Get Out of Jail Free?
Fifteen years ago, I journeyed to Russia with Debbie’s sister as she went there to adopt a child. While there, we had a facilitator who made all the arrangements to see that the adoption process was accomplished in the 3 weeks we were there. We also had a driver who took us to the orphanage daily as well as on sightseeing outings while we were waiting for the process to unfold. I will tell you, I have never been as frightened in a vehicle as I was that 3 weeks. The driver loved to speed, and I mean speed. He was stopped multiple times over the 3 week period by the police for speeding, but each time he pulled out his wallet and flashed some sort of identification. It obviously carried some weight, because each time he would just drive off without a warning and un-ticketed. He obviously had a get out of jail free card of some type that he used over and over to go as fast as he liked, whenever he wanted. I thought about that as I considered the subject of sin and grace. In Romans chapter 6, the Apostle Paul asks and answers an important question. The question: “Shall we go on sinning that grace may increase?” Paul is concerned with those who know the answer to sin is grace, and that Christ’s willing death made grace available and sufficient for any and all sin. In a sort of convoluted way of thinking, some might reason that since God’s desire is to give grace to us, we should sin more so that God could do what He so desires to do. Grace, therefore, becomes a get out of jail free card we can use to behave the way we want without getting ticketed, for God really loves to give us grace. But Paul stops that way of thinking in its tracks when he answers the question. He says very emphatically “By no means! We died to sin, how can we live in it any longer?” Paul says that when we first accepted grace we did so acknowledging we needed it. We knew we were wrong and had broken God’s law and we appreciated it. To take advantage of that grace, to use it as a get out of jail free card over and over again when we willfully sin is like that driver whose behavior never changed when confronted by his lawbreaking. He obviously thought he was above the law. Brothers and sisters, we have something far greater than a get out of jail free card. We have grace, grace sufficient for all our sin. But God’s willingness to give it liberally is only promised to those whose desire is to need it sparingly. Unlike that driver who drove the way he wanted, Paul says our desire is to drive the way God wants us to, and when we fail at that, grace is there to cover our sin. God is not in the business of giving get out of jail free cards to willful law breakers, but praise His name He is in the grace business. With this in mind we should all ask ourselves, “How’s my driving?”