Thursday, August 7, 2014

My Heart: A Place of Grace - Grace and the Law Part I

But he (God) said unto me, "My grace
is sufficient for you, for my power is
made perfect in weakness."
                 II Corinthians 12:9a  

     Isidore of Seville (Archbishop of Seville who died in 636 A.D.—Sainted by the Catholic church was considered by many historians to be the last scholar of the ancient world.  I found his statement on teaching and grace to be right in line with Scripture when he said, Teaching unsupported by grace may enter our ears, but it never reaches the heart. When God's grace does touch our innermost minds to bring understanding, then his word, which is received by the ear, can sink deep into the heart.”

     When we think about the grace of God, there are a few questions to ponder:
1.   Is grace found in the Old Testament Scriptures?  
2.   Did grace arrive only with the birth of Messiah, Jesus, the Christ, the Anointed One?
3.  What is the essential purpose of the law given in the Old Testament?
     Think about questions one and two as we take a look at question three.
     I would maintain that it is impossible to separate the law from grace. The two are inextricable. The law was given by God for two purposes: The revelation of sin and the preparation for the Savior.
     Scripture tells us that God’s redemption plan was forged—it took shape—before the creation of the world:
     In Ephesians 1:4 Paul tells us, “For he (God) chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” Salvation depends totally on God. We don’t deserve it, we cannot influence God’s plan, it is a gift given before the earth was created.
     In I Peter 1:20 we learn that “He (Christ) was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.” God’s plan was not in light of an oops…because man was disobedient. God’s plan for redemption was not plan B—it was not a last straw or an afterthought.
     The sacrificial atoning death on the cross of God’s Only Son was Plan A, from the beginning, But before we get to the cross…we need to understand the law. And we will do that by taking an Old Testament overview crash course.
     Grace is God’s undeserved favor. Grace is what we desire when we have blown it, made a mistake, broken a promise or ignored a warning. But the times we most need grace, are often the times when the thou shall not brigade steps forth reminding us of our faults and failures in keeping the law. And often, we ourselves are guilty of accusing other law breakers rather than displaying a bountiful portion of grace.
      What is the Law? The Law, simply put, is a mixture of authorities, rules and regulations that convey standards of living with consequences for any breaking of said law. Aristotle called it reason free from passion; more about justice than mercy and, by its very nature, restrictive and binding. Grace, favor, kindness, freedom and blessing is not often associated with the law.
     Since our thoughts will revolve around God’s law and God’s grace, we will be searching the Scriptures for tools that will help us understand how the law of God relates to the grace of God—thereby helping to firmly establish our hearts as a place of grace. While many may see the Bible’s Old Testament as devoid of grace, we can surely find God’s stamp of grace across the pages of human history from Genesis through Revelation.
     In the next few posts we will focus on God’s law and its relationship to God’s grace. I pray you will stick with me as together we delve into the Word of God.

© Joyce Powell

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