Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Grace not law trains us to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives

Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,  (12)  training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,
Colossians 2:13-14 reads;  “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,  (14)  by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” If you look across evangelical Christianity, it becomes obvious that one of the important focal points of their dogma and doctrine is the Law of Moses and obedience. Yet, look at what Paul tells the Colossians. How did God forgive all trespasses? …By canceling the law. That is not a popular idea within orthodox evangelical circles but it is a fact. How does grace train us to live godly, self-controlled lives? The answer to this question is that grace produces love. It produces love within the person receiving the unmerited favor.

Real self-control and godliness is brought about by love; Love within the person. Grace, unmerited favor, and forgiveness of debt works within us to produce that love, and will produce obedience that the law cannot produce. The law produces death and fear. Grace produces the perfect love that casts out all fear. How does it work? Faith in God’s grace produces this transforming love. I know, it sounds antithetical to all we know and have been taught, but think about it. Being able to really count on God’s grace no matter what is the source of love for God. Love for God is the source of the self-control and godliness.

So why is this not universally taught and understood in orthodox evangelical circles? I think the answer to the question is simply put a phenomenon that Jesus called “the leaven of the Pharisees.” As I have pointed out many times before on this blog, the main evangelical hermeneutic, grammatical-historical hermeneutic, the biblical story is not properly presented. The biblical narrative must be understood with redemption being the over-riding focus. It was expressed by Paul this way. Rom 6:14  “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” This is a fact. The driving force in Christianity is grace and not law.

Because of this view Paul was accused of promoting sin. He goes on to ask the question; (Rom 6:15  What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!) Grace is not the reason people sin… human nature is the reason people sin.

Paul has a similar discussion in romans 5:20 through 6:4. He states that where sin abounds grace abounds even more. There you have it. The emphasis is on grace and not sin and the law. Grace is the driving force. Today, the same accusation is raised against those who teach this obvious spiritual, scriptural truth. I can assure you that teaching absolute grace will not produce more sin. All sin comes from human nature. Now, the law may help one be aware of the sin and fear may help them repress it… BUT IT WILL NOT HELP ONE TO OVERCOME IT! Only the love of God produced by grace will transform one into an overcomer.

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