I was listening to a minister the other day trying to explain to his congregation that we live under grace and not under the law. For those of you who are not Christians, he was referring to Ten Commandments and the Levitical laws listed in the Old Testament. That statement has always sent me into a “thought wilderness.” I mean my thoughts are wandering around my head seeking answers to things that don’t make sense. Here is my quandary.
The Word says God cannot lie and He doesn’t change. The Word says that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. So if He doesn’t change, how are we not under His law?
Next set of thoughts. Jesus was born into a Hebrew family who taught Him the law. He lived the law. He taught the law, Everything He taught was in agreement with the law. That makes sense, since He is the Living Word of God. He had to be consistent with Himself. So if He lived the law and said that He did not come to abolish the law but to complete it. How then are we not under the law?
Next thought. The Apostle Paul was the one who made the statement, “….we are not under the law but under grace.” However, Paul said he was a Jew educated by Gamaliel and could boast of knowing the law more than most. Looking closely at the context I could see his teaching did not contradict the law. Putting on Christ, taking off the works of the flesh are in agreement with the Sermon on the Mount and the Ten Commandments. So what did Paul mean when he made these statement?
Romans 6:12-17 (KJV)
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
As I contemplated that question, it came to me. I believe God dropped it in my thoughts. Is it possible and even more likely that Paul was trying to explain to those who would have understood his phrasing or colloquialism as to how they should live and why. In the context Paul is explaining to the Christians in Rome that when a decision to truly follow the Christ is made our nature, our spirit changes. It becomes an internal thing. Our thinking changes, therefore, our behavior changes. He also explains that we are empowered by God to accomplish this. It comes from the inside, the very essence of our being.
We are not driven to obey God because it is the law. Instead we are motivated by His grace shown to us. His undeserved favor towards me is my motivation.
He cares for me because He loves me not because I did something to deserve it. In fact if He gave me what I deserved, I would be dead. I obey God because I appreciate Him. I reverence Him. I love Him. If I were God that would be desired so much more than someone obeying me because they were compelled to follow a law. One way facilitates intimacy and relationship. The other provokes you to respond to a legalistic check list. God did not change. He did not make His law irrelevant. We are still judged by the law but He administers justice through the filter of grace. Therefore,
I am under grace.
Driven to live His standards because of His GRACE.