Not an excuse to abuse God’s grace

There is a fine line between living by grace and abusing it. As Paul concludes his thoughts at the end of chapter 5 in his letter to the Romans he speaks of how we are lavished with grace through Jesus Christ. In fact, he even states that “where sin increased, grace increased all the more.”

But you can tell that Paul is aware that this could lead some to take advantage of grace and abuse it because he opens chapter 6 of Romans with this statement:

“Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace?Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” ~ Romans 6:1-2

God’s lavish grace is no excuse to live as we want but rather makes us acceptable to a holy God and then empowers us to live differently. Larry Crabb says it well…

“I might mention in passing that my acceptability in Christ is no warrant for careless living.  Scripture also teaches that I am accountable to God for how I live. 

If I understand accountability, but not acceptability, I will live under pressure to behave well in order to be accepted.  If I understand acceptability, but not accountability, I may become casually indifferent to sinful living. 

When I understand first my acceptability and then my accountability, I will be constrained to please the One who died for me, fearful that I might grieve Him, not wanting to, because I love Him.” ~ Larry Crabb in Effective Biblical Counseling

May we be fully embraced by acceptability AND accountability, in that order, so that we can live in such a way as to demonstrate the grace and truth (John 1:14) that flowed from Jesus when He lived among us.

And in doing so, may we reflect the glory of God!


© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.


Filed under Accountability, Christianity, Forgiveness, Glory of God, God, Grace, Jesus, Religion and Spirituality, Sin, Truth

7 responses to “Not an excuse to abuse God’s grace

  1. what are the consequences of abusing grace?

    • Great question. Let me first clarify that by “abusing grace” I mean making the choice to intentionally disobey God. We will all struggle against sin until the day we die or Jesus comes back for us. But to intentionally sin is what I believe John is referring to in 1 John 1:5-10 where a person claims to have fellowship with God but still walks in darkness. He goes on to say that walking in the light brings us fellowship with one another and forgiveness of sin. Then in 1 John 2:1-6 John states that if we claim to know God but do not keep His commans then we are liars and do not have the truth in us. At the least, abusing grace interrupts our relationship with God and each other. At the worst, a lifestyle of continuing to reject God’s directives would seem to place us outside of His forgiveness.

      • got it.

        that is why the holy Spirit convicts the world concerning sin, the sin of Unbelief.

        the sin of unbelief, as you can read in Hebrews, causes the worshipers to go back to offering Bulls and Goats

        in Galatians the sin of unbelief, causes them to go back to Circumcision – the Law

        @” Then in 1 John 2:1-6 ”
        I totally see it.

        its like “Faith without Works is dead”

        means, claiming to walk in the light but does not keep Gods command is a lie, when the light causes us to keep the command.

        it isn’t the manner of walking. it is the state where we are. in this case, we are in the light. therefore a genuine believer can never walk in darkness. amen

        woop… I almost use your entire page 🙂

        – grace and peace

  2. “God’s lavish grace is no excuse to live as we want but rather makes us acceptable to a holy God and then empowers us to live differently.” – I agree Rick. His grace makes us acceptable and gives us a new identity, and because of this identity we desire to please him/not grieve him as Crabb says.
    When I think about this I sometimes get confused over the difference between God’s love being affected by my sin, and God’s pleasure in my life and works being affected. I suppose it’s like a father/child relationship? He wants us to do what’s right, and what brings him honour and glory, and he is grieved when we don’t. But his love for us isn’t impacted by our sin, right?
    I do struggle with the idea of being accountable before God, because if I’m honest I’m scared that if I don’t measure up it will impact his love for me. Of course I don’t want to abuse grace, but I also don’t want to feel like if I make a wrong turn, his love and delight in me will be affected, as this is so central.
    If that makes sense… I know in my head the cross means I do measure up, and that no height nor depth will take his love away… but the accountability word does bring a bit of fear when I hear it. My reactions probably stem from past experiences of fearing God’s judgment I think.

    • Hey Ali! I completely understand where you are coming from. My own background involved the strong impression of God as a cosmic cop ready to bust me if I got out of line. It can take a long time, even years, to begin to get comfortable with the reality that God’s every action toward us is motivated by love. Perhaps the term “responsible” would better convey the idea of not squandering God’s lavish grace. What do you think?

  3. Yes, that makes sense, I think I’m still needing to undo some unhealthy past beliefs like that. I like the word responsible a lot, for sure 🙂
    Thanks heaps for your words.

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