About a week ago ( go ahead and say it lol ‘ week ago, week ago’ ) one of my college friends posed a question:
Why is it impossible for a Christian to live a victorious life while habitually practicing sin?
She tagged me in a Facebook status to get my thoughts on it. This was my reply…
Though God clearly shows us grace daily, ACTIVELY living in sin doesn’t line up with what He wants for us. Yes we may fall short, but there is a CLEAR difference between struggling with breaking away from sin and actively living in it. Every promise of prosperity and good fortune doesn’t include ACTIVELY living in sin (at least last time I checked). We as Christians are expected to “pray, seek the Savior’s’ face and TURN from our wicked ways” so God can bless us to the max! We can not FULLY access total victory if we are still conformed to the world. But one thing I’ve found, is that many people tend use the term ‘Christian’ loosely. They are more about religion than relationship — meaning — they identify themselves as Christians because they ‘go to church’ every Sunday and say all the right scriptures at the right time, but the thing they fail to realize is that a Christian is a “follower of Christ and His teachings” and He teaches us to live holy and to follow His example. Not saying we are going to be perfect 100% of the time, and yes, good things can still happen to you while you’re still living in bondage; but God will NEVER fully release every drip drop blessing and victory to us if we don’t leave that sinful living alone. Ok I think I’m done lol
There were many other great responses like this one…
The Christian can only be victorious through Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57). There is a wedge that is driven between God and man, which is sin. This wedge, or gap, divides Christ from man, which in essence, also causes us to no longer be victorious. Moral of the story? Being separated from God through habitual sin causes one to no longer be victorious because of the divide that it creates between God and man. Victory is only accomplishable through Christ, His Shed blood and His Finished work!!! #okay#imdone!!!
Ever since then, I’ve been really letting this discussion sink in and word “grace” was the principle that resonated throughout each of my thoughts. Many individuals who identify themselves as followers of Christ abuse the true meaning of grace by twisting it to excuse blatantly sinful living. They claim because they are ‘covered by grace’, they can successfully function as good Christian witnesses while simultaneously living a lifestyle that is birthed out of the world.
I have taken note of the state of the Christian church today and while sometimes discouraged, I’m not surprised at the misuse of heavenly gifts like grace because this was prophesied millenia before! 2 Timothy 3:1-4 ESV read, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…” So it’s clear and already established that haul of these ‘personal’ interpretations of scripture to fit selfish desires is to be expected; BUT the fact that it’s going on within the Christian church is the thing that needs to be addressed.
Which circles back to my thoughts on my friend’s question and the true understanding of how grace works. I will tell you what grace is not.
Grace is NOT:
– a license to act a fool and still claim total victory because you go to church
– a magic hall pass that gives you reign over anything you’re big and bad enough to have
– contrary to the Word of God
– a “get out of jail free” Monopoly card
Many people who call themselves Christians (followers of Christ Jesus and His teachings) fit the profile of my friend’s scenario. They are “Christians” who expect to live a fully victorious life while habitually practicing a life of sin. If you’re offended right now, you may be one of those said Christians. (not trying to be mouthy, but I love you too much as a brother/sister in Christ to let you lose out on your future.)
It’s often misunderstood that grace is, simply put, the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner — but that is not so! God’s grace, TRUE GRACE, does not leave us where we are. It brings us up out of our slip ups into a walk where we no longer make those same mistakes. God is the perfect Heavenly Father who understands that we as His kids are gonna mess up! We were ‘doomed’ to being born into sin because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience — BUT God left us His Word, gave us His Son, and His Holy Spirit to help us make the choice to LIVE righteously for HIM and grow to the point where if we DO trip up, we’ll learn our lesson and take steps to not do it ever again. After you keep making the same mistake over and over and over…it’s not a mistake anymore.
Sorry Not sorry to break it to you, but that’s the way our God is set up. Grace is not going to keep covering up foolishness — grace desperately pulls at your heart strings in the way that leads towards Christ. If you ignore that, you’ll start missing out on blessings and victories that God originally intended for you if you would just wholeheartedly follow Him.
You’ve gotta know that I’m not saying this from a “over zealous, self righteous ” point of view, but from REAL LIFE personal experience! I’ve lived it. I first accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was in the second grade (aka super young), and growing up into my teen and young adult years, I thought since I was ‘saved’ yet did the sinful things non believers did, it wouldn’t be as bad because God knew my heart and I sang in the church choir so I was fine. I really thought I had my life figured out with this ‘grace thing’! I resolved within myself that I would do all my dirt and live a socialite’s life while I was young and get my life ALL THE WAY right when I got older so I could have a testimony. NO LIE! As silly as this sounds (I’m actually laughing at myself right now as I type) this is the way I used to and a trillion other self confessed Christians operate. Even though bad things kept happening to me, I just chalked it up as ‘trials and tribulations’ instead of realizing them for the consequences of sin that they were. Good things were still occurring here and there, so I felt like I was okay to keep living my worldly life. A Russian Roulette if you will.
It took almost dying (multiple times) for me to wake up and realize that I had grace all wrong! God was trying to wake me up and get me to turn from my wicked ways. I wasn’t truly living life as a Christian/follower of Christ because I was allowing sin to separate me from God’s will and His promises. I tell ya, once I seriously gave my life to Christ in the summer of 2011, my life has NEVER been more fulfilling! Now I purposely take steps to avoid temptation and to limit my time with or stay away from people, things, and places that could lead me back into a life of sin. Other than that, my life is better! Yes, I have hard times, but there is a difference when you know it’s not a consequence of your sin, but a test of your strength and faith.
If you constantly keep cussing folk out and getting drunk or sleeping with that man/woman you know you shouldn’t be dealing with — you probably deserve all the trouble coming your way. Grace is not a license to do those things over and over and expect God to keep bailing you out and covering your sinful living. Grace will reproof and convict you and show you a better way so after that first or second time — you stop and walk the other way for good.
I know this was a long post — and believe it or not it’s not even HALF of what I have up my sleeve — but hopefully you’ll have some better understanding of what grace is and how to appreciate it by living a godly life the way God intended. If you struggle with actively living in sin, reach out to someone — shoot, you can even send ME and email if you really want another Christian’s support! It’s okay FOR NOW to be in a bad place, but it’s not okay to stay there. God wants you free and on the right path so you can live fully in victory — and I want the same thing for you too!
– Be blessed, Joc