Grace is Better!

17 Sep

This thought comes from some discussion I have had with multiple friends over the last few months. We have all read the scripture where Jesus says that he did not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it. (Matt. 5:17)

A great example of this is found in Matthew 18:21, 22

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

We have heard this passage used in teaching on forgiveness, and that is certainly applicable. However, I believe that the real thrust of the passage is on Grace vs. Law. Peter, understanding the Jewish law, knew that he was required to forgive three times. He, being a spiritual man and understanding that Christ was greater than the Law, more than doubled the requirement to seven. We, too, are often guilty of augmenting law to make it seem like grace. Jesus came back with seventy times seven (490x) completely obliterating the law and defining unlimited Grace. We, like Peter, often try to define what we are required by scripture to do. Often, if we deem ourselves spiritual, will even go above and beyond those requirements and often hold others to our arbitrary definitions. But all these righteousnesses are only filthy rags in the sight of God.

Our augmented view of the law does not produce unity. To the contrary, it produces division. If I think we should forgive our neighbor seven times, and you think it should be ten, but your spouse thinks that two is plenty, I will look down at them for their lack of spirituality, while disdaining your “false piety.”

In the Grace vs. Law argument, there are those who would say that because of Grace, we are now allowed to ignore the law. This is not the teaching of Christ. Nor is it found anywhere in the Scriptures. Rather, Grace compels us to go farther than the law ever would have asked us. Where the law says that we should not kill our neighbor, Grace says to love him as much as we love ourselves. Where the law says we should not steal from our neighbor, Grace says that we should give of our own substance to help him. Where the law says we deserve to die for sins committed against our Creator, Grace stepped in and took the punishment for us. You see, what Jesus was teaching in Matthew 18 is that when we withhold Grace from someone, we are forgetting what He has done for us, but it is when we show persistent and unwavering Grace to another, that we most closely resemble Jesus.

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2 Responses to “Grace is Better!”

  1. Mary Gardner Martin September 17, 2012 at 10:48 AM #

    This is my favorite of your doctrinal pieces, Josh. Ever!

  2. Aaron September 17, 2012 at 12:41 PM #

    I’ve heard this in conversation, but I must say I agree with Mary. Very well articulated and biblical

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