I’ve been pondering the power of grace lately.
I love Paul’s words in Romans 5, where he lays out grace as the unlimited solution for sin. No matter how much we sin, there’s grace to match and overcome it; “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more…” (5:20). What he’s done in that chapter, essentially, is unchain his readers (and us) from the law. It’s open season, baby! Run! Be free!
And then Paul pauses for a diatribe, a beautiful technique where he swaps places with his readers and anticipates their thoughts and questions. “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”
See, Paul knows exactly what the implications of grace are—how scandalous and risky it looks to human eyes. Let me paraphrase:
I might say, “Let me get this straight. When I sin, God’s grace floods in to forgive me.”
“Soooo…. in a way, the more I sin, the more grace there’ll be all around. Which is a good thing.”
Blank stare. “So I can basically do what I want and Christ will forgive me, no questions asked.”
“Yup. You got it.”
“So that’s it, then?”
“Oh, not at all.”
“But I thought you said…”
“What I said is that technically you can do what you please. But how could you, if you’ve really experienced a death to sin and a raising to new life?”
“Uh…. but you said…”
“I said there’s grace to match your sin. But grace is also what works God’s power in us to overcome it. To hate it. To leave it behind joyfully, without regret. Or I’d question whether you really encountered grace at all.”