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What We Believe About Law and Grace
LAW AND GRACE
God’s laws are those things in scripture that show us His character, tell us how we were designed to live and what being Christ-like is. He gives Grace to us freely, and grace is the lens upon which God views us now. He views us not through our failure to live in a way that pleases Him, but through the perfect obedience of Christ to His law.
A common misconception is that it is either what we must be doing or should do (law), or the unmerited favor of God (grace), not both. In other words, it is all about God’s grace.
Those who hold to the first will always be pushing the law of God, and as a result will often fall into a legalistic lifestyle or use God’s word to threaten others into such a lifestyle. The other half says it is all about God’s grace and neglect teaching the law.
This will often result in a live-free, do as you please lifestyle. Both of these lifestyles are wrong.
Another error is when God’s law and grace are taught in such a way that it combines them and mixes them together. When this occurs, the standard of God’s law is lowered to something achievable and that we can live. We often refer to this teaching as "moralism."
So, instead of a law that demands absolute perfection, which is what God’s law always demands, as it represents God’s character, which is perfect, we end up with a law that tells us not about God or his character, but how to live with our fellow man and other helpful hints on how to live a happy life. God’s law always reveals God’s character of perfection, while His grace is always non-bullying.
Softening God’s perfect law or separating it from God’s enabling, non-crushing, freeing, non-threatening grace always results in an imbalance and leads to a life lived contrary to what God designed. When we mix the two, we always end up softening God’s perfect law or weakening God’s amazing grace.
Grace is not only the seed, but also the Miracle-Gro for our walk in grace; the very thing enables us to live the law of God. Often someone will say, “You cannot teach grace without repentance as it may lead to abuses, misuse of grace and lazy Christianity.” Some are quick to point out that “we need to be responsible with grace.” While it is true that grace should not be taught without the law and vice-versa, the reasons are never any of the above-mentioned reasons. The following is true and should always be kept in mind.
We cannot balance grace, nor can we make ourselves deserving of grace! There is nothing in us that gives us the natural ability to maintain, sustain, or keep grace or our relationship with the Father. It is 100% His work.
We always abuse God’s grace, all of us! We will always misuse grace; none of us are pure here. We are all lazy Christians, even the most seemingly fervent and righteous of us.
It is not that the law and grace are in opposition to each other, but rather that they have different purposes. For the law cannot make us good enough to please God, righteous, present us finished before God, or bring us to the point in which God is happy with us. That is the work of the Holy Spirit through grace.
The law is a constant reminder of how far short we fall from God’s character, His perfection. Because we do, we are deserving of God’s wrath. However, we are not counted right with God because we are able to keep the law.
Even Abraham was counted right before God because he believed that Christ was coming. If we could do something on our own to make ourselves right before God, then Christ died for nothing. The purpose of the law is to identify our need to change and then gives us a directional guide on what that change looks like.
God’s grace enables us to live according to what the law commands. So if one asks, “Are we under the law?” The answer is “Yes!” The law was never meant to bring life, or be a way that we could make God happy with us.
God knows we are human and, therefore, will always fail. Yet, God has given us everything we need to live this Christian life, and we are enabled to do so through grace.
We should always keep in mind that God's law reveals God's love and mercy as much as God's grace. As a result, it should never be either/or, but both always together.
Psalms 103:14; Matthew 5:20,48 Romans 4:1-25; Romans 5:1-21; 6:1-23; 11:6; 2 Corinthians 3:4-6; 9:8; Galatians 2:15-21; 3:10-29; 1 Peter 1:1-25; 2 Peter 1:1-3