Does Grace Give Us a License to Sin?

Jesus forgives all of my sins, so I can do whatever I want, right?

The Christian Church has always struggled with finding a balance between obedience and grace. Some people stress our sin and the condemnation we deserve. They portray God as a stern dictator ready to smite you for a single cuss word. On the other hand, there are those who stress God’s grace and forgiveness to the point that people don’t desire to change and become the new man God calls them to be. They forget that Christ is not only their savior, but also their Lord. Of course there are many people who fit into place in all different zones along that spectrum, and the best approach has some sort of balance.

We know that God loves us immensely, immeasurably, and wants nothing more than to see us turn from our sin and run to him for forgiveness. He is waiting and willing to forgive you, but not just because you think he’s your get-out-of-jail-free card, but because you come to him in sorrow and repentance for the sins you’ve committed.

It saddens me when people use Jesus’ forgiveness as a license to be able to sin. I know someone who is in a tough spot in his marriage. He believes that he has tried everything and has given everything he could to his wife to try to keep the marriage alive, but nothing seems to have worked. He believes that divorce is the only way he will be happy and outright told us that he knows that God hates divorce but that God will forgive him, so he might as well do it. This is terrible logic. Paul condemns this thinking:

Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
Romans 6:1-2

In Christ, we have died to sin. We shall not knowingly and purposefully give in to it.

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 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. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Romans 6:11-14

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.
Galatians 2:20

We have died to sin and are alive in Christ. Our old selves and old ways are gone. We are new people.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17

God has made us new creations, so Christ lives in us. Don't let sin take over again. Click To Tweet

Jesus himself, the man who dined with people that everyone knew were “sinners”, didn’t do it because he loved overt sin, but because he loved the people and wanted to save them from their lives of sin. In John 8, after he saves a woman from being stoned to death for being caught in adultery, Jesus says, “go, and from now on sin no more.” Jesus doesn’t just want to forgive us for our sins that we’ve committed and will undoubtedly commit again. What he really wants is to save us from sin and its power over us. He wants to draw us close to him and so he can show us what true life is like with him and without sin. The man I was talking about earlier is quite new to Christianity and I don’t think he has a firm grasp on this concept yet. I also don’t think he has really let God come along side him to help him do what really needs to be done to save his marriage, but I do believe that if he really trusts in God, his marriage can be restored.

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