Is Grace a license to sin? Ask most church people and they would say (based on my experience) that preaching “too much” grace gives people a license to sin. They say, “If we tell Christians they are totally forgiven of all sins, past, present, and future, then what will keep them from sinning?” This is based on a wrong mindset which thinks that we are still the same old sinners with the same old nature, thus freedom = sin. These same people, however, use 1 John 1:9 as the “Christian bar of soap.” They say, our past sins are forgiven, but now we have to confess each new sin in order to be forgiven or stay forgiven.” Some how, this is supposed to keep people in line.
But do you see what we’ve done (and I’ve done this in the past too)? We’ve taken the Blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all sin, and cheapened it. By the way, how is having to confess your sins to be forgiven not also a “license to sin?” All we have done is add to the equation of Jesus + nothing to make it Jesus + us. Rather, we have subtracted from Jesus’ work and Blood and replaced it with our confession (which in the greek, homologeó, means to say the same thing, agree, or admit). But can’t people still abuse this and sin as much as they want and just confess it away? I know, for me, confessing sin never deterred me from sinning. But knowing I am totally forgiven sure has ended sin’s power over me.
“We have taken the Blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all sin, and cheapened it.”
By using the same reasoning behind the “Grace is a license to sin” accusation, confession would also be a license to sin. Of course, grace is NOT a license to sin. People who think so haven’t taken into account that we are new creations with new natures. Plus, we have the Holy Spirit, Who would never lead us to sin.
Let’s take a quick look at the 1 John 1:9 sandwich, verses 8, 9 & 10.
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the Truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.”
These verses are NOT saying, “if we say we do not sin…” Both 8 & 10 are sin deniers who say “we have no sin, and we have not sinned.” They are saying they have never sinned. This isn’t talking about Christians who say their sins have been washed away. It’s the unbeliever who says there is no such thing as sin, therefore, they’ve never sinned.
And 1 John1:9 does NOT say “if we ask forgiveness and say we are sorry.” It simply says “If we (homologeó, say the same thing, agree, confess, admit) our sins…”
Verse 9 also does NOT say we confess our sins to be forgiven, it says if we confess, He is faithful and just…
Why is He faithful? Because of the Blood of Jesus mentioned in verse 7,
“and the Blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Maybe you agree with me and maybe you don’t about our need to confess our sins as Christians, but don’t take my word for it, let’s see what the Apostle John says we should do when we sin. The very next verse, 1 John 2:1, says:
“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins…”
Notice how the author of 1 John doesn’t say, “if you sin, confess it to be forgiven.”
He says, if anyone does sin, ITS ALL ABOUT JESUS, our Defense Attorney, our Advocate, Jesus Christ the Righteous! It’s already taken care of, He is the propitiation for our sins! TRUST IN JESUS! Trust in Him!
So let’s stop taking away from the finished work of Christ and the power of the Blood. Let’s stop making it about us. It really is ALL ABOUT JESUS! Let’s stop profaning the Blood of the Covenant and insulting the Spirit of Grace. We are totally forgiven and cleansed because of Jesus! We trust in Him, not ourselves, not our faith but His faithfulness.
Be blessed and be transformed by the renewing of your mind in the Living Word!