Romans 3:5-8

If our sinning ultimately brings glory to God by showing forth his justice and faithfulness in keeping the covenant, how can he be mad at us for sinning, in fact, shouldn’t he be grateful for our sinning? St. Paul must have heard that reply before, or he anticipated it, and so he shoots down such logic right away. Unfortunately, such thinking has plagued the Church throughout history. Many have taken the good news of forgiveness in Christ as an excuse for libertinism, that is, sinning without care and restraint. Many have taken the good news that way, and, I would venture to say, unless we need to ring the church bells as each of you approaches on Sunday and proclaim the presence of an unsoiled saint, you have taken the good news that same way at times. The knowledge that God forgives sin has led you to view sin a little more lightly. Knowing that you will have time to repent later has taken the edge off of the urgency of turning from sin now. But how many have died suddenly in such crass and inane thought and been justly condemned for all eternity!

The gospel is not a game. We don’t see who can put off their repentance longest and thus have the most fun possible in life and still be saved, and any attitude that considers sin fun is a hardened attitude that will in all likelihood be unbreakable on a death bed. What makes us think that God is dumb enough to fall for such child’s play? What makes us think that God is so trite? Such thought is abominable and St. Paul apologizes for even having to speak it, qualifying his statement with the not that he is speaking in a human way. Sin is sin and it is not fun and it is not trite and it is not easily escaped. Our condemnation is just when we think and act such ways. Thus, St. Paul writes elsewhere, (2 Cor. 6:2), “Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

Now is the time of God’s favor, and the gospel announces that fact. Take heart, that the abuse of the gospel cannot negate it. Now is the time of God’s favor—the time for abominable attitudes and thoughts to be forgiven and for minds to be restored and renewed. See sin as sin, and flee sin as sin, because then the gospel will shine all the brighter as the gospel, that is, the antidote for sin and not the excuse for it. Now is the time of God’s favor. Your condemnation is just, but so is your God, and he has punished your sin in his Son. Now is the time of God’s favor. Flee God’s coming wrath and hide in the outstretched arms of his Son, mercy made man.