Chapter 21- Disgrace –vs- Grace
(this is a rough draft chapter from my latest book)
The Message (MSG)
20-21All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.
I am what could be defined as a Grace Teacher and the subject of Gods grace is a significant aspect of the passion of ministry that I burn for. I firmly believe that the grace of God covers all of our sin and makes us righteous in His sight no matter who we’ve been or what we’ve done! Furthermore, I am convinced that the sacrifice that Christ made for our sin not only covers everything that we have done in the past but will also cover anything we might do in the future! I believe, just as was explained in the last chapter, that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus not because of anything that we have done but only because of what Christ did for us. And on this subject I will not bend no matter what religious leaders, denominational doctrines or legalisms might argue! BUT… I believe that this freedom in Christ where we experience the grace of God (Gods unmerited favor) and walk in His righteousness comes with a responsibility on our part to properly steward our lives as we live under it!
I have seen a significant lack of balance in what some are teaching under the Grace doctrine umbrella and it bothers me. What I have noticed is that there is a growing philosophy that Christians can do what they want (sin or not) under the covering of grace and it’s ok with God because we are not made righteous in our own deeds but because of Christ. I believe that this teaching is an intentional attempt by the devil to deceive people into believing a lie and embracing a doctrine that will reap destruction and death in their lives!
2 Timothy 4:3-4
Amplified Bible (AMP)
3For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold,
4And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions.
A few years ago, I had a young man contact me online who adopted this disgraceful stance on grace. He assumed that I, because grace is a subject that I am passionate about, would also be in league with his unbalanced thinking and in agreement with the willful and blatantly overt stance that he took in flaunting the sin he was committing. And, to his surprise, he was wrong. I could not and would not condone his sin and when he asked me what I thought, I had to set him straight on the fact that I believed that he had bought into a lie about who he was in Christ.
2 Timothy 4:1-2
Amplified Bible (AMP)
1I CHARGE [you] in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, Who is to judge the living and the dead, and by (in the light of) His coming and His kingdom:
2Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong.] And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching.
I’d like to point out that the key point in these scriptures above in being a pastor who can effectively speak into the lives of people is the final sentence in verse 2, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching.
So many might read that passage of scripture and assume that they have not only a right but an obligation to show people where their lives our out of balance with the Word of God, and although I would agree to an extent, if it is not done with an inexhaustible patience and teaching IN LOVE, the results, most often will be fruitless…Sadly, many would miss the entire point of this scripture because they are not really interested in what is the intended tone of this message and ultimately the heart of God- reconciliation and restoration.
When the young man online realized that I was not in his bandwagon as a supporter he assumed that I was judging him, which could not be further from the truth. The truth of the matter is that the Word of God is clear in regard to how we should handle sin in our lives and the responsibility of taking dominion over the devil and sin is left in our lap. From a biblical perspective, we have been given the victory and authority over sin but having the authority and exercising the authority are two completely different things.
I’m simply not convinced that grace includes continuing to live a life in bondage and addiction to sin. Simply put, Christ freed us from that bondage! To remain enslaved to sins destructive desires is to operate far beneath our intended position by God. Furthermore, I believe that willfully operating in bondage to sin, ultimately will keep us from fulfilling that destiny in the capacity that we were placed here by God to fulfill because the wages of sin is still death… Jesus, when tempted by the devil didn’t make excuse for sin and the temptation that He encountered, He exercised His dominion over it and so should we! The freedom that Christ purchased came at too great a price for us to not walk in the fullness of it!
1 Corinthians 6:12, 17-20, 23
Amplified Bible (AMP)
12Everything is permissible (allowable and lawful) for me; but not all things are helpful (good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things). Everything is lawful for me, but I will not become the slave of anything or be brought under its power…
17But the person who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him.
18Shun immorality and all sexual looseness [flee from impurity in thought, word, or deed]. Any other sin which a man commits is one outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.
19Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own,
23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
At the very least, because we reap what we sow, bondage to sin holds us back from living in the fullness of freedom! Even though Christ has died for the forgiveness of our sins, to continue walking in the bondage of sin when freedom is available is settling for far less than God intends for us!
I would equate sin attached to our lives slowing us down and impeding our progress to barnacles on a ship in the ocean. The hull of a ship is created to cut through the water like a knife with as little resistance as possible so that the ship can travel quickly and efficiently to its destination. When barnacles attach to the bottom of the ship, they look sometimes like large rocks or boulders and they create drag because they interrupt the lines of the ship so that the are no longer uniform and as a result, slow the ship down by effecting its hydrodynamics.
This is exactly what sin does in our lives, apart from setting us up for death (because the wages of sin is death), sin keeps us from being all that God intends for us to be!
Amplified Bible (AMP)
24No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be [a]against the other. You cannot serve God and mammon ([b]deceitful riches, money, possessions, or [c]whatever is trusted in).
Matthew 6 addresses the subject of serving two masters, but another chapter in the bible also addresses the subject of masters. In Romans chapter 6, the apostle Paul writes about sin being our master as well.
New International Version (NIV)
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
I think that there is so much that can be derived from these 3 scriptures but I believe a key emphasis relates to us, as children of God, taking responsibility for our lives and not allowing sin to rule over us! According to Romans 6:14, it is because we are under the grace of God that we do not have to allow sin to be our master, NOT that we are to be tolerant of it in our lives as so many have proposed!
I believe without a shadow of a doubt that Gods grace was designed to cover us IF we sin, but I do not believe it is was ever intended to be an excuse for us to tolerate sin or live with it! Sin is a choice that most of the time is completely avoidable depending upon the environments we place ourselves in. It is a given that, sometimes things blindside us and we may respond emotionally or in a flesh driven response and as a result we may sin, but I believe that these can be the exceptions and not the rule for us as a believer.
You are more than you have become
Amplified Bible (AMP)
16But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).
I realize that there may be times where sin happens and in those occasions, Gods grace, without a doubt abounds! But I believe more firmly in the inheritance that we have in our covenant with Christ as He lives in and through us, than I do in sins ability to dominate us! I’m convinced that it is in the fullness of Gods grace that we can live victoriously over sin and do not have to be subject to it.
I realize that this is contrary to what many will teach. Many pastors will take the position, that sin is inevitable in our lives, as if we are predisposed to it and don’t really have any control over it… I simply disagree with that theology and I think that, most of the time, it is a bit of a cop out.
It is true that sin will always be in the earth. It is also very true that as long as we are in this world, temptation to sin will have to be something that we contend with. But I take the stance that all of the works of the Devil, including temptation to sin is covered in my covenant with God through Christ and as a result it is ALL under my feet! Because of this, I am convinced that I DON’T HAVE TO SIN, contrary to what I was inaccurately taught growing up!
I’m not saying that we have to live by a bunch of rules or legalisms or that we need to beat ourselves up if/when we sin…I’m just stating that sin is not part of my inheritance in Christ and I CAN live above it if I choose to walk out my life controlled by and submitted to the Spirit of God!
Now to be fair, is sin likely to be something that I never do again…? Probably not likely, but if I take the approach in my mind that sin is subject to me as opposed to what has often been taught in that I am simply subject to sin, then my likelihood to excuse sin as part of my predisposition rather than my responsibility to walk above will be much less.
If you tell someone that sin is an inevitable aspect of their existence then they will always feel helpless in overcoming it. But if you teach them who they are in Christ and the authority that they have over sin and then show them that they can walk in freedom from sin according to the Word of God, at that point you have exampled liberty and given them the necessary tools to defeat darkness in their lives!
If you tell your children not to have sex and then give them condoms…what message are you really sending?
Satan has convinced us that we are not above his influence in our lives as it pertains to sin, and that is simply not biblical! I believe that this is one of the most significant deceptions that the devil has solidified in the minds and hearts of the believer because it is so easy to take the If I can’t beat em’, join em’ stance if you believe that you have no choice in the matter!
I cannot tell you the numbers of people who contact me after coming to understand that, in Christ, they are new creations and are predisposed to righteousness and the fruit of the Spirit rather than sin…and as a result, they do not have to sin! Many have told me that they have never been taught who they really are in Christ before and just simply took a stance that they might as well enjoy sin if they couldn’t beat it! And I understand where they are coming from because, I was in the same boat until I began to study this topic in depth and saw the multitudes of scriptures throughout the Word of God that contradicted what I had been taught about this subject!
When I realized that I did not have to sin anymore, my mindsets changed about who I was and what level of involvement I had in the decision-making aspect of the sin process. In looking back at it now, most of the sins I have committed over the years were not only my choice, but a great majority of them were heavily premeditated! I realized, at least in my own life, I didn’t fall into sin, I stepped into it…and those were NOT the same!
If my free will allows me to choose to step into it, then, by default, it also allows me to not step into it if I so choose. But here’s where grace steps into that scenario, without Christ, I would be powerless to choose to live in opposition against Satan and his devices, but I have the trump card that changes everything as it pertains to the power of the devil, and that is that the God who created the universe lives in me! I am literally the temple of the Holy Spirit and I can choose to honor God with my life choices! It’s not in my power that I can walk in complete victory over Satan but through Christ that I can do all things!
Amplified Bible (AMP)
13I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who [a]infuses inner strength into me; I am [b]self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].
Some may argue, Everybody sins Aaron, the bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of what God would have for them… and to an extent, I agree. Undeniably, we have all made mistakes and sinned against God! That’s why grace is such a gift and so necessary for our lives…BUT, my argument is, I don’t believe that we have to continue sinning just because we always have. It is easier to adopt the predisposition sin position, but I’m convinced that our covenant relationship with God provides us with MORE than what we have experienced in the past! I believe that my God is the God of MORE THAN ENOUGH as it pertains to overcoming ANYTHING that the devil my throw my way!
Just because I haven’t always walked in that authority or refuse tomorrow to do so doesn’t mean it’s not available to me! On the contrary, whether or not ANYONE EVER walks in the fullness of what I am addressing here does not solidify or negate the truth of it! The truth of Gods Word is truth if NO ONE ever chooses to walk in the fullness of it! And the Grace of God abounds in spite of them! If we choose to sin, Grace abounds, if we walk in freedom, Grace abounds! I just believe that God created us for MORE than we have become and I’m equally convinced that a significant aspect of why we have not reached the potential that we could have or should have is because we are not fully operating in the authority that we were created to walk in over ALL the devices of the devil…not the least of which is…SIN.
1 Corinthians 10:13-15
Amplified Bible (AMP)
13For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not[a]adjusted and [b]adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to [c]a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.
14Therefore, my dearly beloved, shun (keep clear away from, avoid by flight if need be) any sort of idolatry (of loving or venerating anything more than God).
15I am speaking as to intelligent (sensible) men. Think over and make up your minds [for yourselves] about what I say. [I appeal to your reason and your discernment in these matters.]
As I consider the unbalanced grace doctrines that I have seen so many embrace and preach excusing sin in their lives and assuming because they are saved that God somehow doesn’t care that they continue living lives bound by sin, I felt it absolutely necessary to set the record straight, at least for those of you who are under my sphere of influence and reading this book right now.
I believe that the Grace of God has been disgraced by those who have intentionally used it to be a greencard for sin…and that was never Gods intent when He extended His grace toward us! The grace of God can and will cover all of our sin but just because it does, does not give us a green light to do what we want and assume that God is cool with it! As a matter of fact this disgraced grace mentality is far removed from the completed work of freedom that Christ established for us when He overcame all the works of the devil on the cross! What has been adopted in this dis-grace doctrine is literally a perversion of something that God intended to be so much more liberating and life-changing! We are NOT slaves to sin anymore!
What God intended for us as it pertains to sin in our lives is abundantly clear throughout scripture and is very adequately conveyed in Romans Chapter 6.
Amplified Bible (AMP)
5For if we have become one with Him by sharing a death like His, we shall also be [one with Him in sharing] His resurrection [by a new life lived for God].
6We know that our old (unrenewed) self was nailed to the cross with Him in order that [our] body [which is the instrument] of sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil, that we might no longer be the slaves of sin.
7For when a man dies, he is freed (loosed, delivered) from [the power of] sin [among men].
8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
9Because we know that Christ (the Anointed One), being once raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has power over Him.
10For by the death He died, He died to sin [ending His relation to it] once for all; and the life that He lives, He is living to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him].
11Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.
12Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions.
13Do not continue offering or yielding your bodily members [and [a]faculties] to sin as instruments (tools) of wickedness. But offer and yield yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to [perpetual] life, and your bodily members [and [b]faculties] to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness.
14For sin shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law [as slaves], but under grace [as subjects of God’s favor and mercy].
Verses 12 and 13 say, LET NOT SIN RULE, DO NOT CONTINUE YEILDING! These are yet another call to action from the Word of God compelling us to live above Satan’s dictate! What I am referring to here is not anti-grace or somehow making it about our righteousness, but rather the FULLNESS of the grace of God and His righteousness extended toward us as we walk above sin in the authority that Christ provided for us!
In His unmerited favor (grace) God provided coverage for any aspect of sins bondage in our lives: Our previous sins-COVERED by grace, our future sins-COVERED by grace, our predisposition to sin and a sinful nature-COVERED by grace! Sin in every form and bondage is covered by the grace of God and we are no longer slaves to its authority!
Real, God ordained grace, does not give us permission to sin, but rather it gives us permission to NOT sin by the authority of God and the strength of His Holy Spirit residing in us!
The Message (MSG)
What Is True Freedom?
15-18So, since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!
19I’m using this freedom language because it’s easy to picture. You can readily recall, can’t you, how at one time the more you did just what you felt like doing—not caring about others, not caring about God—the worse your life became and the less freedom you had? And how much different is it now as you live in God’s freedom, your lives healed and expansive in holiness?
20-21As long as you did what you felt like doing, ignoring God, you didn’t have to bother with right thinking or right living, or right anything for that matter. But do you call that a free life? What did you get out of it? Nothing you’re proud of now. Where did it get you? A dead end.
22-23But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.
As is his nature, the devil will always try to steal, kill and destroy but you do not have to be a willing participant in his attempted destruction of your life! YOU DON’T HAVE TO SIN!
Amplified Bible (AMP)
37Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors [a]and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.
God accepts you just as you are, but He loves you too much to let you stay that way… Today is a new day, choose to walk in the fullness of who He created you to be! As it pertains to the authority you have and the authority you are exercising, you ARE more than you have become!