I Have a Besetting Sin. Am I Really Saved? Were Samson and Lot Saved?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Many people struggle with a besetting sin that they just can’t get over, and they question, “Am I really saved?” What about sinful Samson and Lot?

Besetting Sins

Many people struggle with a besetting sin that they just can’t get over, and they question, “Am I really saved?” What about sinful Samson and Lot? Guess what? I can think of dozens of people who have had that burden. In Scripture, there are two men who I believe struggled with sin as well. You could even say, sin won out in their lives. They are Samson, a man of carnal desires, and Lot who loved the world. Samson was a man of faith—he is mentioned in the Bible’s “Hall of Faith” (Hebrews 11:32), but at the same time, he was a man of the flesh, and his many mistakes serve as a warning to those who would play with fire and expect not to get burned. The life of Samson shows us the importance of following God’s will and not our own. It’s about seeking the Lord’s guidance and wisdom while not leaning on our own understanding. The inspiring thing about Samson’s account is that God will use even flawed, sinful men and women to accomplish His will. Samson’s willingness to go into situations that led to sin reveals that even our sin cannot prevent God’s sovereign will from coming to pass.

Though Samson accomplished the purposes of God, I often wonder how much more powerful and effective he would have been had he also honored God with his life.

Good From Evil

Just look at the horrendous evil done to Jesus’ on the cross, but then look at the infinite value that came from His dying for sinners like us. Incidentally, that was the greatest sin humanity could ever have committed, and yet God brought tremendous good out of it (John 3:16). Even Joseph’s imprisonment brought about the saving of perhaps millions of lives (Gen 50). Ultimately, God used the sin of Samson to put him in a position where he could kill many of Israel’s enemies the Philistines. Even so, Samson’s wickedness brought him much suffering. In the same way, our own unchecked sin does not thwart God’s ability to work out His good plan, but it is better for us if He works out His plan through our obedience, not our misdeeds. Samson ended up a slave, being disciplined by the Lord, but God never, ever forsook him, even though Samson had forsaken Him.

Unmerited Grace and Pardon

As Christians, our sins were nailed to the Cross (Col. 2:14) because God knew that we were never going to get ourselves perfect in order to enter heaven. This is why He sent the Son of God and later, the Holy Spirit after Jesus ascended into Heaven. Thankfully, the Bible does not require that we not sin in order to ‘maintain’ our salvation. That idea is a false doctrine of works where salvation is merited by a person’s good works and therefore demands continuation of good works in order to stay saved. Salvation is a free gift that is not earned but given by the grace of God and received by faith (Eph 2:8-9). If we did not earn it, we cannot lose and we don’t have to maintain it by something doing something or avoiding something. Otherwise, the emphasis is on man’s actions rather than what Christ has done. We cannot lose our salvation because it is eternally secure in God’s hands (John 10:28-29). If a person does not come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and has no desire to stop sinning, then such a person is not saved.

Remember Lot

Lot was saved from captivity by his uncle, Abram but the enemy took all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way. They also took Lot, the son of Abram’s brother, who was dwelling in Sodom, and his possessions, and went their way (Gen 14:11-12). Lot was saved from destruction in Sodom by God’s angels who urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.” (Gen 19:15-16). Regardless of Lot’s desire to stay in Sodom and not give it up, the Apostle Peter says of God that “by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment…” (2 Pet 2:6-9).

Good Beginnings

Both Samson and Lot paid for their sins. For Samson, it was the many sins of the flesh that lead to his death, but God used that death to crush much of the Philistine power at that time. And, poor Lot…he started out well, but came to a sad ending. After Sodom’s destruction, it seemed he lived in fear the rest of his life; a recluse living in a cave. Even so, Samson and Lot are mentioned in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews and Peter mentions Lot as being righteous.

Sad Endings

Near the end of Lot’s life, he apparently lived in a cave because he was afraid of living in Zoar anymore (Gen 19:30). His son-in-law’s must have stayed behind in Sodom because they thought he was joking when Lot tried to warn them about God’s coming judgment. Late in Lot’s life, his daughter’s realized that Lot had no heir so they got him drunk (Gen 19:32) and both of Lot’s daughters had children by him and “The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab. He is the father of the Moabites to this day. The younger also bore a son and called his name Ben-ammi. He is the father of the Ammonites to this day” (Gen 19:-37-38). Not only were Lot’s descendants born through sexual immorality, these two boys would end up as the father of two of the worst enemies of the Israelites and practiced one of the most evil of pagan worship.

Good to be in the Fight

Every Christian in the world wrestles with sin every single day of his or her life. Even the apostle Paul complained, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (Rom 7:15). None of us is conformed to the image of Christ overnight. Sanctification is a moment-by-moment challenge. It’s a process that won’t be complete until we leave this world and see the Lord face to face. Until then, our responsibility is to trust God and walk with His Spirit (Gal 5:16), so take heart because the lost sinner doesn’t battle with such issues. We’ll never be sinless in this life, but we should sin less over time. The sinner? They could care less about sin. While believers fall into sin and hate it and repent of it, the sinner dives in head first and enjoys the swim. That’s the difference between someone with and someone without the Holy Spirit. The Christian will sin…they just won’t enjoy it as much and will regret it. That’s because they desire to break free from sin while the sinner has no such desire and loves the sin as it is indeed pleasurable (Heb 11:25-26), no question about it. In only we would “walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal 5:16). So easy to say…so hard to do; but try we must!

The Sin Leading to Death

What Does The Bible Say About DeathWhat is “the sin leading to death?” John wrote, “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that” (1 John 5:16). If a fellow believer is sinning, we are commanded to go to him or her (Matt 18:15). Some sins are not as serious as others. For example, you could get stoned for adultery in the Old Testament, but not so for stealing food. Adultery then was a sin that led to death. Today, that is still one of worst sins we can commit, sinning against our own body and joining Christ as to a prostitute (1 Cor 6:16-19). God may take home a believer who persists in unrepentant adultery. For others, it might be something else. There is no “one-size-fits-all” sin that leads to death. It will be different for each person. It depends on that person’s particular weakness. With some, it could be alcohol or stealing or something else that is a besetting sin. It is ongoing and without repentance. That is a sin that leads to death. It could even be anger, which borders close to being hate and that’s close to murdering someone in our hearts (Matt 5:21-22).


If you have examined yourself and are sure that you are saved and yet cannot overcome some particular sins, it doesn’t mean that you are not saved. It’s good to be in the fight! You should ask God to help you to be free from it like I constantly do. We cannot overcome sin through our own efforts. It is only by a daily dependence upon the power of God that we can overcome sin. Really, it is a minute by minute or hour by hour struggle, but any old dead fish can float downstream. It’s the ones in the fight that are striving for holiness, made alive by God’s Spirit (Eph 2:1-5). I pray you have put your trust in the Savior, Jesus Christ, but if you have not, then Jesus Christ has some stunning news for you someday (Matt 7:21-23). This is why I plead with you right now, as you read this, repent today and put your trust in Christ, because if you do not, with certainty you will face God’s judgment after death (Heb 9:27) or at the appearance of Jesus Christ (Rev 20:12-15), whichever comes first.

Here is some related reading for you: Eternal Insecurity. Once I was saved, but now I am lost?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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