Sunday Sermons

Sunday Sermons

The New Life

The New Life

Grace is the unmerited and undeserved opportunity to be forgiven (Romans 6:6,18), to walk away from the habit of sin and to choose the path of righteousness.  It is an amazing opportunity for a new life and provides tremendous motivation to break with destructive, engrained habits. It is an opportunity to start life afresh with a commitment to not again break the heart of our Heavenly Father (Ephesians 4:20) who loves us so, and hates the sin and the ruin it brings to our lives.

After revealing all the wonderful truths in the first five chapters of the book of Romans, the inspired Apostle Paul asks this astounding question, “What shall we say then?  Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?”  (Romans 6:1).  Years ago I ran into someone who audaciously claimed that one was not preaching the truth about grace unless people jumped to the conclusion that we are indeed to sin so that grace might abound.  The idea was that when Paul preached on grace, he presented an idea of grace that was very close to the line of claiming that one could continue to sin and be right with God.  Clearly, this is one of those questions that we don’t have to wait to have answered until we run into Paul in the afterlife, for he emphatically answers it in the next verse.  “May it never be!” (Romans 6:2).   

Paul and Grace

Even a cursory examination of the book of Romans makes it clear that Paul did not preach anything even remotely close to claiming that grace allows one to persist in sin and still have fellowship with God.

  • God’s grace did not cover the Gentiles who departed from God: Romans 1:18

  • God’s grace did not cover the religious hypocrite: Romans 2:3

  • God’s grace does not cover those who reject the truth: 2:6

  • God’s grace did not cover the Jewish people when they stopped believing in Him: Romans 11:20-21

  • God’s grace will not cover Christians who depart from Him: 11:21-22

Errors about God’s Favor

Abusing the idea of grace is not a new thing.  The nation of Israel in the Old Testament regrettably followed the teaching of the false prophets who boldly claimed that God would never punish the rebellious nation.  The popular message of the time was, “Peace, peace” (Jeremiah 6:14; 8:11), but God Himself said, “there is no peace”.  In like manner, in the time of Jesus many people were under the false impression that simply being a descendant of Abraham was all one needed to secure eternal life (Matthew 3:9).  Then there are passages like Romans 6:1 which reveal that false teachers existed in the First Century who taught the popular message that God’s grace was a license to continue in sin (Jude 4).

We have not been Silent

For centuries members of the church of Christ have been warning the denominational world that the ideas of “once-saved-always-saved” and “salvation by faith alone” are not only unscriptural, but that in the end, such ideas lead to taking God’s grace for granted and abusing God’s grace.  And sadly, some now have actually slipped into that mindset. 


The term hyper-grace has been used to describe a new wave of teaching that emphasizes the grace of God to the exclusion of other important teachings such as repentance (Acts 2:38) and confession of sin (John 1:8-9).  Those who teach such an idea maintain that all sin, past, present, and future, has already been forgiven, so that there is no need for a Christian to ever confess sin or repent. Hyper-grace claims that when God looks at us, He sees only a holy and righteous people. The conclusion of hyper-grace teaching is that we are not bound by Jesus’ teaching, even as we are not under the Law of Moses; that believers are not responsible for their sin; and that anyone who disagrees is a legalist and does not understand grace.  People who have embraced this teaching also claim to be freed and liberated and that they don’t have to worry any more about their salvation, the possibility of falling away, or examining themselves to see if they are in the faith.  Thus, professed Christians have found a way to have a clear conscience even while engaging in drunkenness, fornication and anything and everything else their flesh desires. Sounds familiar— God reminds us of teachers among First Century congregations who were promising “freedom” to new Christians— a "freedom" that included sexual license (2 Peter 2:19).  Jesus also speaks of a member of a congregation in Asia Minor who had convinced believers that fornication wasn’t a sin (Revelation 2:20), and she had quite a following.

What does God really see?

The idea that God only sees us as perfect people, no matter how we live, flies in the face of many New Testament passages.

  • Jesus clearly saw the sins and short-comings of the various congregations in Asia Minor—and His response was “repent” (Revelation 2:5; 16).

  • Christians are specifically told to confess their sins (James 5:16).

  • The Hebrew writer, more than once, pictures the very real possibility of a Christian falling away, resulting in condemnation (Hebrews 2:1; 6:4ff; 10:26ff).

  • Some of the Christians in the Galatian area churches had indeed fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4).

How do we avoid this?

  • Cheap grace appeals to people who are often tired of being accountable for their own spiritual maturity. Let’s not resent the need to examine ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5).Sin ruins lives, and God wants us instead to be blessed.

  • I need to remain clear about grace: The lesson from grace is not that sin is inconsequential, so we need not worry about it.The lesson is that sin is gravely serious, even for the Christian, and that we need to avoid it (Titus 2:12) at all costs.

  • Grace is not a costume I wear.It is not something that I hide behind.It does not conceal the real me.My omniscient God always sees the real me (Hebrews 4:12-13).

  • Grace is the opportunity to break from the old life—not continuing the old habits without a conscience problem.

  • As a Christian I am still expected to exercise self-control and use my mind and body to honor God (Romans 6:13).

  • Grace does not mean that I can dabble in sin and remain safe. Dabbling in sin will only bring sin back as the master in my life (Romans 6:12).Sin is very aggressive, when it is given a chance, it wants to rule.It is like a house guest who starts rearranging the furniture, reorganizing all the cabinets and who changes the locks on the doors.Sin is like a computer virus that takes over the entire computer. It spreads like leprosy and does even more damage.

  • Grace does not mean that I am now immune from the effects of sin (Romans 6:13), or that I cannot be tempted.

  • Grace does not remove the importance of preaching and following the correct doctrine (2 John 9).

  • Grace does not remove the importance of Bible Study (2 Timothy 2:15).

The Beauty of Baptism

Far from downplaying the importance of baptism, this chapter brings baptism into the discussion and inherently connects being buried and raised with Jesus with salvation by God's wonderful grace.  In addition, God emphasizes these truths about baptism:

  • One is baptized “into Christ Jesus” (6:3).Baptism is the entrance into having a deeply fulfilling personal relationship with Christ.

  • In Baptism I completely identify with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.I follow Jesus to the cross and die to the practice of sin as He died for my sins (6:2).I follow Him to the tomb, and I rise with Him in newness of life (6:4).

  • It is clear that baptism is absolutely essential for salvation, because newness of life is not prior to baptism, rather, newness of life is the result of being baptized.

Grace is amazing and something we were not due. Open your heart and your life to all God wants for you, by trusting the path of obedience He has created to draw honest and contrite hearts near to Him.

Mark Dunagan/