Grace Rules

 

jesus graceI grew up living according to the rules of my parents. They learned to live through the rules of their parents and so it goes. The rules of the household are meant to shape the children into well-mannered, respectable adults. There is a place for boundaries and rules in our society as well. Freedom without responsibility isn’t freedom at all – it’s chaos.

The Apostle Paul was addressing the church in Galatia and the issue of Law & Grace came up. He was a preacher of grace and filled with grace to the non-Jewish people. He explained that while Jesus was a Jew, He came to save everyone. We could never follow Jewish customs and practices to be saved. Jesus delivered grace that took away the power of the law. The law never could save. The Law could affect my behavior, but it didn’t change my heart. Grace does both. Grace changes my heart which then affects how I live and love. Check this out…

19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing. (Galatians 2:19-21 CSB)

I used to say that different denominations had different parts of the gospel that they preached and taught with diligence while ignoring some of the other important components. For example, I used to think that the Christian Church majored on baptism and ignored grace. I thought that the Baptist church preached grace and ignored baptism. I felt like the Pentecostal church had the Holy Spirit while ignoring grace and baptism. The gospel is a complete package. It is the life-changing purpose of Jesus coming to earth. He lived and died that we might live a life surrendered to the Lord and experience eternal life with God.

I do follow some rules today because I love the Lord NOT so I can be loved by Him. He loved me first and He changed my perspective on life. Over the past few years I have realized my profound need of grace. The more I study grace, the more ridiculous it is. The Lord forgives me profoundly and removes my past and sets me up for a beautiful future. He’s done this for me too many times to count. He is not a “one and done” Savior. I have needed His Grace too many times to count and He’s NEVER withheld it once.

God is not about the law as much as He is about GRACE. I will say that Grace has changed my perspective about the law. I live differently because of Grace. I live differently not out of fear, but out of confidence and hope. Grace now rules my life.  I’m so thankful that I discovered this crazy love from God called Grace.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Judge

 

Mature Judge Pounding In The CourtroomI’m not sure I’d like to be a judge in a courtroom. I’ve only been in court a few times to hear a case being argued before the judge. I’ve also served on jury’s too. There is much procedure and protocol that must be followed. I do like some of the work hours of judges as well as their pay scale! guess I see both sides of this career and I’m not sure I’d want to go that route.

I must admit that I’m a pretty harsh judge of myself. I know me. I know I’m not all that great. I know that I like to please others. I also want to please the Lord. It should be my highest goal in everything to please Him. I realize that I am judged by the Lord, but He brings grace into the equation. Check this out…

 For I am not conscious of anything against myself, but I am not justified by this. It is the Lord who judges me. So don’t judge anything prematurely, before the Lord comes, who will both bring to light what is hidden in darkness and reveal the intentions of the hearts. And then praise will come to each one from God. (1 Corinthians 4:4-5 CSB)

While others have certainly passed judgement, I try not to worry about them. I shouldn’t live to please them – they can’t save my soul. I do like to get along with most everyone. I try to never pass judgement on others. I believe that is God’s role. I can sometimes find others faults very quickly while ignoring my own.

The Lord knows my thoughts – He is the judge of both what is seen and what is hidden.

The Lord knows my actions done in secret – He knows the “everyday me”.

The Lord knows the intentions of my heart – He sees the source of everything in me.

I live to please the Lord. I’m not trying to appear better than anyone, because I’m not. I’m simply seeking to follow the Lord daily and honor Him with my decisions and the activities of my life. I’m thankful for learning about the Lord’s grace. I grew up learning about the laws and boundaries and I know they are there for my protection. The whole subject of grace has profoundly changed me and my future. The JUDGE is the very One Who introduced grace to me!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Amazing Law

legal gavel, scales and law bookI’ve never heard anyone say, “Amazing Law”. No one ever talks about the law the way we speak of grace. Every person on the planet has received grace from someone. The Person Who defines Grace is God. He has forgiven sins that are profoundly harmful to my heart and others. He’s forgiven murderers, liars, adulterers, thieves and the list could go on and on. His Grace is complete. His Grace is very thorough. His Grace is like a “hard reset” on my computer or my phone. God chooses that kind of memory with His Grace. When I really put my head to His Grace, it is ridiculous, lavish and “mind blowing”.  I deserve punishment, I deserve death, but instead I get promoted!

Romans 6 is packed with some amazing details about my new life in Christ. I came across one short verse yesterday and today while reading and it stopped me in my tracks. Check this out…

14 For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under the law but under grace. (Romans 6:12 CSB)

I am no longer a slave to sin.

I am free to live for the Lord.

I am no longer guilty under the law, I am under grace.

As a recipient of grace, I’m also called to dispense grace. I see people every day who need grace. I see people who have never known grace. I see people who’ve received grace but then they are selfish with it – like it’s theirs to be selfish with. Grace is God’s gift NOT mine. I get the privilege of delivering God’s Grace to others. It’s better than delivering lavish gifts that someone else paid for, but the recipient of those gifts think I’m responsible

God’s Grace is hard to describe.

God’s Grace is hard to define.

God’s Grace is NOT hard to accept.

I’m so thankful to live under His Grace. I’ve failed miserably trying to be a rule keeper under the law. Now that I know Grace, I want to honor the One Who delivered me from the law. I’m a better follower of God because of Grace NOT the rule keeping.

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound

That saved a sinner (aka wretch) like me.

______________________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Lawlessness

 

'Permitted by law', under 'Legal'I remember watching Back To The Future II with the movie set in a time and place where there was little or no law. The wealthiest people did pretty much what they wanted, because no one in law enforcement would challenge them. I can’t imagine what that might be like. I’m pretty sure that people in power get a free pass on some law breaking, but they are to be held accountable for their behavior just like I’m held responsible for mine.

The problem in Israel was that they had no leader who was being used by God to lead the people. The very last sentence of the book of Judges sums up the trouble they faced. Check this out….

25 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit. (Judges 21:25 NIV)

It is sad to think about what life would be like without the law and accountability that it brings to our society. I’m aware that many people break the law and some get away with pretty bad stuff for many years.

We are right in the middle of a presidential election. I’m not sure at this point which one will win. I know which candidates I like better than others. I know which candidates I would trust my family with and which I wouldn’t. Here in the USA, the majority elects one person to lead. If I didn’t vote for that person, it doesn’t matter – the majority wins. I am concerned about some of the rhetoric that I’ve heard in this campaign. It appears to me that each candidate has some significant philosophical differences. I’m not concerned though that the law of the land will go away with one leader rather than another.

I’m thankful that the Lord is my Leader.

His law code is the basis for much of our law code.

His code of Love, which includes surrender and sacrifice, is at the very core of our culture. It needs to be cultivated so that it grows as we learn to love and respect each other. We do have the freedoms to do a lot of things as we see fit, but there are certainly boundaries around all of us.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Justice

vector scales of justice and gavelIt’s hard to watch the local news in Atlanta without being disgusted with the choices of people who have no regard for human life or any life for that matter. They have no respect for the law of the land or the law of God. It is really hard to understand their thought process.

Our judicial system is somewhat slow and it’s certainly not perfect. The people in our society who commit violent crimes are brought to justice and punished under the law. I believe if the law didn’t handle justice, there is enough good people who would not let their crimes slip under the rug.

The Israelites set out to avenge the rape and murder of a woman. She was a concubine of a Levite. The people of the nation rose up to hold the men who committed this crime accountable. Check this out…

10 We’ll take ten men out of every hundred from all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred from a thousand, and a thousand from ten thousand, to get provisions for the army. Then, when the army arrives at Gibeah in Benjamin, it can give them what they deserve for this outrageous act done in Israel.’ 11 So all the Israelites got together and united as one against the city.

12 The tribes of Israel sent messengers throughout the tribe of Benjamin, saying, ‘What about this awful crime that was committed among you? 13 Now turn those wicked men of Gibeah over to us so that we may put them to death and purge the evil from Israel.’ (Judges 20:10-13 NIV)

Justice is sometimes messy. It is sometimes a struggle. There has to be a code of conduct in our society or people who have no respect for others will steal, kill and destroy. It seems to me that even with our laws and judicial system there are a crazy number of people who still have no respect for others and certainly no respect for authority.

Justice enforces boundaries and the code of law. Laws were written for our protection and our safety. I don’t always like the law, but I’ve been taught to respect the law and the rule of law. I struggle with the traffic laws the most. When I break the law by driving too fast, I’m pretty full of myself. I think it would wise for me to slow down and operate with in the boundaries of the traffic law.

The above story made me sick to my stomach yesterday when I read it. Today I feel like the people of Israel answered the call to justice. This cowardly act could not stand and the people responsible had to be punished. To me it looks like justice was served.

Pressing On!

Dwayne