St Paul asked the rhetorical question “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace?” He then went on to answer with complicated and metaphorical language about being buried with Christ through baptism. But I read this just after reading a facebook post from someone I care about behaving in a way that frankly won’t bring them happiness, and is simply satisfying their lustful urges. Looking at how I felt puts a new and simpler perspective on the question.
Let’s take it as read that God is love, and that he loves each one of us deeply. We also need to understand that sin harms us deeply. It may satisfy an immediate urge, but it harms us. In the same way that it saddens me to see those I love harming themselves, it must sadden God so much more to see us harming ourselves. Yet God still loves us, and in the same way that I still care about the person above, he cares about us. I will not reject that person, and God will not reject us. But it saddens Him so much that he was prepared to see Jesus tortured and killed on the cross to try to get through to us.
So if St Paul’s language seems confusing, just put yourself in God’s place and imagine how you would feel seeing your beloved son or daughter self-harming. You would long for them to give up their life of sin, and return to your loving arms. If they wanted to make a fresh start, you would do whatever it takes to wipe their slate clean. And that is just what God has done for us.
That’s why we shouldn’t keep on sinning; it causes God more pain and sadness and it does us no good either.