April 07, 2007


Romans 6:1-4

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? Romans 6:1


Does grace lead to moral laxity? Is it a bit like telling students at the beginning of the year that they will all pass with a straight-A? I've always sympathized with what Flannery O'Connor said about one of her characters in the novel A Good Man Is Hard to Find: "The old woman would have been a good woman if only someone had held a gun to her head every day of her life." Take away the threat, and we grow careless.

Knowing that grace trumps every sin (see Romans 5:20-21), would any of us deny that sometimes we've taken advantage of grace, sinned with the thought of repenting of it afterward, because there is always grace? Yet Paul's response to this possibility is indignant, almost horrified: "By no means!" What a ghastly thought!

Why is Paul so indignant? Because grace initiates a "relocation program." In receiving grace, we receive a new identity, become citizens of another kingdom, are placed in a new family. We are saved to live a new life.

"Can ... Christians live as though they were still in their sins?" asks commentator John Stott. "Well, yes, I suppose they could," he says, "at least for a little while. ... But let them remember who they are. Let them recall ... [the meaning] of their new life of union in Christ."

Grace has given us a new identity. How can we do anything other than live accordingly?

Dear Lord, may we die daily to sin and be alive to you. Help us not to take your grace for granted, but to remember who we are--and how much you've given for us. Amen.

About the author — Jack Roeda

Rev. Jack Roeda is the senior pastor at Church of the Servant Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and an adjunct professor of preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary. He is married to Carol Sue Kok, and they have three children and two grandchildren. Pastor Roeda has served two previous churches: Exeter (Ont.) Christian Reformed Church and Calvary Christian Reformed Church, Holland, Michigan.

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