Saturday, January 21, 2012

I Obey the Law

Over the past couple of weeks at church, we have been making our way through the Sermon on the Mount.  We began with the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12), followed by a study on being ‘salt and light Law-of-Christ(Matthew 5:13-16).’  Just this evening, I finished preparing for tomorrow’s sermon on Matthew 5:17-20, Jesus’ mission statement regarding the law of Moses and the writings of the prophets.

This particular passage of the Sermon on the Mount is deeply personal to me, as it has been a subject that has been “in my face” for a long time.  The exact circumstances as to how and why I came to dive headfirst into the topic are unimportant; what is important is that I wanted to make sure that when the time came to touch upon this topic from the pulpit, that I did so with as much of an objective understanding of the Scriptures regarding law as possible.

One of the biggest misconceptions that people have about those of us who hold to the Gospel of grace as being superior to the law of Moses is that we are then ‘lawless.’  Such talk implies that, believing ourselves no longer bound to obedience to the law, we consider God’s grace as a ‘license to sin’.

This, of course, is foolishness.  As Paul wrote in Romans 6:15 - "Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not!"

I won’t go into a discourse on law here, other than to say that the tension between law and grace was significant even in the 1st century church.  One cannot read many passages of the New Testament without encountering the contentious topic again and again.  There are many books, articles, websites, commentaries, etc. written on the subject, but the Bible speaks best for itself.  If you’re interested in learning more what the law controversy is all about, I encourage you to start with Acts 15, Romans, and Galatians.

I’ll close with one short verse that speaks my heart so concise, yet so eloquently:

"But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ." – 1 Corinthians 9:21b

Love In Christ,
Pastor Joe

2 comments:

  1. Many people incorrectly understand grace and works to be opposing concepts. The concept of grace is misunderstood to mean individuals are saved regardless of continuation in evil behavior. The concept of works is misunderstood to mean individuals are saved only if they can earn salvation by perfectly obeying God’s law. The misunderstanding of these concepts has led to the mistaken belief that there is a conflict between grace and works. Read the rest here http://boldlyproclaimingchrist.wordpress.com/2011/11/05/grace-vs-works/

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  2. I don't see a conflict between grace and works at all.

    I think that Galatians 5:16-26 articulates it well:

    "So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

    "When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

    "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

    "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another."

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