Even some church-goers believe this.
One of the Bible's outrageous verses contests this view.
It is Romans 5 : 20
The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more. (NIV)Let's explore this verse.
When there was no law, wrong doing was just suspected. If someone stole from you, you would think "that doesn't seem fair, that doesn't seem right".
But when the Law arrived, wrong doing was clearly seen, named and shamed, and so magnified. The suspicion that stealing was not right was confirmed with the arrival of the Law.
Many people think that the Law was given to improve humanity's behaviour or moral fibre.
Actually it as a side-play, not the main game at all.
The Law was given to show us God's righteousness, and our inability to attain it. It shows us how hopeless we are to meet God's righteous standard. It was the necessary fore-runner to the Messiah's entry into the world.
The second part of this verse is the outrageous part.
Because of Christ's death dealing with all and every sin, it doesn't matter how much sin increases, God's grace has it covered.
Those of us who have played card games like Euchre, Bridge, 500 and Whist know full well the power of trump cards. A trump card always wins no matter how impressive the opposing card looks. Even the smallest trump card defeats an opposition Ace.
If Paul was writing this verse in our time he may well have said, "Grace always trumps Sin". It doesn't matter what sin card you play, God's grace card trumps it.
And the next verse (Romans 5 : 21) puts the icing on the cake.
Although sin was in control of us, had us heading towards death because the law could never be fully obeyed, God's trump card, grace, declares us righteous.
Paul also repeats this awesome news to other Christians he wrote to.
Here's an example:
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5 : 21 NIV)How outrageous is God's grace?
The question raised in the first verse of the next chapter confirms that. We'll look at this question in the next post.