Grace without holiness leads to license.

Screen Shot 2019-12-17 at 6.20.38 AMA young boy saw a pack of cigarettes on the ground and decided to try them. He went to a field near his home and, after several fumbling attempts, got one to light up. It didn’t taste good; it actually burned his throat and made him cough. But it made him feel tremendously grown-up. Then he saw his father coming.

Screen Shot 2019-12-17 at 6.20.43 AMQuickly he put the cigarette behind his back and tried to be casual. Desperate to divert his father’s attention, the young boy pointed to a nearby billboard advertising the circus. “Can we go, Dad? Please, let’s go when it comes to town.” The father quietly but firmly replied, “Son, never make a petition while at the same time trying to hide a smoldering disobedience.”

Grace without holiness leads to license.

Grace is receiving something you did not earn or deserve. Holiness is doing what you ought to do in response to God’s love. License is abusing freedom to do what you want to do. The idea of Christian freedom is so easily misinterpreted and misapplied. True freedom is NOT doing whatever you want to do. True freedom is doing what you ought to do. Ironically, the more we assert self-centered freedom, the more we become enslaved to sin. When we choose to persist in sin, we develop less and less control over it. We eventually forfeit any choice entirely. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin” (John 8:34).

“Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh.” Galatians 5:13

The flesh and the Spirit are opposed to each other. In Romans 7, Paul gets very transparent. “I do not understand my own actions. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” 

Screen Shot 2019-12-17 at 6.30.01 AMThink of King David with me for a moment. David got into some trouble with Bathsheba. But the Bible is clear that David was NOT doing what he was supposed to be doing. “In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle … David remained at Jerusalem.” 2 Samuel 11:1

“Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16

This passage is a command. The idea here is to focus on doing the right things. The grass is always greener where you water it. If you focus all your energy on not doing bad things, you will exhaust yourself. Find the right things to do and get busy. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.

Grace without holiness leads to license.

What areas of your life need a little more holiness?

How can you walk in the Spirit this Christmas?


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