Vincent from Georgia asked: “If a Christian is addicted to alcohol, pornography, or drugs, will God still send them to hell, even though they're constantly fighting the addiction?”
As we mature in Christ, the battle with sin does not get easier. It often gets more difficult. I remember as a young seminary student, visiting the office of one of my dear professors who was in his sixties. I said to him “It must be wonderful to be an older man and not have the struggle with things like a lust or other fleshly temptations.” He chuckled and then said to me: “Stephen, the older I get, the more difficult it becomes.” That was a great lesson for me as a young man.
The longer a person walks with Christ, the more His character is formed in you. As that happens, you become more sensitive to your sins. There are things about myself that bother me now that didn't bother me when I was a 20 year old. Why? Because sin I thought I could manage didn’t bother me then.
So Vincent, believers can and do continue to sin. For every one of us, it's going to be different. The struggle might be pride or greed or unkindness. The struggle might be those that you mentioned—drunkenness, pornography or drug use. However, a believer should never become comfortable with his sin or begin to cherish that sin. Loving and cherishing sin is an evidence that the person is not a believer because the Holy Spirit lives in all true believers and causes us to regret our sin.
Keep in mind that sin is always a choice. God tells us that with every temptation comes a way of excape. We never have an excuse for our sin. Labeling something an addiction does not alleviate the responsibility to remove the sin from our lives. We don't just fall into sin helplessly. Whenever we sin, it’s because we wanted to.
I've often told people that the mark of maturity is not that you don’t sin, but the span of time between your sin and confession. How long does it take you? Does it take you a day? Does it take you an hour? It only should take a moment. That's maturity.
So Vincent, a persistent struggle with sin does not keep a Christian from heaven. But the way that person deals with his sin is an indicator of his spiritual health. If he confesses, repents and seeks God's help to shun that sin, he is acting as God desires. If he loves, nurtures and never confesses his sin, he is not acting how God desires. In case of the latter, I suggest spending time evaluating if he truly is a child of God.
Thanks for your question,