Good morning! This Monday our devotion comes from Josh Bascom.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died in sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:1-4, NIV)

If you’ve felt stuck lately, if you’ve exhausted all attempts to prove yourself, or fallen short of some prescribed expectation, these words in St. Paul’s epistle are truly hopeful ones. He is saying here that we are not justified by our works or abilities to follow the expectations, but instead true freedom comes by our faith in the redeeming blood of Christ.

In response to this pardon, many pose the question to themselves, “Now that I have been forgiven in full, will I keep on sinning? Will I be forgiven again?” The answer, of course, is yes, we are still unable to keep ourselves from sinning, but Paul isn’t really asking this question—he is asking, “shall we go on sinning?” to which his answer is, “By no means!” The distinction is that while God’s Law still remains and the sins go along with it, we are no longer beholden to it because we have been set free by the love of God. He has taken our sins and given us salvation.


Now then, are we like the young undergraduate, freshly separated from the control of nagging parents, thus confusing the absence of authority with “freedom” to partake in sin and promiscuity? “By no means!” While the Gospel does free us from the reign of sin and the anxiety brought by the Law, it does so with love and atonement rather than simply removing itself from the picture entirely. After all, the college freshman inside us all, released from the bondage of our parent’s dos and don’ts, isn’t really acting out of freedom, but instead out of rebellion against a power that still plagues us. We can still hear their voice from miles away.

It is only once we return home to find a father and a mother who look at us as we are and say, “Son, I am pleased with you” that we experience the Gospel. It is only in this place that we may bury the guns and stop rebelling. No longer are we haunted by the voice of displeasure, but rather we are carried by the tune of great pleasure and acceptance.

What is so freeing and rejuvenating about the Gospel and the grace of God is not the absence of God’s authority, but the presence of God’s love. Now that we are in Christ, we are free from the reign of sin and now bound under the love and grace of God. The Gospel shows us that love is the only thing truly capable of generating love.