We like our food microwaved, or information immediate. We beep at the car in front of us to go milliseconds after the light turns green, and we run the yellow-turning-red light so we don’t have to wait. The faster the better.
And so, who could blame people for approaching the Bible the same way? Do you need an answer to life’s problems? Open the book and point to a sentence. Don’t bother reading it in context.
It’s a Short Attention Span Lifestyle.
It’s not how the Bible was intended to be read.
Let me say this first: I think memorizing lines of scripture is vital to living a Christian life. But we have to put the lines back into the context to see what the Lord is telling us.
People like to run around saying, “Don’t judge.” Yes, there are times NOT to judge. There are also times we need TO judge. If all it meant was NEVER judge, why do we have Judges in court rooms at all? Why not let all the criminals do whatever they want? Why have rules at all?
There are times not to walk, and there are times not to walk on the grass.
So when it comes to the subject of Law vs. Grace, we seem to get into the same kind of trouble.
So let’s start with Matthew 5:17:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
Jesus comes to fulfill the prophecies, and fulfill the law. His lifeblood was the sacrifice to God for our sin, so the animal sacrifice was no longer necessary. We get that.
But most of us have been taught that since we cannot keep the Law, we don’t have to worry about our sin at all, Jesus paid for it, it’s under the blood.
Not so fast.
When we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
But that doesn’t mean we can live any way we want, and keep on sinning, because “we are not under the Law but under Grace.”
Grace is “unmerited favor.” We can’t earn it. But it’s more than that. Biblical Grace is God’s power in us to overcome sin. To press on toward the goal, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, not looking to sin, not walking after the flesh, but walking after the spirit.
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14) Holiness is a product of Grace. The Kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:21)
By God’s great and precious promises He allows us to be partakers of His divine nature. (2 Peter 1:4)
When Jesus told His followers that the greatest commandments were to “Love God with all your heart, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself,” He was not lowering the bar, He was raising it.
If we truly believe that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us — think about that for a minute — how can we attempt to do anything but His best for us? (Romans 8:11)
In fact, here’s the whole verse:
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
*** I believe this means NOW on earth, not “someday” in Heaven.
I don’t have all the answers–I am just starting to learn this concept. I also thought for years that it didn’t matter how I lived. But now I see that was not God’s intention at all. He gave us the Holy Spirit to be His body on earth, to take His Good News to those who don’t know Him. To feed the poor, heal the sick, etc.
I believe that among the tools He has given us are His Word–to read, meditate, discuss, and memorize, and the Holy Spirit–His presence with us always, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, speaking in other tongues, our prayer language. I know this has been the subject of debate for two thousand years. I believe you can be saved without having the baptism of the Holy Spirit. BUT I believe it’s a huge gift to the body of Christ and that is why the devil fights it so hard. Just think: if we can pray directly from our spirit, to God the Father, with the Holy Spirit’s help, and not have our own human weakness in the way—if you were Satan, wouldn’t YOU fight it?!
Wrap up: I’m not an expert in the gift of Grace; I’m still learning. But I see the tip of the iceberg, and instead of focusing on the tip, I am digging in, to see what is submerged.
I recommend an excellent study series: Relentless by John Bevere.
Have a good day everyone. Here is a picture of Bailey to cheer you: