I believe in living in God’s beautiful grace. That doesn’t mean I believe in living in sinfulness as if I were never saved. I do not believe in legalism. But I do believe that a Christ follower actually follows Christ, obeys Him, and desires to live a life that pleases God. Grace is not a reason to keep sinning, it is the reason we want to be more like our Righteous Holy Lord. The last verses of Romans 5 say this,
Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The law increases our awareness of sin and sinfulness. Remember that where there is no law, there is no trespass (Romans 4:15, Romans 5:13). But the more there is sin, the more grace increases. That might make some people say, “Okay, then I will sin as much as I like and then God’s grace will proliferate.” People say it now and people were saying it in the early church. Jude, the brother of Jesus wrote that this attitude is a perversion (Jude 1:4). And Paul has an answer for that argument. He has an answer for those who claim to be saved, yet still look and act the way they did before the came to Christ. Romans 6:1-4 reads,
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Being saved is more than merely saying, “Yes, I believe. I am a Christian. Yes, people who call on the name of Jesus are saved and yes God’s grace covers them. But those people will be saved by the skin of their teeth. 1 Corinthians 3:14-17 reads,
If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
16 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.
Being saved as if the only part of salvation is that first confession that Jesus is Lord, ignores the fact the God resides in her, that He transforms, sanctifies, and produces fruit. Some people only claim to be Christians. They may think they are, they do after all go to church, practice rituals such as the Lord’s Supper, and may have been baptized. But, if they continue to live the way they used to live, sinning without care, then one has to question whether they are saved. Jesus said that the proof of your heart’s condition will come out in the way we live our lives. Luke 6:43-45 reads,
For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Grace is a beautiful thing, it assures us that God is great, He did the work of salvation for us, we only have to submit to Him. In grace we are freed from the wrath which will come to all who are not covered by Jesus’ blood (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10). Grace is not a license to sin, it is a reason we choose not to indulge in sin.
Jesus died the most horrific death any of us could imagine. The torture of crucifixion in front of hundreds of people, most of whom were derisively cheering His death even though He was completely and perfectly innocent. He did that with joy, because of His immense love for us. More than that, He rose from the dead and conquered sin and death forever! When we choose to sin and claim grace, we, like the onlookers of that day, mock Jesus and His crucifixion. He died that death for us, instead of us. We get to claim it as ours. Verses 5-11 read,
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
You see we died with Him! Our old self was put to death. We also rose from death with Him with a new self, a person who is not dominated by sin, bound to old behaviors, desires, or darkness. We are new, freed from sin and death and God’s wrath. That is the exquisiteness of grace! We are dead to sin. The law no longer holds sway over us and there is no sin where there is no law. This new self, the one no longer subjugated by sin, does not need to sin nor want to sin. The new person we have become longs to become the righteousness of Christ that God has declared us to be. In 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 Paul said it this way,
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
That is grace! We are now justified apart from the law, that is we are declared not guilty, declared righteous not by the law but by God through the faith He gives. Grace is not a permit to sin but the freedom to live in Christ without regard to the laws, rituals, and sacrifice required for the sinful to be called righteous. It is impossible to be justified that way (Romans 3:20). Galatians 2:17-21 reads,
But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
We are not going to lose our salvation by sin; we are imperfect and we do sin. Yet, God has already made us perfect even while we are waiting for the day when we will be transformed in an instant (1 Corinthians 15:52) If we lost our salvation because we sin, then what good would Jesus’ work on the cross be to us? It would be futile. Hebrews 10:12-18 says it like this,
But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,
16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,”
17 then he adds,
“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
The choice to continue living in deliberate and habitual sin may not cause you to lose your salvation, but it will stop you from experiencing the rewards, blessings, and change that comes with sanctification. Being free from sin allows us to offer our entire selves up to God and allow Him to make us into who He made us to be. Not a slave to sin and self but overcome by Righteousness who is Jesus, overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit and a servant of God, inclined and prepared to do the will of God. Verses 12-16 read,
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
Are you a slave to sin? Do you use the excuse that you just can’t help yourself? Or are you free not to sin? Are your free to live righteously and serve God? Being a slave to righteousness is true freedom. It is a liberation from trying to be good and instead living life as it was meant to be lived. Verses 17-23 say it this way,
But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Cherished, are you living the life God meant you to live? Are you enjoying the fruit and sweetness of life freed from sin and bound to Christ? Eternal life begins now, and it is awesome! Don’t continued o present yourself to sin. Stop trying to be good and live in the grace of God and simply be good as God has declared you are, not by good works, rituals, or obedience to the law, but by faith, love, and grace.