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Does Grace Lead to Disobedience?

February 3, 2012

It’s the age-old question, isn’t it? We want so badly as Christians to be full of grace. After all, that is what Jesus would want, right? He condemned Pharisees who brought more laws on his people and instead gave grace to those who embraced the covenant from the heart. I talk to many parents who want to give their children grace instead of law, but it just seems so hard. Making rules is not a bad thing. However, there must be grace in the rules…but do we really understand what real grace produces or do we masquerade a false grace? Maybe it is a false grace that leads to disobedience and therefore our resistance to it is understandable. Maybe there is a different kind of grace the Bible speaks of that leads to obedience to Christ. Let’s get that last sentence right before we go any further. Rules in your home should lead to obedience to Christ, not to you. Will your children respect you if they respect Christ…yes. Will they respect Christ if they respect you…not necessarily. Before I rabbit trail any longer, I think there are many ways to answer this question, but I think one of the best ways is from Romans 6:15-16.

“What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?”

Jesus stated in Matthew 5:17 that he came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. The moral elements of the Old Testament law are still in effect for us. The difference is there has been someone who has died in our place for our disobedience. This underserved gift is called grace. What is interesting, then, when we read Romans 6 is that it says we are not under law but under grace. Paul can say we are under grace because Christ fulfilled the law. But, what does this grace lead to? Notice that sin leads to death in this passage, but where “grace” is used in v. 15, “obedience” is used in 16. What does grace produce? Obedience.

So, true grace does not produce disobedience. False grace does. Grace that forgives but does not demand obedience is no grace at all…it is license. True grace is knowing that you and your kids are messed up people, in need of the free gift of God’s son. But, it does not stop there. A true encounter with our sin and the solution for it produces obedience. I have heard several people say that they have never seen someone come into contact with authentic grace who then did not have authentic obedience.

So, shower your children with grace. When they mess up, forgive them quickly and remind them that Christ died for their sins…just like he does for you. This deep love, however, demands a thank-filled life of obedience (imperfect obedience, but a striving for obedience nonetheless). The two do not have to be separated because the Bible does not separate them.

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