Monday, January 12, 2015

Grace rules!

“Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:12-14 (NRSV)

 We are all under the rule of something. This is as true for modern Christians as it was for Adam and Eve. Even our belief that we are free to think and choose for ourselves is tainted by the governance of sin in our lives. Is there anyone who would openly admit that he/she is perfect and makes every correct decision for themselves and society? We hide behind sin to excuse our imperfect behavior. We say things like “Hey, I am only human” or “Please excuse me, I am not perfect.”

 In the scripture above, Paul is telling us that even though sin is the present condition of our mortal bodies, it does not have to govern us. For example, even though abortion is legalized, this does not mean that we have to practice abortion. Christians who live in countries that practice intolerance toward religion do not have to give up their faith. In fact, they stubbornly cling to their faith. Why? Because when we allow grace to rule in our lives, we do not have to obey the rule of sin.

 We often think that the rule of sin is permissive and the rule of grace is restrictive, but this is not true. In actuality, the rule of sin boils down to one condition, which is putting ourselves before God, and conversely, we live under the rule of grace when we put God first in everything. The rule of grace is not a set of regulations, behaviors and habits. It is active favor on behalf of God, but passive acceptance of that favor on the part of man. Once we accept God’s grace, our efforts are aimed at putting God first. Grace rules!