You’ve probably heard about, or at least seen on TV shows, firefighters who are also arsonists. While the causes are many, the major cause used in TV shows is that the firefighter has the opportunity to be the hero by rescuing people in the building or helping to put out the flames. While this applies to very few firefighters, it is a problem that different firefighting organizations deal with – because even one like this is too much. Everyone recognizes that starting a fire to look like a hero, or even to make fellow firefighters look good is wrong.
The message of God’s grace often brings out those who would deal with His grace in a similar manner. Since God gives grace when we sin, maybe if we sinned more, God would give more grace! And if I receive more of God’s grace, doesn’t that do a great job of showing others how great God is? We realize that’s a ridiculous statement, but how often do we glamorize the testimony of a person whose life is scarred with “horrendous” sins until they come to Jesus and treat the life of someone who turned to Christ at an early age as no big deal? I love life stories where God’s grace begins in a person at an early age and keeps them from an evil lifestyle! I wonder if Paul had this in mind? “Someone might argue, ‘If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?’ Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—‘Let us do evil that good may result’? Their condemnation is just!” (Romans 3:7-8)
It is an amazingly human idea that since God’s grace is shown more when compared to our evil, we should do evil things so that God’s glory will increase as He gives more grace. Later in the book of Romans Paul asks what should be a ridiculous question: “Shall we continue sinning so that grace may increase?” (6:1) Perhaps there’s a twisted sort of logic that would make people answer Paul’s question with “Wow! That sounds like a great idea!” but Paul’s question expects us to answer “Of course not.” In his own answer to the question we might put a modern meaning by responding with “Are you out of your freaking mind?” While it is true that God has enough grace to cover any sin that I commit, He also has enough grace to help us live each day in ways that honor Him; in ways that honor His ability to change our lives. What kind of grace should be more pleasing for us to see: the grace that has to continue to forgive sins or the grace that gives us strength to live each and every day? As I understand it, the grace that gives us strength to live each day is far sweeter than the grace God uses to forgive when we continually turn against Him.
And let’s face this truth: the grace is the same grace for both; the grace is the same amount for both. We fall into the trap of thinking that the grace needed to forgive horrendous sins is more and greater than the grace needed to sustain us in God’s path every day. God’s grace is life changing if it is having any effect on us and the ultimate “reveal” of God’s grace is not seen in how often He has to forgive us because we continue in sin; the ultimate “reveal” of God’s grace is seen in how my life changes and I am faithful and obedient to Him on a daily basis. When Paul talks about the followers of Christ he can rattle off a list of sins that we should see as terrible, but then he says, and such were some of you. (1 Corinthians 6:11) His grace has changed that. We don’t continue to do evil that good may result. We live changed lives so that better may result. God’s grace changes us and we should be better for it.
Lord God, I haven’t always been better. I continue to sin even after experiencing Your forgiveness and grace. Work in me through Your grace so that I will continue to show Your life-changing grace to others.