Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Finally, we take a look at the last truth many of us have inadvertently exchanged for a lie. God is more law than grace. Yes, Jesus did tell us that he came to fulfill the law and not abolish it. But I intend to make the case that doesn't make God more law than grace.

When we take this statement--God is more law than grace--to it's fullest (and seemingly most logical) conclusion we find ourselves in quite a predicament. It would only go to show that we are still bound to the law in its entirety. And if that is the case, we are all in way over our heads (more so than we are now). Bottom line is this: none of us has the ability to uphold every aspect of Mosaic law. We are all liars, cheaters, covetous, thieves, etc. However, my understanding of the point Jesus was trying to make is a bit different. Having said that, you should know that I'm not willing to just throw the law out the window. The law still has a purpose and holds a place in our faith--which I will address later.

To begin this discussion, let's take a look at the word "abolish." The Greek term "kataluo" literally means "to loosen down." It can also be translated "to overthrow, to render vain, or to deprive of success." The word is found seventeen times in the New Testament. In classical Greek, it was mainly used in connection with institutions and laws in order to convey the idea of invalidation. So, we see that Jesus really does not intend to invalidate the law, but to uphold every bit of it. He is not going to do away with the seemingly less significant aspects of it. Nor is he going to render it vain. Not just yet, at least. And from reading the account of Jesus' life, we see he did in fact do exactly what he said he would do. Jesus upheld and fulfilled the law. Not just part of it either. In the 33 years he walked the earth, Jesus followed everything God commanded. Some might argue there were times he didn't when it came to things like threshing grain or healing on the Sabbath. However, it seems to me he may have just put a different spin on it. And it was this total adherence to the law that made him capable of becoming the perfect sacrifice that would finally fulfill the sacrificial law...for good. Don't believe me, just read Romans 5:9: "And since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God's condemnation."

So, if Jesus came to fulfill the law and not abolish it, aren't we still bound to the same law? Not the way I see it. Jesus, himself, said that not a single "jot or tittle" would pass away until all of the law was fulfilled. And he took the burden off our shoulders by doing exactly what he said he would. This means that, in a way, God's wrath has been appeased and we no longer bear the brunt of that law. Basically, the point I'm trying to make is this: the law no longer has the same binding effect for us today. Paul makes this point abundantly clear in Galatians 3:23-25: "Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law." We are actually living under a new law; the law of grace!

Now you are probably asking, why not get rid of the law? If we are no longer bound to it, what's the point? I'm glad you asked. The purpose of the law has always been two-fold. Both are contrary to what you may have heard about it's intended purpose being to make us closer to God. Rather, the law has the opposite effect. The Pharisees were a prime example of this truth. They knew and followed the law better than anyone and missed out on so much of what Jesus came to show them. The law serves its true purpose quite well today! To begin with the law points out how sinful all of humanity is. It places everyone to have ever walked this planet on a level playing field. The law reveals how inadequate humanity is and how far we have fallen from God's standards. It clearly points out that we are all sinners. And with that truth laid out, it reveals we are all in need of a Savior. Which is why the Old Testament meticulously lays out all those rules and rituals regarding offerings and sacrifices in which blood had to be shed. They demonstrated the severity of the consequences of our sins--the penalty for sin is nothing short of death.

Now that my head is spinning, let me try to clear things up a bit. The law is the bare minimum. It is the minimum standard for everything—how to treat yourself, how to treat God, how to treat other people.  The amazing thing about grace is that it, in a way, is above the law. The law says you can’t commit adultery, whereas grace says you don’t even have to think about a woman with lust. The law says you must tithe 10%, whereas grace says you can give joyfully. The law says you must serve God alone, whereas grace says that if you serve God alone, He will set you free and you will not desire to serve any other god. Where the law commands us, grace gives us freedom to choose!

This is why I contend that God is in fact more grace than law. When it comes to issues of the law, grace has already won. When God declares us guilty, Jesus presents to him the trump card of grace. However, I must reiterate this does not mean we can live our lives any way we please. Afterall, we have been bought at a high price and we should live in a manner worthy of the price that was paid.

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