If I’m “saved by Grace,” why shouldn’t I live a sinful life?

One of the larger misconceptions about Christianity is, “why would I stop sinning if Jesus has already died for my sins?” Christians unfortunately have a poor track-record explaining the concept of “salvation apart from works” vs. “heavenly rewards based on our works.”

While of course Christians don’t want to grieve God by sinning, (Ephesians 4:30) many are unaware that Christians will face judgement before God. This judgement doesn’t concern the ultimate salvation that they have in Jesus’ Christ finished work on the Cross, but it is one where they will give an accounting for the works that they did here on earth before God, and will be rewarded, or have their rewards taken away.

(The following was originally posted on July 14, 2017 on Quora.)

People make this a lot more difficult than it needs to be.

To even be considered a “Christian,” a Christian must “bear good fruit” or produce the works that show that one has truly put their faith in Jesus Christ, rather than give Him lip service only. (Matthew 7:15-20)

While Christians are “saved” by putting their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and as such, accept God’s grace, Christians will also face judgement. Now this judgement is not one concerning salvation, but one where our deeds will be judged. (2 Corinthians 5:9–10) We will be rewarded or our rewards removed, based on our works. We aren’t saved by our works, but we are held accountable and rewarded based on our works at this judgement:

“1 Brothers, I couldn’t talk to you as spiritual people but as worldly people, as mere infants in the Messiah. 2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food, because you weren’t ready for it. And you’re still not ready! 3 That’s because you are still worldly. As long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, you are worldly and living by human standards, aren’t you? 4 For when one person says, “I follow Paul,” and another person says, “I follow Apollos,” you’re following your own human nature, aren’t you?

5 Who is Apollos, anyhow? Or who is Paul? They’re merely servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord gave to each of us his task. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God kept everything growing. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is significant, but God, who keeps everything growing, is the one who matters. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have the same goal, and each will receive a reward for his own action. 9 For we are God’s co-workers. You are God’s farmland and God’s building.

10 As an expert builder using the grace that God gave me, I laid the foundation, and someone else is building on it. But each person must be careful how he builds on it. 11 After all, no one can lay any other foundation than the one that is already laid, and that is Jesus the Messiah. 12 Whether a person builds on this foundation with gold, silver, expensive stones, wood, hay, or straw, 13 the workmanship of each person will become evident, for the day of judgment will show what it is, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s action. 14 If what a person has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If his work is burned up, he will suffer loss. However, he himself will be saved, but it will be like going through fire.” – 1 Corinthians 3:1–15

Photo: Christal Yuen

If you’re obsessed with modesty, you’re the type of person Paul warned about.

Have you noticed that the Church seems preoccupied with policing the clothing of women – from the smallest of baby girls to the oldest of women – the Church is obsessed with something they call “modesty.” Maybe you’ve seen it at your church – women in denim skirts that touch the floor, or women in spaghetti-strap maxi dresses with a white t-shirt underneath at a funeral – I know I have.

If it’s what’s on the inside that counts, why is it that the Church puts so much emphasis on how people look outside of church services?

The only thing that matters is, “what does the Bible ACTUALLY say?” Let’s use the actual Bible, in the original Greek, rather than an English translation. 1 Corinthians 12:23. The word used is the Greek word “εὐσχημοσύνην” (euschémosuné – Strong’s Concordance #2157) which means, “decorum, becomingness.” Therefore, are you dressed correctly for the occasion? It has nothing to do with being “too tight” or “too revealing.”

Is it proper decorum to wear a bathing suit to a church service? No. Is it proper decorum to wear a bathing suit to swim at a church pool party? Yes. Is it proper to wear a dress suit to church? Yes. Is it proper decorum to wear a dress suit while swimming at a church pool party? No. The Bible is saying that Christian women should know the difference!

Decorum is all about acting appropriately for the position that you hold and the event that you are at. Christians aren’t supposed to stand out for all the wrong reasons – like being inappropriately dressed for the occasion. Christians draw negative attention to themselves by not having proper decorum. We see this at the Wedding Banquet parable in Matthew 22:1-14. A guest is kicked out for not wearing the proper wedding clothes. It’s not that they were immodest or revealing, NO! It’s that they were  dressed inappropriately for the wedding (like wearing a sports jersey or jeans to a wedding would be, while modest, inappropriate.)

In 1 Timothy 2:9, the word “αἰδοῦς” (Aidos – Strong’s Concordance #127) is translated as “modesty” but in Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, it can also mean “reverence.” This is the only verse in the Bible that this word even appears. It’s important to note that there is a play on words here, if you’re not familiar with Koine Greek. The word derived from “κοσμέω” (Cosmos – Strong’s Concordance #2889) means both “adorn” and “world” and is translated as such throughout the Bible. So women aren’t to adorn / make their world be about hairstyles and jewelry. When you understand the actual passage, you see it’s about not being materialistic, and being concerned with being a good person on the inside.

Women today, especially Christian women, make clothing and hairstyles their world. How many “modest” bloggers spend all of their time making outfits of the day, blogging about modest fashion, policing others’ clothing and acting “holier-than-thou” because they’re soooo “modest?” Even if you dress like a frump, if you’re like many “modest” bloggers, you’re being the kind of woman 1 Timothy talks about NOT being.

Nakedness was our original condition before sin. We only covered up because of sin. We only feel shame because of sin. The high priests and Aaron only covered their thighs and up to their neck, because they were in sin – they had no covering before God, because Jesus hadn’t come yet. We have Jesus. Our sin is atoned for. We have no shame because we are right with God. When we are under the covering of Jesus, it’s as if we’re back in the garden, before sin. Nakedness is not a sin. Being naked or showing skin isn’t automatically improper – it depends on the occasion. Likewise, showing skin doesn’t mean you’re trying to lure others into sexual sin. Christians need common sense!

Photo: Viliman Viliman