Ephesians 4 : 22-24
Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and…put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Why Not Sin?
It is a common misunderstanding of the Gospel – if God forgives us, why not just do whatever we want? Why obey God if we know He will love and accept us even though we sin?
Paul spends a good chunk of time addressing this sort of question, so we know we are not the first generation to come up with it. In Romans 6 : 1-2, he writes,
Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
And in Romans 6 : 15-16:
Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
It Is Not Who We Are
Basically, Paul is telling us that the Gospel accomplishes more than the forgiveness of sins. The grace given to us through Jesus changes us. It frees us from the power of sin. We have died to sin; it is no longer our master.
We actually lessen the greatness of the Gospel when we use it as an excuse for licentiousness. We forget that Jesus has delivered us from sin and death and that we have been raised to walk in newness of life. We were bought at a price. No longer are we slaves to sin; we now get to serve our glorious and loving Father.
God Offers Better
Ultimately, the heart that asks, “Why obey God if I know He will forgive me anyway?” believes that there is more joy to be had in sinning than in following Jesus. It is a classic case of FOMO ("Fear Of Missing Out")– it fears that following God may mean missing out on something more satisfying. It believes that God might be withholding something good from us (wasn’t that why Adam and Eve took the fruit in the first place?).
But that is absolutely a lie. God offers us more joy than anything else possibly can. He is the greatest good. Only He can satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts. In Jesus, we discover life in its fullest. We were created to reflect Him; obeying Him is doing what we were made to do!
God’s Love For Us
We must also always remember that we do not obey God in order to earn anything or gain His affection. We do not obey SO THAT God will love us but BECAUSE God already loves us. We follow Jesus not because we have to but because we get to.
As Christians, we have been freed from sin and empowered by the Holy Spirit so that we are actually able to live out our purpose of reflecting God. Yes, we do still struggle with sin. We have not yet been fully perfected into the image of Christ; it is a process. But as we consider Jesus and His gospel, we do not find more excuse to sin but rather the impetus, strength, and desire to become more like Him.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18).