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There are several things I fear when a question like that is asked.

One is that the person asking misunderstands the gospel message. You are not saved by giving up something. You are saved by receiving God’s free gift and that gift is specifically called “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).


The price for that gift has already been paid. When God’s Son, Jesus Christ died on a cross, He made the complete payment for everything wrong we have done. When Jesus Christ declared on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30), He meant that our debt of sin has been paid in full.


Through His death and resurrection, God can now extend eternal life as a gift to all those who simply trust Him as their only way to heaven (John 6:47).  Once more, it is not about giving up something, but receiving something.


At the same time, God does want Christians to give up our sinful habits because sin is destructive, never helpful. He is not, however, asking us to give up those sinful habits in our own power.

The Christian life is not a natural life, it’s a supernatural one. Paul reminds of this in his letter to the Galatian church: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (2:20).


The Christian life is Christ living in you. As you grow close to Him, He helps you give up what is displeasing in His eyes and do that which honors His name. Sometimes that happens overnight and sometimes it requires more discipline on our part. But if we do our part, God will do His.


Finally, when God accepts us, He accepts us based on His Son’s performance not based on ours. That’s why to be His, is to be His forever. He never takes back that free gift of eternal life even if our lives are a mess (John 10:28).


There may be ups and downs, success and failures, but regardless of what we do we are His. When we fail, He’s there to forgive us, help us, and strengthen us in living the Christian life.

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