Praise God for His Amazing Grace! "The Church"If you haven't…
An age-old discussion: law vs grace. One of many Biblical principles in which I see very little balance.
Grace and Hyper-grace
There is the “grace” and “hyper-grace” crowd that varies greatly but, in the extreme, it says that God’s laws don’t apply to us today: “Once saved always saved”, and because God loves you just as you are, you have freedom “in Christ” to do whatever you would like to do, eat whatever you desire, etc., etc., etc..
In this group, God loves you just the way you are and since there is freedom in Christ, there are few prohibitions.
On the “law” side, the focus lies upon the rules you keep and who commits the least sins that the particular group considers to be sin. In other words, having two spouses might be considered a sin, but having a broken family would get a pass: Smoking would be considered a sin but drinking alcohol would be winked at, etc., etc., etc..
This group will say that they are not saved by works, but by the blood of Jesus, as they are straining gnats.
The “Old Testament” and the “New Testament”
And then, of course, is the nefarious “division” between the “Old Testament” and the “New Testament” that adds to the perceived tension between “law and grace”.
The law people would say that the “Old Testament” is God’s laws of righteousness. They make a point to differentiate between the righteous and the unrighteous. They would rather dogmatically say that the law-less are dammed to hell and that the law-ful are righteous and bought by the blood of the Lamb.
On the other hand, the grace group would say that Yeshua nailed the “Old Testament” law to the cross and that “there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus”. They would basically say that the Bible starts at Matthew or really the book of Acts.
Those who start the Bible at the book of Acts would say that because the law was nailed to the cross with Jesus, it wasn’t until He rose again that grace kicked in which is the dispensation in which we live under at this time.
The Scriptures must be properly interpreted
In 2 Timothy 2:15 Apostle Paul admonishes us to rightly divide the word of truth.
Study to shew yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
So one of the most important things to establish when communicating is definitions.
What is grace
Grace: Many define Grace as “Unmerited Favor”. However, this definition of grace is faulty and here is why:
Luke 2:52 says that Yeshua grew in favor with God and men. The Greek word, that the English word “favor” is translated from, is “charis”. So it could read like this: “Yeshua grew in charis”.
Almost every time you see the word grace in the New Testament / Renewed Covenant, it is being translated into grace from the Greek word Charis.
Likewise, “Charis” is almost always translated into the English word grace. Luke 2:52 is a rare exception to that because there, the Greek word “charis” is translated into the English word “favor” instead.
All of that is explained for the purpose of asking this question: Did Yeshua grow in the “unmerited favor” of God? The answer to both of these questions is unequivocally “no”. Yeshua did not grow in favor with God. Yeshua had no more favor with the Father when He ascended into Heaven then He did when He was born in Bethlehem. Therefore, the Greek word “charis” can not mean “unmerited favor”.
A better definition of grace is “the empowering presence of God“. Could Yehshua have grown in the “empowering presence of God”? Absolutely.
What is “The law”
For our purposes today I am going to define “the law” as the “Old Testament”. That is not the best way to look at it but for our discussion here it seems easiest. Most who view “the law” as a focal point of the Bible would mostly agree that the “Old Testament” could be lumped together as “Old Testament laws”.
So how do we make sense of all of this?
God never changes. Although some view the God of the “Old Testament” as a separate person from the New Testament God, I think that most would that they are one in the same. So does God extend grace to His people today? I think pretty much all Believers would say that He does.
So if God extends grace to His people today, and if He never changes, did He extend grace to His people before? Yes, God absolutely did extend grace to His people before: Even since the beginning of time.
Was God’s empowering presence (grace) upon Adam when he named all of the animals? Was God’s empowering presence upon Noah when he spent 120 years out in the desert building the ark? In fact, do you remember that it was Noah who found grace in the eyes of Yahweh?
How about Moses? Did God have grace upon him as he led Israel out of bondage?
The answer is obviously yes in every instance. We could go ALL through the “Old Testament” in this same manner, as well as the “New Testament”. Grace abounds all through the “Old Testament”.
“The Law” In the “New Testament”
Jumping forward now to the “New Testament”; did Yeshua mean what He said when he said “If you love me keep my commandments”? Did He mean what He said when He quoted Deuteronomy and Leviticus after being asked what is the greatest commandment? Yes on all counts.
In 2 Timothy 3:16 Apostle Paul wrote that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
Of course, Apostle Paul would have been referring to the “Old Testament” in 2 Timothy 3:16.
In Romans 3:2 Apostle Paul referred to the “Old Testament” as the “very words of God”.
In regards to various incidents recorded in the Old Testament, in 1 Corinthians 10:11 Apostle Paul says that “all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”
Totaled, Apostle Paul quotes or paraphrases approximately 183 passages, in a positive way, from the “Old Testament” in the “New Testament”. This does not account for the numerous references he makes to people, places, and events in the “Old Testament”.
Obviously, if Apostle Paul felt the “Old Testament” was obsolete then he wouldn’t have referenced it profusely as he did.
God is the same: He never changes
God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He always has been and He always will be the same. That includes His grace, His Righteousness, and His Righteous instructions.
So does this mean that we should start sacrificing bulls and goats? Absolutely not. There are very solid answers to those sorts of questions but that will need to wait for another day.
The short version is that Yeshua became the reality of those aspects of the “Old Testament” that were only foreshadowing Him.
The concepts of living in the empowering presence of God, as you renew your mind to His loving ways, are in no way contradictory.
Law vs. Grace
There are many more ways to explain the congruency of “law and grace” than what would fit in a single article or even a series of articles. Entire books could be written on the subject: In fact, there have been.
The idea of “Law vs. Grace is a misnomer: It doesn’t exist. There is no opposition between God’s law and God’s grace. They do not oppose one another. Rather, they support and reinforce one another.
There are numerous ways to explain that grace is a common theme throughout ALL of the Bible and that God’s righteousness, as expressed through His instructions, has always remained the same: It has never changed.
Embracing the unity of the Scriptures and the constancy of God is one Key to the Kingdom that will help you in these days and in the days ahead.
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