Does grace give us a free ride to salvation?


Tough Questions with RC Sproul

Does grace give us a free ride to salvation?
============================================
We can look at the
concept “free ride” in many ways. Grace by definition is
something that is
free in the sense that we can’t earn it, we can’t buy it, we
can’t deserve
it, and there’s no merit in us by which God bestows his mercy
upon us.
Anytime God dispenses mercy or unmerited favor, which is how we
define grace,
he’s doing something that he has no obligation to do. I’m
convinced that when
we receive the grace of salvation, our eternal destiny is
secure. I’m
convinced that once we are clothed with the righteousness of
Christ and have
his merit imputed to our account by God (which is an act of
God’s grace) and
we are redeemed, then I believe we are virtually guaranteed
eternal life. In
other words, I don’t think that a Christian can lose his
salvation. I say
this because I’m persuaded that God has promised he will keep
us to the end.
If it were up to us to persevere, to hang on, and to be
faithful and obedient
to the end in order to be saved, I don’t think any one
of us would persevere
enough to merit salvation. But God promises to finish
what he has
begun.

Does that mean it’s a free ride? So often the concept of free ride
means that
since God has given me grace and since God has started this work
and he
promises to finish it, there’s nothing left for me to do. I can do
whatever I
want. I’m saved and I don’t have to worry about a thing. It’s free
from here
on in, I’m on a roller coaster without any brakes, and I can do
whatever I
want. I can sin as I please and enjoy it the rest of my life. It’s
a license
to sin.

However, the apostle Paul points out that where sin
abounds, grace abounds
much more. That is to say, the more I sin the more I
see the grace of God
because more grace is necessary for me to get into
heaven.

Some people say that if the more you sin the more grace you get,
the best
thing to do is to keep sinning and that way you’ll get more grace.
Paul asks
the question “Should we continue in sin that grace may abound?” How
does he
answer it? He says, “God forbid.” Sinning all the more is a totally
opposite
response to one that is pleasing to God. As a matter of fact, the
more grace
we receive, the more we are to be moved toward a sense of
gratitude; the more
gratitude we experience, the more we should be moved to
the pursuit of
righteousness through obedience to the law of God. As Paul
says elsewhere,
“We’re to work out our salvation with fear and trembling”
because God promises
to work within us to will and to do what is right. But
along with God’s grace
comes the challenge for us to fight with all of our
might to resist the
temptations of sin and to pursue a life of righteousness
and obedience. My
salvation doesn’t depend on my obedience, but my obedience
is to be a response
to that grace of God.

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