We’ve started this series talking about why to go wild with your new Lover (Jesus) and dump the effects of your outdated husband (Law). The most important distinction for us to make when reading the Bible is between law and grace.
God doesn’t serve mixed drinks. He serves two separate shots: law and grace. Take even the slightest sip from the cocktail of law and you’ll sin more, feel guilty and end up confused because a little bit of Law + a lot of Grace = Law.
Paul says in plain words “You foolish Galatians” (Gal. 3:1) to those who tried to mix the old way of the law with their new life in Christ.
Only one thing you should be ministering!
The law – including the Ten Commandments – is “holy righteous and good” but it’s not meant for saints as a guide or for growth in Christ but to condemn sinners and bring them to Christ for salvation. Once saved you are not under the law but under grace (Rom. 6:14).
There’s only one thing we should be ministering to the church today – the New Covenant of Grace, nothing else:
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (2 Cor. 3:6).
The old law system has been totally set aside, because it was “weak” and “useless” and could never make anyone right with God (Heb. 7:18-19; 8:13; 10:8-10). Jesus replaced the old law system by establishing a new grace system that makes anyone right with God who believes in Him. Consequently, you are called to be a minister of the New Covenant of Grace.
What’s the value of the Old Testament?
Does this mean we put the Old Testament aside and don’t read it any more? What’s the value of the Old Testament?” People ask me this question regularly. Here’s my answer. All Scripture is God-inspired and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16).
Both the Old and New Testament is relevant for us today. However, we need to read the Old in light of the New! We read and study the Old Testament in light of the fact that Jesus came and fulfilled the law. We read the whole Bible, including the Old Testament, for one primary reason. To find Jesus.
Because in the Old Jesus is concealed, but in the New He is revealed!
The way we relate to God is very different today then for those before the cross. Before the cross God had to deal with people according to their works – law. After the cross God deals with people according to Jesus’ work – grace. In other words, you and I relate to God based on grace (what Jesus did) instead of performance (what we do).
Trapped in a cycle of self-imposed law
I grew up with a focus on performance rather then a Person. Therefore,
- I thought I had to do “Christian activities” – like Bible reading, praying, church attendance, confessing sin – to be more accepted, blessed and holy (while God already has accepted me, blessed me and made me holy through His Son)
- I prayed for God to help me live for Him (while God doesn’t want me to live for Him, but live His life through me)
- I believed I had to live up to God’s holy standard (while God has fulfilled His holy standard in Christ who lives in me)
Looking back I was trapped in a cycle of self-imposed law. I was relating to God in an Old Covenant way.
It is not my duty to try and fulfil the law but to believe Jesus Christ already has. Our Christian life is not a matter of trying harder but of believing Christ in us is the fulfilment of the law.
Since I’ve started to understand His unconditional love and grace my motives changed from “I must do these activities in order to become someone” to “I am already someone therefore I do these activities.”
Instead of being duty-driven (I must, I have to) I became desire-driven (I want to!). For example, nobody has to tell me to live holy; I want to live holy because I’ve discovered I am holy!
I don’t apply “spiritual disciplines” to become what I already am. Rather I read the Word, pray etc., to discover who Christ is and who I already am in Him and as a result I live according to my true Christ-like nature.
It’s now Christ living in me that motivates me to live Christ-like. Now He animates and energizes my actions to live like Him without stress and striving but with joy and ease.
May you continue to fall in love with Jesus as you behold His love that is without conditions.
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