CAN I EAT GARBAGE?

People are sometimes afraid to share grace in its fullest for fear of others saying “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound”? Or “shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace”? The answer to both questions is God forbid.[2] The real question is why do we have such a preoccupation with sin? Why not instead look to our Savior and all his benefits?

I recently heard one of the best illustrations of this point and I would like to share it with you. Imagine that you owned a fine cafeteria. One day, you hear this tremendous commotion out in the alley where the garbage dumpsters are. You open the back door to see what’s going on, and you see the most pitiful-looking human being you have ever seen in your life—me—fighting with several stray cats over the food scraps in the dumpster. I am a virtual living skeleton. It’s obvious that I am living on the edge of starvation, and probably have been for a long time. There is nothing about me to provoke liking or affection in you, but you are moved to pity.

“Hey, hey!” you yell. “Get out of the garbage. Don’t eat that stuff! Come over here.” I trudge over to you, half-seeing you through hopeless eyes.

“Listen,” you say. “I can’t stand to see you eating garbage like that. Come into my cafeteria and eat.”

“But I don’t have any money,” I reply.

“It doesn’t matter,” you say. “My chain of restaurants has done very well, and I can afford it. I want you to eat here every day from now on, absolutely free of charge!” You take my arm and lead me inside the restaurant. I cannot believe my eyes. I have never seen a cafeteria line before. With huge, unbelieving eyes I stare at the spread: vegetables…salads…fruits…beef…fish…cakes…pies…In my wildest dreams, I have never even imagined that such things could be.

I look at you intently. “Are you saying I can eat anything I want?”

“Yes, anything.”

“Really anything I want?” I ask again.

“Yes, I said anything you want,” you answer.

Then slowly, with a gleam in my eye, I ask, “Can I eat some garbage?”

What would you think of me? You would think I was insane, wouldn’t you? In the face of all that delicious food, all I can think of to ask is whether I can eat garbage. But that is exactly how I feel when people ask me if they can sin because they are under grace!

I hope this has helped you the way it did me, besides God didn’t save us in our sin, but from our sin. Why would anyone want to go back to that garbage?


[1] Classic Christianity—Bob George

[2] Romans 6:1&15

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