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Stirring The Deep

Grace: A license to sin?

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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.

Author: Rachel

My passion is cultivating a deep relationship with God and helping others to do the same. I LOVE sharing with others insights that God has taught me and hearing what God has taught them... thus my blog, Stirring the Deep. My focus is on a relationship, not a religion. Life is in the relationship. I believe in a balance and unity of body, mind and spirit. I feel it's important to nurture all three for they all affect each other. I try to live in the present, where the Holy Spirit is. And I try to do all with the motive of love. I've come to believe life is a journey and not a destination. It isn't about perfection, is it about growth.

10 thoughts on “Grace: A license to sin?

  1. Rachel, thank you. I love that you don’t avoid issues like this, things that we need to hear. One thing that I can say is that as we grow closer to Him, we see those sins in us more. It’s hard to be close to Him and not realize they aren’t so little any more. Praying that I don’t ignore or rationalize what He died to take away from me. God bless you as you draw ever closer to your Jesus and help us to too!

    • Hi Debbie – how true – that as we draw near to God we see the falleness in us more and the sins that manifest from that. And as you draw near you also experience more of His love and truth, so all you want is to have all that filth purged from your life and be wholly consumed in Him. You start to see it for what it truly is – death.

  2. Thanks for this, Rachel.

    It’s easy to find a church that teaches what the cross of Christ has done for us, but it’s an extremely rare church that will then go on and teach what the cross of Christ can and must do in us. Sadly today, in my part of the world one has to get out of the church if they want to discover that.

    • Hi Roger – The influence of the church is so strong in people’s lives, they talk about ideas that sound like truth but it’s twisted just enough to leave them blinded and bounded. My prayer, as I know is yours, that eyes are opened to see the truth.

  3. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

    For as long as I can remember, these two verses have been preached and emphatically repeated again and again to Christians, old and new, in most “mainstream” churches – whether it be a Bible Study here in our place in Dipolog, a fellowship in another city, a “church” in yet another city, an obscure house in a small town, a group of missionaries on a youth outreach program, a convention of pastors in our capital city, or an internationally televised Christian broadcast. It is one of the most fundamental points in any teaching about salvation – salvation is by grace alone through faith. We did not do anything to earn salvation. It is the free gift of God. It is not through any works of man’s righteousness that salvation is given to any individual. It is not through following the 10 Commandments or Old Testament Laws or religious traditions that we are saved. As the Bible reiterates, “no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us…”

    Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
    But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets:
    Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
    For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
    Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
    Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God…” Romans 3:20-25

    Grace, by definition is a favor rendered by one who need not do so. “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Salvation is God’s free gift to us – we need only to accept it through faith because there is nothing we can do to deserve it. These are all biblical truths and nothing any pastor, or minister, or priest, or evangelist preaches can invalidate the fact that salvation is God’s free gift to anyone who accepts it through faith.

    Regrettably, these verses have been abused to the point that pastors are now condoning sin on the premise that any form of obedience to God’s Word is a denial of God’s grace. These so-called pastors and evangelists claim that God’s free gift would no longer be free if, in fact, Christians had to live according to His Word. The state of “Christianity” today is such that a majority of the “church” that Jesus Christ founded 2000 years ago now strikes down any mention of RIGHTEOUSNESS and OBEDIENCE as somehow irreconcilable to God’s Grace and Love.

    Since when did OBEDIENCE TO HIS WORD become something akin to denial of God’s grace among Christians? Is not this God the same God in the Bible who said, “TO OBEY IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE”? Obedience is a result of BEING SAVED – it is the MANIFESTATION of His Grace in our lives. It is not to be grouped together with salvation by works. Salvation is NOT by works. One cannot be obedient until one has accepted Christ as His Lord – how can one obey someone he does not accept as his Lord? Jesus himself then tells us, in Matthew 7:21, what we have to DO if we call Him “LORD” – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” It therefore follows that once we receive the free gift of Salvation and accept Christ as our Lord we have to obey His Word otherwise He will say to us, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

    By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for OBEDIENCE TO THE FAITH among all nations, for His name. Romans 1:5

    Jude 3-6 warns:
    Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a LICENSE FOR IMMORALITY and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
    Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

    He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” John 14:21

    The ONLY proof that we have the HOLY SPIRIT is OBEDIENCE to HIS WORD. We cannot claim to be “Christians” and go on living lives unworthy of the name by which we are called!

    We know that we have come to know Him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know Him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys His Word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did. 1 John 2:3-6

    It is ONLY by grace that we are saved and NOT by our works. But we should not forget or disregard the verses that immediately follow the verses about works and grace in Ephesians 2:8-10 and Titus 3:4-8 when Paul tells us “that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works”. Good works are a RESULT of being saved – NOT a prerequisite. Salvation is not through works but through faith – but faith worketh by love. Acts 26:20 tells us that we should “repent and turn to God, and DO WORKS MEET FOR REPENTANCE”.

    “Bring forth therefore FRUITS MEET FOR REPENTANCE…and now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” Matthew 3:8

    While the Bible unequivocally states that salvation is not BY WORKS, it just as equally demands that works meet for repentance ACCOMPANY salvation.

    “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone…For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

    For we are made partakers of Christ, IF we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. Hebrews 3:14

    Please take note of the word “IF”. It is very clear that the Bible lays down CONDITIONS for being made partakers of Christ!

    But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, IF we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Hebrews 3:6

    But my righteous one will live by faith. And IF he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him. Hebrews 10:38

    And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled
    In the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight:
    IF ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister. Colossians 1:21-23

    IF ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
    And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31-32

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, IF a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. John 8:51

    Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. IF that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 1 John2:24

    Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
    By which also ye are saved, IF YE KEEP IN MEMORY what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:1-2

    “IF” may be dismissed as a very diminutive word, but if it is removed as a condition, we no longer have a Bible!

    And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
    In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
    IF ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister. Colossians 1:21-23

    According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
    Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
    And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
    And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
    And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
    For IF these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
    Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for IF ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
    For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:3-11

    Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, IF we faint not. Galatians 6: 7-9

    I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. IF a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. IF ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. IF ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. John 15:1-11

    • Hi Dandi – thanks for sharing this piece – it’s a good add to the post — it’s full of great verses.

      • I always enjoy reading your posts because it’s very rare nowadays to find someone who actually strives to approach everything (life, doctrines, problems, even our daily walk) from a truly biblical point of view. It’s also refreshing to see that you take care to actually hold up everything you share with the pure Word instead of just sprinkling a few verses here and there and fill everything up with personal interpretations.

      • Hi Dandi – once I started really seeking God through His Word and trusting His Spirit to teach me about Him – it dawned on me that knowing and living in God, the source of all truth, in every aspect of life is life. His truth; the perfection, depth and completeness of it, amazes me.

  4. Good article. Something struck me as I was reading…GRACE in the article. Coming from a reformed theology and a little calvinism it was very critical, if you sin in certain areas or just plainly more than a few times you should ask if you saved. One pastor who is quite popular on youtube has a checklist you can go through, and honestly we have all failed it. Your article talks about cultivating yourself in the truth, they speak about guilt and condemnation. Very refreshing. Not that we excuse sin, but dont run from Him because of it, but run to Him inspite of it. D.L. Moody said,”sin will keep you from the bible; the bible will keep you from sin.” To many pastors make you feel worse about your sin rather encourage you to read…read…read.

    Keep up the great work God has given you. To those that follow Rachels blog prayer for her as she continues to bring the truth outside the walls.

    • Hi Mike, it is amazing the number of misleading doctrines out there and how they, as you said, actually keep people from God and His Word. Thanks for your comment Mike, and your prayers. They are greatly appreciated.

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