The Lure of the Law Part 4

RxELIGION: A prescription for Dis-ease

Extreme grace messages create a license to sin; they lead to lazy Christianity, passivity.

If we were to take a poll, many Christians would say that they have heard the above accusations regarding grace at some point in their lives.

The term “greasy grace” has been commonly used to imply that such extreme teachings will cause believers to slip into sinful practices because Jesus has taken care of all sins—past present and future. There is nothing that we can do that He doesn’t already have foreknowledge of. We can rest knowing that our sin is taken care of.

Yes, Jesus did take care of our sin issue once and for all, yet some people have misappropriated the truth and have misapplied grace to fit their lives. Worse still, some ministers have stopped short in their teachings of what grace has truly and fully blessed the believer with.

Kinda sounds like religious prescriptions for UN-wellness, for DIS-ease, right? And it’s all because grace has been DIS-graced.

When true ministers teach that the Christian life is one of grace, faith righteousness and rest, there will be a risk that someone may distort the message.

Distorting grace is a tactic as old as the Judaizer’s mission. Judaizers were legalists who believed in Jesus but rejected that faith righteousness came by way of the Person of Grace: Jesus the Messiah. They believed that adherence to the Law was a must, so they attacked and slandered the gospel in order keep a religious mindset over the people.

We don’t adhere to the prescription the legalist uses to disciple believers. Doing so would be participating in dead works. Dead works are not necessarily bad things. They are good deeds accomplished with the wrong motive: to achieve righteousness. Any work that aims for righteousness apart from the atoning work of the Cross of Christ is dead.

In reality, faith righteousness that results from Christ’s extreme gift of grace never leads a person to laziness. Our Christian lives are about abiding in Jesus—to completely depend on Him to animate our lifestyle and to constantly trust Him to express His life through us.

When a person chooses to abide, there is absolutely no way he will become passive, no way he ever sees grace as a means for passivity or for God to just “overlook” sin.

Jesus is the embodiment of grace and truth, and abiding in Jesus means that you understand that you have been divinely enabled to courageously and powerfully live out who you are!

This is huge!

You are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). The old sin nature has been dealt with. You no longer have to remain captive by laws to become right before God. You can confidently accept that it is Jesus who makes you righteous and frees you from any law-abiding!

Read John 8:31-32 NKJV:

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Ok, Patty, so if I am free, surely, I still need to do something, right?

Yes, but it is not generated by any self-effort or work to be made right.

We don’t adhere to the prescription the legalist uses to disciple believers. Doing so would be participating in dead works. Dead works are not necessarily bad things. They are good deeds accomplished with the wrong motive: to achieve righteousness. Any work that aims for righteousness apart from the atoning work of the Cross of Christ is dead.

For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgement and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.] (Ephesians 2:8-9 AMPC)

Before a person is saved, he hears, “It’s all Jesus, He did everything. It has nothing to do with what you have done or what you can do to be reconciled to Him. It’s faith, faith, faith!” Then as soon as he trusts Christ, he is taught (or he defaults to understand) that some things need to be followed (the Law) in order for him to live out his righteousness.

What a contradiction!

In the same way you received Jesus our Lord and Messiah by faith, continue your journey of faith, progressing further into your union with Him! Your spiritual roots go deeply into his life as you are continually infused with strength, encouraged in every way. For you are established in the faith you have absorbed and enriched by your devotion to him! (Colossians 2:6 TPT)

What the Apostle Paul is telling the people of his day (and to us now), is to continue to receive grace by faith. Receiving is what believers do! Resting is what we do.

Receiving comes by abiding, and abiding is continually walking in Him. This is where revelation knowledge comes from. And the revelation is this: we now live from a place where we have already overcome sin’s power through the finished work of Jesus. Jesus Himself said it [works of the law] was finished. Hallelujah!

If we go back to the beginning of this narrative, we need to ask the question why some ministers fall short in teaching grace. It may be because they themselves have not fully embraced the fullness and beauty of liberty, so, they resort to a legalistic methodology that stems from the foundation of fear. Fear is simply a false evidence appearing real. It is the fear and conviction that Christians won’t actually live a godly life apart from the coercive and persuasive pressure associated with rules.

This legalist’s approach grossly undermines the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. When a Christian knows he is free from the law, he will discover that Holy Spirit will motivate him to serve based on his relationship to Jesus, not because of external performance demands.

In other words, Holy Spirit hasn’t been given enough credit to do the “heart work” in each individual, therefore, some religious angle must be taught to avoid potential reckless living.

However, if genuine grace is taught, genuine grace will be learned and received. Grace, therefore, will motivate a man to live a godly lifestyle more than one thousand rules ever could.

In Ezekiel, we read how God held forth the promise of the day of grace—the day in which we now live. Speaking through the prophet, God said: I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ezekiel 36:26-27 NIV)

Holy Spirit stirs the heart constantly—tills the soil so to speak—causing a Christian to keep on receiving grace, to keep resting in the finished work, to see himself as a victor and not a victim of sin’s taunting influence.

The believer is stirred to simply rest and abide in His empowering Presence. It is His Presence alone that causes a Christian to actively serve and obey. He cannot help but do so! He is a Christian on a mission empowered by the Omnipotent God of the universe who has taken up residence within him.

Don’t try telling a person walking in grace what HE MUST DO. He will tell you to keep your rules because he doesn’t need them. He is motivated by a much higher and holier Source. The Source of his behavior isn’t a religious prescription; it is a Real Person living within him, energizing and empowering him with divine life at every moment. Hallelujah!

Ok, Patty, with all that said, what are the decrees and laws that God will move me to follow and obey? Sounds like law-abiding to me.

Au contraire!

We will wrap this up next time.

 

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