Tag Archives: Roy Knight

“Shall We Continue In Sin That Grace May Abound?” — Roy Knight

In Romans 6:1, Paul asked the question, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” The student of the Bible understands this as being a rhetorical question because the answer is found in the very next verse when Paul exclaims, “Certainly not!”

If not, why not? Isn’t Christ’s blood designed to wash away sins? Certainly! If it is, why can we not go on sinning? The answer has nothing to do with the power of God’s grace or of Christ’s blood but the poor spiritual understanding we have of sin. Some at that time as well as today figure that Christ’s blood gives us a license to sin. After all, His blood is powerful enough to take away any sin. If it can take murder off the soul of Paul and hypocrisy off the soul of Peter then it must be able to wash me. Why not go on sinning? After all, I am covered with the blood of Jesus Christ.

One must understand that the blood of Christ is not to be used as a “Get out of Jail Free” card. When one in his mind thinks, “I am going to commit this sin, whatever it may be, and then I will run back and ask God for forgiveness” this one is only diluting his mind and playing God as a fool. One is actually raising his fist in the air and saying, “God, I am going to sin because I like it. I want You to wink at what I am doing and dismiss it.” Such thinking is of the world. It is not from God.

The apostle Peter put this matter foremost in our thoughts when he wrote, “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.  For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.  But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and, ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire’” (2 Pet. 2:20-22). If we willingly rebel against God, we are no better than this dog and sow.

One may reply, “But I’m not really turning against God,. After all, I’m coming back to the blood. I really love God.” No, when one continues to willfully sin against Him they do not love God. They love sin.

In verse two, Paul answers the question with a question: “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” To understand the question, we must understand the purpose of putting on Christ in baptism. Besides receiving the blessing of the forgiveness of sin, it should be our intent to put away those sins forevermore. Sadly, this is not the understanding of many as they are buried in Christ. They desire the cleansing blood of Christ but their heart was never fully committed on putting away the sin. Thus they come for a while and after a few months drift away.

When we stand before God and commit our lives to Him, one must also understand that they are also committing themselves to eliminating sin in their lives. Paul said, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom. 8:13). Notice the words: “…you put to death the deeds of the body.” Who has the responsibility of putting to death the deeds of the body? You. It is the person’s individual responsibility to seek out sin in their lives and destroy it.

Paul would again say in Colossians 3:5-7: “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. This language does not allow for “pet sins,” nor the thought that God because of His abounding grace and mercy will “wink” at them. We must hate sin as much as God hates sin.

Paul in reaching for the eternal prize said in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” Such thinking is certainly out of sorts with those who seek to dabble and even justify a “little” sin in their lives.

Those who seek the remission of sins in baptism yet seek to continue in their old lives of sin make a mockery of baptism as well as the blood of Christ. Such a one will stand shame-faced before the judgment bar of God. Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!

Roy is a graduate of Freed-Hardeman University, Southeast Institute of Biblical Studies in Knoxville, TN, and preaches for the Lord’s church in St. George, SC.

Grace, Faith, Law, and Works — Roy Knight

Four men were standing in front of a stove having a heated discussion on how the egg in the frying pan was being cooked. The first man said, “Obviously it’s the element under the pan that provides the heat which cooks the egg.” The second man said, “Surely you jest. The egg is being cooked because I turned the knob that turned the element on.” The third man said, “You are both wrong. It’s the stove that cooked the egg.” The fourth man said, “No, it’s the electricity that cooked the egg. If the stove was not hooked up to the outlet nothing could be cooked.”

Now Christian, let me ask you, “What cooked the egg?” Would you argue on the side of any of these men or would you come up with your own thoughts? To argue for any one of their positions would be utterly foolish. Why is that? Because it took all four to heat the egg: The heated element, the knob, the stove and the electricity. These all worked together to get the job done.

As silly as this illustration may be, why is it that we fall into the same trap when it comes to faith, grace, law and works? Why is it that we will get red in the face and bent out of sorts advancing one over the other when all four are essential to our salvation?

Let us define these terms beginning with “grace.” The most common definition for grace is God’s unmerited favor towards a sinful people. Proponents of the grace side will go to Ephesians 2:5 and quote, “by grace you have been saved” (NKJV). “Faith” defined would be a trust in God that He is able to provide all of our needs. Those who will take faith’s side will go to Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him….” “Law” may be defined as the system of rules that God has set up to govern our lives. Still, those who look keenly at the importance of law and rules will look at John 14:15, If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Finally, there are works. Works are simply anything we may do to seek to fulfill God’s will. Those who champion the importance of works will go to James 2:24, “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” For which side would one argue? To argue for any of them as the stand alone source of salvation is silly. All four play a part in salvation.

One may say, “Well, God’s grace came first!” And with that I would not argue. The question is not which came first but which ones play a part in salvation. All four do. All four wheels are important when driving a car. To drive with three or less would be disastrous.

Others may say, “Well, John 1:17 says, “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” People use this verse to advance several false doctrines. First, there is the view that there was no grace or truth under the Old Covenant. The second view is that there is no law under the New Covenant in which we live today.

Was there grace under the Old Covenant? Is there no law under the New Covenant? What about all four: grace, faith, law and works? Let us see. Let us go back to Noah. Genesis 6:8, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” There is grace. Genesis 6:14-15a says, “Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. And this is how you shall make it….” There is law—God’s instructions. Genesis 6:22 says, “Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.” This verse encompasses both Noah’s faith and his works in building the ark. These four are again seen in Hebrews 11:7, “By faith (faith) Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen (grace), moved with godly fear, prepared an ark (law and works) for the saving of his household….” Law is seen in that Noah prepared the ark according to God’s pattern.

Are all four, (grace, faith, law and works) seen under the New Covenant? Actually, one sees all four anytime one becomes a Christian. For example, consider the conversion of the 3,000 on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. First, one sees God’s grace—God’s reaching down to an underserving humanity in the peaching of the gospel. Paul said in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation….” God did not have to open up a means of salvation to us, but He did. Faith is seen when the multitude cried out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do,” (Acts 2:37). They knew they were dependent upon God for their salvation and that they needed to do something. Law is seen when Peter told them what they must do, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” (Acts 2:38). If they did not follow God’s law, they would not have their sins remitted or washed away. Works is understood in their being baptized. Acts 2:41 says, “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

In conclusion, church leaders studying these topics need to take a balanced approach. To favor one position over another leads into false doctrine. On the one hand, to fall into the “grace only” or “faith only” camps, which many have done, will lead the congregation into denominationalism. On the other hand, taking the “works only” stance will lead good brethren into legalism. To argue one over the other shows an immaturity in God’s word and shows a pride that is not built upon God’s wisdom. To do so is about as palatable as eating a plate of cold eggs.

rknight@homesc.com