Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Don't Live Like Grace Doesn't Exist

Too often we Christians struggle to live like grace is real and has really collided with our lives.  We profess grace and then teach law.  We sing grace and enforce law.  How can we live like grace exists?  The Colossians struggled with this, too.

"When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.  He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross."  Colossians 2:13-14

We were dead and now we are alive thanks to grace.  We were under the regulations of the law until the law was nailed to the cross with Jesus as He fulfilled both its regulations and its penalties.  Paul goes further in Colossians chapter 2.

"Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.  These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ."  Colossians 2:16-17

Why practice these things when they pointed to Christ?  Why continue with the shadow when you have the real thing in Jesus?  Paul continues with an edge of sarcasm later on in the chapter.

"Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 'Do not handle!  Do not taste!  Do not touch!'?  These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings.  Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence." Colossians 2:20-23

Don't live like grace doesn't exist!  Humans love to impose religious regulations on one another, but Christ has called us out of that.  Don't get me wrong, those of us who are in Christ are called to a higher standard, but we don't achieve that standard through self imposed rules or self-help initiatives or religion.  We achieve sanctification through the work of the Holy Spirit, not through the work of our own efforts which "lacks any value in restraining sensual indulgence", though mysteriously our own efforts play a part.

The biggest thing I want Christians to do keep in mind is that religion is about imposing rules on others.  We are not to do that.  Some in the church at Colosse were telling others that they needed to be circumcised or they need to observe a feast day or they needed to avoid pork.  Paul was strongly against this.

For a better understanding of what it looks like to live in Christ through grace and not through the law, I invite you to read a blog by my friend Pastor Ben Dau.  In it he explains three categories of the law and our responsibility to each.  His post is one of the best I've seen on this subject and I'm not just sharing it because he's a friend.

Friends, you are no longer a slave to sin or the law.  You were purchased by grace and are alive in Christ.  Don't live like grace doesn't exist today.

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