You are Free to Sin Boldly


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You may have heard, be a sinner and sin boldly. Really! What are we supposed to do with that Let's talk...

You’ve heard the quote from Martin Luther, “Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly.”

I woke up the other morning with the words “sin boldly” on my mind.

Not your typical opening thought for the day? Not mine either. I believe it was God’s nudge for me to write about this to start the discussion on—freedom to.

For two weeks I’ve looked at the freedom I have “from.” Now it’s time to look at the freedom I have “to.” Freedom to be who I am created to be. Freedom to plan my calendar. Freedom to love big. Freedom to live.

And part of living in this sinful world is well . . . sin.

So, when I woke up thinking “sin boldly” it seemed a good place to start. I am free to sin boldly.

You are too.

Wait a minute. What exactly does that mean?

I’ve read several articles from teachers whose students use Luther’s quote as an excuse to do as they please and disobey. Is that it?

Paul said, “Some might say, “our sinfulness serves a good purpose, for it helps people see how righteous God is. Isn’t it unfair, then, for Him to punish us?” (This is merely a human point of view.) Romans 3:5


Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of His wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Romans 6:1–2

But you and I do continue to live in sin. No matter how hard we try, we’re going to sin.

I have times when my motives are far less than honorable. When my attitude stinks. When I’m tired and cranky and selfish. Times when I do the right thing because I’m supposed to not because I want to. Okay, that’s enough. I’m starting to squirm here.

Let’s take a look at Luther’s actual quote found in – A Letter from Luther to Melanchthon, written August 1, 1521

“Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides… It suffices that through God’s glory we have recognized the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. No sin can separate us from Him.” ~Martin Luther

“We will commit sins while we are here…”

Hmmm. Yes, we will.

I believe Luther’s point is this—we’re not going to get it right!

While we are here we will commit sins, but does that mean we should sit in a corner all day with our Bibles in our laps avoiding life and people to protect ourselves from sin.

Absolutely not.

You may have heard, be a sinner and sin boldly. Really! What are we supposed to do with that Let's talk..

We should live. With our bad attitudes and impure motives (honestly sometimes I don’t even know my motives nor do I take the time to think about them).

We should live even though it includes sin because that’s what Jesus told us to do. Live. Love others knowing that our imperfect efforts are covered by His grace and surrounded by His love.

So help someone even when you don’t feel like it. Forgive even when you don’t want to. Do the right thing even when you think you might get all puffed up about it. Speak the truth even when… And love even though…

Sin boldly! Do what’s right even when you’re not doing it for the right reasons.


“Christ is the victor over sin, death, and the world. No sin can separate us from Him.”

I’m praying for a god-pleasing attitude and for pure motives. But I’m not going to stop living until that happens.

I will live and I will trust in Jesus.

Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35, 37, 39

To God be the glory!

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  1. Sin in this life is, indeed, inevitable. And some of what you said here, Deb, had me squirming, too. You’ve given me much to contemplate in the idea of sinning boldly but holding on to Christ’s promise to forgive even more boldly. Thank you for giving me an amazing start to my week.

    1. Thank you, Martha! I sometimes wonder if I do anything for the right reasons. I can’t think about it too long or it gets all muddied up there in my head. I think that’s why I love this quote. We’ve free to think about and challenge our motives, but not to let them paralyze us from doing the right thing. Enjoy a blessing-filled week my friend!

  2. Awesome! Just read something similar this morning…Grace should not be abused.
    I enjoyed this post.
    Thank you for this.
    Blessings to you

    1. Thank you Ifeoma. So true, grace is a precious gift and should not be abused. So thankful His grace covers my bad attitudes and impure motives even as I try hard to avoid them. Blessings to you my friend!

  3. Augustine is credited with the saying, “Love God and do as you please.” I’m not sure that is totally correct but I do know his intent. When love for God is the deciding factor it will decide what we do. I think it is the wrong idea to see what we can get away with (not the intent of your post). We really need to see how close we can get to Jesus and we won’t want to sin (although we will).

    1. You’re right Bill. Getting close to Jesus is the answer. The closer we get, the more faith grows, the less we want to sin. That’s a great quote from St. Augustine as well. When we’re close to Jesus what we please is wanting to please Him. Blessings!

  4. Deb, your post is thought provoking. I’m so thankful for God’s grace, however, I don’t want to take it for granted and misuse or abuse it.

    1. I agree, Kim. Loving Jesus for me means wanting to follow His guidance. I don’t want to abuse it . . . and I don’t want to let fear of abusing it keep me from doing. Checking my motives and doing the right thing anyway. God’s blessings!

  5. bluecottonmemory says:

    You are right – I can’t get so frozen by the possibility of sinning that I do not live love! This line says it so well: “Love others knowing that our imperfect efforts covered by His grace and surrounded by His love.” It is liberating! What a heart-altering post!

    1. Thank you so much! Now my prayer is to live it. The Lord always seems to nudge me to write about the things He knows I need to think about. God bless you!

  6. You know, I think it is important to make that differentiation. Yes. We do not need to see our liberty as an occasion to sin, but nor do we need to see our sinfulness as a limit to our ability to follow Christ in our lives. We shall be sinners so long as we are cloaked in our flesh, but the Spirit within has given us victory, no matter the circumstances. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Derek Haskins says:

      Martin Luther was a bad man according to all that was written about him. He was okay with people being burned at the stake. Maybe this is all untrue and I hope that it is. Would Christ be okay with burning someone or stoning someone because of their false belief?

      There are only two states a person can be in since you cannot serve two masters. A slave to sin (unrighteous) or a slave to righteousness (not intentionally sinful). We have free will to choose our lifestyle and hope in our fate. People intentionally sin because the enjoy it. Yes it is true that we all fall short of the glory of God. We fall short because of ignorance as well as intention. There is no forgiveness for people who continually intentionally sin, since to repent is to turn away from or stop doing. I will not say that a person would never unintentionally sin again. but it’s important to know the difference between unintentional and intentional. It’s very clear throughout the whole Bible, you won’t be held accountable for what you don’t know, but you will be held accountable for what you do with what you know. Gospel of John states that righteousness is right doing. Righteousness becomes manifest in your life, it’s not handed over to you like a gift. In Romans three Paul states that no one is righteous no not one that scripture is being pulled out of context because he’s pointing to the old testament for you to read it, Paul often expects you to know the old scriptures and points them out in the beginnings of his letters. In Romans 3 Paul states that no one is righteous no not one. That scripture is being pulled out of context because he’s pointing to the old testament for you to read it, Paul often expects you to know the old scriptures and points to them in the beginning of his writings. In chapter 2 of Romans, Paul makes it clear that a gentile that does what is right proves, that his heart is right, and at the end of his life when he’s judged he could be accused or excused. So the real question is are you a slave of righteousness or a slave of sin?
      Or another, are you deceived like Eve believing that you can sin and not die?

      I leave you with this if you’ve bothered to read this far:
      Gen 4.
      6 So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

      How are you going to live?

      1. Derek, You make several valid points and I did read your whole comment. (Picture me smiling here.) Although, I agree with your assertion that as believers we are to avoid intentional sin, we still sin. We just can’t follow God’s will perfectly. And when you add that Scripture not only talks about the things we do wrong but the good things God wants us to do that we fail to do … I need God’s grace and mercy every day. Which is why I wrote this part of the post…

        We shouldn’t sit in the corner all day with our Bibles in our laps trying to avoid sin. And even when our motives aren’t perfect, we should…

        Help someone even when we don’t feel like it. Forgive even when we don’t want to. Do the right thing even when we think you might get all puffed up about it. Speak the truth even when… And love even though…

        To sin boldly is to simply do what’s right even when you’re not doing it for the right reasons.

        Doing what’s righteous to the best of our ability, trusting and praising God for His grace, mercy, and love. Thanking Him for the gift of Jesus.

        Thanks so much for visiting and for taking the time to join the conversation. God bless you!

  7. The idea of sinning boldly can be properly and practically understood in light of Genesis 25:26 (two identities of the man), Christs alchemy of Ephesians 2 and the Narrow Path – the real Narrow Path (where and when the two identities merge into our higher eternal soul (The Pearl of great price). Very, very complicated and fascinating subject.

  8. Derek Haskins says:

    Yes I agree that we should do what is right always. If you look at the fruit of the Spirit: love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Any time a person does not behave in a manor exhibiting all of these they are failing by choice. By no means is it impossible to live in this way. If the term sin boldly is a pun, it’s a despicable one. Did Christ ever say go sin boldly? Did Paul ever preach, “I sin daily”? If Paul sinned intentionally on a daily basis, he would be one of the biggest hypocrites of all time since after receiving the knowledge of the Truth, he preached daily of, righteousness, self-control, and judgement to come.
    Wake up! What you don’t know (which might be sins of ignorance) won’t be held against you. None of the 10 commandments are sins of ignorance. They are sins of intent. In the Old Testament breaking one of the 10 was a death sentence. The sin offerings were all for unintended sins or sins of ignorance. And not to be repeated because after being corrected you are no longer ignorant. Take control of your life! Take control of your heart! Your heart can lead you into folly. There is no excuse Christ sent the Helper, he is not a doer. The Holy Spirit is in the world convicting all of sin, righteousness, and the judgement to come. We can all our to death the deeds of the flesh(intentional sin), we can all imitate Christ. Didn’t Paul say,”imitate me as I imitate Christ”?

    Wake up o sleeper!
    Choose life eternal!

  9. Actually, Derek … Paul did talk about the struggle with sin. He wrote in Romans 7…

    The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. v. 14-16

    I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. v. 21

    And – Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. v. 24–25

    I understand that you don’t care for this quote. That’s fine. But it’s not intended as a bad pun. If you read my post again … the message is that even though we will not live perfectly this side of heaven we should go out there and live for the Lord. We should repent of our failures trusting that we are forgiven through Jesus. That’s what is means to “sin boldly.” Not to intentionally sin but to live for the Lord even though we will occasionally sin unintentionally.

    We can and should do our best to imitate Christ Jesus but I disagree that we can. Scripture doesn’t say the only sins we are guilty of are the intentional sins. We are guilty and need God’s covering of grace and mercy through Jesus for our unintentional sins as well.

    By His grace and for His glory!