What's at the Center of Your Life?
Q. My friend is saved, but he doesn't act like it. He lives a life full of sin. He even admits it, but says, "It's OK, Christ forgives me!" It seems like he's using God's grace as an excuse to do whatever he wants. What's the correct way to view God's grace?
A. There's an old saying: "To err is human, to forgive divine." That's true. We all sin and we all need to be forgiven, and the Bible says, "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8, NIV). He loves us so much that he sacrificed his life to forgive us for our sins, even those that we repeat again and again. But it's so easy to take advantage of God's love. One smart aleck once said: "I love to sin, God loves to forgive. What a wonderful arrangement."
In Romans, Paul confronts such thinking: "Should we sin because we are not ruled by law but by God's grace? Not at all! Don't you know that when you give yourselves to obey someone you become that person's slave? You can be slaves of sin. Then you will die. Or you can be slaves who obey God. Then you will live a godly life..." (6:15-16, NIRV).
It sounds like your friend is becoming enslaved to sin and doesn't even want freedom. That's a problem. It sounds like he doesn't want to follow and obey Jesus, which calls into question whether he can truly be called a Christian. Putting it a bit more pointedly, Augustine, a church leader in North Africa around A.D. 400, said, "It is human to err; it is devilish to remain willfully in error."
It's a serious problem when people take advantage of God's mercy and continue in their sin, never repenting or even trying to turn their behavior in God's direction. In fact, knowing your behavior is wrong and continually opting for wrong over right is choosing to turn your back on God. And that's a dangerous place to remain in. I'd recommend you gently find a way to help your friend see the truth of Romans 6:15-16. He has a choice of what's at the center of his life: sin or Christ. Right now, he's making the wrong choice.
Written by Marshall Shelley
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