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