By P.J. Kitchen
When I teach on the book of Romans in my classes at Spring Arbor University, most
students understand saving grace and why it is important that God o"ers to forgive
our sins. However, they seem to struggle more with the concept of sanctifying grace. Why is
it so necessary for God to o"er us the power over sin and to live holy lives? I have found two
analogies helpful for students to grasp how these two ideas $t together.
The Cookie Rule
I remember when my mother used to make cookies when I was young. My brother and I
would walk in the door a#er school to the smell of chocolate chip cookies in the air. We were
excited with anticipation. !en she would tell us that the cookies were o"-limits until a#er we
ate dinner: “I do not want to you to spoil your appetite.”
What happened next? We wanted to eat the cookies and did not want to wait. Before walking
into the house, we had no desire to eat a cookie, but within a few minutes we were trying to
$nd a way to get a cookie without being caught. What changed? It was the “don’t eat the cookies
until a#er supper” rule.
If we got caught, wouldn’t it then be logical to blame our mother for the transgression? I
could reason with her, “If you had not given the rule, I would have never wanted them in the
!at is the same question Paul asks in Romans 7:7, “What shall we say, then? Is the law
sinful?” He then answers in the next verse, “But sin, seizing the opportunity a"orded by the
commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting.” !e problem was not with my mother’s
rule. It was with the “cookie monster” inside of me!
How o#en are we more burdened over the expectation of receiving the punishment for
eating the cookie than over the part of us that still wants to eat the cookie? We need God to
save us from both.
pg. 23 — lightandlifemagazine.com