Have we been given Grace to Sin? I stand strong that we can’t add to or take away from the finished work of Christ which he performed in our stead on the Cross. But does that give us license to sin or to remain living in a sinful lifestyle?
In this post, we’ll dive into the Word and see what the Lord has to tell us about this matter, as there are extreme views given in the Body of Christ as far as grace is concerned. On the one hand, we’ve got folks that think they can do whatever they want and it’s okay by God because they’ve been forgiven and are protected by the grace of God. On the other hand just the opposite, that if you die in your sin you are not forgiven, and possibly will not make it to the Father and will instead spend eternity in the fire.
One Inescapable Scripture
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
As far as I can see it, this is the truth and the whole truth. Were it not so, I don’t believe that the Holy Ghost would have had it preserved along with the rest of his Word. But isn’t this a stark contrast to what the Apostle James has to say about faith?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
Isn’t this contrary to what the Apostle Paul taught; We are saved by grace through faith? Many people think so. Me on the other hand, I think that these passages from the book of James might be among the most misunderstood pieces of scripture in the Bible. The reason I say that is because the verses that are preceding what James says about faith are often not brought up, which so happens to put it into context. Let’s take a look at those preceding three verses some people seem to forget about.
14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
He later goes on to say the following:
17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
James is telling us something akin to what the Apostle John says in the middle of one of his letters:
1 John 3:
17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
All of these scriptures about faith, works, right, wrong, etc., is telling us something about abusing faith, or using faith as an excuse to get out of possibly losing something you have. What I mean is, if you have a sandwich in hand, and walk by someone who’s obviously starving and they ask you for it, just give it to them! Maybe you can discern that they’re hungry and the person didn’t ask you for it… Give it to them anyways. Don’t send them away saying, “I am going to believe God by faith on your behalf that you will soon have a sandwich,” While you have the thing right there in hand! According to James 4:17 that’s a sin!
So who cares about all of this, and what does it have to do with Grace? Well, I’d say nothing. It’s got nothing to do with the grace of God by which we are saved, the finished work of Christ Jesus, and that’s the point I’m trying to make. But many of the verses that people quote from James seem to imply a different form of salvation, when in reality, it’s chastening against faith abuse or using faith as an excuse to avoid doing what they know to be right. The reason these verses are used against Ephesians 2, is because we aren’t just saved by grace, but also through faith. So because that is true, people often think that we need to pile works into it because of James. That’s just not the case at all, and has nothing to do with what James was saying.
What about Works?
Which work can we perform today that will cause for us to be more saved than we were yesterday? And what work can we perform to make better God’s sacrifice of his only begotten Son? How did the Lord leave an empty space that we need to fill to make his gift of salvation complete?
The answer to those questions are none, nothing, and he didn’t. There’s not one thing at all that we can do to add to or take away from the free completed package of Salvation. Our only move is to believe it by faith, (we are saved by grace through faith.) Faith in what? Faith in HIS completed work on the cross. A gift is not a gift if we need to earn it. If it were something that we deserved it would be a wage instead of grace, but as far as that goes, the only wages that we are guaranteed to be paid is death because of sin.
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
The work of Christ paid that wage on our behalf, so that we don’t have to. Faith in Christ’s works, not our own. We’ve got no room at all whatsoever to boast, because not a one of us will ever deserve his gift. So if someone decides to combat Ephesians 2 with “faith without works is dead”, They don’t understand James, and they may not understand where our faith must rest concerning our salvation. Our faith must rest on He who did all of the work, which is Christ Jesus.
Does that mean We’re Free to Sin?
But as Paul says in Romans, does that make us free to sin? God forbid! (Paraphrasing).
15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Why we Shouldn’t Sin
If the reasons above that the apostle Paul gives us are not enough reason why we should not sin, please see the following. Aren’t all things okay to do if we’re saved? If God doesn’t take back his free gift, what’s to worry about? Paul addresses this in 1 Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 10:
23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.
I believe that once we receive the free gift of salvation through Christ, whatever sin we commit comes against us in a more personal way here while we’re here on this earth. Committing a sin unintentionally is one thing, but a lifestyle of sin, or deliberately sinning, we’re not promised protection from in any way shape or form. To do such things is going against the will of God, and he won’t move his will to follow us into our own destruction. It’s us who needs to work out our own salvation, and seek to be placed into the Father’s perfect will, where our protection and peace rests.
Also after being saved, but continuing on in a sinful manner through life, when reward time comes, and all that we’ve done are weighed in the balance, or as the Word says tested through fire, those who haven’t made any real effort to be obedient to the Lord will make it into the Kingdom, but saved as if pulled from the fire. That’s the Lord being faithful to his Word, not dependent on our works for salvation. Works are rewarded in one way or the other, but salvation is a gift given freely to those who seek it from our Redeemer.
1 Corinthians 3:13-15
13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Eternity is a long time to be without anything, I’m sure the Lord has things going on for those who maybe lived their lives outside of the way they should have aimed for according to the Word, but at least at some point in their lives they had enough sense to answer the call to be saved and washed in the Blood of Christ. But I have a feeling that they’ll have to earn anything they get from there forward. Not to work their way in to Heaven. But to do things after being there that others who wound up living their lives and working out their salvation as we are instructed to by the Lord, might not have to do. (Just my assumption)
Christians get Caught
I guess I just wanted to say that Christ payed for our sin when it comes down to the throne room of God. But the wages of sin is still death. If you’re saved, you’re more likely to get caught if you do something sinful, more likely to contract a disease or unwanted personal issues through lust, etc.. Christians get caught. Period. Satan is around us all of the time, and his minions are ever waiting for an opportunity to come against you, and they’ll do it through the license you give them through sin.
We who are saved are given the Holy Ghost (I believe he comes in to get some internal work done, not to be confused with being baptized by the Holy Ghost). Now he will convict our hearts whenever we intend to carry out sin, or if we continue to feed the leaching traits of iniquities. He may not do this all at once, then again I’ve heard of situations where he has. But speaking from personal experience, as far as iniquities go, he has tended to work on me one iniquity at a time through the years.
When I say years I mean allot of years, and allot of iniquities. That is a testimony to how thick headed I am and also how patient the Father is. But reading through the Word, something will stick that hadn’t before. Then before you know it, you start to get a feeling whenever you do or say something, that isn’t too comfortable, you might call it guilt, I’d call it the Holy Ghost expressing his grieving over what you’re doing, or what you’re saying. And he’ll also remind you of that scripture that started it all.
If we don’t learn to pay attention to him concerning the things that the Lord is against us doing, and also why he is against us doing it, we open ourselves up to a wide array of spiritual attacks that the Lord would have us not leave ourselves vulnerable to. People get all hung up on the do’s and dont’s of the Lord, but never really get into the why’s.
Demonic trouble can range from one end of the chart to the other, with different consequences and different legal ground depending on how you choose to conduct yourself as someone who has called unto the Lord and believed in Christ. Say you get saved and are on fire for God for awhile, then at some point throughout your walk, you begin to get a bit distant from the Lord, after awhile you no longer even think about him. Eventually, removing yourself from obedience unto righteousness, you either knowingly or unknowingly stroll into bondage under sin.
To that I would say, welcome to hell on earth (or as much hell in your life as the Lord will allow.) Satan and his entire kingdom is always on the ready to find legal ground against the Body of Christ, so they have legal standing to make your life as miserable as your iniquity or mindful sin will allow. In the Word you find phrases like “a breach in the spirit” or “give no place to the devil”, it’s not for poetic effects, but is sound advice from the Holy Ghost.
Find out What the Lord Likes
We are saved by grace through faith, not by works. But since that gives us absolutely no excuse to sin at all, why not learn more of Jesus? Why not learn more about our Heavenly Father? Why not choose life, instead of sin and death? The commandments of Jesus are not grievous, but through the guidance of the Holy Ghost and a heart for the Lord they are easily understood. His yoke is easy and his burden light.
Do you know what pleases the Lord? Sure you can know what pleases him! It’s all in his written Word for us to discover. And when you find particular scriptures that lay out things that displease the Lord, do the opposite. I can’t express how much easier living for the Lord is when you are in constant communication with him through prayer and also through his Word.
But if you’ve received Christ, you know in your heart what’s right and wrong to do, why not choose what’s right? Not only will it bring you closer to his perfect will, but will also spare you countless amounts of trouble that you don’t want
anything to do with. Nobody is given an excuse to sin, any more than they are given an excuse to be ignorant of the Word. Doing whatever you see fit to gratify the flesh and remaining friends with the world is to be against the very one who died for you, and against the one whom you once called upon to save you from the eternal penalty of your sin. God knows nobody’s perfect, but he also knows how often that is used as an excuse to hurt him and to continue on sinning. Be wise, we’ve not been given grace to sin.