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I am a Christian but struggle in my old ways. I am pregnant and still have sex with the father. Can I be forgiven?
Thank you so much for your honest question, and thank you for the opportunity to point you in the direction of some truth from the Bible that will help you in the struggle you find yourself in. You’ll find the solutions to your problems are simple, and yet there may still be a real struggle for you to be obedient to what God would want you to do.
There are two issues you have raised in your question - the first is regarding the forgiveness you are seeking and the second is what you should do in the situation you find yourself in. I will deal with these two subjects in this order, though it must be said that they do fit together entirely - one cannot come without the other.
Firstly to forgiveness, and as we briefly study this subject you will find there is some amazing Good News for all of us who know that we are sinners. The remedy for our sin has nothing to do with the way that we feel; you may not feel forgiven, and I understand the feeling of guilt that you may be feeling. However, what matters is not how you feel about being forgiven, but whether you actually are forgiven. The Bible tells us is that forgiveness is not based on anything to do with us at all, but is based on an unshakeable reality that we can constantly depend upon; the forgiveness of a person who has put their trust in Jesus Christ is completely dependent upon the blood that He shed 2000 years ago on the cross of Calvary.
The Son of God Himself bore the punishment for our sin in His own body (1 Peter 2:24) as He died - He was literally beaten to death in our place. Jesus made an actual payment for our sin and became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
We deserved spiritual death, and He took that death for us - we deserved to be cut off from God because of our sin, but Jesus was cut off for us (Matthew 27:46). What God didn’t do was make it possible that we could somehow earn forgiveness from Him by our good works. He paid all that was needed to be paid, and so Jesus cried out on the cross as He died "it is finished!" (John 19:30).
Therefore, the question we must ask ourselves is this - if the Bible is clear that not everyone in the world has received this forgiveness from God, then how can we know that we have it for ourselves. Ephesians 2:8 says this:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.
Paul reminds the Ephesian church that salvation (including amongst other things, the forgiveness of our sins) is not anything that we can achieve for ourselves, it is a free gift of God’s unmerited favour (grace) - but it does involve us exercising faith in Jesus. So all of this comes down to one question - 'have I put my faith in Christ?' Have I trusted that He is the only one who can take my sin away, and bring me into the relationship with God that I was created for?
The simple truth then is this: if you can answer ‘yes’ to this question, then you can be certain that you are forgiven, that you belong to God, and that you will one day meet Him, and live with Him in heaven when you die. There is no sin too big for God to forgive, whether it be in our past, or even if we fail Him later on, and so those who know they have trusted in Jesus can live in the constant peace and joy of complete forgiveness, received as a free gift because of the death of the Son of God in our place.
This doesn’t mean we grow content with our sin - it should still grieve us, just as it grieves God - but we no longer need to try and earn forgiveness, or buy back our favour with God when we fail - we simply bring that failure to the foot of the cross and watch it be washed away in the blood that Jesus shed for us.
So having laid that basis for forgiveness, we must now ask the question of what you ought to do in the situation you are now in. We have spoken already about faith being the means by which we receive the gift of God’s forgiveness, and we must now talk about another of the fundamental responses to the work Jesus has done on our behalf - repentance.
At the beginning of His ministry on earth Jesus spoke about ‘repenting’ and ‘believing’ the Good News in the same breath - these are two sides of the same coin. You cannot have real faith without repentance, and you also cannot have real repentance without faith.
So, what does it mean to repent? It literally means to have a change of mind, to turn away from something, and in the context of the Bible it means to change your mind about our sinful habits, turning away from them to walk with God instead. Repentance is an essential part of the Christian life, and should not be taken lightly in any way. Sadly it is possible for some people to remove repentance completely from their lives as Christians, and effectively excuse their sin because of the forgiveness God is offering, but if a person does this there is something very wrong.
A fundamental part of our faith in Jesus is acknowledging the truth of our failure to live up to God’s standard, and committing ourselves to walk differently. What happens is that God meets us in that place with the power to change - not perfectly, and not overnight, but He begins to work a radical transformation in our lives the moment we truly put our faith in Him.
So, what does this mean for your situation? It would seem from your Christian that the Holy Spirit is working in you, leading you to repentance and bringing to light the things that you need to change in your life. Be open to this work, that God would lead you in to the truth of His ways. We don’t want to justify any of our sin in any way at all, and yet we know that all of us do fail in our pursuit of holiness, and sometimes badly. It is never expected that we would be perfect in this lifetime - growing yes, but not perfect - but what is expected of us is to respond to our failure in a way that honours God.
If a person carries on in a sinful lifestyle that has already got them into serious difficulty, what it very clearly appears to show is a lack of genuine repentance. I know that might sound harsh, but we must be honest with you to serve you best. I want to point you to a verse from 2 Corinthians 7:
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)
The Corinthian church had a lot of problems with sin entering the church in different ways, and Paul is here explaining to them that it’s not enough to feel guilty for what we’ve done, or even just feel sorry for our sin. Our sorrow must be mixed with action on our part to get rid of whatever it might be out of our lives.
This is the evidence of real faith in Jesus, when our faith leads to a real repentance and a transformed life by the power of the Holy Spirit living inside us.
Paul goes on in 2 Corinthians to encourage the church on their own response to his correction in the past:
For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! (2 Corinthians 7:11)
A person who has real faith in Jesus, and a real understanding of the sacrifice He had to make on their behalf, just cannot let any sin remain in their lives without doing whatever they can to get rid of it. So here’s what the Bible would counsel you to do in your situation - you should definitely be going to church if you still count yourself as a follower of Jesus, and you should be completely honest about what’s happened.
The Bible would urge you to walk in the light, rather than hiding anything (1 John 1:7). I know there could be a fear of what people will think of you when you do this, but any true church should respond with real grace, not justifying your sin, but with a loving commitment to help you through.
However, one of the first things any church would also counsel you in is that you must do all you can to remove the sinful habit that you have allowed to grow in your life. Biblically speaking, your sexual relationship with the father of your child should stop immediately, and no relationship of this sort should be entered into again until you are married. The honest truth is, that if you remain in the situation you are in, there must be serious doubts whether your faith in Jesus is genuine, and therefore whether you truly are forgiven and belong to God. Again I know this sounds harsh, but this is the picture the Bible presents. Jesus Himself instructs the church to treat a professing believer in persistent unrepentant sin as though they were an unbeliever (Matthew 18:15-17).
All that remains for me to do is to urge you that the best thing you could possibly do is to deal with all of this. As we began this answer by thinking about, there really is no sin too big for God to forgive, and nothing too great that you cannot be completely washed clean. His arms genuinely are opened wide waiting for you to return to Him, just as in the famous story of the lost son (Luke 15:11-32). I can tell you for certain that no temporary pleasure or satisfaction you might gain from the relationship you are in, can ever compare to the joy, peace and ultimate satisfaction you will gain from knowing God.
In the end, the pleasure we find in this world is just fleeting, but Jesus is offering fullness of joy in His presence forever and ever.
When those who have trusted Jesus reach the perfection of heaven, all of the sacrifices of this life will seem like nothing compared to the glory we will see and experience (Romans 8:18).
In summary, I encourage you to call out once again to Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins, and then to repent - walk in his ways - so that you have a genuine outworking of the Good News of Jesus in you. Continue to pray, to read your scriptures and to meet with your church pastor, who can help you through this time and to walk in God's ways.
Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:
- 1 John 1:5-10
- Colossians 3:1-17
- Luke 15:11-32
I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video
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*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
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