In one new moment, one new beginning, one new chapter, one new era two great contrasts changed the world forever. The universe hinged on that moment and all of time and the world’s course were changed on the day of Pentecost. Something far more cataclysmic in size and scope than we have ever explored changed it. But what? What changed everything? The day of Pentecost issued in a new administration. Like when a new president arrives into office at the White House we also live in a new administration.
We all know by now that the incredible gift of holy spirit was poured out as an earnest or down payment on what we will receive when we get to heaven. We’ve been exploring that for the last seven posts during this amazing series. But did you know that something else happened too.
The Age of Grace.
Every believer prior to the Age of Grace was judged, justified and sanctified based on The Law of the Prophets. This was the ten commandments and the sacrificing of the lamb and so on and so forth.
“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 1:17
This doesn’t mean that because we live in the Age of Grace there is no law, or vice versa; because the Age of Grace had not yet come before Jesus Christ there was no grace. Quite on the contrary! The law was still the revelation of God’s will. When He asked the Jews to obey the commandments and they sinned anyway, He showed them grace. When we who live in grace are required to fulfill the conditions of a promise in order to abundantly reap the rewards of the blessing, that is law. God has never been without grace, nor without law. He is both just, and benevolent.
But, where in the Word of God there is a dispensation of Grace it never mingle these two principles.
Law always has a place and work distinct and wholly different from that of grace.
Law is God prohibiting and requiring; grace is God beseeching and bestowing. Law is a ministry of condemnation; grace of forgiveness. Law curses; grace redeems from that curse. Law kills; grace makes alive. Law shuts every mouth before God; grace opens every mouth to praise Him. Law puts a great and guilty distance between God and man; grace makes the guilty man nigh to God. Law says, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”; grace says, “love your enemies, bless them that despite-fully use you.
Law utterly condemns the best man; grace freely justifies the worst.
There are so many sharp contrasts between the two principles. Out of necessity God gave the Law. Man was without redemption, tricked out of fellowship and their standing with God was in constant flux. How God got anything done back in the old testament is beyond me. They had so many requirements in order to hear from God that few accomplished it. By the time Jesus Christ was born it had been four-hundred years since anyone had been able to fellowship with God and fulfill the requirements. Think of the dark and sad time that must have been for God. After -all, didn’t He create Adam and Eve so He could fellowship with them? Only to have it stolen by the devil.
There are three errors that have crept into the Church concerning the Law. Yes, we are beyond the days of rigid requirements. Jesus Christ set two laws above all else.
“Master, which [is] the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22;36-40
But we still have those two laws ruled by the law of love. So what goes wrong when it comes to the law? How do believers today error when it comes to law versus grace?
- Antinomianism– or the denial of all rule over the lives of believers; the affirmation that, because saved by God’s free grace, wholly without merit, men are not required to live holy lives and walk in love. They profess that they know God but their works deny Him. “They profess that they know God; but in works they denyhim, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” Titus 1:16
- Ceremonialism– In its first form, the demand that believers should observe the Levitical ordinances. “And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.” Acts 15:1
- Galatianism, or the mingling of law and grace –the teaching that justification is partly by grace, partly by law,; or, that grace is given to enable an otherwise helpless sinner to keep the law. This error was warned about most of all. “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Galatians 3:2-3
What I have found, and these tell us, is a born-again believer will learn of grace and do one of two things; run back to the rule of law or run the opposite direction. God’s goodness and forgiveness saves us. It is also by His goodness and grace that He continues to teach us. Understanding the depth of that goodness takes a huge growth step for the young believer. All their lives they have been told to, “Do this and God will love you or bless you!”, or, “Don’t do that or God will withhold His love and blessing from you”.
Here’s the truth, God will love and bless you anyway! That’s Grace!
What does a believer do, in this contrasting Age of Grace, when they want to live in the center of God’s Will?
That’s where the Law of Love comes in. It is still a requirement of the believer to walk in love.
“For I delight in the law of God afterward the inward man.” Romans 7:22
Embrace the grace and walk in His love! Love/agape is a spiritual love. We must make a conscious decision to walk in it. Just as it was a conscious decision to walk by the law. Following Christ’s example we enjoy the fullness of the abundant life in the perfect “age” of life.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:5-10
Perhaps one day, we will see the greatness of the moment we are in.
God bless you Today!