Is there such a thing as cheap grace?
Yesterday we thought about how important it is to trust in Jesus’ righteousness, not our own. We can never do enough to earn salvation.
But is it possible to go too far in the other direction? Do some folks believe that grace frees them to do whatever they want, even when it displeases God?
If so, they misunderstand grace.
Paul apparently felt the need to respond to Christians who believed this. Perhaps they had heard him preach about grace and concluded that God didn’t care how they lived.
But they were wrong, of course.
After stressing salvation as a free gift and grace as God’s way of saving us from sin, Paul makes sure his readers don’t misunderstand him.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? . . .
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. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace (Romans 6:1-2, 6-14).
What does Paul mean?
He’s saying that when we recognize that our salvation comes because of grace, we’ll want to obey more than ever.
The key is why we do what we do: because we hope to put God in our debt, or because we’re deeply thankful that He saved us?
That’s a very important distinction because it says a lot about how we view God.
Never let anyone tell you that grace nullifies obedience, but also recognize that God leads you to obey by saving you.