Experiencing the Power of the Gospel
Part 3―Biblical Doctrines in the Light of the Gospel
Part 4―Last Day Events (Eschatology)
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Justification by faith does not give us a license to sin!
People who think that they have a license to sin, actually pervert the gospel into “cheap grace”!!
What is “cheap grace"???
Rom 6 (v. 15) ....shall we sin, because we are not under the Law....?
(v. 1) ....shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
Now, I want to bring out an important point here:
The apostle Paul stating in Rom 6:1, “shall we continue in sin” is only talking about christians who are condoning “Sin” as a lifestyle.
It is not talking about those who are struggling to stop sinning, but who are, for whatever reason, failing in performance!!
Now, you might say........well what is the difference?
It is all about the motivation behind the act, what is in the “heart and mind” of the person. That motive, which man cannot see, is what God looks at!!
I Sam 16 (v. 7) ....For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
This is what should be in our “heart and mind” when we think about sin.
The true gospel does not produce “cheap grace”!
Why? Have you ever been baptized into Christ?
Do you know what that meant??
Rom 6 (v. 3) ....those that are baptized into Christ, were baptized into His death.... (v. 4) ....we were buried with Him through baptism into death.... (v. 5) ....we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.
So those that have been baptized into Christ are dead!
Our thinking can focus on: to “consider yourself dead to sin”
It is faith that identifies the believer with Christ and Him crucified.
Let’s compare this thinking to an example of someone in a funeral home.
Man in the coffin – say to him: “consider yourself dead to sin”
What will he say to you? ( nothing )
Has he stopped sinning? Why? Because he is dead!
This is an illustration of how we often face the problems of sin in our lives. We know we must deal with them, but it's easier to put them off. We have all the answers. We've got the Scriptures. But we keep putting off doing anything because we're afraid of the battle and what might be involved in a conflict with the enemy.
Rom 6 (v. 6) We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.... (v. 11) So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. [RSV]
So, how can we consider ourselves dead to sin? And on the other hand, say that it is ok to sin?
It’s not ok to sin, but we can goto Christ for forgiveness; He will never reject those who are dead “in Christ”.
I Jn 1 (v. 9) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Which areas is satan most actively working in?...His goal is to break your contact with God. He knows fruit-bearing will take care of itself. When he gets you to concentrate on the fruit, he is trying to produce a fruit through you that God didn't intend, as well as causing you to also cease abiding in the Vine and abide instead in self. Instead of producing the fruit God wants you to bear, you produce self-righteousness.
Who then, are the people that Christ will have to end up rejecting in the end?
Those confident in their works and performance!!
Matt 7 (v. 22) Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name....and done many wonders in Your name?
(verse 23) And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”
You see, a dead man has stopped working, hasn’t he!!
So that is why we need to “consider” ourselves dead to sin.
Doing my part! Notice however, what normally happens: We come to recognize an evil in our lives, come under conviction about it, and accept God's correcting; but instead of letting God continue dealing with it, we take it back into our own hands to manage, and fall back into temptation again.
And then, some christians will still try to justify sinning, as a lifestyle, by reading:
Rom 6 (v. 14b) ....for you are not under law but under grace.
The fact that the Law has no more authority over us, to condemn us, must not be perverted into “cheap grace”.
Rom 5 (v. 20b) ....But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.
So if “grace” abounds much more, doesn’t that mean we can do what we like? (....some may say....)
Let us read in the bible: what actually does “grace” teach us?
Titus 2 (v. 11) For the “grace” of God that brings salvation.... (v. 12) teaches us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age....
How are we able to live a life like that?
John 15 (v. 4) Abide in Me, and I in you.... (v. 5) “I am the vine, you are the branches"....for without Me you can do nothing.
Notice the following quotation that speaks of our possible union with Christ, which in the parable is described as the relationship between the branch and the Vine.
A union with Christ by living faith is enduring; every other union must perish. Christ first chose us, paying an infinite price for our redemption; and the true believer chooses Christ as first, and last, and best in everything. But this union costs us something. It is a relation of utter dependence, to be entered into by a proud being.
We have to stop right here. "It is a relationship of utter dependence, to be entered into by a proud being." How is pride affected? We are proud! We all have proud, egocentric natures, and the only way we can be free from this pride is to recognize the purpose of the branch....The branch continually receives from the vine, that's the branch's purpose, and it is simply the vehicle....It is a humbling process....to realize we can do nothing by ourselves.
But why do people fail at living the christian life? We can find an answer in W.W. Prescott's book "Victory in Christ":
For a long time I tried to gain the victory over sin, but I failed. I have since learned the reason. Instead of doing the part which God expects me to do, which we have learned is abiding in the Vine....which I can do; I was trying to do God's part, which He does not expect me to do, and which I cannot do. Primarily, my part is not to win the victory, and produce the fruit; but to receive the victory, receive the Holy Spirit and let Him produce the fruit; which has already been won for me by Jesus Christ....He won the victory over satan and sin.
What else can we do, that is also our part, to help with this process?
"The reason why many find the christian life so deplorably hard, why they are so fickle, so variable is, they try to attach themselves to Christ without detaching themselves from....cherished idols." This detaching is what makes the difference....the detaching takes place through the purging or pruning process. And if this pruning process detaches me from the world, then the bearing of the fruit is a joy and a pleasure.
And when should we be working on this?
II Cor 6 (v. 2) For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
Nowhere does the Bible say we are to look for a better time or a future day to come to the Lord and do battle with the devil. As soon as we see the problem, that's when God tells us to deal with it. The Bible says, "Now is the accepted time" (2 Cor 6:2).
It will have to be all of Christ and none of us, if we are going to make it!!
1. Doug Batchelor, (2001). To See the King, p.50. Mountain Ministry.
2. Dan Augsburger, (2009). The Branch and the Vine (sermons by Frank B. Phillips), p.39, Booklet.
3. Dan Augsburger, (2009). The Branch and the Vine (sermons by Frank B. Phillips), p.43, Booklet.
4. Dan Augsburger, (2009). The Branch and the Vine (sermons by Frank B. Phillips), p.24, Booklet.
5. E.G. White, Messages to Young People, p.118
6. W.W. Prescott, (2007). Victory in Christ, p.17, Review & Herald Publishing Association.
7. Dan Augsburger, (2009). The Branch and the Vine (sermons by Frank B. Phillips), p.42, Booklet.
8. Doug Batchelor, (2001). To See the King, p.51. Mountain Ministry.
Image #1: New Covenant Grace, 2017). Is grace a license to sin? Retrieved from http://www.newcovenantgrace.com/is-grace-a-license-to-sin/
Image #2: Redeeming God, (2014). One does not simply stop sinning. Retrieved from https://redeeminggod.com/how-do-i-stop-sinning/
Image #3: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, (n.d.). AZ Quotes: Cheap grace. Retrieved from https://matthewtuininga.wordpress.com/tag/dietrich-bonhoeffer/
Image #4: Rietveldacademie.nl, (2014). Dead body in coffin. Retrieved from http://designblog.rietveldacademie.nl/?p=40059
Image #5: Means of grace, (2012). Crucified, buried, and raised, with Him. Retrieved from https://andywrasman.com/tag/means-of-grace/
Image #6: Bible love notes, (2014). The Pharisees had high self-esteem. Retrieved from https://biblelovenotes.blogspot.com/2014/05/Pharisees-self-esteem.html
Image #7: HubPages, (2017). The license to sin doctrine. Retrieved from https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/The-Lisence-to-Sin-Doctrine