If the presence of God’s grace is a good thing (and it is), and if God’s grace increases to cover my sin (and it does – see Romans 5:20), then wouldn’t it be good for me to sin SO THAT God’s grace shows up even more?
Let me put it another way:
If salvation is on the basis of what Jesus has done and not on what I do, then why should I care at all about how I live? I might as well sin all I can!
Thinking of this, American poet W.H. Auden once quipped,
“I like committing crimes. God likes forgiving them. Really the world is admirably arranged.”
Have you ever thought anything like this? At Wildwood, over the past few weeks, we have been going through Romans 4-5, and have emphasized that it is faith in God and what He has done for us through Christ (NOT OUR WORKS) that turns the ignition of our salvation. As we walked through that series, did you ever want to stand up and say, “Yeah, but wait a minute! What about our lives? Doesn’t it matter how we live?”
If you have ever had any of these thoughts, you are not alone. In fact, Paul anticipated these questions as he presented the Gospel in Romans 1-5; he knew that people would wonder about the implications of Christian theology on Christian living. So, in Romans 6, Paul begins to answer the question: “How now shall we live (as Christians saved by grace not works)?”
Paul answers that question by first pointing out WHY it is absurd for the follower of Christ to pursue or consider a sinful/alternate lifestyle, then shares HOW a Christian lives a truly Christian life (a conversation He will continue from Romans 6:1-16:27).
We will be looking at Paul’s message from Romans 6 the next two Sundays at Wildwood in a series we are calling “Set Free.” Make plans to join us and invite others to come with you for this relevant (and needed) study of God’s Word on March 6 and 13. This Sunday, we will focus on Romans 6:1-14. I hope to see you in our 8:15, 9:30, or 11:00 worship service!
P.S. The title for this series comes from Romans 6:7, “For the one who has died has been set free from sin.” The chains/slavery/prison imagery reminded me of some of the ministry I have been able to be a part of in a local prison. A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of speaking at a week long event at the prison, and wrote 3 blog posts about the experience. I am linking those below in case you are interested:
One thought on ““Set Free” – Series Preview”
Excellent. This oftentimes comes up in conversations once someone grasps the thrust of the gospel message. So, “Why be good?” I have responded over the years by telling them that my wife has told me in no uncertain terms that she would never divorce me, no matter what. If I had an affair, she wouldn’t divorce me. What’s a “proper” response to this kind of unconditional love? Should I say, “Well, what the heck then, I’ll just go out and have as many affairs as I can,” or, do I spend my life trying to love her in return for the love she has bestowed upon me?
If you’ve never heard Tony Campolo tell the story of the 2 Viet Nam vets on the train in England, you should find it – or I’ll tell it to you. It ends with one vet saying of the other one (who saved his life at great personal cost), “After what he did for me, I’d do anything for him.” That’s the way someone responds to the gospel when they really grasp it; not, “oh well, I guess I can go sin now.”
I’ll look forward to joining you again on March 13 after I finish my stint at McFarlin. Thanks Monsignor.