OBJECTION>> You have made a big deal about God's sovereignty, man's free will (or lack of free will), and grace given to all mankind. So shall we simply sin since the Savior is sovereign?
ME>> That is one possible reaction to the gospel. In fact, Martyn Lloyd-Jones said,
First of all let me make a comment, to me a very important and vital comment. The true preaching of the gospel of salvation by grace alone always leads to the possibility of this charge being brought against it. There is no better test as to whether a man is really preaching the New Testament gospel of salvation than this, that some people might misunderstand it and misinterpret it to mean that it really amounts to this, that because you are saved by grace alone it does not matter at all what you do; you can go on sinning as much as you like because it will redound all the more to the glory of grace. That is a very good test of gospel preaching. If my preaching and presentation of the gospel of salvation does not expose it to that misunderstanding, then it is not the gospel.
So the reaction from the unbeliever toward the good news is that he now has the license to sin to his heart's content. And that is the heart of the problem. His heart is black and can only be made content with more sin. He is blind to the fact that sin is bad and God is good. The response of the believer, however, is to cry out to God for help to leave our love of sin. We are sick of sin's destruction and wish we could push the button to end all sin forever. However, God alone is sovereign with exclusive authority over the existence of sin. Praise the day when he pushes the button!
So, yes, grace is a license to sin, but not like the unbeliever thinks. Grace is God's promise that our sin will never separate us from the love of God and that no matter how many times we fail, we can always return to the Lord, free from condemnation. Furthermore, since God is sovereign over even the evil in this world we can trust that he has a good purpose even for painful circumstances. This is a powerful license, but since the unbeliever does not understand that sin is bad, he views grace as an opportunity to sin further. The believer, however, has had his fill of sin's consequences. The Psalmist understood this exactly when he said
If you, Yahweh, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
therefore you are feared.
I wait for Yahweh.
My soul waits.
I hope in his word.
Psalm 130:3-5 (WEB)
The unbeliever does not understand that his own nature is bound to sin and that in fact he cannot even choose not to sin. Oh, certainly he might pause a sin or two from time to time. However, if he truly had free will he could decide to never sin again. Why not if his will is truly free? Try it yourself. Learn the perfect law of the Lord. Compare his ways with your ways until you are made aware of your flaws. Love his way in your heart. Then use your free will to decide to never sin again. Friends, this is not possible. Only one man in the history of the world ever exercised his free will to live a perfect life, free from all sin, the God-man, Jesus Christ.
So then since God is sovereign and our will is not free, then is God to blame for my sinful choices? No. God answers this question in Romans 9:14-24 (WEB),
14) What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? May it never be! 15) For he said to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16) So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy. 17) For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I caused you to be raised up, that I might show in you my power, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." 18) So then, he has mercy on whom he desires, and he hardens whom he desires. 19) You will say then to me, "Why does he still find fault? For who withstands his will?" 20) But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed ask him who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?" 21) Or hasn't the potter a right over the clay, from the same lump to make one part a vessel for honor, and another for dishonor? 22) What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath made for destruction, 23) and that he might make known the riches of his glory on vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory, 24) us, whom he also called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles?
Thankfully Jesus is sovereign over all, including his grace! He is sovereign over the existence of sin. He is sovereign over the final end of sin, one glorious day in the future. And he is sovereign over the grace given to mankind. He has a good purpose for everything and his loving hand holds all. Join me looking to the day when Jesus removes all sin forever and perfect loving fellowship with God and each other begins!