Law and Grace – New and Old
Having just completed a long study of the books of Romans, Galatians and Ephesians, as a survivor of a legalistic church, I am shaking my head about what I and many others used to believe (and many still do, of course!).
How did I once read these books? It seems I found only what I was looking for, and it was not God’s grace. My sense is that one can make the Bible mean anything one wants it to mean, they find only and exactly what they are looking for and disagree with all other conclusions.
With any form of legalism and in particular with any form of “Christianity” that exalts old covenant law one is convicted that a relationship with God is all about what they “do.” It’s a life of dedication making sure one does not “break” the law. It’s a commitment to doing whatever is necessary when one offends and breaks the law to making it right by doing all the right things to fix the situation. The entire focus is on the law. I once lived my life in such a way.
Now, however, I life a life centered in the great I AM – I ponder and drink deeply of the seven I AM sayings of the Gospel of John and in particular love John 14:4 – “I am the way and the truth and the life.” When I come to the cross of Christ and believe, accept and receive Him I become, and I am transformed, by God’s grace, a new covenant. When Jesus died on his cross he said “it is finished.” If it is finished, why are so many people still trying to live by the old covenant?
My commandments are no longer written on two tablets of stone. The commandments of Jesus, the two great commands, are written on my heart. I no longer worry about keeping rules and regulations. Instead, as I am now, by God’s grace, free in Christ I yield to him as God the Holy Spirit lives in me and produces the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25). I am so deeply thankful that I can be God’s living covenant, with freedom in Christ to live out the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
- Barbara – lives in New York