God’s door is always open. Unfortunately few will enter. That’s why Christ said the road to Hell is wide but the one to salvation is narrow. He knew many will come off as Christians but when they think no one is watching will live their lives like the apostates they really are.
That’s why He called the Scribes and Pharisees, the top religious folks of 1st Century Israel, blind guides “who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.” They pretended to live by God’s laws but they really didn’t! And this hypocrisy to the faith is the major stumbling block to so many Believers today!
Read the book of Acts and how it concerns the spreading the Gospel to Gentiles. It wasn’t about promoting lifestyles any right minded Jew (not even necessarily a follower of Christ) knew was sinful! That’s why the unrepentant sinner like a homosexual, thief, liar, murderer, drunkard should be wary of the lie that you can be a follower of Christ but continue sinning. True Christians seek holiness better known as “sanctification.”
Justification vs. Sanctification
See, your faith in God is rewarded by God; not because of your faith or anything you’ve have done or earned, but what God has chosen to do. He has “justified” you. Translation: He has delivered you from the penalty of guilt and sin. He has made, you, me, us legally acceptable into his kingdom. But we aren’t there yet. There is more for each of us to do.
To repeat: God, out of his loving grace has made us legally acceptable to be in his presence based upon our faith in Him. We are justified by him. But now we must seek, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, to cleanse ourselves of sin, the pollution of “the world.” For some this process of “sanctification” which is a striving to achieve holiness, will come immediately. For most it will be life long. We can never ever become perfectly holy fore only one human being, Yeshua of Nazareth, was the only truly holy person.
For us mere mortals giving up a sinful lifestyle can be much like giving up alcohol or nicotine. Some can cold turkey it immediately; others have to work at it day by day but all who call on the Holy Spirit will have its help.
Justification & Sanctification Go Together But Aren’t the Same
Paul was speaking to Believers in 1 Corinthians 6:11, when he said some were once wrongdoers, sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, gay, thieves, greedy, drunkards, slanderers and swindlers. Yet in :11, he said: “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” Again, speaking to Believers, not pagans and atheists, he said in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “Now may the God of peace sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Back to 1 Corinthians 6:11, he referred to the days of Temple worship when the priests would wash themselves and unblemished animals prior to sacrificing them to achieve God’s forgiveness upon his people.
Sanctification is like the act of a temple priest washing himself only its a holy cleansing of ourselves. We struggle, we wrestle and grapple with ridding ourselves of the sins we each used to do.
Decide to cling to your sins or favorite sin and you’re telling God “Hey I love you but I love this sin more.” Thankfully for all our sakes He can choose to not instantly require our souls. Like King David, Saul of Tarsus, and others He allows us time, some more than others, to change. Waste that time by resting your salvation entirely on God’s gracious forgiveness while continuing to live in sin and when you appear for final judgment it will (hold onto your seat now) make you unfit for paradise.
“[Paul] isn’t saying that a single infraction will cause a person to lose his salvation; but that people who continue to lead a life of sin…who show that they are not part of God’s people. Mere mental assent to doctrines or to the fact of Yeshua’s Messiahship is not sufficient for salvation, for “‘faith without actions is dead'” (James 2:26). David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, copyright 1989, Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc.