Paul, in his letter to those in Rome, asks a question that the professed believer need to answer today. Paul writes to the Romans, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” There is a lot to this question! Believers should be able to answer this question easily, but answering this question may not be so easy for some.
For some of us, our profession of faith was something that was truly genuine. With our profession of faith, we humbled ourselves and became obedient to the Lord’s way. In our humility, we saw the error of our own way being a way that opposed the Lord’s righteousness. Through our obedience to God, we began to leave that old way behind us for a way that is righteous.
Does this mean that we believers are perfect beings? Absolutely not! I have enough humility to be able to admit that I am a sinner that needs the Lord’s grace. The Lord, through His grace, continues to abide by us and, as we saw last Sunday, we are certainly blessed and highly favored for this.
However, on the other hand, there are some who professed their faith in God but have the wrong idea about God’s grace. This sometimes is the case because of a genuine misunderstanding about God’s grace. So, we must answer this question: is it OK for the believer to sin? Does God like our ugliness because we have professed to believe in Him?
Misunderstanding the Lord
Right away, many of us will give a firm no as our answer to that question. (We know the answer, yet, we still commit our sins now and then, right?) There are some believers who believe that because they are saved, that gives them the permission to live however they want to live. They proudly believe, “I’m saved and already forgiven for my sins, so, what’s the harm? God accepts me for who and what I am.”
Again, we try to assign human thinking to the Lord who does not think on the same level as we do. We want our peers, especially those who like or love us, to accept us for who we are. When we say, “accept me for who I am,” we mean that every part of us – our good and bad – should be accepted. We want our faults to be accepted by our peers and so, some of us begin to believe that God loves us in the same manner.
This sort of thought is a genuine misunderstanding about the Lord. Not only is it a misunderstanding of how God thinks, but it is also a misunderstanding of the Lord’s grace Paul, in this portion of his letter to the Romans, focused a great deal about living under grace and what that means. In Romans 5, he focused on Adam’s sin in the garden and the Lord grace that saved mankind from sin.
How does God’s grace work? Well, we know that grace is the unmerited favor (love) God has for us. Grace (or love) is simply part of the Lord’s character. John wrote that God is love (1 John 4:8). God does not have to love mankind, but we know that He does. Scripture proclaims that the Lord loved the world (John 3:16).
The Lord’s grace does not work like how our love works. What I mean by this is that we are capable of turning our love off and on like a light switch. Yet, God’s grace is always turned on! We must understand that the Lord loved, and still does, love a world that rejects His love for being under the rule and care of another.
Once a slave to sin
We may not realize it, but there are two masters you can choose to obey while living in this world. Paul said that you can choose to be a slave (servant) to sin or a slave (servant) of righteousness (Rom. 6:16). God is also righteousness. Before Paul, Jesus taught us, “you cannot serve God and mammon – money, the world, and sin (Matt. 6:24).” Sadly, mankind became servants of sin through Adam’s sin in the garden.
What is life like as a servant of sin? Paul described it as a life of lawlessness because it’s a life of disobedience to the Lord’s way. The results while living as a servant of sin is a life of bearing no fruit and having shame in things you have done (Rom. 6:20-21). The sinful person always feels guilty and great shame in the things they have done.
We must understand that the Lord does not view lawlessness with a kind eye. We do not permit lawlessness (in most cases it seems) in our world; lawlessness gets punished. God, who is sovereign over all, will react in like manner when it comes to those who are disobedient. God don’t like ugly!
But not always a slave to sin
The Lord watched as many fell by the wayside under the oppressive rule and care of sin. This saddened the Lord because He did not create mankind for the purpose of dying in sin. God gave the Law to Moses which no man could fulfill, but even with that failure, God still loved mankind. We know this because God personally came to this world and told mankind to stop being a servant of sin and follow Him!
This was the Lord’s offer to mankind (Matt. 11:29-30): “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” In that statement, I want you to understand that the Lord was comparing living under His rule to living under the rule of sin.
God says, “If you live under my rule, I am a gentle ruler and my yoke is light!” If that is not enough, God tells you that life with Him includes rest for your soul! David said, with God as your shepherd, you will lay down in green pastures and be lead to still waters (Psalm 23:2).
What many fail to realize is just how heavy the yoke is being under the rule and care of sin! There is only so much physical weight that you can carry before your knees buckle under you and that weight crush you. When you go to a gym to lift weights, you can lift at your own pace and even with a partner. Unfortunately, the yoke of sin is not physical, it is spiritual, and it can get entirely too heavy for the soul to carry.
Sin is not a gentle master and does not care for your soul’s well-being. Your soul does not get time off under the oppressive rule of sin and will be crushed from trying to carry the heavy burden. Through His grace, God saved us from the slavemaster of sin! As Paul said (Rom. 5:18-19), “through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation … For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”
Abusing God’s grace
Let us understand, God does not like sin! This is why the Lord gave the world His only begotten Son: God does not want anybody under sin’s rule! Yet, as we have stated, there are many believers who believe that because the Lord’s grace is plentiful, then we are permitted to sin. To this thought, Paul writes that we should kill such a thought.
To live with such a thought would be to abuse and take advantage of the love that God has for us. Let us understand that in our profession of faith in the Lord that God became our master. Our master does not permit us to sin as we please, if we are to be in fellowship with Him. What I mean by this is that we, as genuine believers, must do what Christ pleases – that is, we must be obedient to His way.
God loves you, not your sin
There is this idea that God is accepting of our sins. Let us not confuse the fact that the Lord forgives us of our sins with this idea that God is somehow accepting of our sins. Forgiveness and acceptance are two completely different things! Forgiveness: a canceling of a debt. Acceptance: the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered.
In what way has the Lord ever shown that He consents to us being sinners? Let’s consider for a moment how often the Lord sent prophets to the ancient Israelites to warn them against living a life in sin. Let us then consider for another moment that Christ taught against living in sin. The apostles, for that same matter, preached against turning back to the world.
God did not send His only begotten Son to die on the cross for your sins so that you could continue in sin! Admittedly, there are some “believers” who Instead of becoming humble, they grew more prideful in their own way and continue in that same way to this day. There are some who claim to be Christians, but they do not believe they need to pray to the Lord for forgiveness.
Clean up who you are
They will read a scripture like Romans 6:2 and believe that they are dead to sin. I would be remiss if I did not touch on the misunderstanding of this scripture. There are some people who believe they cannot commit a sin because they are dead to sin.
We, so long as we are living and breathing, are never dead to sin. No, we live in a very sinful world which means we are all fully capable of still sinning and doing ugly things. We have died to sin only in Christ who took our place to this death on the cross. Christ suffered the Lord’s punishment of sin on our behalf.
We live everyday of our lives in need of the Lord’s grace and His forgiveness. None of us are perfect! God is not more accepting of your sins because you have professed to be a believer in Him. No, you must continue daily in prayer and seeking the Lord’s forgiveness of your actions that are disobedient to Him.
It is not OK for any believer to go around committing acts of disobedience against God! How can we lead any sinner to Christ if we are being bigger sinners than they are? Such hypocritical acts will be called out, rightfully, and no person will follow such a person. No, let us not settle for being that type of person. Clean up your act and become more obedient to the Lord’s way.