“…[W]here sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” (Romans 5:20)
“The sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the law. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:56-55)
” My little children, these things I write unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the [R]ighteous…” (1John 2:1)
Dear Readers, The Christ-ian wants not to commit sin. The Christ-ian wants to be rid of sin. While the Christ-ian may have pleasure in sin like a lost person does but unlike the lost person, the Christ-ian does not pleasure in that pleasure. While the Christ-ian saint will not be sinless in his temporal state, the Christ-ian will, indeed, sin less as he grows closer to Christ, walks with Christ, and grows in the grace and knowledge of Christ. The Bible knows nothing of a sinless saint, but nonetheless He encourages us and exhorts us to be without sin. While the Christ-ian sins he is not committed to sin nor does he sin habitually as a way of life. As Luther said we are saints and sinners at the same time.
Christ did not take our place on our cross so that we could blatanly sin and never give it a second thought. Christ set us free from the penalty, the power, and the pleasuring in the pleasures of sin. Peter warns us not to use our Christ-won liberty as a cloak of lasciviousness. Grace does not give us a license to sin. Grace and liberty gives us license to look to Christ for strength not to sin. We are invited to come boldly before Him as He sits upon the throne of grace, for we have great need of that grace in times of failure. Paul reminds us that where sin aboundED, (past tense) grace does much more abound (present tense).
Christ tells us we can not serve (2) two masters. We will, He says, serve one and hate the other. This is true of sin and salvation. We can not focus upon our Saviour and His abounding saving graces AND live in the condemnation of our guilt over sin. You must pick one or the other. You can live a defeated life dwelling upon your sin or you can live (and sin boldly) while dwelling upon the Saviour Who has defeated sin fully and completely and slayed the sin you are dwelling upon. God has chosen to remember your sin no more. He has cast it away. Your sin, yes, todays sin has already been dealt with. Do you understand that? The sin we commit (not committed to as in in a marriage) today and tomorrow and next week has already been dealt with by our Champion.
My daughter plays volley ball and she used to get so down on herself after making a mistake (not being perfect) that she would be less effective for the rest of the game. She would be less effective because she was dwelling on her past misdirected ball. We discussed this and we explained to her that she could take that mistake and put in into a mental box and pack it away in her mental attic while she continues to play and play effectively. She could then, later on, unpack that box and review what had happened and learn from that. The same is true of sin. If we focus on sin, like our adversary and accuser would have us do, we will be less effective for Christ’s Kingdom and Glory.
If or rather when we sin we should look at it, judge it, confess it, and then praise God for His forgiveness and love. We should confess it and praise our Champion, Who overcame sin and removed it’s sting and strength. Luther said we should sin boldly. He’s not saying to sin freely or to sin as a practice, but to remain bold in the grace of God when the accuser throws sin in our face. Paul asks the question, if God has forgiven you and justified you, based upon the work of Christ, who is it that can then accuse you or condemn you. The answer is no one. When your sin is thrown in your face, thank God for His grace and then mock the devil with that sin for neither does he or sin have any place or part in you. If he can get you bogged down in guilt you are not effective nor are you glorifying Christ for the victory He has already won.
Readers, I trust you understand what I am saying. We are not giving license to sin so that grace may abound. In the words of Paul, “God forbid.” We are simply exhorting you to focus on your salvation and the grace of the Saviour and not upon the already defeated sin. Some might ask, “Why then are we told to confess our sin if it is already dealt with?” When we confess our sin we are simply acknowleding what we have done, judging ourselves so that our Heavenly Father need not chasen us. With the lost man, God sits as Judge but with the Christ-ian God “stays up late” as a Father and is unhappy that we have come home late. That is the difference.
Therefore, one can live in defeat and let the accuser steal one’s joy or one can live joyfully, gratefully, and thankfully knowing that Christ has taken the sting and strength from sin. I choose the latter for the Joy of the LORD is my strength.