In two previous posts (Grace 1 and Grace 2) I have tried to emphasize that grace is absolutely free.
The objection that is always raised when I write about grace this way is this: Won’t people take advantage of this kind of grace?
The answer to that is “Of course they will!”
But grace that comes with restrictions to avoid being abused is no longer grace.
Romans 6:1 and Grace
Inevitably, whenever I speak or write about grace this way, someone objects that I am contradicting Paul who said in Romans 6:1 that we should not continue in sin so that grace may abound.
Whenever someone asks this question, I am always pleased, because it shows that they are finally beginning to understand grace.
In Romans 4–5, Paul has been writing about the radical, scandalous, outrageous grace that I have been presenting here as well. Note that Romans 6:1 is an objection to Paul’s teaching about grace. It is only because of what Paul has written that someone raises the objection that if what Paul is saying is true, why can’t people sin all they want?
Paul goes on to explain why people should not, but he never says they cannot. And nowhere does Paul say that if people continue to live in sin, they will come to the end of God’s grace, or will prove that they were never truly justified in the first place. No, Paul argues that if a person truly understands the love and grace of God, and what God has done for them in Jesus Christ, this knowledge will lead them to live free from sin, not to live in sin even more.
This is why I like to say that Romans 6:1 is actually the litmus test for anybody’s teaching on grace.
The Romans 6:1 Objection is the Natural Objection to Grace
If someone is teaching about the grace of God, and after they are done, nobody raises the objection that is raised in Romans 6:1, then the teaching on grace was not truly teaching grace.
A biblical explanation of grace will always lead people who have been paying attention to say, “But wait! If what you are saying is true, then why can’t I just go out and sin all I want?”
If you are teaching or writing about grace and you get this question, rejoice, for you have helped someone see the shocking, scandalous, and outrageous nature of God’s grace.
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