A Question of the Heart
"There are two kinds of people in the world—only two kinds. Not black or white, rich or poor, but those either dead in sin or dead to sin." (emphasis mine) —Leonard Ravenhill
Sometimes people ask questions just to start a good debate. Sometimes we ask because we actually want an answer. And sometimes a question is a window into the heart, showing us the struggle inside. That’s the case with a question that I get asked from time to time. “Pete, after I get born again, can I go on sinning?” The only one true answer to that question is absolutely, categorically, unquestionably, and clearly, “Yes” and “No”.
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? —Romans 6:1-2
This passage comes on the heels of five chapters of Paul’s teaching on justification and grace—the fact that salvation is a gift of unmerited favor. Those first five chapters are like spiritual oxygen to a suffocating soul. God accepts you by His grace! There’s nothing you can do to make God love you more; there’s nothing you can do to make God love you less. Now Paul helps us breathe that oxygen.
When someone asks if they can “continue to sin,” I usually find one of two things going on in the heart of the one asking:
- If you are asking, “Is it possible for me to sin now that I have Christ living in me, the answer is “Yes, it is possible” and “Yes, you will.” People who ask if it’s possible to sin tend to be struggling with a particular sin that they can’t seem to shake, and they feel horrible about it.
- However, the question can also be asking for permission to continue on sinning in conscious disobedience. The answer to that question is flat out “No.” Grace does not give you permission to sin. People who ask for permission to sin tend to be engaged in a particular sin that they don’t want to shake, and they are hoping they can continue without messing up anything else.
How about you? Do you ever ask if you will “continue to sin”? If so, does it reveal anything going on at a deeper level?!
Jesus, Your Word says that because I am in You, I “have died to sin.” Show me what that means this week. Show me how I can apply this truth to my desire to not sin and my struggles with “pet” sins. Give me the ability to see myself as You declare me to be so that I might live free from sin. Amen.
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