A Nugget from New Life Network
(by Dr. Larry Ollison)
Scripture for the Day – November 19, 2019
“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” (Romans 6:15).
Last week I read a heartbreaking letter from a young girl in her twenties. She said she started selling her body to men and women as a thirteen-year old. Even as a teenager she knew that it was wrong, but in her neighborhood, it was somewhat accepted. Her friends, neighbors, and relatives all looked the other way because they knew it was probably the only way this young girl could get money for food and clothing. While this lifestyle is totally unacceptable and not understood in most civilized cultures, this young woman said that it was all she knew for several years.
Then one day she heard the good news about how she could be born again and be set free from the lifestyle she lived and hated. I don’t know if she got saved in a church or from personal ministry, but I do know she said everything changed. Immediately she quit “hooking” and gradually got off drugs. Her only problem was she had no income and could not find employment. While she was nearing starvation, someone took her to a church service where she heard a powerful message on grace.
It has always amazed me that two people can hear the same teaching, but each receives it in totally opposite ways. The young girl’s response was this. “I am so thankful for the grace of God. Although I know that selling myself is wrong, I now know that God does not condemn me and that I have been forgiven of all sin-past, present, and future. At least now I can ‘turn a trick or two’ to pay the rent and remain righteous and holy before God. It is so good that I am free from sin.”
I could hardly believe my own eyes as I read this. Truth mixed with falsehood equals deception. And although the message that was preached about grace may have been truth, she perceived it wrong and deception leads to destruction. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
We must be clear what the Bible says about grace and sin. In Romans 6:14 Paul says that sin should not have dominion over us and then he says the reason is because we are not under the law, but under grace. But in order to ensure that we don’t take advantage of the grace of God, He goes on to ask this question, “Shall we sin because we are not under the law, but under grace?” Then he answers with a resounding, “Certainly not!” (Romans 6:15). By making this statement, Paul reveals that while we are under grace, it is still a choice whether we sin or not. Otherwise, instead of saying, “Certainly not!” he would have said, “You can’t!” He admonished the Christian to shun sin even though he himself taught the gospel of grace.
God hasn’t changed. He never has and He never will approve of sin. Faith pleases God (Hebrews 11:6), and sin displeases God (Psalm 5:4-6). The act of prostitution is definitely not an act of faith, therefore it is sin (Romans 14:23), and a person must repent of it. Although Jesus died for our sins, repentance simply means to turn away from sin. As a Christian, when we find our flesh doing something it shouldn’t do, we should be led by the Spirit and repent from sins of the flesh.
While it is true that a Christian is under the New Covenant of grace rather than the law, we do not have permission to sin just so we can activate the grace of God. Once again, to repeat Paul, “Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” (Romans 6:15).
The young lady who wrote the letter may have heard the truth, but if she did, she certainly didn’t rightly divide the Word. God intends for His children to continually renew their minds and to grow in holiness. It is true that we are made righteous in a moment of time when we receive Jesus, but we develop in holiness through a disciplined life and growing in the Word. As we develop our walk of faith and love, and as we renew our minds with the Word, we are strengthened to overcome sin and grow in holiness.
Do we need grace? Of course we do! But any gospel of grace that causes you to be comfortable with sin is not of God.