One of our pastors in Manila related to us the story of a young man who served in church and was seemingly on fire for Jesus. (There are 15 locations with 100 plus pastors serving in Manila.)

But when he found out that he was in a pattern of sexual immorality – going home to sleep with his girlfriend after serving in church, he confronted this young man. He asked if how he felt about this and if he know this lifestyle was displeasing to God.

To this, the young man replied, “Well, God’s grace is abundant anyway. I can just go to Him to ask for forgiveness every time we sin.”

Paul wrote to the church in Rome to clarify certain things about the gospel of grace. The Jews and Gentiles were swinging from legalism to licentiousness and vice versa.

Here were a few clarifications he wrote down.

1. GOD’S GRACE IS NOT A LICENSE TO SIN.

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

No man can at the same time be both dead and alive. And since we are dead to sin, then sin no longer has power of us.

Some have reasoned that since grace increases “all the more” when sin abounds, then believers ought to sin more so they could experience more grace!

To this, Paul vehemently retorts, “By no means!”

The abundance of God’s grace was not designed to encourage sin.

For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. (Jude 1:4)

2. GOD’S GRACE HAS FREED US FROM THE POWER OF SIN.

His grace doesn’t just have the power to set us free, but also to empower us walk in freedom.

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with – that we should no longer be slaves to sin -because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. (Romans 6:6-7)

In others words, YOU DON’T HAVE TO SIN! You and I are no longer powerless to say no to sin. Whence before, we were unable to go against the flow, now we can.

The grace of God has not only freed us from the penalty of sin but also from the power of sin.

3. GOD’S GRACE EMPOWERS US TO LIVE A RIGHTEOUS LIFE.

A dead salmon can never swim upstream. Why? He’s dead! Lifeless. No power.

But a live one is able to go against the flow. Same with us. We were dead in our transgressions and sins (Eph. 2:1) but now we are alive in Christ. Thus, we are empowered by the grace of God to live righteously.

This is not to say we live perfect lives. It only means we now can say no to sin and yes to God.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. (Titus 2:11-12)

I love what Max Lucado said,
“Grace is the voice that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off.”

One of the best ways to feel good about yourself is to compare yourself with someone weaker or lesser. That’s one of the oldest tricks in the book.

When it comes to spirituality, we carry this over and feel good about our walk with God because “I’m not as bad as the other guy.”

But coming to Christ by His grace won’t work if we think that way.

We are saved BY GRACE … not by what we do (Ephesians 2:8-9). The standard is set by Him not by us. And because this is so, then it doesn’t matter if we are better than the other person because the Bible says that ALL have sinned and have fallen short (Romans 3:23)

I love how Max Lucado puts it in his book “In the Grip of Grace.”

Judging others is the quick and easy way to feel good about ourselves. A convenience-store-ego-boost. Standing next to all the Mussolinis and Hitlers and Dahmers of the world, we boast, “Look God, compared to them I’m not that bad.”

But that’s the problem. God doesn’t compare us to them. They aren’t the standard. God is. And compared to him, Paul will argue, “There is no one does anything good” (Rom. 3:12).

Suppose God simplified matters and reduced the Bible to one command: “Thou must jump so high in the air that you touch the moon.” No need to love your neighbor or pray or follow Jesus; just touch the moon by virtue of a jump, and you’ll be saved.

We’d never make it. There may be a few who jump three or four feet, even fewer who jump five or six; but compared to the distance we have to go, no one gets very far. Though you may jump six inches higher than I do, it’s scarcely reason to boast.

Now, God hasn’t called us to touch the moon, but he might as well have. He said, “You must be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). None of us can meet God’s standard. As a result, none of us deserves to don the robe and stand behind the bench and judge others. Why? We aren’t good enough. Dahmer may jump six inches and you may jump six feet, but compared to the 230,000 miles that remain, who can boast?

The thought of it is almost comical. We who jump three feet look at the fellow who jumped one inch and say, “What a lousy jump.” Why do we engage in such accusations? It’s a ploy. As long as I am thinking of your weaknesses, then I don’t have to think about my own. As long as I am looking at your puny jump, then I don’t have to be honest about my own. I’m like the man who went to see the psychiatrist with a turtle on his head and a strip of bacon dangling from each ear and said, “I’m here to talk to you about my brother.”