It's not an excuse to live in sin.
"What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?" Romans 6:1-2
I'm a born sinner. Yep, it's true. That sweet, pudgy little face in my baby pictures is the face of a sinner.
And the face you see in my Facebook profile pics? Yep, that's the face of a sinner, too. Just ask my sweet husband. He'll tell 'ya.
I've been struggling with something lately. I'm trying to figure out this whole 'grace' thing. Trying to get to that light-bulb moment where I say, "Now I get it!" I'm not quite there yet, but I do know one thing about grace. It's not an excuse. Grace is what saved me. Grace is what justifies me through my faith in Christ's death on the cross. It's the foundation of the Christian life. But Jesus didn't die on the cross to give me freedom to follow my heart. He didn't die on the cross so that I could do what 'feels right' and not have to worry about the consequences. He didn't suffer for my sins so that I could live my life the way I please. Grace is not in an excuse to live a life of sin.
It's an amazing thing, you know? Grace, that is. For those in Christ, sin doesn't separate us from God. It can't. Nothing can. His grace covers our sin. But sin does damage our testimony and hinder our relationship with Him. Disobedience in the life of a true believer will cause misery. I know this to be true. I speak from experience. I've been there, done that. I know the shame, the ever present awareness that I'm grieving God.
Grace frees you, but it binds you. It pardons you from the penalty of sin, but it binds you to a life of faithfulness and obedience. This doesn't mean that we automatically live a perfect life when we accept Christ. But it should be motivation to live a righteous life. This same grace disciplines us when we're off the mark because it calls to mind the penalty Christ paid for our sin.
It's hard to understand how a Christian can say God's grace permits them to live a sinful lifestyle. Many Christians today negate the severity of sin often saying, "Oh, I think Jesus would look the other way on that." No, I don't think so. I think sin grieves Him. I wonder if He thinks we cheapen grace with such an attitude when He paid such a high price for it.