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QUESTION: Why Is It Wrong to Sin When Jesus Has Died for Our Sins?

My 12 year old granddaughter wants to know this answer. “If Jesus died for our sins, why is it wrong for us to sin now,for something he died for?” I need another answer. Thanks, Mary

That is a very perceptive question from a 12-year old. You must be very proud of her, but also sometimes bewildered as I suspect she has a questioning mind that does not accept easy answers.

Actually, this question is not very different from the one Paul answered in Romans 6:1ff. There, he had just spoken of the greatness of God’s grace in the end of chapter 5.

The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 5:20-21

After saying this, Paul anticipated a question similar to that of your granddaughter:

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We 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 in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin….

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. – Romans 6:1-7, 11-14

To put what Paul said into a few words, when we come to Jesus as penitent believers to be baptized into Him, we share with Him in His death, burial, and resurrection. When we come to Him, He cleans us up by forgiving our sins – but He does more. He also gives us His Holy Spirit to help us live for Him. It is by this Spirit that we have a “new life.”

Just as your granddaughter’s mother never washed her face while she was sitting in a mud puddle, so Jesus does not “wash” us and leave us in the sin that destroys our lives and separates us from God and from Jesus. He wants to be with us and in us so we can be close friends and lovers. When we deliberately go back into sin, it is like having your mother wash your face and you running back to jump in the mud puddle again to spite her.

In fact, Peter says it almost that way:

If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.” – 2 Peter 2:20-22

Sin will not condemn her if she is in Jesus – unless she deliberately turns her back on Him and turns away from Him to go back to the old sinful life. If she does that, she will grieve the Holy Spirit our Lord gives her when she becomes His (see Ephesians 4:30) – and may even “quench the Spirit’s fire” (1 Thessalonians 5:19). If that happens, she has turned her back on the only sacrifice for sin there is (see Hebrews 10:26 & 6:4-6).

I hope that these suggestions will give you some ideas for how to answer your granddaughter’s question in a way she can understand. If she can grasp these truths, she will be far ahead of many adult Christians who still do not understand how they can be in Christ and be freed from the penalty and practice of sin. We sing about it in the grand old hymn, Rock of Ages where we sing, “Be of sin the double cure, save from wrath and make me pure.” Saving us from wrath is the forgiveness of sin; making me pure is helping us grow so that we do not continue to sin.


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