by Jim Gordon
Growing up in the Christian church, my wife and I were taught that we were saved by grace. Yet, once we were saved by grace we needed to continue to live by the law. This seems to be a fairly common teaching for the modern-day believer.
Once we began questioning some things we were reading in the bible, we came to a new conclusion. The bible mentions that those of us who are saved by grace are now free from the old covenant law. If we still try to live by the commands of the old covenant, we are actually living under a curse. ‘For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.’ (Galatians 3:10 NIV).
Why is it we cannot accept the free gift of grace that God provided? Why is it we are still living a performance-based life trying to please God? ‘For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ. You have fallen away from God’s grace’. (Galatians 5:4 NLT).
It became clear to us that we now live for God because of love, not out of obligation, not trying to do more and earn our salvation. The works of the law and the ten commandments no longer have a hold on us.
Now, am I saying because we are free of the law that we can just do whatever we want? Eat, drink and be merry? No, not at all. Even though we are free from the law, and even though by keeping our eyes on Christ we have the ability through him not to sin, we are still living in a fallen world. There will be times when we take our eyes off him and commit sins. Although in Christ our sins are already forgiven and there is no longer punishment for them, there are still consequences in this world when we do wrong.
The thing is, by trying to keep the law, we are led into death. ‘The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law’. (I Corinthians 15:56 NASB). The old way of doing things was only a temporary thing. The law showed us that we were completely powerless to live up to God’s standards. It was a tutor for us until Christ came and took our sinful nature to the cross. ‘Therefore, the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus’. (Galatians 3:24–26 NASB).
We had been taught that we needed to do more and more for God. We were taught to try to keep the commandments and strive to be ‘good Christians’. Fortunately, the Spirit has been guiding us into the reality that we cannot keep the commands. We, in ourselves, are powerless to do so, and so are you. Christ came to fulfill the law and provide freedom to all of us. We are now free to live by love for Him and free from trying to live by the law. When Jesus said ‘it is finished’, he was saying the old covenant, the old way of trying to live by the law, was finished. He accomplished what we could not do. When he was resurrected, a new way of life started, a new covenant based on grace.
It is time we realize God, out of His love for us, has provided all we need. He has done away with our old sinful nature. We are forgiven of all our sins by His grace. We can now enter into his rest and rely on what He has done. We no longer have to strive to keep all the rules and constantly try to do more and more to earn a relationship with Him. ‘We have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code’. (Romans 7:6).
Rest in Him, rely on the Spirit to teach you and guide you through love. There are plenty of things to do, but we do them when we are led by the Spirit, and we do them through love. Now that we live by the new covenant, we live in love because He has put His spirit within us to walk with us daily.
When we are in love with God, we do not need rules to tell us what to do. We do what is pleasing to Him because we love Him. The Law is no longer in effect. By grace we now live a life of love for God and for one another. It is by love that we will do what pleases Him.
Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: email@example.com