Q: If Christ died for the sins of this world, why is it not okay to sin?
This question has an underlying assumption that the Incarnation was only about forgiving sins – it was about way more than that. The Incarnation is more about renewal of man, the elevation and restoration of his nature, and the reconciliation with our heavenly Father in the opening of Paradise. Our Lord’s sacrifice was also for the propitiation of sins, but that doesn’t make it acceptable to sin.
To use the same logic in the question, if I know that it is wrong to speed, but that all it costs me is 100 bucks if I do, and I’ve put $100 aside – is it now right for me to speed? The fact that something is already “paid” for doesn’t make something more or less okay. That’s the first point. The second is that He did the work of payment already, but it’s up to me to participate in that freedom or not. I don’t have to live in the grace of freedom or to participate in the mysteries that He appointed for us to partake of the forgiveness of our sins. For example, He said that we should partake of Eucharist to receive the remission of sins…this makes it clear that even though the “work” was done, we participate in that work and partake of its benefits in spiritual life and the sacraments. We participate in our own salvation and are continually in a process of forgiveness, “I’m saved, being saved, and hope that I will be saved”, as one prominent Orthodox speaker put it. That’s the ‘technical answer’ but there’s something more important.
If I know that my mother will forgive me if I slap her across the face, does that mean that I should go ahead and do that? Sin is not about physical acts – they should be seen within the context of a relationship. If I fear sin it’s not because of breaking a rule, it’s because I love someone and recognise that I’m hurting Him, that I’m doing something that makes me further from Him, when what I desire is to always be close to Him. The fact that He forgives me so easily should make me feel so much more ashamed that I love myself more than Him.