Sinning doesn’t matter

Recently a person asked: “I once heard you say a few years ago, “If anyone leaves here feeling like they can sin, then I know I’ve done my job,” or at least something close to that. I was hoping that you could explain your reasoning on this.”

It’s a great question so I took the time to respond.

Here’s what I do and most likely did say. “When people hear the gospel of grace they can get the idea that sin doesn’t matter.” Or, “If you leave here wondering if Dan thinks sin doesn’t matter, I’ve done my job.” It’s a statement I make to jar people’s thinking.

The gospel can give people the idea that behavior doesn’t matter.

The Apostle Paul addressed the same issue and I’m glad to regularly hear the same concern. The gospel can give people the idea that behavior doesn’t matter. If you aren’t getting the impression, when hearing the gospel, that behavior doesn’t matter then you aren’t hearing the gospel. Romans 4 is one of many places where righteousness apart from behavior is explained.

Romans 4:5b And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works… (Don’t forget that David was a bad man)

One can read Romans 4:5ff and make the following conclusion. Since righteousness with God is faith-based and not behavior-based then our behavior doesn’t matter.

Paul’s concern about this reasoning is expressed in three rhetorical questions listed in Romans 6 and 7. Why is he asking these three questions? He’s asking because he knows his readers at Roman are thinking them.

1. 6:1 – What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
2. 6:15 – What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace?
3. 7:7 – What then shall we say? That the law is sin?

If those hearing the gospel can’t ask, “Is it ok to sin all we want?” (Paraphrase of question #1) then they aren’t hearing the gospel that Paul preached.

When was the last time you heard a preacher step back and say, “I bet some of you are thinking that I’m saying it’s ok to keep sinning all we want?”

Grace Freak

Dan Rockwell
http://www.graceunplugged.org

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