I often hear sentiments from Christians expressing their thankfulness that they do not live under the law but under grace. Such sentiments are often accompanied by the false assumption that God’s expectations of man are more lenient under grace than they were under the rigid rule of the law. However, the opposite is true. His expectations are higher for those of us who live in the age of grace.
In Matthew 5, Jesus contrasts life under the law to life under grace with six examples. “You have heard it said… But I say to you…” He quotes the requirements of the law and then introduces His way under grace. The former concerns restraint while the later a transformation.
“You have heard it said, ‘You shall not murder.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of judgment.”
“You have heard it said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
“You have heard it said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a bill of divorcement.’ But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife except for fornication, causes her to commit adultery.”
I think you get the idea.
Grace doesn’t require less from us than the law. Grace empowers us to overcome. Grace is not an excuse to sin. Grace is the gift of God to mankind that we may conquer sin through the power of His Spirit.
Isn’t grace amazing?