I am twenty-four years old. About two and a half years ago I began to follow Christ, but I have not been able to stop sinning. I feel very sad because I no longer want to be an inconsistent person. I feel depressed, and I don’t know what to do because every time I sin I feel very badly. I want to know how to get closer to God. I want to be honest, to be a person that is above reproach. I don’t want to be a bad person anymore.

Dear Friend,

When we first read your case, we thought that it would have been helpful to have known your specific sin so that we could help you specifically. On second thought, however, we believe that it is better to have the opportunity to talk about sin in a more general way.

You say that you keep sinning, but some people who follow these messages won’t understand what you are talking about because they don’t believe in sin. Instead, they believe that every situation is different and that everyone gets to decide for themselves whether an action is right or wrong. They believe that the idea of sin is just a religious construct designed to keep people in submission to the church.

Those people don’t believe in the truth or the authority of the Bible either. Therefore, telling them what the Scriptures say does not make a difference to them. That is because it is impossible to believe in God’s Word without also believing in sin.

The Bible contains so many references to sin that it would be impossible to refer to them all. Consequently, we will limit ourselves to just one Scripture. It says, “If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”(1) The “him” in this verse is obviously God. Therefore, claiming that we haven’t sinned is the same as calling God a liar.

We congratulate you for recognizing your sin and for wanting to be free from its control on your life. The truth is that all of us are tempted and all of us sin.(2) So you are not much different than anyone else. All followers of Christ have to continually confess to God the ways that we have sinned in thought or action.

However, there are great differences in the kinds of confession that people make. Our little granddaughters are willing to quickly say, “Sorry!” if only because they hope the word will get them out of trouble. If we confess to God in that way, with the motivation of getting out of trouble, we are likely to sin again because our confession was not accompanied by real regret.

On the other hand, there is confession that is truly sorrowful. When God sees that sorrow in us, He not only forgives but He also draws us closer to Him. And when we experience that closer relationship, it makes us more determined to take less detours into sin.

You are created in the image of God, so making bad choices does not make you a bad person. By thinking of yourself as a bad person, you are denying what God has already done in your life as well as denying that God has forgiven you of your past sin. Being a follower of Christ means your goal is to actively follow Him, getting closer every week, month and year. 

We wish you well,

1  1 Jn 1:10
2  1 Co 10:13; Ro 3:23