Grace: A License to Sin?
For years, I thought sins (anything contrary to God’s truth and ways), the little ones, were not that big of a deal. I assumed they were a part of life. On some level, I accepted them. On some level I enjoyed them – though it was a false joy proliferating pain. How often do you hear among professing believers, “well, we ARE sinners”, as if it’s an excuse for the little sins we knowingly sow? Whether true or not, after hearing something often enough you begin to believe it.
I “faithfully” trusted God’s grace to cover me and believed it would somehow negate the ramifications of those little sins that didn’t seem that big of a deal. (Though my life proved differently, which I refused to acknowledge.) Subconsciously, I assumed “I’m forgiven, this hardship can’t be happening because of those little insignificant sins” so I never learned. More than any other, we are best at deceiving ourselves. Further, for conscious sake, we often don’t call those little sins what they are, but they are covered in excuses, justifications, rationalizations … basically self-deception.
How many of us trust God’s grace to cover the sins of:
Not seeking God as He instructs us? Amos 5:4
Not pursuing His wisdom and understanding? Proverbs 4:7
Relying on our own strength and wisdom of the world to get us what we need? Psalm 147:10, Isaiah 31:1
Not loving God with all our heart, soul and mind as we neglect to spend time with Him and deeply get to know Him one-on-one? Mark 12:30
“Loving” others in a way that is really for our acceptance by them, rather than for true love? Mark 12:31
We overlook certain transgressions in the name of grace. This thinking shows we don’t understand God’s forgiveness in Christ and our new life in Him. (Now no one is perfect, obviously. But do we willing accept sins? Do we tolerate them? Or do we fight to live in God’s truth?)
In rebellion to legalism, many warp the doctrine of grace. True, the Old Testament law was fulfilled in Christ. However, there are instructions of God, like those above, that we are to follow, thus still His “law”. Grace doesn’t mean we don’t have to listen and obey our heavenly Father. It means God forgives us, by no action of ourselves, so we are reconciled back to the Him and able to receive His truth, to walk in it, and gain a spirit that is eternally united to Him.
If we truly understand God’s forgiveness and how that allows us to dwell in His presence, that knowledge changes us. We will act on this new understanding by seeking God and learning truth. This truth refashions our minds; preparing us to dwell in oneness with God.
If we really believe something, what do we do? We act on it. Once we truly understand God’s gift of forgiveness, we embark upon a journey of drawing near to God in truth and spirit. We want to know the One who showed us an incomparable love. This is the natural response to truly believing. What would our response be to someone who shows us true love? We would cultivate a relationship with him/her; same with God.
As we grow in truth, our lives are altered by that truth. John 17:17 We are the sum of our beliefs. In time, our lives are purified by the truth of God, and then God establishes His home in our souls. With Him a part of us, we desire to walk fully in His will. We see the little sins for what they are – the top of the stairs leading to the pit. No matter how small or big, anything contrary to God is following a self-will that creates destruction, pain and hardship. But in Him, our will no longer wants to have anything to do with any sin. This is why John said that those of God are without sin – our will doesn’t desire it. 1 John 3:9
If we have the truth abiding in us, will we willingly continue to sin? No. Will we desire complete obedience to God? Yes; an obedience that comes out of knowing and loving Him. John 14:23
It isn’t legalism; it’s love. What we do doesn’t “save” us. God forgave us, so He “saved” us. Seeking and walking in truth is the outcome of our understanding of God’s forgiveness. As God’s truth begins to dwell in us, our desires change because our truth is changing. We want to obey His truths as they are life and love. They aren’t burdensome because they are love and we abound in love with God. 1 John 5:3 It’s a burden when there is no love.
To willingly sin not only shows we aren’t rightly related to God, but also we readily invite a life of destruction, pain and hardship. There are many professing believers who hae been misled about grace and excusing sin and suffering for it, but have been blinded to the cause of their hardships because of the ill-communicated doctrine of grace.
To continue to knowingly sin shows we are foolish and unwise. We reap what we sow. If we sow truth, by following God’s will, we will reap deliverance, joy and love. If we sow lies, by following our self-will, we will reap pain, hardship, and suffering. There is a way to live that prospers our soul and a way that doesn’t. There are spiritual laws and physical laws. God designed us and this world to function in a certain way. When we honor His design, we live in peace; this is the essence of true wisdom. (verses honoring the world’s wisdom that destroys.) As a child of God, these laws still apply. God will not be mocked. Thinking God’s forgiveness is an excuse to go our own way is to mock God. Not a good idea.
Embrace God’s forgiveness given in grace, which enables you to live in unity with Him, by sowing truth and His love in your life. In time, as your beliefs are purged and renewed, you will reap a prospering soul. As you diligently cultivate a relationship with God, you will experience His love; a treasure that far exceeds anything you’ve known.