I was recently privileged to speak at a conference in Quezon City, Philippines. The question and answer session yielded some interesting questions like this one: “If forgiveness is guaranteed and there is no longer any condemnation for me, why not sin?” This was my answer in the context of the sermon I had just preached.
If forgiveness is guaranteed and there is no longer any condemnation for me, why not sin?
I think Paul anticipated this in the book of Romans because Romans chapter 6 verse 1 sees them talking about the Gospel, right. What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? His answer, of course, by no means. So, the Gospel is really, really good news. The Gospel is far better news than we often even dare believe, right. The Gospel really does forgive us for all we’ve ever done. It really does remove the condemnation for the sins we’re committing now and the sins we will commit. It really does free us in that way. The Gospel is very, very good news. We may have the tendency to think that if we tell the Gospel as it really is, if we share the full Gospel, then people will actually be drawn to sin. Right, if they really understand the freedom they have, if they really understand the full extent of forgiveness. And what is there, what fear is there in them? Isn’t fear what they need to restrain them from sinning? Don’t we need to kind of hold over them some guilt or some fear in order to restrain them from sinning? But, I don’t think the Bible goes there. I think what the Bible holds out is, you so delight in Christ, when you really understand the Gospel, you so delight in Christ that sin becomes unthinkable. Right, it’s not fear that restrains you, in that sense, it’s not the weight of guilt that restrains you, it’s joy, it’s delight in Christ.
So, the Gospel is, the Gospel is amazing news, it’s such wonderful news that I hope you can’t hear the Gospel and repent and believe in Jesus and now see that as being a way of endorsing your sin. Right, saying, now that I understand the Gospel, that I’m free from condemnation, I’m free from guilt, I’m free from sin, now I can go out and sin. Then, you haven’t really understood the Gospel. The Gospel makes you think, I’ve been freed from sin, I am no longer under guilt, I am no longer under condemnation, so praise God, I am going to honor God, I’m going to serve God. I’m going to delight in Christ. The last thing I want is to sin against this God. The last thing I want to do is sin against this savior who’s given so much to me. So, as Christians, I don’t think we’re using fear to motivate obedience in that way, right, I think we’re using delight as the greatest motivator to obedience.