Forgetting, Abusing, or Delighting in the Grace of God (Part II of III)
Anything less than intentional effort on our part to obey the author of our freedom from the law is an exploitation of grace, a “cheapening” of it, that in fact may reveal we not only don’t understand grace but have not received it either. Jared Wilson, Gospel Wakefulness, p. 138
The grace-abuser thinks that since Jesus died on the cross to pay for his sin, living a life of obedience to God’s commands isn’t a big deal. He may affirm that holiness is important, but in reality he thinks that there is no point in trying since it’s all up to God anyways. Why not sin so that the grace of God may abound? (Rom. 6:1). He abuses the free grace of God in Jesus by using it as an excuse for a sinful life.
To the grace-abuser, the scripture says…
No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:6-10 ESV)
One can claim a past encounter with Jesus Christ as evidence of salvation. In fact, those types of encounters are important testimonies of God’s grace. But what John tells us here is that the practices of your life; the evidences of righteousness or unrighteousness reveal wether or not you are actually born of God. The fruit of your living reveals the root of your soul.
The grace-abuser’s mistake is not in over-emphasizing the grace of God. No one can ever over-emphasize the free grace of God in Jesus Christ. His mistake is in misunderstanding the work of grace in his life. Grace was never intended to be a free pass to sin. Instead, the grace of God in Jesus Christ defeats sin, bringing about new life.
Romans 6:4- We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:6- We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
Loving Christ means hating the sin that killed him and pursuing holiness with grace-fueled effort. The Christian life is one of toiling and striving with all of Christ’s strength (Col. 1:29). It means working out your salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works (Phil. 2:12-13).
Don’t cheapen the cross by making it an excuse for your unrighteous living. The price he paid was far too costly to be abused in such away. Love Jesus and hate sin.