a vision, Charis saw this brother having a conversation with someone, and he said that the Lord had warned him that he was going to die, but he did not heed this message. Charis said she could feel he regretted not taking the Lord's warning seriously. Additionally, in a dream I had about him, he was swearing and he sent me to go speak to his family about the Lord. Being driven by a strong conviction, I went to his wife and related the message to her. However, from my observation, she showed very little interested in what I was saying.
As for those of us who are genuinely serving the Lord with a God-fearing conviction, if we make mistakes and sin accidentally, the Lord will forgive us (1 John 1:9). The Lord once said, “I like it when you ask for forgiveness after you realized you have made a mistake”. I cannot say to which extent we make mistakes, but the Lord judges our motives if it is driven by self-interest or if it is an innocent mistake. The Lord also warned us that many people who think their work for Him is justification for willful sinning are badly mistaken. There are people who are gambling and drinking wine or beer and getting drunk, while some think their many good deeds will count in their favor even while living willfully in sin. The Lord says their fate and destiny is already decided. The Bible admonishes us: "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18).
In conclusion, know this, brethren, that the Lord is not pleased when we sin deliberately; when we do so we are dishonoring Him and our confessional covenant with Him (1 Corinthians 6:17).
Yours in submission to Christ,