Have you ever watched the show, “The Biggest Loser?” Contestants who are (what doctors would refer to as) morbidly obese put themselves through rigorous exercise while limiting themselves to a strict diet for the purpose of winning the contest by losing the most weight. Right before your eyes, people are transformed from 300 pound couch potatoes to 150 pound athletes. Some literally become half the man they used to be. However, without the proper lifestyle changes, that lost weight can find itself back on the bone, and all weight loss can be, well, lost.
You see, going back into a world where you were once severely overweight, but now are in prime health, can give you a false sense of confidence. Sure, I can eat just one bacon cheeseburger. No, I can miss a workout. Next thing you know, BOOM! You’re right back up to 300 pounds. Before you notice, you have lost all the ground you gained, and regaining that lost ground will be even harder the second time around as your body’s metabolism has adjusted to your new, more refined diet.
Anytime television crews follow up on a former Biggest Loser contestant who has gained the weight back, many wonder, “why would they do that?” or “How could they let themselves go like that?”
The fact is, we all tend to do the exact same thing, yet, on a Spiritual level. Romans 5:20 says where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. That grace is the payment Jesus Christ made when He died on the cross. You see, Jesus paid for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). Not only that, He paid more than the price for the sins of the world. His grace abounded, and continues to this day.
This ample payment for sin, coupled with the free gift of salvation, led some cynics to ask in Romans 6:1, “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” Or, in laymens terms, “Does that mean we can sin all we want since Jesus paid it all?” The question stems from the same gluttonous roots that say, “We need to stuff ourselves at this all-u-can-eat buffet to make sure we get our money’s worth.” Jesus paid it all, so many people want to make sure they can ride they payment of sin for all they can. I once knew a man who lived openly in sin, and bragged that he could get away with it, because “once saved, always saved.”
The Apostle Paul answered this question very strongly in Romans 6:2, “God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” If you are casually reading the Bible, you might miss the first two words. “God forbid.” This is because we have become so used to people taking the Lord’s name in vain that we no longer recognize when a Biblical command of the Lord has been declared. When Paul said, “God forbid,” it was neither an interjection nor an expletive. He was literally saying, “God forbids it.” In other words, God forbids our continued lifestyle of sin.
Keep that in mind. God forbids sin. Sin is sin because God forbids it. It’s not just a thing we do that He tolerates. It’s something we do when we rebel against Him.
When my kids go outside to play, often they get dirty. Sometimes, they get downright filthy. Sometimes, they find a mud-hole and all bets are off. I do not forbid my kids’ outside play, and getting dirty and muddy is a healthy part of childhood. I tolerate their filth, send them to the showers, and put their clothes in the laundry. No big deal.
My kids do not play in the dirt out of rebellion against me. They play in the dirt because that’s what kids do.
However, my kids do know there are rules to outside play. Do not leave the yard without permission. Do not throw things at the house. Do not leave the door open. No fighting, and under no circumstances are you to strike your sibling. All of these rules have purpose. When these rules are broken, consequences must be levied to stop the behavior. I cannot, for the sake of the children, tolerate them playing in the street, wondering off without me knowing where they are going, throwing rocks through the front window, or inflicting personal injury onto each other. I have to discipline them. The filth comes from innocent play. The broken rules come from a conscious decision to buck dad’s authority.
Our sin is not the filth that comes from innocent play. It is a conscious decision to buck God’s authority. God forbids it, therefore God will discipline the believer who goes into sin.
So, we should not sin because God forbids sin. Paul then provides common sense reasoning, finishing verse 2 up with “How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”
Paul spends the rest of Romans 6 making the case that it makes no sense for a believer to continue in a sinful lifestyle, because God has broken us free from sin’s stranglehold, and has freed us from the shame of our sins. If God has freed you from that which held you prisoner, why would you put the shackles back on? If God has given you new life, why would you return to the destruction of the old life? If God has given you hope, why would you return to the hopelessness of before?
Sin is not to be trifled with, not to be played with, and not to be dabbled in. Sin is to be avoided, and repented from.
Don’t lose your lost shame and hopelessness. Fully embrace the blessings of God by living for Him.