License Not to Sin [Part 1]

By Alan Wright — November 19, 2018

Are you ready for some good news?

The freedom of the Gospel isn’t freedom to sin; it’s freedom from sin.

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” (Galatians 5:13–15, ESV)

Some people worry that preaching the gospel of grace will give people license to sin. These people believe that announcing the freedom that comes with grace will encourage people to be selfish and self-absorbed. True freedom, though, is actually measured by how much of yourself you can give away. Freedom that comes from Jesus shows up as love.

“For you were called to freedom, brothers,” Paul says in Galatians 4:13. “Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” You know you are free, therefore, when you love.

Freedom is when you are so inwardly full of the Holy Spirit and the love of God is in your heart such that you love people without even trying. You care about people. You are not always on your own mind. You no longer worry about what you didn’t get or what you didn’t do or about the fact that people are against you.

Something happens in grace that allows you to love others freely. When you are able to let go of the burden of self-absorption, of a life of selfishness, of the tyranny of the mind that is always worried about your own little world, your life explodes with love. You see that there is a greater purpose than just accumulating stuff and power and friends. You begin to see the truth of Jesus’ words: “If any of you would be the greatest, let him be the servant of all” (Matthew 20:26). The gospel doesn’t give freedom to be selfish and sinful. The freedom of the gospel is manifested in love.

People worry that grace gives folks a license to sin. I beg to differ. Grace gives a license not to sin. And that’s the Gospel!

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