Sin is defined as anything that violates God’s law or Christ’s law, which is what we live under today, as defined in the New Testament. God has the right to tell us what He would have us do, since He created us and wants what’s best for us. He also gave us free will and the ability to choose whether to follow His law or not. He has, however, defined the consequences of sin or our unwillingness to follow Him, which of course is also a sin. We may think that if we don’t follow God’s law that it doesn’t apply to us and so we do not sin, but God, who created us, demands that we follow Him and obey Him and will one day judge all people based on what they have done in this life (Hebrews 9:27).
Sin is what separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). If we are to approach God (even in prayer) and be found guiltless and able to live with Him for eternity we must have a way of being forgiven of sins that we have committed. To be close to God, yet be riddled with sin in our lives is not possible. The scriptures teach that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3 :23).
How, then, are we to approach God and be found as acceptable children in His sight? It is the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). We must avail ourselves of the blood of Christ to be forgiven of our sins by being baptized for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38). This is done in the name (or by the authority of) Christ and there is no other way to be saved from sin and be found acceptable to God.
Once we have obeyed Jesus in Baptism (see Mark 16:16), we must then devote our lives to serving God and not a life of sin. We must follow the law of God (as defined by New Testament scripture) as closely as we are able and in every aspect of it. There will still be times when we do sin, but we can, after baptism, still continue to take advantage of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and His giving of His blood for us, and be forgiven of sin once we repent of that sin and seek forgiveness from God through prayer and public confession in front of the church (it is the members who make up the church and not a building where they meet) if need be (1 John 1:9, Note John was writing to Christians here and not those who had never been baptized and were not following the law of Christ).
Consequently, the only way we can be forgiven of sin, which separates us from God, and be reconciled to Him is through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. If we do not obey Him in baptism, however, we are not taking advantage of the grace that God extends to all people and so cannot be forgiven. Note the Plan of Salvation through the link above.
Faith or belief in Christ is only a step in the plan and does not save us by itself. Obedience through baptism is also required and then lifelong obedience. We cannot be acceptable to God if we stubbornly continue to live our life of sin as we did before we believed in Him. We must obey Him in this life to receive the reward of heaven in the next life.
If we will not obey and serve God in this life we will not be acceptable to serve Him in the life to come. Instead we will be sent to the only alternative place and that is hell. There is no such thing as purgatory found in the scriptures and all sin is as grievous to God to the same degree. It has the same result of separating us from Him who created us and will result in an eternity of separation from His presence (2 Thessalonians 1:9) without any hope of reconciliation once this life is over. It is now or never, so why not obey Him now before it is too late?
May God bless and keep you until next time.