Identity Found in God
The King and the Kingdom
The King’s People
The Kingdom on Earth
The Law & The Grace
Living with the Attitude of Christ
The Law & The Grace
For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 6:14
Laws. America has laws. When I taught school, I had classroom rules. We have house rules for our family. Rules. Codes of conduct. Laws are systems of rules. Rules are a set of understood regulations or principles governing the conduct of a particular group. I can tell you multiple stories of my teaching experiences when it became clear that students conducted themselves better when I set specific understandable rules and boundaries. They knew what was expected, and they knew exactly what would happen if they broke a rule. I would say the same thing is true about my children. There are rules that address all aspects of life and society.
There is a realization that humanity needed rules, needed laws. A law lays out clearly how to live. In the early books of the Bible, you will read law after law after law. There was a system of laws that the Jews attempted to obey. God gave Moses the 10 commandments. Laws were put into place because there is the reality that we have tendencies of making bad choices. The law was established to name the sin and to recognize it. It was put in place to remind us that we are imperfect. And, as hard as we try, are we really able to avoid sin completely?
In Romans 3:19-20, it says, “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.”
It is made so clear in Romans, as well as in Galatians 3 that we are not made right just because we know or even attempt to observe the law. This just makes us aware of our sin. This whole process points us to Jesus. If we know the law, recognize the sin, we conclude that we need someone who can take our sins completely away. There is not one person on earth who could live a sin-free life, adhering to every law 100% of the time. It points us to understand the need for grace, which ultimately leads us to our need for Jesus.
Paul’s question to the Galatians was this, “Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?” If we memorize the law, know about the law, and observe the law, will that cut it? We will soon realize we cannot do it by ourselves, or by efforts of man. There is a difference in being an abider of the law and someone who, while keeping the law in mind, yearns for a relationship with the One who fulfills the law. Jesus didn’t come to get rid of the law, but to fulfill it. He provides the grace that is needed when we fall short.
In Romans 1 & 2 Paul reminds us that it isn’t enough to live life with just the outward expression. To be truly a follower of Christ, as one who knows the need of grace, we need to be inwardly transformed. When we make the choice to follow Christ, but deliberately choose to engage in sinful activity, we have an inward struggle to set straight. If my students or children could recite back to me WHAT the rules are, but do not attempt to comply to them, they miss it.
But there is good news in the midst of all of this. We no longer have to live under the stress of keeping the law, but we have the beautiful gift and invitation to life free, under grace. I am sure that many of you have either been told or have experienced the feeling of being “not good enough”. When we stress over achieving “the law”, we might find ourselves feeling hopeless or unworthy. However, as we commit our lives to following Christ, we grow and learn and strive to become more and more like Him. And on this journey, there will be times we will fall short. When we mess up. What do we do then? There surely will be those voices on this earth that may not understand, and who may whisper or shout in such a way that leaves us crumbled on the ground. But take heart! May we believe and know that Jesus will meet us right where we fall, reach out His hand and will help us right back up on the path. He is enough. With Him, it is possible. Grace bursts forth as His hand touches ours and gifts us another chance.
What does grace mean to you? Ask God to bring you deeper in your understanding of living a life striving to be more Christ-like, free from the law, recognizing Jesus fulfilled the law, and in the embrace of grace.
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