Saturday, 18 September 2010

God's Grace and Our Responsibility

“no one will be declared righteous in his [God’s] sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin…righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus….He [God] did this to demonstrate his justice,…, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” Rom 3:21-26

What a passage. In some ways it is good to know that everyone falls short of the perfection demanded by the law. To realise that we are justified by God’s infinite grace and that when we fail we can always return to embrace of God, as the prodigal son did. But there is also an awful temptation in this knowledge. That it doesn’t really matter what we do because God will always be willing and able to forgive us, to remove are transgressions from us, as far as the east is from the west.

This is what Paul was being accused of teaching

“Why not say—as we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say—"Let us do evil that good may result"? Their condemnation is deserved.” Rom 3:8

Later in the letter, he clearly answers this point

“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin;” Rom 6:1-2.

When we sin we will be forgiven, but we still must strive to live a holy and blameless life. We can not serve two masters; we must serve God and not the desires of our flesh. We stand as witnesses to Christ in this deprived and corrupt generation, and everything we do and say will tell people about the God that we follow. Just think how the world perceives the church as hypercritical and how this puts of people from attending a service and hearing the Gospel.

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