Can but Won’t

Paul writes in Romans 5:20-21, “The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

This scripture has been confusing for many.  To the casual reader, it would appear the more I sin, the more grace I receive. “But where sin increased, grace increased all the more…” At first glance, one might get the impression, “I can do whatever I want, and because I am a Christian, I will receive grace.” The more gossip, pornography, judgment, adultery, cheating…the more grace…isn’t that right?

Paul, the writer of this scripture through the inspiration and direction of God, was a person previous known in the Christian realm as “horrific.” Have you ever wondered why Christ picked Paul to spread His gospel? Paul was a labeled persecutor of Christians. Christ could have chosen someone already in His camp, someone He had spent time teaching. What was it about Paul that appealed to Christ?

Perhaps, it was Paul’s passion for what he believed. Maybe, Christ saw a devotion and loyalty in Paul, and Christ knew if He turned that passion and devotion and loyalty for Him instead of against Him, His word would spread. Paul brought upon many Christians horrific punishments, stonings, beatings, executions, and imprisonments. His passion to do away with Christ’s followers was almost unstoppable.  Finally, on the road to Damascus, Paul met the risen Christ. His life made a 180 degree turn, and He worked harder for Christ than he had against Him.
There is always grace when we sin. Sin and grace walk hand-in-hand because of Christ’s sacrificial love for us. But our passion, devotion, and loyalty for Christ should leave a bitter taste for sin in our mouths. In actuality when we receive God’s grace, it  should drive us farther and farther away from sin.
Paul explains in Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”
In reality, while grace and sin are connected in Christ, grace should be a force that drives us away from sin. The stronger our relationship with Christ, the greater we will distance ourselves from sin. Why? Even though the child of God can do whatever he wants to do, he will choose not to sin. I praise God that though the child of God can, he won’t.

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