Among the many flavors of christianity is a pretty common teaching that holds to the lie that, if someone who is saved dies with any unconfessed sin, he will go to hell. Part of the faulty reasoning used to come to this flawed conclusion is that dying with unconfessed sin would then mean that a person would bring sin into heaven, and there can be no sin in heaven.
This is just a symptom of the larger spiritual ignorance that conflates all sin, making justification and sanctification the same thing. Such false belief renders the spiritually unlearned unable to differentiate between righteousness and holiness, as folks who believe these lies do not even realize there is a vast difference between the two.
First is righteousness. There are no shades of righteousness; one is either righteous, or he is unrighteous. And, for the bride, receiving righteousness is an eternal seal by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13, 4:30). The seal of the Holy Spirit cannot be broken by man, as it is an eternal decree made by the Father, and man has no power to invalidate that which the Father has declared.
One who is made a child cannot be made not a child, just as your children could never become not your children. They may do the most horrible things against your will for them, but there is nothing they can do that would erase the fact that they are your children. It is biological fact, just as those who are made Yah’s children can never become no longer his children.
BUT, once one has been made righteous, his spirit is resurrected, having been dead in its unbelief—the natural state of all humans because of Adam’s sin. Adam’s sin entered the human race, for all humans are descendants of Adam, and his sin is passed down to all who are born of woman (Romans 5:12).
Paul explained that those who have not been made righteous are ruled only by their flesh, for their spirit is dead. But, those whose spirit is made alive by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit are put into a lifelong battle between the law of the flesh and the law of the spirit.
The unrighteous have but one nature—the flesh. But, the righteous have two natures—the flesh AND the spirit. And, those two natures war against each other (Romans 7:7-25) as long as that person lives on the earth.
So, because those who have been made righteous must still contend with their flesh and its sins, that necessarily delineates a difference between the sin that makes someone unrighteous (unbelief—John 3:18, Hebrews 3:19), and sins that are committed by those who have been made righteous.
As Messiah Yahoshua said in Matthew 12:31, “Because of this I say to you, all sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven of men, but the blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be forgiven of men.” Blasphemy of the Spirit is the sin of unbelief, as it is calling the Holy Spirit a liar, because the only sin that the Holy Spirit convicts unbelievers of is unbelief (having a dead spirit, which is not having the Holy Spirit).
The Holy Spirit never deals with the unbeliever about sins of the flesh, for there is no sin of the flesh that an unbeliever can commit that will make him “more condemned.” Condemned is condemned.
So, righteousness is a gift that is imputed to one who has believed in Messiah Yahoshua and has confessed Him before others (endured in belief). At the point that the covenant is given to one who has believed, he is then forever a child of Yah.
Now, those who are Yah’s children are given instructions for how the Father desires them to live (just as earthly parents tell their children how they expect them to comport themselves). Of course, some children obey, while others choose to disobey. However, such disobedience doesn’t make a child not a child; but rather, the disobedience of a child affects that child’s fellowship with the Father, and also the reward the child receives.
Righteousness is imputed to a person who is adopted as a child, but how that child lives after he has been made a child is the journey of sanctification, or holiness. How holy a righteous person makes himself is up to the person. The more one denies his flesh and its sins, the more holy he becomes, and the more control he gives to the indwelling Holy Spirit.
And, when those who are the bride are judged, it will not be to determine eternal destiny, for that was already sealed by the Holy Spirit, and it will not be for punishment, as there is now no condemnation for those who are in Messiah Yahoshua (those who have the Holy Spirit—Romans 8:1-9). It will be for reward alone.
1 John 1:9 is often misapplied as being something to do with everyday sins of the flesh, but that is not what it refers to. Notice that the verse concludes with “will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Again, righteousness is a binary construct.
One is either righteous or unrighteous, and those who have the Holy Spirit are eternally righteous. So, 1 John 1:9 does NOT refer to sins of the flesh, but the singular sinful condition of unbelief (into which all people are born–it is the condition of NOT having the Holy Spirit). Thus, the proper translation of the verse should refer to confession of “sin,” and not “sins.”
There is no sin that a righteous person can commit that will send him to hell, for sins of the flesh are “sins not leading unto death.” But unbelief is the “sin [singular] that leads to death” (1 John 5:16).
And, what about the notion that no sin can enter heaven? Well, Satan dwells in heaven right now. Is he not the epitome of sin itself? In the new heaven, which will be created with the new earth, there will be no human flesh, thus, there cannot be any sins of the flesh.
The corruptible (flesh) will put on the incorruptible (spirit), and there will no longer be an indwelling law of the flesh. Believers will have but one nature for eternity, the indwelling law of the spirit.
Thus, those who made themselves holy on the earth (worked to deny the flesh) will receive the greater reward, while those who did not strive to sacrifice their flesh will diminish their reward, and many will not even be allowed access into the sanctuary (the New Jerusalem), and will, thus, remain outside its gates (which means they will dwell on the new earth with the rest of heaven’s inhabitants who are not the bride—Revelation 22:14-15).
1 Corinthians 3:12-15 speaks directly to this truth.
Now if any man builds on the foundation [righteousness imputed by the Holy Spirit through belief in Messiah Yahoshua] with gold, silver, precious stones [works of the spirit], wood, hay, straw [works of the flesh], each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.
If any man’s work which he has built on it remains [works of the spirit], he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up [works of the flesh], he will suffer loss; BUT HE HIMSELF WILL BE SAVED, yet so as through fire.
For more information: Do Sinners Go to Heaven?