Christianity

There is no Grace without Law

One of the greatest misunderstandings about God’s New Covenant that people live under today is that this covenant is all grace and no law.

Now let me quickly say, on top of the fact that the Law of Moses is no longer in effect spiritually (Hebrews 8:6-7, 13), that I completely agree that the Bible teaches that no one is justified by the works alone of any law, because once a law is violated all a law can do is condemn (Acts 13:38-39; Romans 3:19-20; Galatians 2:16). But let me also quickly say I completely disagree with anyone who believes that this situation means we are no longer under any law today because of God’s grace (Romans 6:14-16).

As Christians we are indeed under law today. For example, there is:

  • the law of faith – “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.” (Romans 3:27)
  • the law of Christ – “to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ, that I might win those who are without law;” (1 Corinthians 9:21)
  • the law of the Spirit – “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)
  • the law of liberty – “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:10-13)

More could be said, but enough should be enough and enough has been said to help us see the truth of God’s will concerning law and sin and grace.

You see, there can be law without grace, but there can be no grace without law because without law there is no need for grace (Galatians 6:1-3). EA

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us…My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous…Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.” (1 John 1:9-10, 2:1, 3:4)

That coat of many colors is now one

Joseph’s coat of many colors; people have tried to envision what it would have looked like and the only thing I can say is that it must have stood out from all the other coats.

Joseph’s coat was a symbol of his father’s love, but his father’s love became something that his brothers hated. And no matter how much that coat cost Jacob, in the eyes of Joseph’s brothers that sign of love would end up costing Joseph.

Likewise, our spiritual Father has given us a coat to wear – a coat that is a symbol of his love, a coat of one color (John 3:16); but we must remember that as this coat stands out from all other coats people will hate it and it will cost us, but we must continue to wear it as a reminder of who we are to our Father (John 15:18-19; 1 John 3:13). EA

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:26-27)

“…So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:14)

There are going to be times when the preacher just won’t win…with people

“‘Preacher, shoot it straight’ – as long as you’re not shooting at me, my spouse, my children or my parents. But other than that, ‘Keep shooting preacher man.'”

There are going to be times when the preacher just won’t win…with people.

Oh yeah, those times when silence during a certain situation gets looked upon by some with contempt, while speaking up during the same situation garners the same amount of contempt from others. It’s true: it’s the ole’ “condemned if you do and condemned if you don’t” situation, to put it nicely. This is why the preacher’s goal must not be to win with people during every situation, because that goal will miss the goal the majority of the time.

So think about that the next time you feel like the preacher took a personal shot at you, when all he was doing was speaking the truth for your benefit in a way that’s probably not as personal as you think (1 Corinthians 10:32-33; Galatians 1:10). EA

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in seasonand out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

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An Open Letter to my Erring brothers and sisters in Christ

“I just don’t have the time.” “I will one of these days.” “I’m not quite feeling up to getting out.” “I’m always working.”

These sentiments, and others similar to them, are the responses that get expressed to me time and time again when I tell an erring brother or sister in Christ that I’ve been missing them at worship services. And while I don’t question the sincerity of the absentee’s answers, I do question the consistency, or the lack thereof, of absences from other areas of life.

For example, when I tell people that I have been missing them I’m telling them because I see them:

  • at the grocery store
  • at the bank
  • at the hospital
  • at gas stations
  • at restaurants
  • at their job
  • at the funeral home
  • at local sporting/community events

For some reason worship can’t fit into their schedule, but these can?

Now some of you may say those are necessities – a person can’t stop doing those! And to that I would say don’t confuse what’s being doing with what needs to be done.

Oh erring one, remember your father; come back to where you need to be (Luke 15:18-24). EA

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

The key to…

Everybody is looking for the key to something. And there are plenty of sellers out there!

The key to happiness, to fame and fortune, to a good job, to a new house, to a new car, to marital bliss, to good health and even to the right fantasy football picks seem to be the keys that most seek to have on their key-ring, but eventually all of these keys are found to be exactly what they are – keys that open temporary doors.

Of all the doors that the world offers to open there is one door that causes them to close, and that door is death. But the good news of God proclaims to provide the very key that the world only dreams of. This key cannot be bought, nor is it being sold; but this key comes at a cost, and we must decide if we’re interested in listening to the only one who has this key on his ring (Isaiah 22:20-25, Revelation 3:17). EA

And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” (Revelation 1:17-18)

More than hands were getting nailed down

With every knock of the hammer against the nails there was a thought produced: to the murderous Jews it was the sound of victory being nailed down; to the ruling Romans it was the sound of authority being nailed down; to the disciples it was the sound of defeat being nailed down; to the ears of Jesus it was the sound of all the above, but not for the same reasons.

To Jesus, the sound of victory was not heard in his hands being nailed down – the sound of victory came from our sins being nailed to the cross:

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,” (1 Peter 3:18)

To Jesus, the sound of authority was not heard in his hands being nailed down – the sound of authority came from him choosing to lay down his own life:

Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” (John 10:17-18)

To Jesus, the sound of defeat was not heard in his hands being nailed down – the sound of defeat was heard in the devil losing his strength:

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,” (Hebrews 2:14)

What do you hear in the sound of the hammer and the nails? EA

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14)

What will we do in exchange?

For us, God, in the form of Jesus of Nazareth:

What will we do in exchange for him? EA

This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:11-13)

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