4 Things Saving Grace Is and 4 Things Saving Grace Is Not

Paul had to deal with this one directly. If we preach and proclaim grace, this question will always rear its ugly head. In Romans 6:1-2 Paul said, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” He had to ask these questions because some silly person thought that saving grace was like getting a passport to the land of debauchery.

I can understand why some might get a little confused here when a hero like Martin Luther said something like this:

If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must bear the truth, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [or sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13), are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign. It suffices that through God’s glory, we have recognized the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day. Do you think such an exalted Lamb paid merely a small price with a meager sacrifice for our sins? Pray hard for you are quite a sinner.[1]

Telling someone that committing adultery or killing someone a thousand times a day and still not being separated from mercy might lend itself to believing that grace gives you a license to do what you want. But that’s actually not Luther’s point. His point was to exalt the power of saving grace. As we will see later, rather than inspiring sin, grasping a paragraph like this will do the opposite—at least if you truly receive saving grace.


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