Shall We Go on Sinning So That Grace May Increase?

“Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death…?”

I’m a fair-skinned redhead. The concept of a tan is as foreign to me as the concept of a desert to an angler fish. But when you build houses in Mexico under the hot sun, you get a tan. It just washes within the first few days of going home. I’ve come to call this thin layer of dirt my “Mexico tan”.

Sin is like a Mexico tan. It darkens us and serves as a natural sunscreen, stopping the light from penetrating to our skin. “Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you” (Isaiah 59:2). Like a Mexico tan, however, it can be washed away. The Greek word baptizo means “to wash”, and the act of baptism cleans us of sin just like a shower washes away Mexico tans. Beneath that sin and dirt is a creature God created with a purpose and found to be “very good” (Genesis 1:31).

The funny thing is that people find tans attractive. But would I go days without showering and cease trying to stay clean? Of course not! People find sin attractive, too. “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, right? Like the dirt, though, it hurts me more than anything. Did you know that sun reaching the skin produces Vitamin D? We always read about people “hiding their faces” from the glory of God. Mary and Joseph did it; the prophet Isaiah did it; Moses did it. But that light does far more good for us than Vitamin D, and there is no grace in Centrum.

An old spiritual song goes: Turn your eyes upon Jesus / Look full in His wonderful face / And the things of Earth / will grow strangely dim / in the light of His glory and grace. Let us cease sinning to let the light of God reach us. Thank God that by His grace, we can do good works in Christ!

Pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for washing away my sin in baptism. Grant me Your light so that I can cease sinning and pursue Your will. Amen.

Michael Harrell is a former staff member and current volunteer at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Federal Way, Washington, where he is responsible for teaching the faith to ninth grade students in confirmation. A writer and poet, he maintains blogs on apologetics and philosophy, and loves the Seattle Mariners for some reason no one can fathom.