Does the Gospel lead to licentiousness? In other words, does it give us a license to sin? Does the Gospel lead to an “anything goes” type of Christianity? When hearing the Gospel as it should be preached, people will say “You are saying that sin doesn’t matter. Paul had to answer this question and he does so in verse 17. Jewish Christians had abandoned their desires to be justified by the Mosaic law. They saw this as an ongoing process. They even started breaking parts of the Mosaic law. Peter ate with Gentile Christians and ate food which was illegal under the Law.
So does justification only by faith in Jesus lead to “an anything goes” kind of Christianity Paul’s answer to this question is: Certainly not! With an exclamation mark. That kind of thinking, that the preaching of the Gospel leads us to live however we want is a wrong kind of thinking because:

    1. It has a wrong view of sin; as if what you eat or what you don’t eat is important. Those kinds of things which were important to the legalists, Paul is saying are not important.

      2. It has a wrong view of the Law; as if the law can change someone’s heart. God’s law can’t change someone’s heart. God didn’t give His law to change someone’s heart. He gave the Law amongst other things to keep a nation functioning as a nation until Jesus came to fulfil it. 

        3. It has a wrong view of Jesus and a wrong view of faith in Jesus; as if Jesus is incapable of leading us to godliness. Jesus is our sanctification. He is the one who makes us holy. The righteous man will live by faith. Not by law.

          Paul tells us in verse 18 that building up what I tore down through putting my faith in Jesus, that is sin. That makes me a sinner. In other words, faith in Christ leads me to being righteous in position. If I now add the Law given in the Old Testament to my life as a way to be holy, that is now sin.
            The very nature of salvation is that I don’t look to the Law but to Jesus. Abandoning the Law is what makes me holy. Why?

              1. It is not the will of God. God says I have died to the law.

                2. The Law is a lower standard of living than what God intends for you and I. 

                  QUESTIONS TO REFLECT ON:

                  1. Reasoning that the preaching of the Gospel leads people to live how they want, is faulty reasoning. Name 3 reasons why?
                    2. Name two reasons why adding the Law to your life as a way to be godly would actually be sin?