"How Does the Christian Deal with Sin? "
By Arthur J Licursi
Part 7 of 14 – Should we say “Okay, we are under grace, so now we can sin without penalty.”
Let’s now take a look at the other extreme, as spoken by a man who says “Well, we have grace, so we can Sin, its okay; we have the grace of God to take care of that.” While it is true that God’s grace is limitless to those who receive Christ, Paul answers this attitude in this way.
“Shall we go on Sinning that grace may increase? By no means! We died to Sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1-2)
Paul is not saying it’s impossible for believers to go back to sinning. He is saying, considering that we have died with Christ, the Sin nature that indwells our flesh is now rendered powerless over us. We once were Sin’s subjects, but now we do not have to yield to Sin’s temptations – we are free from Sin's dominion. Romans 6:7 …anyone who has died has been freed from Sin (loosed from Sin’s power).
Therefore, it is stupid for us then to go back to the habit of sinning. What does bondage to Sin have that we desire? Do we miss the guilt? Are we homesick for the lies? Do we enjoy being angry and vengeful? Do we like the sick feeling in your stomach when we practice sinning?
We would have to be out of our mind to miss our “old man,” our old, unrenewed, self-loving self.
Romans 6:6 (AMP) know that our old (unrenewed) self was nailed to the cross with Him in order that [our] body [which is the instrument] of Sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil, that we might no longer be the slaves of Sin.
To return to Sin after having been awakened from Sin’ death, and then being anxious again about our sins does not make sense, but it’s not impossible for the Christian to sin. A believer can return to sin, but why would he want to?
Some take the following verse to be a license to sin. Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence (Sin) might abound. But where Sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
This verse prompted the Russian monk Grigori Rasputin, known as “the Saint who Sinned,” to teach that we should sin, and do so as often as we can, so God’s grace may abound in our lives. Obviously his view widely misses the mark of this verses intention.
Rom 5:20 is saying the Law makes “Sin” exceedingly obvious, so as to turn our heart to God and receive God’s love and grace. When we trust God we’ll find that the grace of His indwelling life reigning in our spirit is greater than the Sin nature in our flesh; it no longer has power over us.
This supposed freedom to sin is viewed by some as a "license to sin," as some call it. It sounds even more appalling to the religious legalistic Christian who prefers the Law to rule man. But consider this. Has the Law actually perfectly kept anyone from sinning? Remember, if you “offend in one point” of the law your “guilty of all (James 2:10). Obviously, the Law does not keep us from sinning. Scripture tells us, and also our own experience should make it clear to us, that the Law is powerless to make one actually live righteously.
We should not fail to take into account these two points.
1.) Christians still have a free will. Romans 12:2 (NIV) Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. Some Christians exercise their free will and choose to reject God’s grace of life and still live according to the world – yet they are saved by grace through faith - yet as by fire (see 1Cor 3:13-15).
2.) It is the grace of God reigning in our lives that is able to bring us to live righteously – because God’s grace is actively working in each of us “both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philip 2:13).