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.
There are Universal Laws to which all men are subject unless acted upon by another law. An example is gravity – It is a constant force that is always in place and effects all matter. Furthermore, you don’t have to believe in the law or even be aware of it for it to work. Unless another law, like lift, gives you power over it, gravity will constantly be successful in its quest to keep you on the ground.
One such Universal Law is the Law of Sin & Death. It states that all men are sinners (Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”) and that sin ALWAYS leads to death (Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death.”)
And so you can see the predicament of mankind. WE ARE SINNERS DESERVING OF DEATH!
That is a law governing all of mankind…UNLESS! Unless acted on by another law.
Just as all matter is subject to gravity unless acted upon by another force, all mankind is subject to the law of sin and death unless acted on by a permanently opposing law.
I am here to tell you that there is another law!
Scripture tells us, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2
God has another law! It was put into play from the foundation of the world. It is the Law of a substitute.The innocent dying for the guilty. The just taking the place of the unjust.
An object in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted on by another force.
An object at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted on by another force.
The law of sin and death tells me that I am a sinner and sin leads to death …unless!
“There is an old saying that a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client, and not many lawyers try it. But people like you and me apparently do. The number is actually kind of shocking. In New York state alone 1.8 million people represent themselves in court in a typical year.”– This American Life Podcast “Pro Se”.
What is the reason that most people represent themselves in the court of law? They simply can’t afford a lawyer.
As I listened to this podcast I thought, “how often to do I try to represent myself ‘pro se’ in the court of life? It is only natural for man to defend himself, right? We are always the first one to stand up and defend ourselves. We defend our choices, our opinions, our prejudices, our lifestyles, and our beliefs. But this is what I have found, I stink at defending myself! I need a lawyer!
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2
I have an advocate! He is someone who will speak on my behalf. He is someone who will come to my defense. This is good news for someone who isn’t very good at defending himself.
Not only is He my advocate, He is the propitiation for my sins. He is the appeasement for my sins. That is why He alone is uniquely qualified to defend me.