Many Christians have been fed the works-righteousness lie of the sin-out, repent-in cycle. It goes something like this…When you become a Christian you are reconciled to God but when you sin, until the moment you repent you are in danger of the fires of hell. Don’t forsake the assembly…you might go to hell. Don’t do anything stupid because if you die before you repent, BAM, you go to hell.
Fortunately the Bible doesn’t teach that. Jesus certainly never taught it. In John 8:12, Jesus teaches quite the opposite of that. He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Jesus didn’t say, “whoever follows me will never walk in darkness until their first sin and then they no longer walk with me or have the light of life until they repent.” He is saying that it is entirely possible to mess up and still be walking with Christ, in the light, and have life. So how can someone be guilty of sin and still walk in the light? John tells us in 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” There is the answer. Here we clearly see that someone can walk in the light and still need purification from their sin.
Jesus never expects us to have a sinless existence this side of heaven. What is more he enables us to continue walking in the light even when we sin. It isn’t in, out, in, out. It is in and forgiven 100%, continually. So let’s get over the fearful notion that we might have done something that excommunicated us from the love of God and cling to the concept of walking in the light while receiving forgiveness of sins because that is scriptural, gives us hope, and reminds us that our salvation is more dependent on God than it is on us.