This post is addressing an issue that deeply concerns me, but that I encounter regularly among people claiming to be Christians. It has to do with beliefs held by those who claim all the benefits of God’s forgiveness while ignoring all the costs and responsibilities and responsibilities associated with it. They’re the ones who abuse grace, treating it as an excuse for their sin rather than the strength to overcome it.
If your understanding and acceptance of God’s grace has led you into a state of spiritual laziness; meaning, you do not look at, deal with, resist, or overcome your sin because you believe you don’t need to…or that it doesn’t matter anymore… then let me just suggest to you that what you accepted was not, in fact, grace. Let me suggest that what you accepted was a lie which gives you an excuse to live your life without repentance, and this is the exact opposite of grace. If you’re using the idea of grace as an excuse to ignore your sin rather than the supernatural strength to overcome it, then please understand this lie is going to lead you to death unless you repent and believe the truth.
So here is the truth. God’s grace is the thing that gives you the ability to see your sin and the strength to overcome it. Grace is interchangeable with supernatural strength given by God himself to help us move from ‘sinful’ to ‘sanctified’. So if you are excusing or ignoring your sin rather than resisting it, fighting, and overcoming it with the grace of God, then you have effectively missed the entire boat of what it means to be ‘saved by grace’ at all.
Grace…the strength to resist and overcome sin…comes from God Himself because it isn’t in our human capacity to have complete victory over sin. Therefore, if you have been given true grace, the end result is victory over sin. How are you going to get victory if you aren’t even fighting? Grace is what first allows us to see our sin and then it is what strengthens us to overcome it….it is not an excuse to ignore or deny it!
I think C.S. Lewis speaks well to this when he says,
“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness — they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means — the only complete realist.”
If you actually think you don’t sin..or that your sin no longer matters because of ‘grace’…and if your response to that is, “Cool, God did all the work so I don’t have to…” then might I suggest that you…missed…the…entire…boat.
False grace tells you you don’t have to fight sin because Jesus did it for you. But real grace doesn’t even exist until you enter the fight! So if you don’t want to resist or repent of sin, then you need to reject Christianity altogether because resisting, fighting, and overcoming sin with grace IS the entire process! Grace says, “You’re sinful and need to change. I’m here to help with that.”
The truth about grace is that it gives us the strength to overcome our sinful nature and live from God’s spirit – which has no sin! We do this through repentance and obedience. And repentance and obedience are hard. They require supernatural levels of faith, sacrifice, and the crucifixion of the flesh. It’s so painful and so hard that nobody can actually do it aside from grace. And that’s the point! God’s the one who grants us the grace (strength) to do it. But false grace will have you sit back and do nothing about your sin, thinking God isn’t holding you accountable anymore.
Jesus said to count the cost of following him before deciding to do so and he never would have said that if his sacrifice meant there was no cost to you. So if you aren’t willing to work hard, sacrifice everything, and fight in real battles as a real soldier (all Biblical commands)…that’s fine. But don’t sign up to be a Christian because that’s exactly what it means to be one.
Being a Christian is like climbing an impossibly high mountain. Grace is like the oxygen mask God gives you when you run out of air. But you don’t even need the oxygen mask unless you climb the mountain, so if you don’t care to climb the mountain then stop pretending to be a mountain climber.
Count the cost. Honestly think about it and and make a decision. You can repent and commit to an impossible task, trusting that grace will show up to help you when you need it. Or you can keep your lies and deceptions, comforts, and excuses and continue sitting around doing nothing about your sin. But you can’t have it both ways. You must decide.
Lord, forgive those who abuse your grace and lead them to humility and repentance. You desire that all would come to you in spirit and in truth, so I pray for every proud and ‘religious’ person who abuses your grace. Forgive them, Lord, for they truly do not know what they do.