let’s think of the word grace as a gift – in fact, the hebrew notion of grace is that it is uncontingent (it does not/can not be defined by the reliance on something/someone else or their behaviour) it is freely given. Alasdair John Milbank refers to morals as a gift, rather than something to be sacrificed. let us also redefine sin (not as somethin that separates us from god) to mean that which leaves/or is a gap of some sort within ourselves (not because of a separation from god either) – and so when paul says this: “should we keep on sinning so that grace may abound” – he is not referring to the current understanding of the orthodox christian narrative – but something about the gift (see above) – that if we constantly give of ourselves without an exchange then a gap within ourselves occurs (sin – in the pervasive sense; in that we are separated from the greatest aspect of ourselves – god).
now, if grace isnt contingent, then it can only be given from someone without the intention of something else, this is the paradox. because you cant keep giving and giving, this is not grace, this is a form of self-negation into nothingness. that isn’t grace, that is stupidity without boundaries. and i don’t mean stupidity in the sense of a character flaw, but the perpetuation of an idea without thinking about it.
what this then means, is grace cannot be used as a tool for power or hierarchy. one gift is not better then another. and because i gift this to you, does not mean i now own you. this is what happens in those relationships where one of the friends/wives/lovers manipulatively says: “if you love me, then you will do X” – this is not grace, this is a control device rather where counselling might be more beneficial. a gift is that which is given out of a person. it is born of nothingness. no intention, no agenda, but only that this uncontingent gift somehow make the receiver a better person (which becomes the sole responsibility of the receiver).
i think because its the nature of a gift, to encapsulate into one narrative (the typical christian one is that everyone NEEDS grace to be acceptable and so on) is to disregard this uncontingent grace. in fact, i would go so far as to say this is no grace at all, but something grotesque and perverse because this interpretation demands the gift. and we know when someone demands something as if it is their’s in the first place that this too is not a gift but a misrecognition and mis direction of appreciation of identity in the other. for grace only can come alive, in the face of the other.