Sometimes, people say that we need to be careful about believing in too much grace. Their solution is to balance grace with obedience and Law-keeping. When people say this, it may be because they have heard some Christians indicate that it’s OK to sin because we are under grace. In other words, God’s grace means God doesn’t care whether we sin or not because His forgiveness takes care of that. A young dating couple told me they decided to have pre-marital sex because they were under grace. Are obedience and Law-keeping God’s solution? Let’s examine Scripture.
Romans 5:1 states, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Justified means we have already been made 100% forgiven and 100% righteous in Christ. This is grace! Romans 5:19 continues this idea with, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” This comparison shows that when we were spiritually in Adam, we were made sinners through his first sin in the Garden of Eden. It then contrasts with the amazing truth that in Christ we have been made righteous through Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection. That is also grace. Then in verse 20, we read, “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” Wow! He is saying that grace is always greater than our sins. In fact, it’s so much greater anyone can be saved. For example, God saved Saul (later Paul) a murderer. For Christians, grace is always greater than our sin such that sin can never stop us from being righteous in Christ! Let’s make certain we don’t miss the most important truth of this. Our union with Christ is the ultimate place of grace. In other words, grace is a Person in which all our blessings reside!
Anticipating that some will misunderstand grace, thinking we have a “license” to sin, the Holy Spirit writes in Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” The answer to the error of license is that in Christ we are dead to sin as our master. The Holy Spirit also knows some may think the answer to “license” is Law-keeping. Paul writes this in Romans 7:4, “So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.” He is saying we died to the authority of the Law. So, Law-keeping isn’t the answer to that error.
God’s answer using grace as a reason to sin is not Law-keeping. It is…drum roll…grace! We see this in Titus 2:11-12, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” You see, the grace we have in Christ means that we are to depend on Christ in us to live a righteous life. Another way of saying this is that obedience to God is an expression of Christ in us, of our identity in him, and our love for Him because He loved us first. Ephesians is crystal clear on this. The first three chapters tell us all that we have, who we are, and what God has done for us by the lavish grace we have in Christ. The last three chapters explain how we live in union with Christ.
There is no such thing as believing in too much grace. The opposite can be true though. We can believe in too little grace!