I’d like to set the record straight about grace-based Christians and sin…Graced-based Christians are just as opposed to sin as anyone else.
Why I even have to make such an obvious statement truly baffles me. But grace-based Christians are often accused of handling sin in a “loosey-goosey” manner. We are accused of being accepting of people’s sin, and even embracers of sin.
This belief is not only absolutely wrong, but it couldn’t be future from the truth. As Christians, we are all on the same team when it comes to sin.
Many Christians still believe that there must be a “balance” between God’s grace and their behavior. They believe that we are given God’s gift of salvation purely by the grace and free gift of Jesus. BUT (and yes, this is a BIG BUT…), they at the same time must remain pleasing to God through their choices and behaviors. Grace-based Christians, on the other hand, stand on the fact that our salvation has already been made secure by the blood of Jesus, and that we are no longer judged because of our sins - whether they be past, present or future.
Let me be very clear…sin is wrong. Sin is bad. Sin is very harmful, and should be annihilated. The real question should be, “How can we get rid of it? What is the true antidote for sin?”
The typical way that religion attacks sin has been by attacking the person who is sinning. Christians who struggle with any kind of sin (which includes everyone of us, by the way), are taught:
- “You need more discipline!”
- “You should obey God!”
- “You need to stop that sinning!”
Considering all of the sinning that still goes on in the church, I have to quote Dr. Phil and ask, “How’s that been working for us?”
The truth is, most people are fully aware of their sin, whether they admit it or not (Romans 1:18-20). And deep down, most people feel bad enough as it is about their behaviors, bad habits and addictions. Constantly reminding people of their sins doesn’t change a thing…it simply makes them feel more guilty and even more helpless to change.
I believe that the real reason religion wants to point out people’s behavior stems simply from fear. Religion is afraid that if it fails to hold up a mirror to people’s sin, that we are actually giving people license to sin. But here’s the truth: People are sinning pretty well anyway, without a license!
Grace, on the other hand, reinforces who God has made us in Christ:
- Grace reminds you that you are the righteousness of God (Romans 5:17).
- Grace tells you that even in your failures, God has totally forgiven you (Ephesians 1:7).
- Grace tells you that God is faithful to complete the good work in you that He has started (Philippians 1:6).
- Grace encourages you in the truth that your Heavenly Father loves you all the time, and nothing will ever change that (Romans 8:35).
- Grace reminds you that because you are in Jesus, condemnation is no longer a part of your life (Romans 8:1).
The first four verses of Romans 8 strictly focus on the fact that following the law and doing things “right” does not make us righteous. It is only by what Jesus Christ did for us, that we can ever be made righteous.
Then Paul makes an important comment in the next verse:
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:5)
Paul is encouraging us to focus our minds on what Jesus has done for us, and how He has made us clean! Focusing on what happens in the flesh (sin) will never bring redemption and forgiveness - it will only produce more condemnation - and more sin.
Instead of reminding people of how bad they are, we need to be sharing with them that God has made a way for them to be free of all guilt and shame. They need to hear the good news that through the blood of Jesus, they have the power to change.
For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace (Romans 6:14).
Grace makes you sin less, not more.
If we want to see sin decrease, it will only happen by being courageous enough to allow God’s grace to increase. Through His grace, a person who has been bound for years by any sin has the power to totally change and become free in a single day.
Grace is truly the only antidote for sin!