“Christ accepts us as we are, but when He accepts us, we cannot remain as we are.” – Walter Trobisch
When you love someone so much you are willing to do whatever it takes to please them and make them happy. Take for example a man and a woman. Let’s say a man marries beautiful woman and determines to make her the happiest woman alive. He quickly realizes she doesn’t speak a word of English. So what does he do? He set’s out to learn her native language. He spends days and months learning her language just so he can communicate with her in an effective manner. He passionately spends countless hours learning the language because being in a relationship with her is worth all of the work and effort; it is his reward.
Jesus Christ accepts us as we are, but it does not end there. In order to commune with Him we must rid ourselves of our old sinful ways and work to please Him. Just as the man mentioned above worked hard to please his wife, we too must work and spend our lives pleasing the One we love. In Romans 6-7, Paul speaks of grace in all its mystery. I will not go into details about this, but what I do want spend time focusing on the misuse or abuse of grace. Have you sinned thinking, “It will be okay, because God’s already forgiven me?” I know that I have been guilty of this!
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? – Romans 6: 1-2
Paul’s response in verse 2 is short, to the point, and somewhat explosive. To live in sin knowing that there is grace and forgiveness is foolish! To come to God with a “What sin can I get away with?” attitude is not the type of relationship He desires to have with us. He longs to know us intimately and personally. In Romans 7, Paul compares ones spiritual life to marriage. When we decide to marry someone, there are strong feelings of love and passion. We spend time with our future spouse to get to know them more intimately. We learn the things they love. We take interest in their hobbies. We work to please them. Similarly, God passionately loves us and wants that passion to be returned from us. He accepts us for who we are. Are we abusing that grace and living the life that we lived before we knew Him or are we truly seeking to change? If we truly loved God, we would never ask, “What can I get away with?” We would stop taking advantage of our relationship with Him. Instead, we would spend our time in His presence in awe of His grace towards sinners like us. We would be sharing His love and speaking of His grace to the world around us.
Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin. – Romans 6: 4-7