I am a Gospel preacher. By definition, that means I preach — exclusively — the Good News of God’s unconditional Love and Grace and Liberty in Christ. As such, I have a two-point litmus test that I apply to every single sermon, message, book, or teaching:
The first point, does it reveal God’s Love? John 13:35 tells us that love is the hallmark of discipleship. Therefore, if love is not apparent and abundant, the message may be Biblical…it may be exegetically sound…it may have a solid hermeneutic…
But it ain’t the Gospel.
The second point, does it reveal Liberty in Christ. Jesus said the Son makes free (John 8:32, 36).
Let me stop and hang my hat there for a minute. In the King James version, the text is rendered “make you free.” That is good news! Because being set free is merely conditional (there are “strings attached” and it is subject to change based on your actions); being made free is relational and positional (permanent and lasting based on Jesus’ Finished Work)!
Moving right along, the Apostle Paul wrote that “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17). So, if we “reverse-engineer” that statement, we find that if Liberty is not present, then neither is the Spirit of the Lord”
There are a ton of messages that are Biblically sound, exegetically thorough, and have a solid hermeneutic but they’re binding, restricting, restraining, and even constraining.
In other words, they aren’t Gospel messages.
Let’s examine our core text:
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans 6:1-2)
I’m accused, on a regular basis of teaching “cheap grace;” in other words, that I teach a Grace that gives people a license to sin.
Excuse me while I laugh at this…
You need a license to drive a car, to do hair, to fly a plane, and to practice medicine. And there are people who do all these things — some of them quite well — without a license.
What I’m saying is that a sinner doesn’t need a license to sin. People are sinning just fine without a license. You don’t have to be either a super saint or a rocket scientist to see that sin is rampant.
Here’s another one I hear on an almost daily basis: “You’re telling people that they can do whatever they want and still be saved…”
Yep, that’s exactly what I’m saying (while I duck and dodge the thrown projectiles)!
Now here’s the caveat: You can do what you want but some things are smart and others are just plain stupid.
Sin is stupid.
Here’s what Paul had to say about this:
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. (1 Corinthians 10:23)
In other words, sin is neither helpful nor edifying! You can do anything, but everything has consequences. For any sin or sinful behavior you can think of, there are consequences. The question is, will you do what is smart — following the instruction of the Holy Spirit — or will you wallow in stupidity?
It’s really just that simple.
Think about it this way, Adam could do anything he wanted. God gave him a simple instruction, “Don’t eat from the tree in the midst of the garden” (Genesis 2:16-17). God could have just dug a moat around the tree or sent some angels with flaming swords to guard it but He didn’t. So what did Adam and Eve do? They ate from the tree.
Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
They forfeited their lives and home for a snack.
God gives us free will. It is a key component of His Grace. Even when we’re born-again, we don’t loose our free will. It is God’s hope that because we see His love clearly in the person of Jesus that we choose not to sin.
This is the scandal of the Gospel!
There are two ways of keeping your dog in your yard. You can either chain him to the house or a stake in the ground, which will physically keep him from leaving. Or you can lavish him with love, feed him good, and let him chase squirrels! The former dog is under law; the latter is under Grace. The unchained dog won’t leave the yard because he knows how good he has it; the chained dog will run at his first opportunity because he doesn’t know what freedom tastes like.
So, if Grace doesn’t give you a license to sin, what does it give you a license to do?
Grace gives you a license to share the Gospel with others. When you’re born again, you become a franchisee of the greatest enterprise in the universe, God, Incorporated! You have access to training by the Holy Spirit, Himself!
Grace gives you a license to operate in supernatural intelligence; awakening you to righteousness by giving you the Mind of Christ.
Grace gives you license to access the throne of Grace — so you can speak to God directly and not through a middleman.
Grace gives you the license to give — of yourself, your time, your talent, your treasure, and God’s truth — cheerfully and without coercion or compulsion.
Grace gives you the license to access all that God is and all that God has for you — salvation, deliverance, healing, protection, wisdom, and prosperity.
Grace gives you the license to lack nothing — to be complete and fully equipped in Christ.
Grace is a license to shed your sin-consciousness and to embrace your righteousness consciousness.
Finally, Grace is a license to reign with Christ, instead of being ruled by the world:
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:18-21)
© 2014 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)