The Law and Grace. Day one...
I am always encouraged when a monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments survives those who want all traces of God removed from public life. And I am always discouraged when something of our Christian heritage falls in the battle with those who oppose God.
But why do I feel like everything's alright as long as I can see God displayed in public places? And why do I feel like this great country is going to hell every time I see God removed from public view?
Is God really that vulnerable to the apathy or disgust we have for Him as a culture? Does the future of our nation hang on how many copies of the Ten Commandments continue to hang on the walls of our public buildings?
But it is hard to find any reassurance even among God's people.
Not only do we have a war going on between Christians who favor a very public display of God's sovereignty and the secularists, but we also have a war going on in the church—between those who put an emphasis on God's law and those who put an emphasis on His grace.
It is in the middle of all this that I hope to bring some perspective.
It would be foolish to think that we as Christians will not have some battles to fight against those who want us completely out of the public view. But at the least we should not be fighting among ourselves. God calls us to unity.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1 KJV)
And when Christians interact with each other in love, we demonstrate that we are His disciples.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. (John 13:34‐35 NLT)
Of course, this is easier said than done—much, much easier said than done. But it's the direction we must work toward. And it is my hope that this study on the law and grace will go a long ways in helping each of us to be more gracious toward each other.
I'm not trying to hide any agenda in this study.
I just want to discover what God says about His law and His grace in the context of His Word.
So I start off by saying that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (see John 14:6) —He is Lord of all life, whether that life acknowledges Him or not. We first read this in Isaiah's account:
Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. (Isaiah 45:21–23 KJV)
Bowing is the universal symbol of submission to one who is greater. While this Old Covenant reference to Jesus indicates that all human life will bow to His Lordship, the reference in the New Covenant is even more far‐reaching:
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9–11 KJV)
When Jesus said, “It is finished (see John 19:30),” Jesus became Lord of all. His lordship was no longer just in types and shadows as in the Old Covenant, but became a reality for all spiritual beings (good and evil) as well as all human beings past, present, or future. He is Lord—whether we call Him Lord, or not.
I am not suggesting that all human beings have submitted to His Lordship. I am suggesting that Jesus is Lord.
In other words, Jesus is Lord because He says so—not because of what you or I say one way or the other. What you or I think neither establishes nor removes His Lordship.
I call Jesus Lord by my own choice. And I sincerely hope you do as well. But sadly, some will apparently call Jesus Lord only reluctantly.
An excellent illustration of this reluctant acceptance of Jesus as Lord is found in Luke 16:19–31. The rich man in this story went from considering himself as Lord (in his life) to realizing that he himself was no Lord at all (in his death).
Why am I making the Lordship of Jesus such a big deal, in this study of the law and grace?
Why? Because I can never understand the intent of God's law or the wonder of God's grace as long as I make myself, or anyone or anything else bigger than God.
This is our starting point.
Have a good day,