Under Grace, Sin has no Dominion Over Us
There are many advantages of travelling on a freeway; it has unhindered flow of traffic, with no traffic signals, intersections or property access. It is economical by reducing fuel consumption and dramatically saves travelling time with high speed limits and no interruptions. The best thing I like about a freeway is the exit ramp. It means two things; one that you are closer to your destination and the other reason to exit is when you realise you are on the wrong freeway.
If you are ever on the wrong freeway, there is always a way out. Our life is somewhat like a freeway, we have a freewill to continue on the wrong path or take an exit ramp. When people are faced with temptations, many yield to it, even though there is always a way out. No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV).
When a person ignores the exit sign and continues down the freeway of temptation, he commits sin. For a believer, there is always grace available, in all circumstances of life, including sin. We are saved by grace, we walk in righteousness by grace and we do all good things by grace. Grace is basically the unmerited favour, it is God’s kindness upon us that we don’t deserve. We cannot earn grace, it is freely given to us.
Mercy, on the other hand, is God withholding the punishment from us that we truly deserve. When a person sins, God’s mercy and grace are both available to the person. Mercy to forgive him for the wrong done and grace to stop him from sinning and lead him into righteousness. If a person continues down the path of sin, grace persuades a person to quit sinning. When the person ignores grace and continues all the more in sin, grace does not give up, but pursues after the person all the more. The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more (Romans 5:20 NIV).
In our economy, if any resources are scarce, they become highly valuable, but when they are freely available, people tend to overlook its value or even abuse it. Many Christians do the same thing with grace, they have come to abuse it instead of using it. They use grace as a licence to continue in all forms of wickedness and evil. They think that since they are under grace, they can do anything immoral and get away with it.
God in His words instructs us not to pervert His grace. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord (Jude 1:4 NIV).
Some continue in sin thinking that since God forgives us of all our sin, let us sin now and repent later. Others think that since grace is available to us, sin is not a problem and so they continue in it. St Paul warns us of such attitudes towards grace. Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? (Romans 6: 1-2 NLT).
These days people don’t call sin, sin anymore, they re-label it, deny it or call it something else that is more acceptable, such as human weakness, faults, mistakes or habits. Sometimes people use blame or escape to avoid confronting or repenting of sin. There are others that think that if they sin in secret no one would know about it and they are safe. Secret sins make a person secretly miserable and sin never remains a secret, it always finds you. But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out (Numbers 32:23 ESV).
Each one of us were born under the dominion of sin. When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned (Romans 5:12 NLT). When Jesus died on the cross, He died for all our sins to free us from sin and death. Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous (Romans 5: 18-19 NIV).
When we repent of our sins, we receive God’s mercy and grace. God’s grace enables us not to be under the dominion of sin and death anymore. This means we are not controlled or addicted to sin anymore and even when we die, we will be resurrected from the dead and live for eternity and therefore, death has no power over us. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are dead to sin and so also we will be resurrected just like Him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus (Romans 6:10-11 NLT).
We are dead to sin and no longer continue in sin but glorify God by living a righteous life that gives glory to God. Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God (Romans 6: 12-13 NLT).
We are not living under the law but under grace. We must not live in wickedness or evil but live an upright life of holiness. When we were under the law, we were conscious of our sins, because the main purpose of the law was to create sin consciousness. Under the law, people felt guilt conscious and the law brought condemnation for sin. Under grace, there is no guilt nor condemnation. So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death (Romans 8:1-2 NLT).
Sometimes people think that under grace we can be lenient towards sin, but the opposite is true. Under law, there was leniency, but under grace, there is only perfection. “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48 NIV).” Grace brings perfection, whereas the law was only a reflection of things to come. The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming–not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship (Hebrews 10:1 NIV).
Under the law, if a person killed someone, he was called a murderer, but under grace, even if a person is angry with someone, he is subject to judgement. “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell (Matthew 5:21-22 NIV).”
Under the law, it was sinful to commit adultery, but under grace, even if a person looks at a man or woman with lust has committed adultery. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:27-28 NIV).”
Under the law, divorce was allowed, but under grace, no one must separate what God has united together. “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery (Matthew 5:31-32 NIV).”
The law was lenient because no one could fulfil it on their own, but grace enables us to do all things through Jesus Christ. Under grace we are no more under the dominion of sin, and therefore we are empowered to live in righteousness. We are not enslaved to sin, but free to live in righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace (Romans 6:4 ESV).
Does that mean, believers don’t sin at all? No, it only means that they do not habitually practise sin nor are they slaves to sin, but they intentionally walk in the path of righteousness by immediately repenting of every wrong doing and reconciling with God. Like David, every believer must examine their conscience and walk blamelessly before God. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life (Psalms 139: 23-24 NLT).