Every now and then someone who is new to the faith of Christ can struggle. As they are taking their first steps down the road of following Jesus, the road can get a little rocky. There is a lot to learn. There is a lot to unlearn!
I heard a story that illustrates both sides of that equation. It was told by Ben Witherington to Michael Heiser on The Naked Bible Podcast (Episode 323). Witherington told Heiser, “We would rather have a God like my Intervarsity kid that was in one of my Intervarsity groups who was a brand-new Christian and clearly didn’t have her atonement theology straight and said: ‘The way I see it, it all works out very well. I like committing sins. God likes forgiving sins. Woo hoo!’ Not quite.”
Witherington knows what Paul knew. You have to talk through these things with Christians and with churches. Bad theology can lead to immorality. People who are veering off have to be guided back onto the road so they don’t hit the ditch.
Paul said to the church at Rome, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:1-4).
Can you remember anything God had to work with you on early in your walk with Jesus? Or something he is working with you on now? If you can, perhaps you will be a little more compassionate and patient as you try to gently lead new believers closer to God’s will for their lives.
As you go through this week, live the baptized life. Spurred on by grace, seek to live free of the sin that doesn’t belong in your new life.
You have truly been set free! Paul goes on to say in verses 5-7: “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.”