Law vs. Grace
In Christianity as well as throughout churchanity the discussion continues, the dispute about law and grace that is seen resolved in Acts 15. Yet this issue continues to be bantered about by proponents on both sides, sometimes turning into raging shouting matches with little resolved. It is precisely because the issue was resolved in the early years of Christianity that there should not be disagreement any longer, and that would be the case except for one very powerful human trait, pride, which can also be identified as “leaven” in scripture in some instances.
While pride can be seen as the agent, I want to bring to light the real issue, not the one commonly tossed about in discussions about whether believers are under the Law or not but the one of blaspheming the Spirit of God through the devaluation of the Grace of God displayed through Christ shedding His blood in order to purge our (we who are true believers) consciences from guilt. The aforementioned fact is made clear in Hebrews 10:29 and Hebrews 9:14 and if the completeness of Christ’s work is rejected in order to attempt to achieve righteousness through behavior you are found squarely in the camp of those spoken of in Hebrews 10:26-28. You must accept Christ’s work as finishing the power of sin to make us guilty before a loving Father or according to scripture you do despite to the Spirit of God and dishonor Christ and His accomplishment of being victorious over sin and the principalities and powers both of this world and those of the spirit realm. This is what Jesus spoke of when He said ” if you deny me before men I will deny you before my Father which takes place as the ” many ” that are judged at the judgement seat as those who He does not Know.
The Law, the Commandments given to Moses for the peoples’ instruction was and is glorious beyond what we can imagine especially when we understand the purpose for the giving of it. Consider what a wonderful world we would be living in if humans were completely obedient to the law given to Moses for the Israelites. Clearly God never intended that anyone except Jesus would through obedience to the Law be able to achieve the accomplishment of the righteousness required to enter the new Jerusalem as noted in Rev 21:27.
The Glory of the Grace of God
Now consider the glory of the Grace of God when compared in scripture to the Law of Commandments. 2 Corinthians 3 reveals the God inspired comparison and purpose of both Law and grace as well as the superiority of the one over the other so far as man’s wellbeing is concerned. By the first Law came death (in the day thou eat thou shalt surely die) and so death passed upon all men through the first Adam. This has never stopped being the consequence of sin in the human race and is apparent in the second law of thermodynamics at work throughout all creation. Grace is the only hope for man who’s clock is constantly ticking down.
Enter 2 Corinthians 3 where we look into the veil covering Moses’ face, an advantage the Israelites did not have. For illustration we see how the face of Moses shone with the glory of God and yet it is obvious that as time went on that glory of light in his face disappeared. So it is with the glory of the law in the light of a better thing when we see that grace supersedes the law for all who will trust in the authority of the son of God. For where sin abounds grace does abound much more in such a way that it over compensates for the violation of the law. The commission of sin or violation of what God desires exists throughout all of mankind. And it is because of this overcompensation of grace that we are no longer viewed as sinners if we are indeed in Christ. Though we must be clear on this point, that grace does much more than compensate for the violation of God’s law.
The grace of God removes us who put our trust in the faithfulness of Christ to a position that is out of the reach of the law and its judgment with the attending consequences. This place, our position, is made clear in Galatians, Romans, and throughout Scripture. What place is it that can remove us from the reach of God’s judgment for sin? Only one position affords protection from the absolute penalty for the wages of sin for which we will all answer – death, death, death, being dead, reckoning your selves to be dead is the work of faith. Reckoning ourselves dead is not what makes us dead to sin; we are to consider ourselves to be dead, because God says so multiple times.
To what end are we to consider ourselves dead, for what purpose? The first reason is obedience to God’s command and that should be enough reason. We have to consider how we can get to a point of being dead while we continue to draw breath and have a normal heartbeat along with all the other functions of life. The simple answer is by believing what God says concerning all who have put their faith in the finished work of Christ. We begin with the sixth chapter of Romans in the Bible, one which has not been corrupted with modern theology, to discover the many times we are instructed to view our human birth self as dead. Someone once said within my hearing that all this talk of being dead in Scripture is just a figure of speech. The statements along this line revealed the standard that has been set for interpreting the holy Scriptures in the bulk of churchanity.
What is Churchanity?
Now you may be thinking what in the world as churchanity? Simply put, churchanity is the term that I use to explain the traditional practices and the busyness of church groups infected by secularism and overall worldly influence, thus hindering the spontaneous work of the Holy Spirit. The spirit of God desires yielded humans to work through not to be confused with humans who attempt to imitate him. So here’s the important question; is being dead to sin just so many words without significance? Is being freed from sin in empty words? Is being planted together with Him in the likeness of His death merely a phrase? The command to walk in newness of life answers each one of these questions with a resounding “no.” Remember Jesus saying you have to give up your life. If you love your life you will lose it.
In the words of Paul to the Corinthians “for we which live are always delivered unto death, so then death works (continuously) in us, but life in you.” Paul then goes on to say to these Corinthians and to us that this is all done in order that the life of Jesus might be made obvious in our mortal flesh. for you see this is the point, Jesus is alive and in us and desires us to be vessels that he can live his life through. To the Galatians who were struggling with the pressures of the Judaizers trying to force them back under mosaic law Paul says this: “I am crucified with Christ (dead) nevertheless I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Freed from sin and its power rests in the knowledge of truth – truth that you have died and you have been crucified with Christ, the penalty you paid is having been crucified simultaneously with Christ. When Christ arose from the grave it was without sin. We can know that we were buried with Him in spiritual baptism and raised in newness of life having been forgiven all trespasses due to faith in the operation of God spoken of in Colossians 2:12–13. We are further protected from mosaic law that condemns because so far as God is concerned the ordinances (laws) are blotted out. By God’s own design in His mercy He counts us to have paid with our life for the sin of our mortal body and the sin which we inherit from our fathers.
The message to the Colossians was simple – if you be risen with Christ seek those things which are above where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above not on the things of the earth for you are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God. Further the apostle tells us to hold our bodies in the place of death. This is the work of faith. Lie not one to another seeing that you have put off the old man with his deeds and have put on the new man, the resurrected Man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created Him. For if we are in Christ we have the mind of Christ. Dead man has no power to do anything, and he cannot legislate an action. It is as Jesus said in John 6:29 that the work of God is to believe on Him who He hath sent. Being a new creation in God is not an achievement – but a belief of what God has said. It is the work of faith to hold our old man as dead and powerless through God’s spirit in us through belief of what God our Father has told us concerning our own death with Christ Jesus on the cross.
The grace of God cannot be measured. The closest thing to a measurement is to say that grace always exceeds the greatness of sin, and all who put their trust in the finished work of Christ make that fact a reality in life. All who accept the faith of Christ find liberty to live the abundant life without fearfulness of future judgment. This is a truth which cannot be gained by trying to please God; it only comes in belief of and acceptance of God’s word of grace to us. For we are told to grow in grace.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage is the word to all true believers. Even now there are those who willingly deny the completeness of Christ’s atonement while seeking to help Him make them righteous by trying to cleanse their consciences’ by confessing sin in order to lay claim to being pure. As Titus 1:15 states so plainly ” unto the pure all things are pure.” But the verse does not stop there as it goes on to speak of those who do not accept the finished work of Christ as adequate to purge the conscience and having cleansed them of all unrighteousness, for the word then says ” but to them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.”
But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it (the heart/mind) shall turned to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Where there is liberty, Christ is glorified.