A Word From Grace: Monday Edition - Keep on Sinning?

The book of Romans is famous for Paul’s theology of salvation by grace through faith. He extols the limitless grace of God for those who trust their lives to him. In Romans 6, however, he raises an important question: if God’s grace covers all our sin, why not just keep sinning? And while we wouldn’t say this out loud, I believe many of us at times persist in sin precisely for this reason. We know we’re forgiven, so what’s the incentive? The classic refrain is “well, I’m not hurting anyone, so it’s really no big deal.” Frankly, it’s easier to be forgiven and not really have to deal with it.
David’s story in the Old Testament provides us with a very good incentive to take sin seriously. Today we’ll discover the truth that being forgiven from sin doesn’t necessarily erase the consequences of sin in this life. David’s sinful act with Bathsheba is well known. He abuses his authority and power in order to take advantage of her. Then, when she gets pregnant, he schemes to protect his image by bringing her husband, Uriah, home from war that he might sleep with her (making it look like Uriah is the father). When that doesn’t work, David arranges to have Uriah killed, so he can add Bathsheba to his harem and make the child appear legitimate. It’s an ugly chapter in David’s life and reign.
What sets David apart from most of Israel’s other kings is that when he’s faced with his sin, he repents. And I don’t just mean that he feels bad that he got caught. No, David is grieved by his sin and repents from the depths of his being (see Psalm 51 for David’s prayer of repentance). All of this culminates in a sobering word to David from the prophet Nathan, “The Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord (Yahweh), the child who is born to you shall die” (2 Sam. 12:13-14).
In just two verses we see powerful examples of God’s mercy and his judgment, two fundamental aspects of his character (Ex. 34:6-7). God forgives David and spares his him from death. (and we too are spared from final death if we are in Christ!) God relents from some of David’s consequence. How merciful of God! Yet, the remaining consequence is severe. “It’s not hurting anyone” is quite simply a lie. I can speak personally to this reality from my own journey. I know that I have been fully and finally forgiven for sinful ways of my past, and I’ve even been set free from sin patterns that held me in bondage for many years. God’s mercy and power have been on display! Yet, certain consequences of those patterns persisted long beyond the time of forgiveness.
Application – Personally, these truths about God are humbling. I know that I am undeserving of his grace and yet he has lavished it on me profoundly. May we worship God for his mercy. At the same time, we need to take our own sin more seriously. The road to redemption and wholeness can be long and arduous, but it’s worth it! Wholeness is worth it! Freedom is worth it! So, don’t wait a second longer to begin the journey. Bring sin into the light; get help and accountability (feel free to reach out!); and begin the journey. As Paul said in Romans 6:21-22, “What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.” Amen!

Sean's Picks

Soul Care - One of the best tools I’ve come across for gaining freedom from sin and establishing healthy soul patterns is Rob Reimer’s book Soul Care. It walks step by step through seven principles of soul health taught by Jesus in scripture and gives powerful examples of these principles at work. It has been hugely beneficial in my own life. You can buy it here (Print, Kindle or audiobook) or get it for free when you sign up for a 30-day trial of Audible. I’d encourage you to pick it up and go through it with a friend.
Fear Not – For a taste of Rob’s teaching, check out his sermon below entitled “Fear Not”

Missions Spotlight: Shannon Campbell (DiscipleMakers)

In the time since beginning quarantine, God has been kind to give my co-laborers on staff and I numerous opportunities with students. From Zoom large group meetings and prayerful phone calls, to FaceTime Bible Studies and virtual fellowship games, we are not lacking in opportunities to minister the gospel and point people to Jesus. For example- a group of freshmen banded together to start up a non-profit, serving senior citizens or immunocompromised persons during this pandemic.
Pray for our students as they continue to adjust to life at home with their families (many who are non-Christians) that they would serve and love their families well.
Pray for our staff as we continue to learn how to minister well to students virtually, and that we would continue to hope in the Lord in this season.
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