This finishes the series on Grace by Neal Alligood.
In last week’s sermon at NVCC, Neal concluded that Grace is Dangerous (yeah I know I didn’t include that in my post about What Grace Is…).
God took a great risk by announcing forgiveness in advance, and the scandal of grace involves a transfer of that risk to us.
What’s So Amazing About Grace” pg. 166
So… where exactly is the danger? I myself wasn’t sure at this point, but he quickly got to it.
Because of grace, we are Free to Sin! Let’s dig into Romans 6 to understand this 0 because that’s where the question is:
1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
I don’t know about you and your walk, but this was new to me! I understood that grace frees me from sin, but not that I can actually rationalize that this frees me *to sin*, no matter how wrong this actually is!! Christians continue to stay in sin because they think grace let’s them stay in sin (“Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase??”) – they see forgiveness and grace is right around the corner! So What is it that likely keeps us from changing our ways?
Even though we are free to sin, we are also Free from Sin. Let’s not miss the point in Romans 6 – it’s not be simplified as many have heard to “just don’t sin”! It is “turn your back on sin”!! We should be a witness to the world, but not of the world. We know that God gives us grace – but what do we do to give back to him? We know that he cannot love us more or less, but if we want to show our love, shouldn’t we do our best to live and relate to him in the way He expects even though we know we can never achieve it fully?
Lastly, we are also Free to Soar! God has a plan for us – a specific set of good works just for each of us to do. We just need to step out in faith trusting in God to provide a life of abundance. Neal told a great story about baby eagles and how they learn to fly – it’s not in them stepping out on their own – more of the mother/father carrying them high in the sky and dropping them. If they don’t figure out how to fly, they swoop down and pick them up before they hit the ground and take them back up and drop them again. Eventually, they learn. I couldn’t find that specifically, but read more about eagles here and here.