Of Law or Of Grace
I read a post several weeks ago. The woman said she felt such a strong disconnect with mainstream Christianity that she wished to be called something other than Christian to denote the separation. I resonated with her comment and as I thought about it, I see a clear separation in one underlining belief that affects everything.
Though called by the same name, there are two different groups of Christians who couldn’t be further apart; those who are under the law and those who are under grace.
Those under the law go to church, tithe, try to act like a good person, participate in ministries, and go to Bible Studies because that is what they should do as Christians. If they don’t then they feel guilt however subtle. If they do they feel good about themselves. Their faith has become a religion of works earning their place in heaven or in God’s heart. Their obedience is out of fear of God pulling away and withdrawing His blessings. In essence their actions are bribes to receive His good favor. Deuteronomy 10:17
Plain Truth Magazine put out an interesting article this month on churchaholics, which describes this group. The article is worth the read a couple of times.
In contrast, the other group lives solely by grace. They focus on abiding in God’s truth, nurturing their relationship and whatever good comes out is the fruit of His spirit within them and not by their power of will or efforts. Because it is His work and not theirs, there is no guilt in doing or not doing. What they do is about desire not raw obedience. Obedience pertains not to bribing God to bless them or be good to them; it has to do with how close they are to God. They experience blessings because God is in their lives. The closer they are to Him the more they experience all He is. He is their reward; their everything.
Which group is correct?
The covenant we have with God is established on grace. In Christ there is nothing we can add to our salvation or sanctification. Exodus 31:13 It is the second part where the do-gooders go sideways off the path of life. We enter God’s kingdom by grace, we grow in it by grace and we become great by grace. We do nothing. Matthew 18:3-4 Everything comes from God’s spirit working in and through us. We don’t work for God, He works through us. Nothing is forced, earned or contrived.
When we start to add anything to the covenant of grace then we are trespassers to His covenant, and are no longer abiding in it. Matthew 25:29 If we aren’t living, breathing and acting from grace, then we aren’t living.
The doctrine of grace is not easy to accept and follow in a world where our value and acceptance is based on what we do. Under grace it is disobedient to try to work, earn, and prove. Hebrews 4:11 We all fall at times into the trap of works, but what are we striving for grace or works? Every other religion is based on works and many Christians have joined them. Therefore they have a different religion with a different god. 2 Corinthians 11:4 That’s the separation.
And the tricky part is the majority of those who say they are under grace are actually under the law. The masses think they are under grace because leaders tell them they are, but if they examine their deep-seeded motives they would see they aren’t. The two groups talk the same lingo, but the foundation of their motivations, actions, and judgments denote a huge separation.
How could they be so misled? The legalism is disguised, subtle and in what people praise, not necessarily say. It is couched in friendly, loving words, sweet smiles and jovial countenances, but it is law all the same. You should be in church. Do whatever you do, but make sure you come to church. (smiles)
They are like your sweet but over controlling mother, playing the guilt trip card. If you were a good Christian then you would be in church. Guilt is a very powerful motivator. We do whatever we can to remove its presence in our lives. And most churches are employing this tactic to maintain their costly lifestyle and doing so they are breaking their covenant of grace with God and bringing many down with them.
We come to God with our lives one way, grace. We either live by His covenant or not at all.
I think the church was at one time an instrument of God to grow His people, much like Egypt. Deuteronomy 5:6, 26:5-6 But like Egypt it has become a house of bondage with its oppression of should to’s. God is calling His people to Him in grace and those who know the true Shepherd’s voice will follow it.