Learning about Grace
“Logic can beat sin.”
I wish that were true. I wish that in the battle of sin vs. logic or sin vs. rational action, sin always lost. That would make life so much easier. When faced with a dilemma, you could just pull out some algorithm and avoid sin altogether. “Should I gossip about my friend? That might get back to her and really hurt her feelings. Logically, I should avoid the drama that would come with that. I won’t gossip.” Or, “Should I cheat on my wife? The minutes of pleasure are certainly not going to be worth the possible years of hurt that causes. The value of cheating is far less than the value of growing my marriage over the long run, I’m not going to cheat.”
But life doesn’t work that way, does it? Men across the planet know their wives will be hurt by alcoholism. Dads around the world know ignoring their kids through workaholism is wounding them. People everywhere know that buying things they can’t afford with money they don’t have isn’t the smartest financial decision in the long run. But we still do it, don’t we?
Why? Because sin is bigger than logic.
I can’t think my way to a pure heart. I can’t logic my way toward sanctification. I can’t will myself to redemption. Sin is bigger and meaner and more powerful than everything in the world except one thing, grace. Only grace can beat sin. Only God’s love and power can defeat it. Porn or gossip or lying or anything else sin entices you with will crush you if you put your trust in your logic.
When we try to beat sin with logic, sin says “That’s adorable.” On the other hand, when we surrender, and admit like Paul that we keep doing the things we don’t want to do, grace has room to step in. And grace can win.
To me, sin (homosexual, heterosexual, addictions, whatever) is like a 10,000 pound weight sitting in our living room with instructions that it must be moved out of the house. The sinner is thus given the notion that he or she must pick up that weight and move it. And, in my opinion, that’s exactly what so many of us try to do. We see the weight and know it must be moved and so we may spend years trying to pick it up and move it out. And naturally, when someone sees the weight still in our living room, they wonder that we haven’t moved it out and they call us to “repentance.” Even WE wonder why we haven’t been able to move it out yet.
The answer, of course, is that God never expects us to lift that 10,000 pound weight at all. He’s fully aware that we simply cannot lift 10,000 pounds. Not even an inch. He, in fact, designed us so that we can’t lift such a weight. So why then would He instruct us to move it out of the house? Of course, it’s so that we would simply turn to Him and acknowledge how utterly powerless we are to move it. We simply can’t. And at the point we fully grasp that fact, God Himself deals with the weight. We really don’t have to lift a finger. In fact, all our own efforts to lift it are counterproductive in that they just reinforce our own inability.