Our sin, even that which continues in the Christian life, reveals the grace of God. Paul says, in Romans 5, that the grace of God overflows in greater measure than any sin. What that means, put simply, is that you can never “outsin” God’s grace.
Some people don’t like that. Or maybe I should say that makes some people very uncomfortable. To them it gives license for anyone to do anything and be forgiven. And, of course, they are right. God forgives all our sin, no matter what it is and no matter when we do it. But the freedom to sin is already ours. We were free to sin before Christ and we are free to sin after Christ. Do you doubt that? Does lightning strike the sinner? Does God actually do anything to stop or supernaturally punish the offender, either the believer or the unbeliever? No, He allows sin as He allows us to make free choices.
Yes, there are consequences for sin. Lots of consequences. More than we realize. But that isn’t what I am talking about here. The simple truth is that the believer is free to sin. The wonderful message of grace is that there is freedom not to sin and love for those who do sin—because of Jesus.
And when you sin, God’s grace is greater. You see, this message isn’t for those who want to go out to see if they can find the limits of God’s love and forgiveness. People who use grace as license to sin don’t really know grace and probably don’t even know Jesus. This message is for those who so desperately want to know that they can be forgiven—even when they continue to do stupid or wicked things.
The Greek words in Romans 5:20 suggest that grace is already overflowing in the life of the believer to an extent much greater than any sin. So Paul says that where sin increases, grace already overflows sufficiently. Those who look to Jesus find grace abundant, enough to cover anything.
There is a great verse in 1 John 2:1 that reminds us not to sin:
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 1 John 2:1 (NKJV)
Don’t sin. It’s bad for you and those around you and you don’t have to do it. But, if you do, Jesus is enough. The grace of God in the person of Jesus is more than enough.