(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).
Some have interpreted God’s grace in Christ Jesus to mean a license to continue in sin. Such people view God’s grace as a permission to live unholy and ungodly lives, since unlimited grace is available to forgive all sins as long as one is in Christ. This school of thought believes the more sin abounds, the more grace abounds to cover it. Shall we continue in sin so that grace will abound? Is grace a license or a permission for saved Christians to indulge in a lifestyle of sin? What is the purpose of God’s grace that’s been made available to us in Christ Jesus? Let’s examine the Apostolic writings to find answers to these questions.
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
Titus 2:12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
Titus 2:14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
The passage above teaches us some fundamental truths about God’s saving grace- it’s available to every person, and its purpose is to save men from sin and to teach them to live godly and righteous lives in this present world! Saving grace is to teach us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and not to give room to them. Grace is not a license for sin, but a deterrent against sin! God’s grace is to enable and empower us to deny access to sinful impulses, not to accommodate them. Grace is to impart to us a hatred for sin and a love for righteousness. When grace comes into our lives, we’re to submit ourselves as instruments of righteousness, and commit to living sober, godly and righteous lives, starting right here in this present sinful age! Nothing can be plainer than these truths!
Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
Romans 6:2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
Romans 6:3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
Romans 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
Romans 6:6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
Romans 6:7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.
Romans 6:8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
Romans 6:9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.
Romans 6:10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
Romans 6:11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.
Romans 6:13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Romans 6:15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!
Romans 6:16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?
Romans 6:17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.
Romans 6:18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
Romans 6:19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.
Romans 6:20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
Romans 6:21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
Romans 6:22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
According to the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Christians in Rome, believers in Christ are to consider themselves dead to sin, and alive to righteousness. Paul told them that they were once slaves to sinful passions by which they were held captive. Then, they indulged in sinful passions without restraint. But now, having been delivered from their captivity to sin, they should become slaves to righteousness, and gladly indulge in righteous passions. Once when they were slaves to sin, they submitted their bodies as instruments of unrighteousness. Now that they have become slaves to righteousness, believers should submit themselves as instruments of righteousness unto godliness. The believer in Christ is expected to hate sin and love righteousness. He is expected to be ashamed of his former sinful lifestyle and now become a champion of righteousness and holiness. The believer in Christ is expected not to continue the habit of practising sin, now that he’s a new creature and old things have passed away. Yes, the believer is not perfect and he’ll fall into sin every now and then, but he’s not to live comfortably in his sins. Once the believer sins, he’s to feel godly sorrow (through the conviction of the Holy Spirit and his awakened conscience) and quickly repent and forsake his sins. He may fall into sin, but he’s not to remain fallen and joyfully wallow in the mire and grovel in sin. Only dogs return back to eat their vomitus with comfort, and only pigs gladly go back to wallowing in the mire after they’ve been washed clean!
1 John 3:4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.
1 John 3:5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.
1 John 3:6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.
1 John 3:7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.
1 John 3:8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
1 John 3:9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
1 John 3:10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.
1 John 5:18 We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.
1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
1 John 1:5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
2 Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
2 Peter 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
2 Peter 2:22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
Finally, grace liberates us from the law and sets us free from the law of sin and death. Grace delivers us from the prison house of the law. However, we’re not to use the liberty we have in Christ as an occasion to sin. The liberty of grace is not a warrant to indulge in sinful lifestyles. It’s not an open check to wilfully sin with impunity, knowing that forgiveness is readily available. Grace gives us the liberty to live free from sin and the authority to become children of God. The grace of God in Christ makes us not slaves, but masters over sin. It empowers us to walk in the Spirit so that we would not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. Being no longer subject to the law through grace does not make us lawless! We may not be subject to the law of carnal ordinances anymore, but we’re still subject to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus! And those who are Christ’s are expected to crucify the flesh and its sinful lusts and passions!
Galatians 5:13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
Galatians 5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
Galatians 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,
Galatians 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,
Galatians 5:21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Galatians 5:23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
In conclusion, grace sets us free from the bondage of the law of carnal ordinances. However, it does not make us lawless, and it doesn’t give us a license to sin. The grace of God in Christ Jesus sets us free from the law of sin and death and enables us to mortify the flesh and its lusts. Grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and unrighteousness and to live sober, godly lives in this present evil age. Grace is therefore not a license to sin, but an empowerment to live above sin.
Thanks for visiting and for reading. God bless you!