Does Sin Separate Us From God?

HomeChristianity and the BibleDoes Sin Separate Us From God?

Yes, it’s true: the sins of the entire world are missing…at least as far as God is concerned, anyway. Many people think that God keeps close track of everyone’s sins (the better to condemn you with, my dear) but nothing could be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is that SIN has been a dead issue for a long, long time! How can we be sure, you ask? Simple. The Bible explains it quite clearly:

God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them.

2 Corinthians 5:19

Most Christians are unfamiliar with this passage of Scripture. To be fair, they’re unfamiliar with most passages of Scripture…but that’s a topic for another day. The point is that when Jesus died, He took away all of the sins of the world. That includes all of yours and all of mine. Every sin, for every person, for all time. He didn’t just deal with the sin of those who believed in Him, either…He died for everyone. He ‘became sin’ so that we would have the opportunity to ‘become the righteousness of God’. Notice: every sin you’ve ever committed happened AFTER Jesus died, right? That means that they’ve all been taken care of. Jesus isn’t going back onto the cross — His work is done! God reconciled the world to Himself through Christ, and doesn’t count our sins against us. That’s good news!

However, some will undoubtedly ask: “Since all sins for all time have been forgiven, will everyone go to heaven?” Certainly not. If sin were the problem, sure…but it isn’t sin that keeps us from God…it’s our unwillingness to submit to His authority! When we submit to God, He sends the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and immediately give us eternal life. It isn’t GOD that avoids the unsaved — it’s the other way around! The barrier of sin came down a long time ago, and the only barrier left between Man and God is PRIDE. If you’re not a Christian, I’ve got good news: God isn’t mad at you…in fact, God’s crazy about you!

Okay, so sin is a dead issue…are we free to disobey? Of course not! Is repentance from sin unnecessary? Certainly not! Repentance is turning away (literally “changing your mind”) from the sins that you commit. The fact that Jesus took the punishment for our sins doesn’t mean that we can do whatever we want. Why would we slap God in the face after He gives us eternal life? Turning from sin is an important part of Christ-likeness and maturity. Jesus said that He came to give us abundant life, and it’s unlikely that such a life is possible when you’re insulting God by continuing to sin.

Religious people are often quick to point out the sins and weaknesses of others…a fact not missed by Jesus Himself. It’s interesting to note that He condemned the self-righteous religious elite of His day but didn’t condemn the woman caught in adultery! While the Pharisees prided themselves on following the letter of the Law, the adulterous woman didn’t seem to care about what God expected from her. One might expect Jesus to praise the Pharisees for their hard work, and to chastise the woman for neglecting her spiritual duties…but the Pharisees caught the brunt of Jesus’ harshest words, and Jesus was kind and gentle toward the sinful woman. He did tell her to go and sin no more, but didn’t He condemn her like the others did. That’s two things we should all remember…first: that Jesus isn’t our accuser, and second: that God doesn’t think too highly of self-righteous condemnation.

So, let’s put the puzzle pieces together, shall we? Only those who submit to God and accept the salvation that He offers will receive eternal life. Those who do submit receive eternal life, and the abundant earthly life Jesus talked about can be theirs as well. What do those who don’t submit get? Hell…the Bible is clear in that regard. No eternal life…only eternal separation from God. That’s bad news! The passage above hints about how serious this is…Paul instructs Christians to appeal to (and even beg) our neighbors to be reconciled to God. That is our ministry. NOT to point out their sins and condemn them, but to act as ambassadors for God, speaking for Him. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin (John 16:8)…it’s our job to share the Gospel. The Gospel or “good news” is that Jesus gave us access to eternal life by dying the death that we deserve.

What separates us from God? Simply that we choose to ignore Him…to drown out His ‘still, small voice’. There are lots of voices shouting at us, trying to get our attention. The loudest isn’t always the best! Please: be reconciled to God…otherwise, the death that Jesus died for YOU will have been in vain.

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21 responses to “Does Sin Separate Us From God?”

  1. Moagi says:

    Thanks for this message it really enlightened me

  2. Suzanne Hudson says:

    Finally someone who knows the truth about sin. our church teaches us that even one sin will separate us from God.
    Question how do I approach this with my pastor that he is believing a lie. Sue

    • Tony says:


      Thank you for your encouraging words. I grew up believing that even one sin might send me to Hell, and became a licensed minister in a denomination that teaches this…so I know what you’re talking about. However: I want to caution you (and other GodWords readers) about this issue.

      I do believe that Jesus paid the penalty for every sin, for every person, for all time. That doesn’t mean that everybody is going to Heaven, of course. There’s something missing from the equation…something that does cause people to end up in Hell. The missing part is reconciliation. Those who are not reconciled to God will not be in Heaven with Him for eternity. They will instead be separated from Him for eternity, because they chose to not be with Him. Those who are reconciled to God begin a new relationship with Him.

      That’s not entirely the end of the story, though. Scripture does talk about those who know the truth and walk away from it. This isn’t something that can be ignored.

      Before trying to convince your pastor that he believes a lie, let me recommend that you do your homework. Become familiar with both sides of the debate. Read all of the Bible verses used to make each case. Be fair in your assessment of the ideas you don’t agree with. Pray that the Holy Spirit will guide you in this process, because spiritual things are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14). It may be that your pastor is entirely wrong, or you may find that there’s a good, biblical reason for him to believe as he does. I can’t know, since I don’t know your pastor.

      Wise and educated men and women have disagreed on this subject for centuries. Both have a biblical case to make, and it seems irresponsible to pretend otherwise. Take a position if you like…I have. Don’t make the mistake of mischaracterizing the other side of the issue. Here are the steps I would take to talk with your pastor:

      1. Pray. I would pray that my attitude is right…that is, that I’m motivated by love for my pastor and those he influences. Selfish motives will usually make the problem worse.
      2. Read. A lot. The internet is a great resource, and I would do simple searches like “can you lose your salvation?” and “eternal security”. I would read dozens of articles, and I would take notes.
      3. Read more. I would look up every Bible verse mentioned in those articles, seeking to understand them in their original context.
      4. Write. There’s no substitute for hard work. One of the things I would do is try to write my thoughts on the subject. It’s one thing to have a theory, but another thing entirely to be able to explain that theory to strangers. Believe it or not, your pastor may be a deeper well of knowledge and discernment than you give him credit for…there’s immense value in teaching. When we learn something well enough to teach it effectively, we are the primary beneficiaries. If you can write a meaningful explanation of what you believe, you may be ready to discuss it with someone who disagrees.
      5. Ask. Do not tell your pastor he is wrong…ask if he has time to discuss a theological matter that’s troubling you. Always be respectful when disagreeing. It gets you a better hearing, but – more importantly – it keeps us humble. Pride is always our enemy.

      Let me warn you, Sue: if you skip a step, you’re asking for trouble. This isn’t just my own list of things to do…it’s a combination of good advice about disagreeing that I’ve heard and read over the past 35 years. If you just run off and confront your pastor, chances are pretty good that you won’t make much headway. The purpose of confrontation is restoration. If you don’t take this seriously enough to seek restoration, you’re not taking it seriously enough for confrontation.

      I hope that makes sense. I take theological disagreement very seriously, as you can tell. It’s okay to disagree. We all do it all the time. What’s not okay is to pretend that you have the right answers before hearing the case your ‘opponent’ makes. Listen first. Understand second. Disagree third, if needed. Above all, be Christlike.

      Please let me know how it goes!

    • Jimmie Hicks Jr says:

      Don’t approach your Pastor , because having the smallest sin still means that you are ignoring the small voice of God. So whether you call it sin or ignoring Gods voice, it brings you the same thing separation

      • Tony says:


        With respect, what you’ve written makes the New Testament unworkable. We are told, by Jesus and by His disciples, to confront sin and correct error. Nobody is entirely without sin, so – according to you – nobody can do what we’ve been told to do. Yes, sin damages our relationship with God. That doesn’t mean that everyone has been disqualified, does it?

  3. Glossyna Rose-Ame says:

    Great answer.

  4. BoB says:

    So, is this the church of Scientology then? I thought this was baptist??

    • Tony says:


      I don’t understand your comment. First, what made you think anything here is baptist? There’s nothing wrong with being a baptist, but I’m not baptist and neither is GodWords. Second, Scientology what? This makes no sense. Maybe you’re being sarcastic, but it sounds like you don’t know anything about Scientology. It’s a self-help business cult masquerading as a technology masquerading as a religion. Nothing written on this website suggests otherwise.

  5. chloe ellenbacher says:

    “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 cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 IF we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1
    Just wondering how your theology fits with this? It’s saying only IF we confess and walk in the light then our sins are forgiven.

    • Tony says:


      Thanks for writing! You ask a good question. I believe that everyone has already been forgiven for all sins. Some Christians disagree with me, teaching that forgiveness is only given after someone asks for it. This is an “in-house debate” among believers, and shouldn’t divide us.

      Christians do sin, and (usually) too often. That’s why 1 John is such an encouragement: we know that, in spite of our weakness and unfaithfulness, our relationship with God is not entirely broken by our sin. We should confess our sins, and He will forgive us. The passage you quote leaves no room for anyone to say they’re sin-free. It also teaches that believers who sin are never beyond forgiveness.

      However: in your comment, you’ve gone beyond what the passage says. You’ve added that we are only forgiven IF we confess our sins. The passage doesn’t say that, of course. It’s important to keep that in mind.

      1 John provides us with more information, just a few verses later (chapter 2, verse 2): [Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. The point of a sacrifice is forgive sins. As in the old covenant, the sins of the people were covered when the sacrifice died…nobody had to specifically ask for forgiveness, as the sacrifice itself is what covered their sins. Note that John’s words include believers and non-believers. This passage and 2 Corinthians 5 match, and support each other. Here’s how I would explain how our sins are forgiven ahead of time:

      As Romans tells us, all have sinned…and the wages of sin is death. We all have earned the death penalty for our purposeful disobedience. Jesus took our place, and He died the death we should have died. He paid the penalty that we should have paid. Now, take note of 2 Corinthians 5:14one died for all, and therefore all died. Did you catch that? When Jesus died, it is as if – spiritually speaking – we all died: you and me and everyone else. Seeing that this is true, there are no more deaths left. Everybody has already died.

      Jesus’ death paid the price for all of us, including those who will never be saved. Both 1 John 1 and 2 Corinthians 5 teach this.

      Make sense? Let me know if there’s more I can do to be helpful. Have a great day!

  6. Harold says:

    I agree that all sins are forgiven. Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
    Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; All sins are nailed to the cross. Do a study on the blood of Christ.When God looks upon us ,he sees the righteousness of Christ. He also sees the blood of his son. God Bless.

  7. Gena says:

    I’ve been praying to be forgiving for my sins, I’ve been crying and praying bc I want to be forgiven i have done things that I hate, I can’t help but cry when I ask to be forgiven and I have never repeated the same sin over and over again, I’m getting ready to get a bible and I will keep my nose in it, I accept god as my father I just hope he forgives me.

    • Tony says:


      I’m so glad you wrote to me! What you describe is true repentance…being sorry for your sins and turning away from them. That’s awesome! When we sincerely ask God to forgive us, He does. John (the disciple who was probably Jesus’ closest friend) wrote this in 1 John 1:9

      If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

      See? You’ve been forgiven. God is your Father, and I am your brother in Christ. Now what? Now trust God with your life. Learn about Him. Talk to Him. Tell Him what you think, and spend some time listening. One of the most important things is to surround yourself with people who care about you, and can help you grow. God has big plans for you, and it’s important to prepare. If you don’t already have some friends who are also followers of Jesus, let me suggest that you look around for some. If you’re in school, there may be a club for Christians. If you have a church that teaches directly from the Bible, spend some time there looking for the ones who seem most interested in learning and growing. If you don’t have a church, I can recommend some in your area…just let me know what part of town you’re in.

      I’m very excited for you! Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you. Have a great day!

  8. John says:

    I think you carry your argument a little far. If you had left it at the sacrifice for all sins has been made and therefore there is no further sacrifice necessary for any sins that will be committed from now until eternity, I believe you would be more accurate. The fact remains though that sin separates us from God. It always has, it always will. Romans 6:23 states that the wages of sin is death. Those who will be lost, will be lost because of their sin. Those who are not “reconciled” are not reconciled because they are still in their sin. One can not remain in sin and be reconciled to God Romans 6 is a good study on this. We also read in Acts 22 of Paul’s conversion. Acts 22:16 states “arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins…” This passage teaches that our sins are washed away when we’re baptized, thus making the plea for the reconciliation you speak of. This plea also corresponds to 1 Peter 3:21, we make our “plea” for reconciliation when we’re baptized. At which point, our sins are washed away, and we’re added to the Lord’s church.

    • Tony says:


      Thanks for your comment. I understand what you’re saying, but I can’t quite agree on the smaller details. Sin is a problem, of course…it would be silly to pretend otherwise. We must, as you point out, repent of our sin. We should avoid sinning. Sin is bad, and continues to be a problem.

      The point of my article isn’t that there is no sin, or that sin has lost any of its badness. The point is that the penalty for sins has already been paid. There is no penalty left to pay. Not for you or me, and not for the worst sinner in the history of humanity. Yes, the wages of sin is death. We all deserve to die because we all have sinned. Fortunately for everybody, Jesus died in our place. That’s what 2 Corinthians 5 is saying: one died for all, therefore all died. There are no deaths left to die for sins committed, as His death took the penalty for all sin, for all people, for all time. He died our deaths. It would be unjust to punish Jesus for your sins and then punish you as well. The price has indeed been paid.

      That doesn’t mean that everyone goes to Heaven, of course. Those who are reconciled to God will go to Heaven, and those who refuse will not. The point is that nobody goes to Hell for sin, but for rejecting God.

  9. Serena Davide says:

    Not disagreeing with you, just that in the Scripture Romans 8:38-39, it mentions nothing shall separate us from the love of God, the long list of things that will not separate us from the love of God, strangely does not mention sin. It does not say nor sin. I actually probably believe in once saved always saved, yet I know we cant continue in sin, and why isn`t sin mentioned as one of the things that wont separate us from the love of God, everything else but is mentioned

    • Tony says:


      Thanks for your question. It’s true that Romans 8:38-39 doesn’t mention sin. It only mentions 16 different things. I could add a bunch of items that it doesn’t list…like sin, bacon, lip gloss, or roller skates. I’m not making light of your question, really. We can’t draw any conclusions from what is not in the passage. We can only draw conclusions from what is in the passage, and from the context.

      When we say ‘the context,’ we mean 1) who was writing, 2) to whom they were writing, and 3) the reason for writing. It’s important to take the context into account when trying to understand any Bible verse. We should read the surrounding verses (if not the whole book) to understand the full message. Look at what comes before v38 and v39…like, say, v31: What, then, shall we say in response to these things?. What things is Paul talking about? That seems important.

      In the first part of the chapter, Paul wrote about suffering. He said that we who follow Jesus have been set free from the Law of Moses. We aren’t to live by the old law, which brought condemnation and death. We’re to live by the Spirit, who brings life. He wrote of how awesome it is to live that way. Then he wrote that this life might include suffering. He pointed out that all of creation is suffering because of sin, and that we aren’t excluded from this suffering…even if we live righteous lives. Then he wrote about the kinds of suffering that they might encounter: persecution, death threats, and poverty…but that neither spiritual beings nor even death could change our relationship with God.

      When we read the context, it becomes more clear. Notice that Paul didn’t include some very important things on that list…like idol worship. God’s people had always struggled with idol worship, right? He didn’t mention that. How about child sacrifice, or adultery? How about blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? Serena, this list wasn’t meant to be a comprehensive list of the things that can’t separate us from God’s love. It was meant to tell specific people, at a specific time and place, that their suffering wouldn’t cause them to be lost. Something important to know about their culture is that people who had easy lives were assumed to be blessed by God, and people whose lives were difficult were assumed to have less approval. Jesus taught otherwise, of course…and the Christians in Rome, who would suffer much persecution, needed to be reminded. They needed to know that following Jesus might even cost them their lives, but that wouldn’t mean God had abandoned them. No amount of suffering would separate them from God’s love, and they need not be ashamed of God, the gospel, or the price they might pay for following Jesus.

      Does that make sense?

  10. John Culbert says:

    But doesn’t sin create some separation from GOD? I don’t mean that you will go to hell but if you sin your prayers may go unanswered. Isn’t this a separation? If you truly walk like Jesus doesn’t that make you feel a closer relationship with God? With that said I have a question. At the last supper when Jesus said “It is finished” and he bowed his head and the spirit left. This was the Holy Spirit correct? My question is do you think the Holy Spirit (which is GOD himself) had to leave Jesus so he could carry all the sins on his back. I kind of wonder if he felt a separation from GOD and carried all those sins and went through torture by himself. Could that be why his last words were “Why has thou forsaken me?”

    • Tony says:


      First, thanks for your comment and question. Yes, sin does create some manner of separation from God. The separation in the article is the kind of separation that keeps us from God…that is, that prevents us from eternal life. Because Jesus paid the penalty for your sin and mine, that barrier between God and humanity has been removed. What’s left is reconciliation. As we see in 2 Corinthians 6:1, it’s possible to have your sins covered and yet receive God’s grace in vain…by not being reconciled to Him. Paul’s point is that there’s no reason to continue being alienated from God, since Jesus died in our place.

      To answer your question, no: that wasn’t the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ spirit is not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit and the Son are both God, but they are not the same. I’ll keep this simple. Before Jesus was born, Elizabeth – John the Baptist’s mother – was filled with the Holy Spirit. How could the Holy Spirit be the spirit of the unborn Jesus AND be in his relative at the same time? Then, when John was born – before Jesus was born – John’s father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then, at Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Spirit wasn’t inside of Him…the Holy Spirit descended from Heaven like a dove.

      I hope you can see that Jesus’ spirit was simply like your spirit and mine: the spiritual part that, along with our physical bodies, make us who we are.

      As for Jesus’ last words on the cross, they weren’t about being forsaken. He offered up His spirit to God, and then He died. The forsaken part came before, and there’s a simple explanation for it. You should read Psalm 22. That Psalm is considered a prophecy that foretold the Messiah’s death…and Jesus was living it at the time. I have no doubt that Jesus felt forsaken at that point, but He also knew the Scriptures. Read the whole Psalm and you will see that Jesus’ death wasn’t the end of the story.

      My question for you is plain: have you received God’s grace in vain, or have you been reconciled to God? I would like to know that you are my brother in Christ!

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