"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" Romans 6:1-2
There are false doctrines out there that lead people to believe that God is the God of love and that He will keep on forgiving us of our sins no matter what. These same false doctrines lead people to believe that we actually have a license to sin, that God would never send someone to hell or punish them because He is the God of love. A partial truth is still a complete lie. Don't believe partial truth, and don't believe the lie. We do not have a license to sin! God is the God of love and compassion. John 3:16 says, "For God SO LOVED the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." However, God is also the God of wrath. Romans 1:18-20 says, "The WRATH OF GOD is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." God is loving and compassion, but God is also eternal, powerful, and righteous. God's wrath will be poured out on those who are godless and wicked. God's wrath has been and will be poured out upon sin. Paul understood the life of sin and the consequences it brought upon one's life. Paul also understood the grace of God and the salvation He offered in Jesus Christ. Paul's life was changed on the road to Damascus when he encountered Jesus Christ and embraced Him as Savior. In that moment that Paul admitted his sin before God, he was forgiven and freed from the penalty and the bondage of sin...sin past, sin present, and sin future. 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." Many of us love the first part of that Scripture. We like the forgiveness of sins, but sometimes we overlook the second part of that Scripture. God will "purify us from all unrighteousness." God's grace through Jesus Christ that forgives us of our sins and sets us free from the penalty and the bondage of sin also gives us power over sin. He purifies us and gives us the power of the Holy Spirit to know what is right and what is wrong. As Paul says in Romans 6:2, "We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" He goes on to say in Romans 6:4, "We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." Our new life in Christ is found in His resurrection...the victory over sin and death. Romans 6:6-7 says, "For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin - because anyone who has died has been set free from sin."
Being a Christ follower doesn't mean we have a license to sin. No way! Being a Christ follower is about dying to sin and living a new life. It doesn't mean that we won't still be tempted to sin or that sin will no longer happen. But it does mean that Christ has given us the power to say "no" to temptation and to sin. In the Promise Keepers Study Bible, the writer explains it this way: "Think of sin and its effects as a motorcycle with a disconnected chain. The engine (sin) still has great power, but it can't turn the wheels (action)." The chain has been broken. The wheels have been set free from the power of the engine. Christ's perfect life, perfect death, and perfect sacrifice has set us free from the power and the penalty of sin. When we admit our sin before God and accept Jesus Christ as Savior, He forgives us of our sin and gives us new life. Our new life is not a license to sin. Our new life is victory over sin and victory over death...to live as Christ lived - for the glory of God!