The Law and Grace. Day two...
Here in the United States we have a tendency to name everything. Not only do we give each other names as human beings, we also assign a name to everything animate and inanimate.
As an example, in the last six years the EPA has issued over 3,000 new final regulations. And each one of these regulations has a name. I am certain that those affected by these regulations have been frantically trying to find the name of some existing law that would take precedence over the names of some of those new regulations.
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)
There is no name above the name of Jesus.
Not only is Jesus Lord of all, as we discussed previously, His name is above every other name. This is a critical reality.
To understand the intent of God's law and the wonder of God's grace we must understand that nothing we have named is above the name of Jesus.
But what about His Word? Doesn't the Bible say that His Word is above His name?
I will praise You with my whole heart; Before the gods I will sing praises to You. I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name. (Psalm 138:1b–2 NKJV)
Please note: Psalm 138 is frequently used to defend the idea that the Word of God is above the name of Jesus. I have yet to see the significance, if there is any, in making this distinction. Whether in Word or in Name, He is above all. Throughout the Bible circumstances and situations have been overcome:
- In the name of the Lord
- In the name of the God of Jacob
- In the name of God
- In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost
- In the name of the only begotten Son of God
- By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth
- In the name of Jesus
- By the name of thy holy child Jesus
- In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
- As it is written
- According to all that God commanded
- According to Thy word
- According to the word of the Lord
- According to His will
- According to all Thy righteousness
- According to the gift of the grace of God
- According to the riches of His glory
- According to the power of God
So if you have anything with a name attached to it that's giving you fits, just pick something from this list of references to the Lord (this list is not exhaustive by the way) and put it above the name of your situation.
In other words—nothing is above God.
Whether you're speaking of His name, His power, His Word, His grace, His riches—whatever you're speaking of—nothing is above Him.
This is the starting point in understanding the intent of God's law and the wonder of God's grace. You will never understand either concept if you put yourself, or anyone or anything else above the name of Jesus.
Adam and Eve learned this the hard way.
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16‐17 NKJV)
This was the first commandment given to Adam, who passed it on to Eve—although Eve had added some to it by the time it got to the serpent.
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” (Genesis 3:2‐3 NKJV)
How different history would have been if what God said had stayed above every other voice. But Eve allowed the voice of the serpent to take precedence over the voice of God. She allowed her own opinion to rise above the “law,” so‐to‐speak.
The rich young ruler also learned the hard way.
“If you want to be perfect,” Jesus said to him, “go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” When the young man heard that command, he went away grieving, because he had many possessions. (Matthew 19:21‐22 HCSB)
The rich young ruler, unlike Eve, was big into following all the rules. His struggle was not against obeying a “law.” His struggle was with the idea that God's grace was more valuable than all his possessions. The young man ultimately put his own concept of wealth above Jesus' gift of grace.
Two examples of people who suffered because they diminished the Lord.
Eve suffered under God's law because she put something above God's law. The rich young ruler suffered outside God's grace because he put something above God's grace.
Nothing about the law or about grace will ever make any sense if God is not above everything else in our lives.
Have a good day,