Radical Grace


By Johnny Tatum


The purpose of this study is to present that in our lives, grace is the power that simultaneously kills Sin (the root) and individual sins (the rotten fruit).







As we saw in our last study: Before we were saved—


q       We were slaves to sin.  We did not want to change.

q       Sin was an unrelenting master.

q       However, God did something both to the master and to the old slave.


The first thing God did was to deal with that old self.  How?  We know that God did not rehabilitate (improve) our old self.  Why not?  Our old self was so closely tied to that sin master, He could not extricate (remove, extract) it.  So God the Father put our before-the-Cross old self onto the Cross and He  e-l-e-c-t-r-o-c-u-t-e-d  us.


I say that because we have glorified the cross, which we should


In the cross Christ I glory. (Galatians 6:14)


However, it is not easy for us to recognize that the cross was the electric chair, because today in Christianity, we see so many crosses that we tend to mellow it.    [It is like having a chain necklace with an electric chair drop.  I am not saying that is wrong; however, that is what the cross wasthe electric chair.]


Execution! — That is what God the Father did to our old self.  He did not take our old self and say Let us work on some thing.  No, He killed our old self.  What did this accomplish?  Paul says that the Lord God did this so that our body of sin would be done away with.  That is difficult to understand, right?


Let us look at our body of sin.  Paul is not talking about the human body; the body is neutral since it is just matter.  By body of sin, he means the sinful nature that lives on in our bodies our sin nature was done away with.


However, we still have a problem.  Paul says that our sin nature was done away with.  Because of this, people have drawn some very wrong conclusions, including the following:


I have reached the state of sinless perfection because it says right here that my body of sin was done away with.  There are two problems with this conclusion, as follows:

q       The first problem is that everyone who knows these people knows that they sin.  [Talk about pride!]

q       The second problem is


If we say we have no sin, we make him a liar. (1 John 1:10)


It is obvious that Christians are sinners still.


The Christian does not have a sin nature anymore because it was done away with. —

q       One problem with that is I have yet to hear them give a satisfactory explanation of sin in our lives.

q       Anybody who says the old sin nature was eradicated has to explain why it is that we still have a tendency to sin, and why it is that a Christian can still be plagued by sin.


The sin nature was not eradicated.  In fact, in Romans 7, the apostle Paul makes it clear that his sin nature had not been eradicated; if his sin nature was not eradicated, then I do not believe mine was either!  Our sin nature is going to be with us until we are glorified. In our flesh, we are just as bad as we were before we were saved, because our flesh does not improve; it does not get better; it does not change.  Remember, flesh is just flesh.


So what does it mean in verse 6 when Paul says


in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;


Actually, done away with is a very unfortunate translation. The word done away with (one word in the original) is the same word used in Hebrews 2:14.  Referring to Satan, the text says he was rendered powerless.  Rendered powerless is what the word really means that our body of sin might be rendered powerless.


Was Satan done away with?  No, but he has been condemned.  Has Satan been annihilated?  No, but he has been defeated.  Satan has been deprived of his power, and that is the way it is with our sin nature.  Our sin nature was not eradicated, but it was deprived of its power.


However, we still have a problem.  Satan still has power and our sin nature does still have power.  So what is the similarity between Satan and the sin nature?  Both of them are powerless unless they are empowered.


Our sin nature has been deprived of power.  The reason it does not seem that it has, and the reason that it still exercises power, is that we empower our sin nature, not by behavior, but by wrong thinking.


Before we were saved, our sin nature was our boss.  At the core of our being sin was ruling like a tyrant; and even if we had wanted to break free from him, we could not have.  It is academic; we did not want to break free from him.  The only way for us to have that power broken was for a power from the outside —God— to do two things:


(1)   To kill the old slave, and

(2)   To deprive the old master of sin of his power.


The sin nature is still around; Christians have a sin nature since it was not eradicated.  The difference is we do not have to submit to it anymore.  In verse 7, Paul says:


for he who has died is freed from sin.


Here, I like to think of that Sin [with a capital S], because Paul has been talking about Sin as a person.  He who has died is freed from Sin—that old master.  Even though Sin is going to keep making demands on us, Paul says that we do not have to listen to him.  Sin has no authority over us anymore.


Paul is saying:

q       When Jesus was on the Cross, you were there – I was there.

q       When Jesus went into the Tomb [of Joseph of Arimathea], you were there – I was there

q       When Jesus rose up from the grave, you went with Him – I went with Him.


That means the old sin nature does not have to have absolute power over you anymore.  Because the person who came out of that tomb with Jesus is a person who came out, not as a slave anymore, but as a free person—

q       A person free from the punishment for sin and

q       A person free from the power of sin!

[Again, we are always seeing the two sides of grace: (1) Freedom from punishment for sins, and (2) Freedom from the power of sin.]


The root problem of the human race is not really specific acts of sins; the root problem of the human race is sin.  It is a disease; it is an underlying condition.  It is that old person, and the core being of every human being is self – flesh – sin, which is the power supply for everything that comes out in a person’s self life.


Again, how does God judge works?  God judges works (activities) by the source of the works, by the power supply.  So, for every person, it is all sin.  Sin is an underlying condition (the disease) that produces fruit (rotten fruit), and Sin, as a condition, produces specific instances of sins.


The Good News: Grace works on both of them!





We discussed weeds in a previous study.

Note: Please refer to our Grace #7 study.


Weeds:  I have weeds in my backyard, and I am free to have them.

Picture:  I am free to disobey; I am completely free.


Weeds:  Those weeds in my yard are ugly, but no one is going to arrest me because I am free to have them. I am also free to experience the ugliness of those weeds. 

Picture:  While I am free to disobey, I am also free to experience suffering this life of Sin.


Weeds: I could go out and mow those weeds down, but they would come back since the root has not been dealt with.

Picture: The same thing applies to sins versus Sin — sins are the individual weeds that come up, and Sin is the root that produces all sins.


Grace, The Weedeater: Grace kills weeds in our life as a weedeater.  Grace moves constantly over our lives, knocking those weeds of sins off.  In fact, grace works so quickly, that as soon as one sin pops up, before it can even pop up, grace knocks it off.  That is a picture of grace forgiving us for our sins.  So for a Christian—for the rest of his life—every sin, before it even surfaces, is forgiven and washed.  It is grace working as a weedeater on our sins.


That is the grace with which we are familiar, and that is the grace that people think we can abuse.  In fact, Christians can abuse grace.  But when we preach grace, we proclaim grace in its two aspects:


1.      Grace is the weedeater knocking those weeds of sins off all of time, and

2.      Grace is, simultaneously, God sending His grace to kill off the root of Sin if we let Him.


That is the process of sanctification

q       Saving grace is keeping us clean on the top.

q       Sanctifying grace is the same grace; it is accessed by faith too.  It is going underneath and killing off the roots.


There will still be a lot of weeds of sins, but the underlying problem, which is Sin, has been addressedthose roots are being killed.




I think it is very appropriate that we are talking about sanctification at Easter (Resurrection Sunday), because if we understand grace in sanctification, we will have a different concept of Easter than we do now.


How does the world see Easter?  According to secular magazines, Easter means spring – new beginnings – touchy feely things – pastel colors.


How do believers see Easter?  We remember the following:

q       Jesus died.

q       Jesus was put in the tomb.

q       Jesus was resurrected.

q       [Then we add]  And there are implications for the elect because of those things that happened to Jesus.


Let me say: that is good to do, and that is what we should do.  However, we cannot stop there.  Easter is not when we remember things that happened to Jesus a long time ago, things that have implications for me.


For a Christian—

Easter is when we remember events that actually happened to you – to me.


Many Christians celebrate their spiritual birthday based on the day they were saved, and I like that.  But there is a way to have another birthday: Easter is every Christian’s birthday.  It is not just something that happened to Jesus; it is something that happened to me – to you.


q       On [Good] Friday, my old self was nailed to the Cross.

q       On Saturday, my old self was placed into the Tomb.

q       On Sunday, I came out of the Tomb, but I did not come out the same person.


I was put on that Cross on Friday as a slave to sin and I came out of the Tomb on Sunday morning with the power of sin broken.


We do not act as though the power of sin is broken in our lives.  That is very unfortunate.  Though our sin nature was not eradicated, its power was broken.  The reason the old sin master still exercises power over us is that we are empowering him. He does not have to have the power; we empower him.


As we will see [in our next studies], we empower Sin in the following two ways:


  1. By not doing some things we should do, and
  2. By doing some things we should not do.



And let me stress

This Has Nothing To Do With Our Behavior…





Next: Radical Grace #11) Romans 6, Part 4—Giving Weapons To The One With No Weapons


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