Select Wisdom Brand

Can a Christian with addictions to enter heaven?

by Stephen Davey

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,


Note: Here are some other articles from Stephen Davey:

How Can Addicts Honor God and Stop Sinning
Can Christians With Addictions Go To Heaven

Go Deeper:

Addiction and Faith: A Christian's Path to Healing and Recovery

Many Christians find themselves in an internal conflict: their deeply held faith clashes with the crushing grip of addiction. This article explores critical questions like "Is addiction a sin?", "Can addicts go to heaven?", and how to find salvation while battling this disease.

Understanding Addiction: More Than a Choice

The Bible often discusses exercising self-control and avoiding behaviors that damage the body, which is God’s temple. However, addiction is a complex medical condition that goes beyond simple willpower. While initial substance use may be a choice and perhaps a sinful choice, the changes addiction makes in the brain significantly alter decision-making, making it extremely difficult to stop.

How Does Addiction Manifest Itself?

Addiction can manifest in various ways, depending on the substance or behavior involved. Common forms include:

  • Substance Addiction: Dependence on drugs or alcohol, leading to physical and psychological cravings.
  • Behavioral Addiction: Engaging in activities such as gambling, internet use, or shopping compulsively, despite negative consequences.
  • Process Addiction: Involvement in activities like eating, exercising, or sexual behaviors to an unhealthy degree.

What Are Some Signs of Addictive Behavior?

Recognizing addiction early can help in seeking timely intervention. Signs of addictive behavior include:

  • Cravings: Intense urges to engage in the addictive behavior or consume the substance.
  • Loss of Control: Inability to limit the amount or frequency of the behavior.
  • Neglecting Responsibilities: Ignoring work, school, or family obligations due to the addiction.
  • Tolerance: Needing more of the substance or behavior to achieve the same effect.
  • Withdrawal: Experiencing physical or emotional symptoms when not engaging in the behavior or consuming the substance.
  • Isolation: Withdrawing from social activities and relationships to engage in the addiction.

Addiction is Not a Sign of Utter Failure

Blaming yourself or feeling that God has abandoned you is understandable, but it's vital to remember that addiction does not define you. God's love and forgiveness are boundless, extending to all who struggle. If you have an addiction, you are grappling with a serious condition. You need help and hope, both of which Christ offers you.

Reconciling Addiction with Salvation

The Bible is unequivocal about the path to salvation: acknowledging our sins, repenting, and accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior. Addiction does not nullify this. If you genuinely desire recovery and seek God's help, the path to salvation remains open. If you are a Christian with an addiction, your addiction does not change your status as a son or daughter of God.

How Does Addiction Negatively Impact Relationships?

Addiction doesn't just affect the individual; it impacts relationships with family, friends, and the faith community:

  • Family Strain: Addiction can cause trust issues, financial strain, and emotional turmoil within the family unit.
  • Social Isolation: Addictive behaviors often lead to withdrawal from social activities and friendships.
  • Spiritual Disconnection: Addiction can create a sense of guilt and shame, leading to a feeling of separation from God and the church community.
  • Communication Breakdown: The stress and secrecy associated with addiction can erode open and honest communication.

How Can a Christian Avoid Becoming Addicted?

Prevention is key in avoiding the grip of addiction. Here are some strategies:

  • Cultivate Self-Control: Regularly practice self-discipline in various areas of life, including diet, exercise, and leisure activities.
  • Stay Accountable: Maintain strong, accountable relationships with fellow believers who can offer support and guidance.
  • Seek Professional Help Early: If you notice signs of addictive behavior, seek help from a medical professional or counselor immediately.
  • Engage in Spiritual Practices: Regular prayer, Bible study, and worship can strengthen your resolve and provide spiritual fortitude.
  • Educate Yourself and Others: Learn about the risks and signs of addiction and share this knowledge within your community to foster a supportive environment.

Finding Hope and Healing

Recovery is an ongoing journey, but the strength and support of faith can be a powerful resource. Here's how:

  • Confession and Repentance: Openly admit your struggle to God and seek forgiveness. This lays the foundation for true change.
  • Embrace Community: Find support in your church or Christian-focused addiction support groups. They offer understanding and guidance without judgment.
  • Seek Both Spiritual and Practical Help: Combine prayer and spiritual practices with professional treatment, therapy, and support groups. This holistic approach addresses both physical and spiritual needs.
  • Lean on God's Grace: Recovery has challenges, but God's grace sustains you on this journey. Each step forward is a testament to His love and strength working through you.

Key Takeaways

  • Addiction is serious: It may require both medical and spiritual intervention.
  • God's love and forgiveness: These extend to those fighting addiction.
  • Salvation is attainable: If you sincerely seek recovery and redemption.
  • Your church and faith community: They can offer invaluable support when combined with professional help.

Remember: You Are Not Alone, and Recovery is Possible

If you're a Christian struggling with addiction, there is hope. Cling to your faith, seek help, and trust in God's guiding hand. He wants you to know His strength, love, and the redemption He offers.

For further resources and support, reach out to your local church, Christian counseling services, or addiction support groups. Your journey to healing and recovery can begin today.

Add a Comment


David poulin says:
i am a porn addict and a christian , i fear im going to burn in the Hell fire because i cant stop acting out . How can i stop ?
Unknown says:
If u trying very hard to leave the sin and slow leaving the sin can u go to haeven??
Chris says:
Yeah.... I have problems with addiction. Have for about 20 yrs. Now it's hurts me every time I even consider doing it. I love God. Love Christ with every fiber of my being. I use to be 5'11/140 pnds. Now I maintain a healthy weight. I'm about 180/190 But I still mess up here and there. I feel worse now using less than I did then being a complete scumbag. I'm on methadone and that even makes me feel totally guilty. I hate it. I pray on my knees 3 times a day. I pray before I consume food. And I speak with Christ all throughout the day. And yet I feel more guilty now just for being on methadone than I did robbing and stealing for heroine. Ugh... The closer I get to Christ, the more I repent and wish I was more than. It's hard to explain but I just want Him to be pleased with me and to show Him how much I do have enough respect to not even be on the methadone. Idk. Hopefully, and I believe this with all my heart, one day I wont need it anymore. But in the past I have failed miserably without it so if this is what I need to be better than I was than I'll take it over who I use to be.
Rernard warner says:
I love God and fell in smoking PCP I keep on going back for some reason and bad thing happens so I try to put myself back together again after making the same choice again so what do I do
Amber says:
I’m crushed or obsessed or infatuated with a boy at church who states at me I avoided his stares out of frustration with us not speaking and with guilt and shame at lookimg at him during service while pastor speaking now he doesn’t look at me but I’m filled with thoughts of him and hate that we never look at one another any more. I somehow parked near his car by subconscious desire or God . Not totally sure. I spoke to him because I smoked a cig by His car as I was parked near it I finally feel I set him free by saying hi and saying I like how he sang cause I feel he’s been feeling rejected by my lack of looks at him 📀but I can’t explain the guilt and shame I felt after the small talk like I sinned against God by enjoying it. Idk now I don’t want to return. Cause I k ow he goes every other week cause I have no community at church and cause I do t want to see him and know I want him maybe more tha God. I feel addicted to him. I feel infatuated and even worse cause he seems to afraid to ever approach me cause to be honest I’m pretty yet very unapproachable either way since I’m a single mom antisocial and struggle with social anxiety within the church from my difficult different past. I guess I will give up. Leave him be cause he probably was only infatuated with my looks all this year and if he wanted to reach out to me before the I avoided him I smoked a cog when I complimented him. I’m certain he is disgusted with that . I become very obsessses and preoccupied so it. Wry much overtakes my life . Idk. It hurts to leave my church but I can’t stand the rejection he will likely give the way he will ignore me. I feel like staying away for a long while so he will forget me. I’m the sinner he was suckered I go liking he’s the perfect church fmgping guy that I will ruin. Better stay away right ! ? I’m the addiction who is addicted to love and attention from a man so I must stay away from my church u been attending a whole year. When he showed up that December last year. God help me pleas pray for me and hope I find a Christian community as an anxious preoccupied addict with a hard past . How do Christian switch sinful pasta mental health issues and addictions stay I. The faith ? God help us I pray. Hope we all stay strong in whatever Gods will is for us . I love you you are t alone. Let’s pray for each other God bless us everyone if u relate u aren’t alone and I pray us all the best. I love you God bless you so much amen
SOPHIE says:
Pamela Morris says:
You just told my story. I'm uncomfortable around people. I have social anxiety disorder. I also hate myself and sooo afraid I'm going to hell cause I'm addicted to cigarettes and hydrcodone. I beg and plead or even try faith God deliver me. Sooo sick everytime I try to put hydrcodone down. Just read " many are called but few are chosen. This article made it sound like no one was going to heaven. I'm in the word so much of the time. When I get sick trying to come off hydrcodone I get mad at God, he won't deliver me. Now I'm scared to death I'm going to hell. I believe John 3:16 but is that enough?
Kyle says:
Chris, if you aren't using on methadone you are fine. If you are you have a few options. You can increase your dose. You can try switching to something like suboxone. Or you can go to rehab. And if you relapse just know that is normal and go back. Throw away all your drug stuff before you go or you will relapse. Renard, you need to go to rehab as well. Amber, that isn't an addiction. You are in love. This is normal and it is what God wants. Tell him "I really like you" and when he looks at you in church smile at him. He is probably afraid to say something if you keep looking away.
Crystal says:
I am on suboxone, and adderall but I have a problem with meth. God delivered me and for 8 months I was clean from everything then my grandpa was dying and I relapsed on pain pills because I couldn’t take it anymore. He was my favorite person.

I was clean off of meth for 5 years and I got tricked into doing it. I thought it was a sub when it was really meth and for the past 4 years I’ve been going back and fourth doing it and then I’ll stop and then I do it and 2 weeks later I do it again and I can’t stop because I am so tired and exhausted all the time. I’m so depressed I’m so tired I can’t get out of bed even with the adderall.

I can’t do it there’s something wrong with me we just don’t know why I am so tired I fall asleep sitting up I can’t keep my eyes open. I then give in to meth because it’s the only time I can actually calm down and have motivation to get up and work or clean and get all of my stuff done I love God I am ashamed of this but I cannot stop.

I keep asking for help from him I can’t go to rehab I am barely making it as it is to pay my bills. I have to work. I am so scared I’m starting to lose things not because I am spending money on drugs but because God is taking them away from me because he is mad at me. I am so tired of doing this.

I don’t want to go to hell. I keep hearing him saying that was my last chance and it’s too late for me but idk if that’s God or the devil. Im so confused I just keep hearing I don’t have enough time now it’s too late for me and I’ll be dead at 45 now I Al almost 44. I am just so tied if being scared I’ve been an adddict all my life and I have lost almost all hope.
Dave hope says:
Why not ask instead, “can you go to Heaven while practicing the sin of obesity.” I have no intent to cause irritation. But the fact is, a 1/4 of the Church is practicing this sin according to the global epidemic reports.

Let’s face it, the 7 deadly sins were preached in the Church for centuries. Until pastors that can’t button their sports coats decided not to mention it anymore.

I used to weight 265 lbs. and have found Church a very hard place to keep my “food sobriety.” Every celebration is around food.

Why not fast instead? Lol

Love, Rev. Dave
Janet says:
Hi my name is Janet, I had some additions in my past. Everyone of us is waiting on Jesus but Jesus is waiting on us. We have to do our part. From personal experience you have to decide you want to be cleaned and free of this by saying I’m closing the door satan and repent. It’s a mind set. Then you need to be cleaned. Go be baptized and clean the unclean spirit off of you. Be free! Get in the word of God and be forever changed in Jesus name.
Ramiro says:
To the person who wants to quit their porn addiction, I would say every time you get an urge, think of Jesus suffering on the cross. That might help.

Also, join the neo-catechumenical Way. It does wonders for you. It’s helped me so much.
Denise Prince says:
While I generally love this answer I have to disagree with the statement that addiction is a choice. I am a nurse and can definitively say that addiction is a mental health disorder and people do not choose to have this disease anymore than they choose to have diabetes or heart failure. That doesn’t mean there is not a certain amount of self will involved, just as with all disease.
Erin says:
My husband is addicted to Xanax. We are god loving Christian’s but right now we are seperated due to his addiction to Xanax. My husband has anxiety and high blood pressure, he used to buy Xanax off the street and then the dr gave them to him. These pills have always been a problem in our marriage, they make him weird, mean, they make him slur and sleep standing up and anywhere we are, he falls asleep at stop lights and everything! I have given him an option that it’s the Xanax or the family because it’s dangerous for the kids to be under his care and the fighting …oh the fighting… anyways he tells me he takes them right (which is a lie) and that god gave them to him and god speaks to him and tells him to leave him deal with me. These pills make him rude, and he has no empathy at all!! He lies and manipulates and he calls his parents and has them all gang up on me and they all lie to me about his appts etc. I tried to hold the pills for him but he found them and he was taking way extra so then I rehid them and he even called the police on me! He tells me it’s not biblical to know how many he is taking I or what he has left. He will not allow me to go to any of his appointments and he also says that is not biblical! I know this is all using god for manipulation! What do I do!!! God clearly couldn’t be behind this …right??? God would not tell him if I don’t allow this in our marriage that I am going to hell…right?
Richie says:
One more example and I will leave it up to you: If a drug addict is always running to friends and family for money or help as they waste their life away on drugs and those people just keep giving them help and money after a little time they are no longer helping them, but rather enabling them. The addict has come so dependant that they do absolutely nothing to help themselves because others give them everything they need, no matter what it is doing to them. An enabler thinks they are actually helping them because they feel bad that they don't have food or clean clothes, or they are living on the street, and so on. No one likes to see someone they love going through so much. But, sometimes love is NOT giving them what they want but quite the opposite. Sometimes we MUST tell that person that we love them, but they cannot give them what they ask. We need to also tell them why. We cannot help them with what they ask because if they were not doing the drugs they could work and support themselves and have all the things that they need. They can spend countless hours begging and prodding people to get their drugs somehow then they can also quit or get help and then get better and work. We ALL know that drug addiction is very difficult to quit and it takes a lot of work and effort to do so. If we allow them to see for themselves instead of handing everything to them, even though it hurts they have to be on their own to discover it. God is the same way, He wants us to want Him, He doesn't just hand us everything because then we just expect Him to be our cure and in the meantime, we are still clinging to our weaknesses. We need to WANT IT! We need to DESIRE HIM. Once we have shown Him that desire God will show us His deliverance. Just like if a drug addict does all that they can to get help and fights to stay clean then they begin to truly see the love their family had for them by not enabling them. God Bless.
Sharon says:
Thank you
Michele Nelson says:
This is my confession .I truly need help ,I am addicted to drugs and alcohol. I am homeless due to my habit lost my family my beautiful children started selling my body for a room I had stopped selling my body for 8 years and I have started again for 4 years now for food ,drugs or what ever we needed and my boyfriend doesn't know . I feel ashamed most of the times but when he gets me mad I don't care if I do it . I probably go to it more .. another confession is I'm still married but have not been with him for about 10 years..I don't have the money to get divorced .. I know I am mental I've been abused as welll by my husband was the first he was the one that gave me drugs a long while back and was with about 5 relationship that they as well abused me .. I know I need Jesus I'n my life more then ever .. My heart has always been with Jesus .. please pray for me .
Caring Place Community 🦋 says:
Hello! I volunteer for the Caring Place. A place for grieving children, and adults. I’m here because back in 2016 my father passed away. He passed away due to doing illegal drugs, I was shocked. Anywho, he i heard if you die during your sin, you will be sent to hell. And yes, I’m aware he didn’t die WHILE doing it, but I’m not quite sure whether that’s considered it or not. This isn’t very useful, in my situation. I do see how it could be helpful in many, MANY others! Just thought I’d share my little story about addiction. Thanks!
Clayton says:
Thank I needed to hear this!
Michael says:
My struggles with addiction seemed endless. As my relationship with Christ grew I became less dependent on the addiction. Addiction has wrecked my entire life for many years. You can only find rest, freedom and peace through a deeper understanding of what Christ really can do for you. I’ve gotten past more things with Christ than without him. Don’t lose heart
Jm says:
Addiction is challenging , there are so many ups and downs. Ive been in 3 different addictions over the coarse of 25 years the worst of which is a pornography addiction. Since ive come to know Christ i have fallen so many times its hard to even keep track . There is an aspect of choice in an addiction but what Christ sees is the whole picture, he sees the "why" not just the action and thats where his love and mercy are found knowing that he knows everything that torments you . What i use to come back to Christ is this.. its takes more courage more faith more strength to get get back up than it does to fall once and never make the mistake again. So through the mistskes and the falls he is producing a strength in you beyond your understanding. What separates you from God is not the fall, its never going back , never getting back up, its staying knocked down that the devil wants.