~ by Mark Maulding
What would your life be like if you decided you were going to live totally by grace instead of the 10 Commandments and religious rules? Would you feel free, or would you feel afraid? Today, some fear that teaching people to live exclusively by grace will lead Christians to increased sinning. There are phrases which have been created to describe their beliefs about this kind of teaching. Here are a few: license to sin, greasy grace, and hyper grace. These fears almost always lead to one conclusion: Christians need some law to balance grace.
Here is how it is sometimes couched. “God’s grace gives us the power to obey the 10 Commandments.” I once believed this and taught it. I dedicated myself for over 10 years to calling upon God’s grace to give me the strength and power to obey the Big 10. I began this with high hopes and excitement. Five years later I was filled with pride and self-righteousness. It ended in a fog of depression and finally giving up on it all. I told my wife one night at the end of this part of my journey, “If this is all there is to being a Christian, it doesn’t work, and I can’t do this any longer.”
God gave the Law for some very specific purposes:
1. To show people their sins.
Romans 3:20 (TPT) “For by the merit of observing the law no one earns the status of being declared righteous before God, for it is the law that fully exposes and unmasks the reality of sin.”
2. To make people sin more.
Romans 5:20a (TPT) “So then, the law was introduced into God’s plan to bring the reality of human sinfulness out of hiding.”
3. To minister death and condemnation.
2 Corinthians 3:7-9 (TPT) “Even the ministry that was characterized by chiseled letters on stone tablets came with a dazzling measure of glory, though it produced death. The Israelites couldn’t bear to gaze on the glowing face of Moses because of the radiant splendor shining from his countenance—a glory destined to fade away.
8 Yet how much more radiant is this new and glorious ministry of the Spirit that shines from us! 9 For if the former ministry of condemnation was ushered in with a measure of glory, how much more does the ministry that imparts righteousness far excel in glory.”
4. To prepare every person who hears the Law to embrace Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Galatians 3:24 (TPT) “The law becomes a gateway to lead us to the Messiah so that we would be saved by faith.”
The moment a person places their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior, any allegiance to the Law abruptly stops because we have “Somebody” better.
Galatians 5:25 (TPT) “We must live in the Holy Spirit and follow after him.”
Why? We have Jesus in us. He is not rule based at all but completely relationship based. Once our focus is on Him, we stop performing the rules for God and depend on Jesus to live a life of love through us. And what is amazing is that when we focus on Jesus, we fulfill the Law without even thinking about it!
Romans 13:10 (TPT) “Love makes it impossible to harm another, so love fulfills all that the law requires.”
We also have the Law written on our hearts and minds according to:
Hebrews 10:16 (TPT) “Afterwards, I will give them this covenant: I will embed my laws into their hearts and fasten my Word to their thoughts.”
This is a reference to our identity in Christ as holy and righteous sons and daughters of God. The deepest part of who we are wants to live a life consistent with who we are.
We don’t need the Law to balance the life-giving power of living by grace. We have Jesus, Mr. Grace Himself, in us so we can enjoy His love, love Him back and rely on Him to live through our new creation identity.
That night as I laid in that dark room full of despair, my DAD spoke to me, letting me know that He not only loved me but accepted me even if the church I was starting failed. Yet, when God first revealed the love and life of Christ to me, I still did not understand that grace had freed me from the Law. Little by little, my mind was renewed to where I saw that it can’t be both.
How about you? Are you ready to give up on Law-based living plus grace-based living? That combination still equals trying harder. If so, you can begin to simply trust that living by pure grace alone is enough. It’s a choice I urge you to make today. It may be scary at first, but as you experience more and more freedom to live like you’ve always wanted deep down inside as a Christ-follower, you will be glad you did!
Believe it! It’s the Gospel.
Live Free In Christ,
Mark Maulding, President and Founder
www.GraceLifeInternational.com – Leading Christians Into the Life-Giving Power of God’s Grace
© Mark Maulding (But feel free to share this.)
Bestselling Author God’s Best-Kept Secret: Christianity Is Easier Than You Think