1 What, then, shall we say? shall we continue in the sin that the grace may abound? 2 let it not be! we who died to the sin -- how shall we still live in it? Romans 6:1-2 YLT
Much of Christian theology and doctrine are realized and lived out practically based on mere human understanding and man-made traditions rather than God's Word alone. More plainly stated, much of what Christians actually believe and practice in their day-to-day lives is rooted in what they heard someone or some minister say. Often it's not actually rooted in the Word of God.
Some of these Ideas and suggestions and concepts includes thoughts like all who commit suicide will surely go to Hell, if you get divorced you can never remarry, or God loves you but sometimes is displeased and disappointed with you. Or perhaps one of the biggest thoughts conveyed, if you sin too much God won't forgive you. Where are these concepts specifically addressed and stated this exact way in the Bible, God's Word?
I will help you, they are not in the Word. Christian believers and ministers alike infer, assume, and reason certain things to be true based on a flawed, traditional, and veiled view of Father God. Often, believers assign their own attitudes and reactions, and conclusions to God. Allow me to elaborate.
Christians many times knowing how we might personally react or respond to a certain situation unconsciously assign that same attitude to our Father God. We then form and fashion a theology of Father God based on this and not the character of God we see clearly demonstrated in the Word. In general, we wouldn't continue fellowshipping with someone who fails us, wouldn't forgive someone if they continued in the same action repeatedly, and would judge someone swiftly if they continue wronging us, thus we conclude God is the same as us.
Understanding this, I want to examine a concept in the Church I have heard expressed throughout my Christian life. This concept transcends all denominations and ministries I was ever involved in. This concept and idea of living in sin.
What is living in sin? The response to this in the average believer's mind is a person who is actively committing adultery, someone living with someone they are not married to, someone who has a drinking problem, or a homosexual. Is this what living in sin means?
I submit to you that this is not the actual meaning of living in sin. I certainly concur based upon the writings of Paul the Apostle of Grace, that adultery, fornication, alcoholism, and homosexuality are indeed sinful actions. However, that is not what it means to live in sin.
When we consult the manual, the Basics Instructions Before Leaving Earth, the Bible, God's Word, the phrase living in sin is not found anywhere. When we need the truth revealed it's essential we check the Word. We desire God to instruct us not man or experience.
In our text, we see Paul instruct us not to continue in sin. The word sin is the noun, not the verb. Paul is speaking of position, of identity, not actions. Of course, identity and position affect our actions.
Now when it comes to claiming to live in sin is defined by our actions, we see much hypocrisy in the application of this label. What I mean is, we see the man living with a woman he isn't married to and say they are living in sin. Yet we don't look at our lives and see how often we worry. We don't look in the mirror and see the bitterness we still harbor at old bosses, family, and former friends.
The Word tells us that which is not of Faith is sin. How often do we label those who fail to walk by Faith as living in sin? Worry is the sin of not trusting God, yet so many Christians are world-champion worriers. Where is their condemnation?
Let's allow the Word to be the final authority. Paul was telling us not to continue living in our old identity. We are New Creations in Christ. We are made alive in Christ anew. Dare to take your place as the very Righteousness of God in Christ.
I believe the reason the concept of living in sin describing our behavior is so popular is that it becomes a means to control believers. The enemy uses it to control our thoughts by throwing flaming darts of condemnation at us. We won't press in to God relationally because we believe He is mad at us. We believe He hasn't forgiven us.
Religious tradition controls believers through guilt. Better give and participate in all our programs cause if you don't you'll be living in sin. Your prayers will go unanswered. This is why we must understand Grace and the New Covenant.
The enemy and religious tradition try to convince believers that answered prayer is rooted in our behavior. Often Healing and wholeness are seen as rewards for good behavior. Don't be misled. Grace is unmerited and unearned favor. Healing, protection, prosperity, deliverance, favor, and abundant life are already ours because of Christ, not our own works. Therefore we can't do more good to earn them, and we can't do anything bad enough to disqualify us from receiving them.
As true as it is that our sinful actions are detrimental to ourselves and others, (natural consequences), it doesn't mean we should accept guilt and condemnation. Guilt and condemnation won't motivate us to make better choices. All they do is make us mask our flaws even deeper.
In summation, live in Grace. Live in the new identity Christ has made us. Don't walk in guilt and condemnation. Though sinful actions may have natural consequences, know God isn't punishing anyone. Finally, let the Word of God, not tradition be the final authority for truth in our lives. His Grace is greater.