Question: Will someone go to heaven after accepting Jesus Christ into their heart if they’ve never repented and continue to live in sin?
Answer: A: Not repenting and continuing to live in sin are really the same thing. So we’re asking the question, Can someone who has “confessed Christ” be “saved” even if they continue to live in sin?
Let me say this: Not everyone who says they have “accepted Jesus” is truly saved. Just because someone prayed at some point to receive Christ doesn’t mean the actually did. People respond to Christ for lots of reasons, and not all of them are genuine. Some pray out of guilt, some out of fear, some out of desperation and some are even manipulated by well-meaning friends or family.
You and I can’t absolutely know when and if someone has truly “accepted Christ into their heart.” We share the Lord, we even get a chance to pray the sinner’s prayer with them, but after they say “Amen” we can’t know for sure if that person put saving faith in Christ, or not. Time is the only way to know for sure.
Do you remember the parable Jesus told in Matthew 13 about the farmer who went out to plant his crop? I mention it because it gives us insight into why some get so excited about Jesus, but never actually get around to walking with Him. (Click here to read the parable)
Jesus told us that even though these folks appear to start out strong, their life in Christ is cut short, either by troubles, worries or the temptations of material wealth. These things either choke out the Word, or create an environment where the seed of God’s Word can’t even start growing.
James (the brother of Jesus and leader of the Church in Jerusalem) wrote a letter addressing this very issue. Apparently he had witnessed his fair share of people making verbal confessions of faith in Christ with no corresponding actions or any real change in their lives. In chapter two, James concludes that truth faith is always going to produce genuine fruit that can be seen. His strong conclusion is that the absence of fruit would suggest a disingenuous faith.
So my response to your question is that if someone claimed to have accepted Christ, but continued to live in the same sinful lifestyle as before, I would seriously question the authenticity of their faith.