I want you to visualize two large oceans side by side. These two bodies of water are separated by a very thin strip of land. The ocean on the left is called Law and the one on the right is called Grace.
You have one foot in Law and the other in Grace. Now, where you are currently standing is the shallow ends of both oceans, and the further you move away from the strip of land, the deeper the waters become. You are basically wallowing in the shallow waters of both Law and Grace.
This is one of the biggest challenges that believers find themselves in. We have been saved by grace through faith, yet we still choose to live partially under the law. Why do we do this?
Let’s talk about sin for a moment and how we relate to it as believers. We all struggle with particular sins in our lives. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:56 that the Law is the power behind sin. Yet most preachers are afraid of preaching grace because they believe that people will take it as a license to keep sinning. But this belief is simply misplaced, and here is why.
The Bible makes it clear that it is the Law, not Grace, which strengthens sin in our lives. In other words, the deeper you wade into the ocean of Law, the more sin is strengthened in your life! However, if you choose to move deeper into the ocean of Grace, sin will soon have no power over you. Romans 6:14 actually says that we should not allow sin to keep ruling our lives because we are now ruled by God’s undeserved grace and not by the Law.
So the question we must then ask ourselves is this: How come we keep struggling with certain sins if it is true that grace gives us the power to overcome sin?
From a physical perspective, it would seem that the Law, with its rules and regulations, would be a better way to control sin. If we truly live under grace, then why does sin still appear to have dominion over us? Are the preachers who believe that grace has been misused and taken too far correct, and that “hyper-grace” leads to more sin?
From my personal experience, every time I sin I begin to doubt whether grace can really help me overcome sin. But using the analogy of the two oceans, the Holy Spirit has finally given me the understanding I needed.
The problem wasn’t that Grace didn’t have the power to help me overcome sin; the problem was that I had always played it safe and gotten comfortable just dipping my feet in the shallow end of Grace!
Every time I would start to wade deeper, I would sin in some way (as we all do), and begin a cycle of self-condemnation and doubting God’s grace. I would run back toward the strip of land, where I would put one foot back into the ocean of Law! I had simply become accustomed to using self-effort to overcome my sin, and I couldn’t trust that grace could get the job done. In other words, I allowed fear and doubt to keep me in the shallow ends, where grace was not really being effective and Law was secretly strengthening my sin!
This is the trap that believers who struggle with sin are caught in. We have failed time and time again; stumbled and fallen flat on our faces. This has happened so much that we have stopped believing that grace has the power to deplete sin of its strength. So we do what comes naturally and run back to the Law/self-effort/self-righteousness.
What we fail to realize is that God is calling us to wade deeper into the ocean of Grace; deeper than we have ever gone before. Christ wants us to keep moving deeper into His grace even if we sin. It doesn’t matter how many times you stumble and fall on your face. Going back to the shallow end or wading in the ocean of Law will never help you overcome sin.
Just get back up and keep moving deeper into the waters of His grace. Allow His grace to wash over you, for the more grace you receive, the more power you receive to overcome sin!
Now, will you still sin under grace? Yes, you may succumb to sin, but as long as you keep going deeper, that sin will very soon lose its hold on you. It is the abundance of grace that shows you just how much power you have over sin.
God is waiting today with outstretched arms, urging you to move to a deeper level of grace and intimacy with Him. Take off the shackles of fear and doubt.
Stop dipping your toes in the shallow ends of both Law and Grace. Dive into abundant grace and watch just how powerful His grace and love can be when it comes to overcoming sin.
Throw away that false belief that you must clean yourself up first using the Law before you can go deeper into His grace. Christ already saw all your filthy sins and still loved you and me enough to die on the cross. Just come as you are, and never turn back.