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.
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!