In 2004, I started the writing of a series of books on the Ten Commandments in the 21st century, a book per commandment. Five books have been published so far... still five to go :) English is my second language, so the books are written in an uncomplicated manner without the use of difficult words (since I don't know any). During the writing process and the studying of related Bible passages I began to receive more and more insight on the subject law & grace. No theological explanations, but fresh insights on ancient truths.
In the upcoming weeks I will write a series of posts on this subject. Why? Because there seems to be quite some confusion, unclarity and even wrong teaching on this subject. Many evangelical Christians don't have a love for the Law, because to them 'living by grace' means doing away with the law. We are set free from the law, right? Faith has nothing to do with a bunch of rules, but everything with relationship. On the other hand there are denominations where the Law still rules and this can end in legalism = setting the obedience of the rules above the leading of the Holy Spirit. And perhaps many believers and churches are somewhere in between. We don't want to go from one extreme to the other. The Ten Commandments are old fashioned, the grace movement too good to be true, so we get stuck somewhere in the middle.
I have collected some thoughts about law & grace, in random order. Let's see whether you recognize some:
- The Law has been nailed to the cross
- We are set free of the Law, no more need of Old Testament teachings
- It is all grace, there is nothing we can or need to add
- A lawless society is a disorderly society
- I am living by grace and do not want to be legalistic, but...
- Everything changed after the cross
- But we cannot delete or ignore certain Bible passages
The grace teaching is nothing new, it is the teaching that we can only depend on Gods grace to be reconciled with Him. This was being preached 2000 years ago, and then by our church fathers and now in most churches. There are, however, many different interpretations. In certain circles grace is being kept for the elect or it is something God will bestow on people when He wants to do so, we can not grab it. In other circles grace is being taught as unmerited favor, we can not do anything to make God love us more. So, sit back and relax.
All of this can be debated, but does it mean we have to choose between law and grace? We either keep the law, or we accept His grace. Having both seems an impossibility. Are law & grace an uneven match?