After thinking about the beginning of chapter 6 I imagined myself standing next to Lebron James. All 5'6.5" and 140 lbs of me shadowed by his 6'8" 250 lbs. My lowliness would make King James look even more mighty than he already is. And if I were to make myself look sickly and frail, then he would appear to be even more impressive, right?
The same is true, and even more true, when we stand in the presence of God. God is awesome… but the extent of his majesty appears even greater when compared to how lowly we are. God's grace is made more evident by our nastiness. The light pierces the darkness in a blindingly beautiful and awe-ful way.
But should we try to make ourselves even more disheveled in order to make God appear even greater in the eyes of people in this world? That's ridiculous. This is not a game where God feels the need to dress up for the crowd and instruct His servants to look decripit. He doesn't need our sin to make his grace more sufficient. The truth is that God's grace is already sufficient and no action of ours will make it less or more so. God is already infinitely credible… all on His own. He doesn't need a tidal wave of Lindsay-Lohan-styled followers who mess-up in order to allow God the chance to repeatedly rescue them. Our suckiness doesn't help Him or detract from Him.
Sometimes Christians have this awkward prayer where they hope that the most high-profile-public-sinner in our society will have a radical conversion. With somewhat of a good intention, we are tempted to pray this because we think that God's grace will be more evident to our nation if the biggest loser becomes the biggest example. We champion those Christian celebrities who exhibit a history of "falling from grace" (think about that phrase for a minute – how luciferion!). But in this temptation to glorify the biggest sinner we fail to champion God's grace and instead give attentive credence to the remarkable sensation of swimming in the cesspool.
In recent years I have started praying for more examples of people who have so-called "boring" stories of faith. E.g. "My dad taught me about God and now I'm telling my kids about God." Or e.g. "I am simply trusting in Jesus to help me make good decisions." Or a rare corporate e.g. "We just felt like we needed to live everyday in the grace of God instead of in our own pursuits."
Look, I love some of the amazing roller-coaster repentance stories– you know, the wake-up-in-pig-manure-prodigal-son stories. But does everyone need a story like that?! Do we all need to sin like crazy in order for God's grace to grab ahold of us? Or haven't we already all sinned enough?
The Father in the Prodigal Son story held out the same grace for the oldest son as he did for the youngest (Luke 15:11-32). God's grace is unchanging… and it is offered to everyone no matter the lowliness of level. God's grace cannot be bigger than it already is. Therefore we should never want to have to sink to the worst of life before discovering God's grace…
… We should instead live as if we are actually grateful that God's grace is sufficient to cover all people of all sin.
Final note about our atmosphere: If we say we belong to God and still continue to Lohan it up, then either some will believe we don't truly belong to Him or some will believe that God's grace is not truly very great. If we "die" to rule-breaking then we shouldn't play the game of rule-breaking anymore. If we have exchanged the air of sin for the air of grace, how can we continue to breathe sin? Paul's question to his readers in Romans 6 isn't just a question of logic, it is a question of practical reality. How can we keep trying to inhale the crud that we say we no longer immerse ourselves in?! It is impossible to breathe an atmosphere that we are not in. As recipients of God's grace, we breathe in grace. So, friends, let's quit sucking in crud.
Romans 6:1-2 ~ 1Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?