Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? - Romans 6:1-2 (NLT)
“So...I mean…If God forgives us then why do we have to quit sinning? Can’t we just do whatever we want and ask Him to forgive us?”
I heard questions like this all the time while sharing my faith with fellow college students at my university, which happened to have a pretty big party scene. Students seemed to be stumped: wanting to continue partying, drinking, hooking up with classmates…but also curious about deep life questions, and a relationship with God.
“After all…you just said that we are saved by grace…not by our works or behavior…so what does it matter?”
During this particular conversation, I realized one of the biggest barriers for people to start following Jesus in today’s culture is that they want the benefits of God, but they don’t want to change their behavior - I want to keep living this way, and if what you say about forgiveness is true, God won’t mind. He’ll forgive me, and I’ll keep doing my thing. Win-win.
A fundamental truth in Christianity is that every human is flawed and sinful - meaning we miss the mark when it comes to living a life that is pleasing and glorifying to God.
Another truth is that God’s Son, Jesus, came to Earth, lived a perfect life, and died on a cross in order to pay the price for our sins. By doing so, He gave us God’s forgiveness and the ability to live an eternal life. This is called grace because we did not deserve His sacrifice, but He gave it to us out of love anyway.
So if we are forgiven, why should our life look any different? Think about it like this: If you had a friend who was repeatedly hurting you, and always saying “I’m sorry” but never changing her behavior, you wouldn’t really believe her apology, right? Your response may be something like, “Don’t tell me you’re sorry. Show me.” If your friend truly had a heart change, her life and behavior would reflect it.
I think the same applies to our faith as Christians. If we truly understood the gravity of our sin, and if we truly understood the magnitude of God’s love for us, our life would look radically different from the life we lived before we accepted Christ.
Paul, a writer in the Bible, tells us that when we accept Jesus, our old self dies, and our new self is born (Romans 6:4). Our new self is still flawed and sinful, but the desires of our hearts begin to change when we’ve experienced God’s love. We desire to become more of God and less of ourselves. This is the beauty of the transforming power of God!
Paul also explains that if something is dead, it cannot possibly live on (Romans 6:2). He is basically saying that, as a Christian, it ought to feel nearly impossible to keep living in your old ways because that part of you is dead.
Think back to the mean friend example…If you told your friend she was being mean, she probably wouldn’t change. And if you always forgave your friend, she probably wouldn’t change either. But if you pointed out that she was hurting your feelings, yet loved her through it and told her you still accepted her, the likelihood of her changing is pretty great.
That’s the thing about truth covered in grace: it doesn’t leave us the same.
So whether you are a Christian or not, take some time and reflect on the Gospel: that your sins are so deadly, they cost an innocent man His life. And once the gravity of that has sunk in, reflect on His magnificent saving grace: that innocent man died because of His relentless love for you. Further, that man rose from the grave so that you could experience victory over your sins and struggles with Him, and so that you could be a part of His family forever. These truths are life changing.
1. What are some of the earthly consequences of my sin (struggles)? How did my sin impact Jesus?
2. How does God view me, despite my sin?
3. Am I living a life that is a reflection of God’s grace?
4. How can I start living in the new life that God has given me?
Thank You for Your perfect grace. Because of You, I have been given freedom! Help me to live in light of Your freedom, in a way that demonstrates a saved and changed heart. Alter the desires of my heart so that they can be more aligned with Your heart. Give me the strength and confidence to live the unique calling You’ve given me, in a world that may not understand.
Love, Your Daughter
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