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Grace Before Law

Initially, the law was good. It still is! It says we’re not supposed to lie, cheat, or steal. We’re not supposed to serve any other god but God. We’re not supposed to commit adultery. We’re not supposed to go around murdering each other. These are all good things. There’s nothing wrong with the law.

The problem is not the law, but sin. Sin comes in and the next thing you know, it’s causing chaos. That’s why sin went after the law. It looked at the law, a good and benevolent gift, and said, “Perfect! I’m going to twist this into chaos.”

It began going around and saying to people, “You know what? If you lie, you broke the law. That means you’re evil and you deserve to go to hell. And you know what else? If you cheat, then you’re not a good person. God’s going to frown on you. Do you know how much work you will have to do in order to be worthy of heaven? You’ll never be able to do it! I’ll bet you’re not even saved!”

That’s what sin does. It shames you. And when you live in shame, you live in darkness. You’re frightened. You think you don’t add up. Sin is such a good liar that you start to believe you’re not good enough. Sin has shamed you into thinking that you will never be worthy of God. Now you’re thinking, “I need to act in a righteous way. I need to make sure I’m doing righteous things. So what does a righteous person do? Let’s see, I can’t lie, I can’t cheat, I can’t steal, I can’t…,” and so on. Sin has fooled you into thinking that the law comes before grace.

This is why Paul says the law stinks. The law is not good when it becomes legalism! Legalism stresses performance. It says you can’t receive God’s love and forgiveness until you stop messing up. Does that make sense? What were the crucifixion and the resurrection for, if they didn’t save us from sin and death?

The Bible says no to sin. It says no to sin’s lies. The Bible says no to chaos, fear, and darkness. Don’t be afraid. You don’t live in darkness. You live in the light! That’s the Bible’s promise.

In the light, you will find trust. In trust, we find joy in each other. Living in joy is scriptural. Hebrews 11:6 is just mind-blowing for me:

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Let’s think about this. What is faith? Faith is trust. So you please God when you trust Him. You don’t have to perform for Him first, by adding up, or being perfect, or cleaning up the messes you make. You don’t have to do any of that to please Him. He loves you! Trust Him. That’s it. That’s what God wants. He wants you to trust Him.

I don’t think churches have done a very good job counseling believers in this area. I think that all too often, despite their good intentions, churches do not trust God. That’s why you hear so much legalism in churches. They trust in God, yes. And they trust that there is a God. But they don’t trust that God is who He says He is. And they don’t trust in who God says they are.

Who does God say you are? God says, “Because of your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, you are holy and righteous in everything that you do. You might look in the mirror and see a sinner, but I’ve already forgiven you. You are my precious child and I am going to help you.”

Do you trust God in that?

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