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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? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God (Rom 6:1-10).
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matt 22:34-40).
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money (Matt 6:24).
There is a fantastic quote out there: “The violation of any commandment is a violation of the first.” This is a direct application of Jesus’ teaching on the Greatest Commandment in Matt 22. As Jesus concludes in that passage, all of the Law and Prophets—all of God’s commandments—depend on those two principles.
So often people have the attitude of “Oh, I sinned. Well, that’s all right. Jesus will forgive me!” And they go on sinning, assuming Jesus will forgive. Because, as Scripture says, Jesus has already forgiven. So if they’re already forgiven, what does it matter what they do?
And Paul addressed this directly in Romans 6. To continue sinning because Jesus will forgive it is unfathomable. You, who have been freed from slavery to sin by the shedding of the precious blood of God Himself, how can you then bind yourself in sin’s chains once more? It’s abomination.
As James points out in the second chapter of his letter, faith without works is dead. “Show me your faith without works,” he says, “and I will show you my faith by my works.” And we’ve talked before about how works and faith are intrinsically linked.
And if that is true, if good works spring from a living faith, then evil works must spring from a dead faith. So, then, sin is a sign of a deadness in your faith, a place of rot, a cancer in your soul.
The thing that is forgotten with the attitude of “I’ll sin because I’m already forgiven” is this: contrition.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Ps 51:17). “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Ps 34:18). “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite”’ (Isa 57:15).
The fact is, you cannot serve God and watch porn. You cannot serve God and cheat people out of money. You cannot serve God and commit violence. You cannot serve God and have sex outside of marriage, or sex with someone of the same sex as you. You cannot serve God and lie. You cannot serve God and commit injustice. You cannot serve God and harbor resentment. And so on.
Why? Because these are things that God has forbidden. And if you violate them, you are violating the first commandment: to have no other gods before God. Whether you do so directly, pursuing your own desires above God, or indirectly by doing things against your neighbor, they are all violations of the first commandment.
This is not a case of “Oh, that’s all right; Jesus will forgive me!” They are all cancers in your soul that must be brought to the Healer. You must let Him cut them out and wash them with His blood, which is the only cure.
So often, we take sin for granted. “It’s natural,” you say. “After all, I’m only human.” But sin is by its definition unnatural—that which is against the nature God created in you. It is against God’s created order, which is what is natural for you. And what’s more, it’s against God, and puts you in opposition to the one who would save you from it.
The time has come to take sin seriously. You must choose which master you will serve: God or yourself. And this is a choice you must make every moment of every day. You must commit to this path and not turn from it! So, what will you choose?
As for me and my house? We will serve the Lord! May it ever be so with you!
All views expressed on this blog are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, U.S.A., U.S. Missions, and The General Council of the Assemblies of God.