“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” Romans 6:1-2 NASB
Grace is so good and so unmerited if you really teach it in its fullest some will think they are free to sin. The Apostle Paul taught grace and some must have responded with the idea that since grace was available it must mean they could just continue in sin. Of course the flesh always responds in this manner, but the spirit, on the other hand, doesn’t see it that way. Our spirit rejoices with the idea that God loves us so much.
Talking about addiction in Sunday school brought these verses to my mind. I told the class we have the choice to either believe what psychologists, therapists, counselors and twelve step programs tell us or we can believe the Bible. The world tells us over and over again you are an alcoholic and you will always be one. The Bible, on the other hand, tells us in Christ we are a new creature and the old is gone. So which one is it? This lady said, “My husband goes to twelve step meetings and they tell him he can’t have a drink because he’s and alcoholic.” This made me think of Romans six. I thought sure he had a drinking problem, but if he’s been set free from it in Christ he’s free! The answer to this is just like Paul said. “How shall we who died to sin (alcoholism, drugs, sex, food, gambling etc.) still live in it?”
I’ve noticed every time I tell someone I don’t consider myself an addict since being born-again they respond by saying, “Do you think you could have a drink then?” Isn’t it strange how we automatically think it is okay to sin now because of God’s grace? Let me just say drinking, in and of itself, isn’t a sin. What I’m saying is if I know I used to be enslaved to it why would I go back and want to indulge again?
What is it about alcohol in particular that we need to hang on to? God delivered me from cigarettes over five years ago, but I don’t walk around thinking of myself as a smoker. Every now and then a thought will come to me about smoking, but I don’t go and get a cigarette. Do you know why? Because I’m not a smoker anymore! It works the same way with all of the old mans sins. We really have been set free in Christ to walk in newness of life!
Let me end here with a little disclaimer. Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here. I am not against twelve step programs, counselors, psychologists etc. What I am against though is when someone believes them over believing God. I think God has gifted all of us in many ways to play our part. Ephesians 4:11-13 it says, “He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” There is a growth that has to take place in each of us and we need others and their gifts to guide us along the way. Ultimately though God’s plan is that we all grow up and learn to hear and obey him. This doesn’t mean we never need help or encouragement from others but what it means is eventually we mature and turn to help others that are in need. God is our real teacher, counselor, father, friend, and savior or in twelve step terminology he’s our sponsor. He is all of these and more we can trust what he says.
Written by Louie