Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Grace Scandal: Grace Abuse

Matthew 18:21-22
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked,"Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins agains me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

The idea behind this scripture is that we, mere humans, aren't meant to keep count of a person's sin against us. So if that is the standard that Jesus made for us humans by all means God's standard is greater.

If God's grace is limitless can I abuse it?

A human life is filled with many stories. Some of those stories are completely joyful and wonderful. Like the story of when a man and woman marry. However, in every human life there are some stories that we wish we had never encountered. Many of those stories bare a cold and dreary question; can God forgive me, can God forgive what I have done, can God forgive what I'm about to do?

And these are the questions of the ages. The truthful and simple answer is, yes. God can and will forgive. Because we're all jacked up Jesus had to be raised up. Ever since then we can find forgiveness from God every day, all day, and till our vary last day. God's grace is meant to be abused. We shrink at that thought but God wants us to run to Him instead of away from Him because of our sin.

Because God's grace can be abused doesn't mean it should.

The problem we have is that we confuse overlooking and forgiving. Overlooking sin is simply ignoring it or treating it as ok. That is not what grace does. Forgiveness, on the other hand, needs to be accepted and that acceptance requires a change in my relation to that sin.

Romans 6:1-2
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

When we ask, "Can God forgive me," do we really want that forgiveness if it requires repentance?

Grace pushes us towards repentance. Grace that is followed through with repentance makes me free. Grace that is misunderstood makes me fear. When I abuse God's grace I constantly worry if God will truly forgive my sin.

What we go through to commit sin breaks our relationship with God. And because of that we change; and there is no guarantee that we will ever come back to God.

See many people in these situations who abuse grace and when they are confronted about their actions say, "Only God can judge me." God is the judge but the reality is that they wouldn't want Him to judge them at that moment.

Romans 6:14
For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

None of us are sinless but grace should cause us to sin less not more. God's grace dictates that I can sin and He'll still love me but my love for Him and His grace towards me should prompt me not to sin.

A sinner sins; it's their nature. Sin is not a choice. Even their good deeds are sin based. But for a Christian sin is a choice. A Christian who is not struggling with sin but is addicted to it says, "I have more faith in the power of sin than the power of Christ's sacrifice." And I would have to wonder about the genuineness of their salvation.

At the heart of this issue isn't can I abuse God's grace but why would I. The closer I come to the Light of the World the more evident becomes my need for His grace. The closer I come to Him the more I am in love with Him and would hate to cause anything to come between us.

Are you asking, Can God forgive my sin? Yes.
Can I abuse God's grace and be forgiven? Yes.
Should I? No.

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