The great risk of grace is the knowledge that we have been freed from our sins through the death and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Some might say people can then go on in their sinful living as before receiving this gift of God, after all-all is forgiven! The debt is paid! We are free to do fully as we please. And indeed we are. Whoa—like a kid let loose in the great candy store of life!
Once we believe--and that is just simple faith, not a vow to change one’s life, or a promise to give up all we have and off we go to follow Christ. There’s no carved in stone commitment to never, ever sin again. That’s not even possible. We’re still human after all. But, because of Christ’s commitment to us through His death on the cross, God declares those who believe to be righteous and justified. Then He gets to work, changing us day by day, bit by bit towards maturity and sanctification.
So, with this great privilege of living in grace, there will be some who take advantage and abuse the gift God offers. Aren’t there always people like that with any free offering? Why would grace be any different? There will be people who simply don’t value or understand what this grace cost our God. (I would encourage you to read Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest for a deeper appreciation.)
Read Romans 6:2-7
Why are people who have accepted God’s grace dead to sin? What happened that has freed us from being slaves to sin?
If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, how can knowing that you have been freed from the power of sin affect your daily life?
Side story—humor me a moment: All I can hear is Sarah’s voice in the movie Labyrinth, telling Jareth, the Goblin King, “You have no power over me!” Got that right!! And that realization shattered Jareth’s spell, Sarah was freed. As instantly as we are freed from the grip of sin the moment we believe in Christ. Sin no longer has any power over us!
Read Romans 6:8-11
When we were set free from sin through belief in Christ, our old selves-our former nature-died, never to return (can I get a “Good riddance!”?) We now live with the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, guiding and enabling us to live more like Christ. And how did He live?
As a believer, how does the fact that you are free and fully able to say no to sin and yes to God make you want to live?
Read Romans 6:12-15
If you are a believer in Jesus, you have the ability to say no to sin, but you still have the choice of whether you’ll let sin reign in your life. Even with this freedom to choose to live for God, why is it so tempting to let sin continue to reign?
When you choose to let sin reign in your life, what is the effect upon you?
When you choose to follow God and say no to sin, what is the effect of that decision in your life?
Suggestions For Living Freely and Responsibly
The freedom we have in Christ is not the freedom to do anything we want, but to be everything that God has created us to be. To be everything God created us to be, we must pursue a life of grace, not chasing our lusts but rather honoring Him with our righteousness. Such as:
Ø Enjoy the freedom grace provides. This is a gift from God, give yourself permission to be free.
Ø Treat grace as an undeserved privilege rather than an exclusive right. Be grateful for what God has done for you, not arrogant or demanding about it.
Ø Remember that while grace came freely, it cost our Savior His life in a most brutal manner. We handle with care what comes at great cost. Handle your liberty that way.
God sent His only Son not just to forgive us, but also to set us free. He knew what He was doing. He knew we could learn to live responsibly in the context of liberty. He knew rules could not change us but relationship would. As we come to know “the God of all grace” we love Him all the more. We love our freedom, and in that freedom, love others. Just as God does.
If you’re just joining us, we are working our way through Charles Swindoll’s Grace Awakening and the accompanying Workbook. I’m posting a weekly chapter every Saturday. You can also listen to Mr. Swindoll’s weekly podcasts for each chapter online at his Insights.org website. Click here for this week’s podcast.
Thanks again to all for stopping by. I hope you’re enjoying this message of grace as much as I am every week! Please share any thoughts or comments below—I’m always happy to hear from you! Have a great week—hope to see you back here again soon!