Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why current evangelical doctrine is off the mark; looking at law and grace

While there are a multitude of differing doctrinal positions within evangelical Christianity, there are essentially two positions that are always at odds, and result in most of the overwhelming confusion that besets would be saints. The two mutual exclusive views can best be defined by asking the following two questions. What is the position taken on the tension between law and grace and which is the over-riding concept? To further define the two positions, it offers clarity, to explain the view they hold for law and/or grace. The positions in these two divisions are simply put… (1) those who emphasize law and (2) those who emphasize grace. 

The ones who emphasize law, at the end of the day, are called legalists by those who emphasize grace, and the ones who emphasize grace are called easy believers and their doctrine is called easy believism or anti-nomianism by those who emphasize law. So, which position is right? The answer is really quite simple when you sit back and look at it. 

In the New Covenant, the only covenant that Gentiles are under GRACE is the driving force. Grace is the motor that runs Christian doctrine. Grace has the first and foremost position. Here are three biblical reasons: 

  1. The law was given through Moses… but… grace and *truth* came through Jesus Christ
  2. Where sin abounds…. Grace abounds all the more 
  3. You are *not* under law… you are under *grace* 

First off, John 1:17 tells this. The law is neither grace nor truth. Grace and truth was something that had to come later and it came through Jesus. This alone should assure one that grace is the prime mover, grace drives the gospel train. Grace has priority over law and that is just a fact. Many do not want to hear it but just because they have plugged their ears does not mean that they are right. The opposite is true they are plain wrong and it is a woefully sad truth. The reason is that in their law emphasis, they damage those who have been set free from guilt by grace. This is precisely why the law kills and the Spirit gives life. 

Secondly, Romans 5:20 further explains that grace is the prime mover, that *grace*… not law… drives the gospel train metaphorically speaking. Here is the fact plain and simple. One cannot out-sin grace! This may offend the sensibilities of the legalist camp but it still remains an indisputable truth. Even when Paul goes on to ask if one should sin so that grace can abound… even that… does not overthrow the simple truth that one cannot out-sin grace. 

Finally, Romans 6:14 states it so plainly that anyone with the slightest command of language can understand that grace… not law… is the prime mover; it is driving the gospel train so to speak. Paul’s admonition in Romans 6:15 notwithstanding, grace is the catalyst. It is the ground. It is the foundation for faith and trust in Jesus Christ. 

This all goes to establish peace with God and love for God. Faith in the grace message is the catalyst for loving God and truly loving God is the prime mover in transformation. It will NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, ever be the law. The Law will not ever provide peace with God and it therefore CANNOT produce the fruit of the Spirit.

7 comments:

  1. these are the same tools of reason that have been used so many times before to address law vs. grace, and again without success. Unchanged are those many trapped within the false dichotomy of law & grace.

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  2. Truth existed before a word of the Law was written. Truth existed in the One we know as "the Word" from before the beginning.

    God's goodness in grace expressed to me (above the law) found it's full understanding when I realized that Abraham was saved by grace (by faith) before Jesus paid the price. In the same way sins not yet committed in my life are paid by grace (by faith) before they occurred.

    The second part is that my knowledge of the law wasn't required for me to sin. In the same way my understanding of grace isn't required for my forgiveness. His grace is apart from my works even to the point of my comprehension. Instead he asks us to "become like little children."

    The third part came as I was able to separate the concepts and processes of salvation and sanctification. This brought me full circle but reintroduced the sanctified life as a "fruit of the spirit" instead of a work I perform of my own fulfillment of a requirement of law (or even New Testament "Scriptural principle").

    And to be free is to be "free indeed!"

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  3. Marshall and Aland,
    Thanks for the comments... I always appreciate them. Let me state that I believe that a person who is genuinely converted to faith and trust in Father through Jesus will over time be influenced by the grace to love God and in loving God will strive to please him... not because of commandments but because of love.

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  4. God brought this blog to me at a most important time in my spiritual walk. Thank you so much for pointing out the truth of Law and Grace. God has used you to help our family so much.

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  5. Melanie,

    Thanks for such a wonderful report. This alone makes writing the blog worth it!

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  6. I personally have been an Adventist for 5 years now, and I've come to the point where I've thrown my hands up saying I can't be Jesus! I've learned in a very painful way that "religion" is toxic to the gospel, and fear is a terrible motivator to love. Rather, its the grace of God that leads us to repentance. Not religious hoola hoops. For anyone reading this... please understand that I'm not endorsing the concept that its ok to continue in sin so grace may abound, but I would say that we must not make grace out to be something its not either. And grace doesn't condemn unless your an enemy of it, and the law without the spirit is dead. So, if I've learned anything in my very painful experiment in legalism... its this... what motivates us to obey is everything! and only walking in the spirit of the gospel can allow us to walk in peace.

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  7. Grace - "the free and unmerited (undeserved, unearned) favour of God shown towards man". (The Free Dictionary)

    Why would anyone want to be tied to the law when they can have "the free and unmerited, undeserved, unearned favour of God?

    Why is it that we just have to make things harder than they have to be?

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