I am sitting here this morning waiting for my three eggs over easy, potatoes, white toast, and strawberry jam. The big storms over night have passed, and the air feels as wet as a shower, only without the refreshing part of it.
The radio is on today. It’s playing a country song called “Tomorrow.” It tells the story of a man who has been in some sort of relationship with a woman. He knows it’s bad, that they are not good for each other. They need to split up. But tonight, let’s have one last time. Tomorrow we will stop.
This is one of sin’s great lies. It’s why addictions never get broken. It’s why sinful relationships never end. It’s why procrastination rules the day.
“There’s always tomorrow. And tomorrow will be different. But today, it’s one last time.”
One person quipped about the addiction to the nicotine in cigarettes, “Quitting is easy. I have done it a million times.”
So it is with us. Quitting is easy. It’s staying stopped that’s hard.
And that’s why the grace of God in the gospel is so important. Paul reminds us in Romans 5 that where sin abounds, grace much more abounds, that where there is sin (no matter how much), there is always more grace. It frees us from guilt that our last time wasn’t.
But that grace does not leave us there. As Paul reminds us, the grace of forgiveness is not the same as permission. “May it never be” that we should “sin so that grace can abound” (Romans 6:1-2). No, indeed the grace that saves is also the grace that teaches (Titus 2:11).
Some of us are slow learners. We have played the “one last time” card over and over again. And, in one sense, that’s okay. God’s grace is big. Bigger than our most recent “one last time.”
But for all of us, it is time to graduate. There will always be sin to deal with in our lives so long as we live in this fallen world.
But by God’s grace, we can be freed from sinful patterns of living and find hope in the gospel that Jesus died to free us from the chains of bondage and to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).