The Law and Grace. Day forty-six...
I am almost unrecognizable from the guy who used to love to argue. Maybe a good debate can be healthy, but count me out. I've had way too many years of conversations where I was forming my rebuttal instead of listening to what the other person was saying.
While I can chit‐chat with the best of them, it is my intention to go deeper quickly. Maybe I have some sort of encouragement for the other person. Maybe he or she has some encouragement for me. Maybe I can be of some help as we talk. Or maybe I can learn something from him or her. But if I sense an argument coming on, I will either change the subject or walk away.
Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17 NASB)
Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. (Colossians 4:6 KJV)
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel …. (Philippians 1:27 KJV)
Conversation is not just the exchange of spoken words between two people. Conversation amounts to conduct.
Think of conversation as a healthy business transaction where both parties mutually benefit.
You are essentially conducting business when you engage another person in conversation. And it is important to negotiate a good deal for both you and the other person. If it's not a good deal for either of you, just walk away.
Why am I bringing up this point in a study of the intent of God's law and the wonder of God's grace?
I bring up this point because there is a lot of arguing going on between those who value the law and those who do not.
Some read this passage in Matthew:
Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17–20 NKJV)
And say, “See there! We still have to follow God's laws even though we live under grace.”
But others read this passage in Galatians:
For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:14 (NKJV)
And say, “See there! We don't have to follow God's laws because we live under grace.”
This argument reminds me somewhat of the age‐old argument over salvation: “Can someone lose their salvation? Or is someone who is once‐saved, always‐saved?”
On this subject, I have argued for both sides in the past. But the arguments always seemed pointless. And I have come to the conclusion that both questions are pointless. So when someone asks me such questions, I now answer with questions: “Why do you want to know? Do you want to know what somebody can get away with and still be saved? Or are you insecure in your relationship with Christ?” This usually leads to a meaningful conversation, instead of a pointless argument.
In the same way, let's quit arguing over God's law and God's grace.
Please take some time this weekend to study Matthew chapters 5–7. Abandon any preconceived ideas you have about the law and grace, and just listen to Jesus as He describes a lifestyle that is very different from our preconceived ideas.
Have a good day,