SHALL WE CONTINUE IN SIN THAT GRACE MAY ABOUND?
The believing sinner is justified freely by God’s grace; that is, he is declared righteous “without a cause”. Romans 3:24. “Without a cause by His grace”. Little wonder, after the glorious gospel of grace, is presented, beginning with these words of Romans 3:24, “being justified freely” (or declared righteous without a cause) by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”, and on to the close of the fifth chapter of Romans, that the question follows, “shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” It was because the human race, from the days of Adam, had continued in sin, without any human cure, or natural remedy, that the grace of God, through Jesus Christ, was made to abound. Abounding grace is because of abounding sin. Therefore, the question, shall the justified believer continue to live in sin because of the more abundant Divine grace; or sin to make grace abound? The answer is, “Gods forbid”.
You will note that we have changed the reading from “justified freely by His grace”, to “declared righteous without a cause, by His grace.” “Without a cause.” “Without a cause.” The Hebrew word is “chinnam”. The Greek word is “dorean”. The word is sometimes translated “freely”, sometimes, “for nought”, sometimes, “without a cause.” It comes from the verb meaning, to bestow gratuitously. In Genesis 29:15 Laban tells Jacob that he is not to serve him “for nought”; that is, wholly without any wages. This is the word translated in Psalms 69:4, “without a cause”; “that hated me without a cause”. Perhaps you remember the question which Satan put to God, concerning God’s righteous servant Job, “doth Job fear God for nought; that is without a cause, or without pay?” No; Job was a very prosperous man. The word is translated “without a cause” in Lamentations 3:52—Job 9:17—Ezekiel 14:23—Psalm 35:7—Proverbs 1:11—28:29 and 24:28. We quote Proverbs 24:28: “Be not a witness against thy neighbor without cause; and deceive not with thy lips.” It is translated “freely” in Numbers 11:5.
In the Book of Matthew, the Greek word “doron” is translated “gift” eight times. The word used by Christ in offering to give to the woman at the well in Samaria the water of salvation is “dorea”. The word “dorean” used in the Scripture, “being declared righteous without a cause” is translated freely in Revelation 21:6 and 22:17, which read
“I will give unto Him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. “And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely,”
Paul refused to permit the Corinthians to pay him for preaching to them the gospel. The word “dorean” is translated “freely” in II Corinthians 11:17.
We are told in very plain language, in Ephesians 2:8, that we are saved by grace through faith, and that not of ourselves. Then are added these words: “It is the gift (doron) of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.” “Doron” excludes any kind of work; so that all boasting must be excluded and all glory go to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God desires the redeemed sinner to say with Paul, “thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift. (dorea)”.
Messengers of the unmixed grace of God are few and far between, and what a time they do have trying to convince sinners that eternal life is the free gift of God through Jesus Christ; that salvation is the gift of God, without the requirement of a single work, without any striving or struggling, without any feeling of worthiness, without any religious ceremony.
Perhaps it will help some to see this blessed truth of grace if they will compare John 15:25 with the Scripture “declared righteous without a cause”. We quote John 15:25: “But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated Me without a cause”.
Christ was the greatest benefactor that ever ministered unto suffering humanity. Surely He was hated without a cause. He graciously permitted Himself to be hated. The wages of sin is death. He died, but He did not sin. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” “Christ knew no sin.” He was wholly without sin. In that sense He died without a cause. But in the shadow of the cross that meant to Him cruel suffering, He cried; “for this cause came I unto this hour.” He came to die, to save others from the wages of sin. On the cross the Lord of glory was made what He was not: He was made sin. That we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. II Corinthians 5:21. Christ’s work was that God might be just and the justifier of all who believe in Christ. Romans 3:25 and 26. As Christ was hated without a cause (dorean), so believing sinners are declared righteous without a cause (dorean).
As we read the remaining verses of the third chapter of Romans and then pass on to the fourth and fifth chapters of Romans we learn that the sinner is made righteous by God with God’s own righteousness, “without works” and without religion, “without the deeds of the law”, Romans 3:28—Romans 4:3 and 4; all on the basis of the substitutionary redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ. All boasting is excluded by the law of faith. Romans 3:27. Then on into the sixth chapter of Romans we pass, and learn that the believer has died with Christ, has been buried with Christ, and, has been raised with Christ to walk-in newness of life; that he is not under the law, but under grace. But some would also put him under the water. For what? They hardly know. Some say the water ceremony is efficacious and necessary to give the believer his newness of life. But this makes the other statements untrue, declared righteous “without a cause”, “without works”. The water ceremony is work. Others say; “no, I am a grace preacher” Romans 6:3 is spiritual baptism, but of course, Romans 6:4 is water baptism. Whatever that baptism is, it is meritorious, and is the cause that produces the effect; placing the believer in Christ, dead, buried and raised to walk in newness of life. If the water is meritorious in Romans 6:4, then the believer is not declared righteous “without a cause” or “without works”. If the believer’s salvation is wholly by grace, and if he, by grace alone, by a Divine baptism not made with hands, is brought to the newness of life, then there is no water baptism in Romans 6:4; for the believer is buried and raised by the same baptism that brings him to death in Christ and with Christ.
“Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” God forbid that we should either teach this, or try to prove abounding grace by continuing in sin. On the contrary, the believer should prove by a life of righteousness, peace and joy, that the same abundant grace that saved him from the wages or penalty of sin is altogether sufficient to give victory over sinful practices. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness, and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:11 to 13.
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that yet always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” II Corinthians 9:8. The unbeliever is without Christ and is dead in sins. The believer is in Christ and is dead to sin. “How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?” Romans 6:2. The Divine power of the omnipotent God, that raised Christ from the dead is given to us. Ephesians 1:19. God is the God of all grace. God is faithful who will not, suffer us to be tempted above that we are able, but with every temptation will make a way of escape.
“My grace is sufficient”, are the words of the risen Christ: God’s grace and power are altogether sufficient for the believer to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.