1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
A couple of weeks ago, the breaks on my car had to replaced. During my eight hour waiting session at the garage, I read every single magazine they had lying around, even a magazine written for black women.
The most fascinating article I read, was an article in ESPN magazine, "The Danger of Safer Equipment," by Peter Keating. The article is about how rule changes were more effective than making the equipment more high tech, more safe. Now, don't lose me. This post isn't about sports. Just keep reading.
The fascinating part is that study has shown that safer equipment only makes people more dangerous. Here's an exerpt:
Look around and you'll see that strange things happen when a dangerous environment is stripped of some of its hazards. Studies show that bicyclists ride faster and feel less threatened when they have helmets on; more experienced boaters are less likely to wear life jackets than novices and, when they do, are more likely to drink alcohol; children running on an obstacle course crash into more objects -- and finish the course faster -- when they wear protective equipment. These are all examples of the phenomenon economists call "risk compensation."
Mr. Keating goes on to give a handful of other interesting examples showing the people, when given the feeling of safety, become more reckless.
Now, go read the verse at the top. There is surely a correlation. At some point in time, in every Christian's life, there will come a time when we will abuse the grace of God. Call it "Grace Compensation," if you will. This is especially true with us who lean toward a more "Reformed" doctrine, but even the most Armenian believer will struggle often with this. We know God is gracious and forgiving. After all, He loved us while we were yet sinners, right? So, yeah, I know lying to get what I want is wrong, but it'll be okay. I can ask for forgiveness later. God will forgive me.
You know what, if you are His elect, then you're right, He will. The thing is this. Salvation is not the only thing we are striving for is it? If that were so, then we could just cruise after we came to a saving knowledge of and submission to Christ. Yet, God tells us through so many of the Bible's authors, that there is more. Paul says to run the race as if to win. To box as one not batting the air.
Also, we miss out on something better. We trade some cheap thrill for something more wonderful, more deep, more satisfying. We are just too stupid to know it in the moment. We think we know best. Let us listen to Paul when he says, By no means.