Jesus Didn’t Abolish the Law

on August 18, 2015

In a recent article Patheos blogger Benjamin Corey tackled what is quite literally the oldest issue in the faith: what is the role of the Mosaic Law in contemporary Christian life?

The gravity of this topic cannot be overstated. This debate is so old you can trace it back to Acts 15. How many other controversies can make such a claim?

Corey is not ignorant of the task before him. He admits that dealing with the OId Testament is “tricky ground. It always has been.”

Thinkers before him vindicate his statement. The Great Awakening Theologian Jonathan Edwards, who enrolled in Yale at age 13, said

“There is perhaps no part of divinity attended with so much intricacy, and wherein orthodox divines do so much differ as stating the precise agreement and difference between the two dispensations of Moses and Christ.”

In plain English, this question/topic is hard.

One should exercise extreme caution before making positional statements on this issue. Furthermore, critiques of said positions should be handled with equal or greater care.

That said, Corey’s analysis demands a graceful response.

Corey begins his theological solution to the inconsistent use of the Law by rejecting the traditional division of the Mosaic Code into ceremonial and moral categories, arguing that such divisions do not exist in scripture. From there, he uses Galatians 5:3, a verse concerning the dispute of circumcision, to argue,

“As far as Paul was concerned, there were no categories of laws where some applied and some didn’t– he taught that if one felt they had to obey any of the law, they would have to obey all of it.”

Corey then invokes a number of Pauline texts to say that following the Mosaic Law is spiritually immature, (I Cor. 8:11), that Christians have no obligations to the Mosaic code (I Cor. 9:20), that the Law was a shadow of Christ rendered useless upon His arrival (Col. 2:17; Heb. 10), that the Law was canceled (Heb. 7; Col. 2:14), and that Christ “abolish[ed] the law of commandments” (Eph. 2:15).

Finally, Corey tackles the biggest scriptural obstacle to his thesis: Christ’s claim that He had not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it (Matt 5:17).

He claims that that though the concepts are different, the results of the words “abolish” and “fulfill” carry the same function, namely that the Law “in both cases has ended.” In the first case, “something ended prematurely,” but in the latter it came to its “proper ending point.” To drive this point home, Corey reminds his audience that Christ’s last words on the cross were “It is finished.”

Corey concludes by saying that “the Law [all of it] is no more in the life of the Christian” and that we are now under the “Law of Christ” (I Cor. 9:21).  With this in mind, he claims that Christians have two moral duties,

“If you’re a Christian, you’re not under the old Law, but a new one: the teachings of Jesus found in the red words of the Bible. All this he said, could be summarized via ‘love God’ and ‘love everyone else, too.’”

This is a strong statement that has radical implications in how Christians interact with the culture.

Corey is not the first to hold this position either.

Tony Campolo, a religious leftist who recently announced his support for Gay Marriage, named his group the “Red Letter Christians” for this very reason.

President Obama justified his support for homosexual civil unions with Red Letter hermeneutics,

“If people find that controversial, then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans.”

It is not an accident that people of leftist political persuasion are attracted to this view.

When one’s moral guidance comes solely from the red letters, which are then divorced from the narrative of scripture, it is nigh impossible to support war (Matt 5:38-46, Matt 26:52), capital punishment (John 8:1-11), find grounds to criticize abortion and homosexuality, push for faith-based convictions in the public square (Matt 6:6, John 18:36), or jump start Christian initiative in the face of the command to uphold a vague all accepting, nonjudgmental notion of “love” as the highest ethic (Matt 7:1, Luke 10:27).

This brings us to one question: is Corey correct in saying Christians are bound by the red letters alone?

In my humble opinion, he is mistaken.

Corey’s notion that Christ’s command to love God and love others replaces every command before it falls apart when one remembers that Christ said that you prove your “love” for Him by obedience to his commands (John 14:15). If “love” was the only way we demonstrate obedience, then Christ would effectively be saying that we are commanded to love him and we love him by loving him. This tautology is nonsensical and cannot be remedied without appealing to verses outside the red letters.

Second, the red letters don’t stick to the red letters. Jesus claimed to be the God of the Old Testament (John 10:30), which means all of God’s commands and actions were given and performed by Christ. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would echo what he tells him to say (John 16:13-15). Furthermore the Holy Spirit is God, just as Christ is (Acts 5:3-4), which means all of the Holy Spirit’s words and deeds belong to Christ. The Holy Spirit fell upon Peter (Acts 2) and he said that Paul’s epistles were scripture. Paul said that all scripture is God breathed (II Timothy 2:16-17), which means all scripture came from Jesus himself. This means that all scripture (both the Old and the New Testament) is “Red Letter” to some degree.

Corey’s position may be partially compatible with this last point, but he is likely to counter it with his argument that Christ “ended” the laws He gave in the Old Testament when he “fulfilled” them.

However, this argument is problematic in light of the fact that Paul and the Apostles use the Mosaic Law as normative for Christians.

Peter used Leviticus 11:44 to tell his flock to be holy (I Peter 1:16).

Paul invokes Deut. 25:4 to argue that ministers should be compensated for their services (I Cor. 9:9-12; I Tim 5:18).

Paul also said that we establish the law through faith in Christ rather than make it void (Romans 3:31).

Finally, Paul claimed that ALL scripture (including the Old Testamant law) is useful for instruction in righteousness (II Tim 3:16-17).

With all of these positive affirmations of the law, there is no way one can claim that Matthew 5:17 is proof that the authority of the Mosaic Law is over.

This is enough to disprove Corey’s contention that Christ ended the authority of the law when he “fulfilled it.”

The fact that Corey’s position is refuted with but a few verses is not a cause for ridicule. Rather it is a testament to the complexity of the issue. Christians who study the Bible in general and the Law in particular should adopt a careful line by line exegesis of passages rather than recklessly broad formulas that produce overly simplistic answers.

  1. Comment by Patrick98 on August 18, 2015 at 10:08 am

    What Benjamin Corey and others fail to do, and this is their big glaring omission, is to answer: Who defines what love is? and What actions are loving, and what are not loving? Does God define love or do fallen human beings define it? Does God reveal to us what are loving actions (perhaps in the words of Scripture?) or are we humans left to figure it out by ourselves and our whims?

    I believe God has revealed Himself to us in the Bible, and has revealed to us how we are to love God and love our neighbors.

    The question for us now is determining which are civil, ceremonial, and moral laws; which apply to some people and which to all people. And, could the moral laws actually be God’s instructions for us to live in loving ways? That could be …

  2. Comment by OhJay on August 19, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    To me, this just looks like a discussion of the centuries-old issue of the Third Use of the Law. As such, I think both Mr. Corey and Mr. Ballas could have enhanced the conversation considerably by consulting the deep well of historical Protestant thought on the issue. A simple Google search for “John Wesley third use of law” reveals a sermon in which Wesley confirms Mr. Corey’s point about Christ “ending” the law through fulfillment, but also maintains the law’s ongoing purpose:

    “Many of these lay it down as an unquestioned truth, that when we come to Christ, we have done with the law; and that, in this sense, “Christ is the end of the law to every one that believeth.” “The end of the law:” so he is, “for righteousness,” for justification, “to every one that believeth.” Herein the law is at an end. It justifies none, but only brings them to Christ; who is also, in another respect, the end or scope of the law, — the point at which it continually aims. But when it has brought us to him it has yet a farther office, namely, to keep us with him. For it is continually exciting all believers, the more they see of its height, and depth, and length, and breadth, to exhort one another so much the more …” (Wesley Sermon 34)

    I cite Wesley because of IRD’s Methodist roots, but Luther had his own take on the issue, as did Calvin, as did pretty much every major voice in the Reformation (and afterward). Taking up this issue without reference to Christian tradition and orthodox theology just leads to a battle of proof-texts, skimming the surface without dipping into the rich historical knowledge of the Church. A little more depth next time, please, gentlemen!

  3. Comment by John S. on August 24, 2015 at 7:49 am

    I think many like “red letter theology” because it means they have less to read and reckon with.. Asking people like that to deal with the church fathers, reformation founders, puritain divines, etc is a hopeless task. They can’t even be bothered to read the Apostles.

  4. Comment by Clema Burke on August 24, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    Jesus did not abolish the Law, he fulfilled it. I do not agree with any theory that says we only have to obey the Red Words. My Bibles have no red words in them. But, under the new covenant, we are not bound by the Law anymore. The Law is important, everything in it had a purpose that mustn’t be overlooked in our lives today. but we must not depend on upholding and obeying the Law to achieve acceptance or righteousness from God.

    I do not believe that most of Jesus’ sermon in Matt 5-7 was intended to be the way that he expected people to live under the New Covenat that he was about to usher in with his upcoming death and resurection. Rather, he was demonstrating to the people just how far from achieving righteousness they were by whatever achievable standard they had set. They were thinking things like ‘I’ve never never slept with anyone other than my wife, so I’m doing good with commandment #7’. Jesus pulls the rug out from under them by telling them that ‘wanting to do it’ is the same as doing it in God’s eyes. Notice verses 19 and 20 in chapter 5. By watering down the law to a bunch of rituals, the teachers of the Law had made it possible to achieve righteousness by obeying the Law, hence verse 20.

    So Jesus spends the rest of the chapter and the next 2 putting the Law to the impossible to keep level that it is supposed to be on. Righteousness by faith through grace (not having to earn it) is the only form of righteousness that surpasses righteousness by obeying the Law (righteousness by works). Let’s be realistic, he made made some pretty impossible to keep requirements in those chapters, and then tells us in order to be like God, perfect, and wise, we have to follow every single one perfectly. Sounds like he was trying to discourage people despite their best efforts, so that they would give up on trying to attain righteousness by following the Law.

    Anyways, following the Law can’t make anyone righteous; it’s only purpose was to lead us to the end of ourselves and bring us to Christ and the righteousness that he offers freely.

    The bit about Matt 5:18, my rendering of it would be something like this: Jesus was saying -If- by chance, heaven and earth were to pass away before the Law was accomplished, -THEN- the Law would pass away too uncompleted. Otherwise, The Law MUST be accomplished before it can pass away.

    > if a person tells a child that “until bedtime, he cannot get up from the table until (unless) he finishes his supper”, would you REALLY assume that the child has to remain at the table until bedtime even after he finishes?


    Grace can not be mixed with the Law

    If we mix grace with the Law, then we neither have grace or Law. Grace works apart from the Law and there is no grace in the Law. Grace is based 100% on what Jesus did for us to be accepted by God, and the Law is based 100% on what we must do to be accepted by God. These 2 requirements are incompatible with each other, and to combine them together would dilute the effectiveness of each one. Everywhere in the New Testament where the apostles discussed Grace and the Law, they are presented as 2 ways by which one can achieve righteousness before God (Jhn 1:17). One way relies on man’s efforts, thus disqualifying everyone, the other way relies solely on the work of Jesus on our behalf so that no one can be disqualified.

    NEVER did Paul or the other apostles attempt to ‘marry’ the 2 different approaches as a way for the New Covenant believer to follow. If the Law says “do this, do that, don’t do this, don’t do that” and these rules show us God’s holiness, then to say we only have to obey some of these rules effectively lowers God’s standard of holiness. If Grace says “it’s not about you keeping Law, it’s about what Christ did”, but we say that ‘once we receive what Christ did we now have keep some of the Law so as to not loose our righteous’ then Grace is nullified. If there is any precondition to attaining or keeping our righteous, then it is not Grace.

    The Law is righteous, holy, and good, it shows us a holy God, and then shows us what we must do to achieve the holiness that God requires. But the Law does not help us in reaching this level of holiness, and in our human nature we are unable to do all that the Law requires in order to attain righteousness before God. Since we are unable to keep the requirements of the Law, we are then condemned by the Law before God. The Law therefore only brings condemnation to those who try to keep it. It was set on such a high level that there would be no humanly possible to keep it. It effectively shuts everyone under sin no matter how good they are, for man’s ways always fall short of the glory of God.

    Seeing as we are unable to keep the entirety of the Law, we could interpret the Law in such a way that we could fulfill it by our own efforts. This ‘watering down’ of the Law is unbiblical and is a sign of man attempting to bring the Holy Law of God down to a standard where they can be above it. Neither in the Old or New Testaments does the Bible advocate dissecting the Law so that we we can live by it; if the ENTIRE Law of God is not present, then it is NOT the Law of God but rather a law of man. We understand that the laws of man fall far short of who God is and what He desires from us.

    >Matt. 23:23 Jesus states that the Pharisees, who were trying to be righteous by works, should have observed the weightier matters of the Law (judgment, faith, mercy), WITHOUT NEGLECTING tithing on specific spices. Notice that Jesus did not say that they should have observed the weightier matters instead of the lesser important ones.

    >Acts 15 Some converted Pharisees were teaching that believers still had to observe that Law (or at least most of it). A meeting to the Apostles was called to discuss the matter, and in the end they concluded that those men were teaching doctrines which the church leaders had not commissioned them to teach. They also make it clear that the ONLY ESSENTIAL law for new believes to follow was abstaining from eating blood, meat sacrificed to idols or from animals that were strangled, and fornication. Notice how they did not list the 10 Commandments as being essential for a believer to do well.

    Gal 3:10, 5:3 Jam 2:10 Those who desire to keep part of the Law are under obligation to keep the whole Law. This is for believers too. (Gal 3:3)

    Jesus and the Apostles realized and confirmed the need to keep the entirety of the Law, and clearly state that not keeping part of it is the same as failing in all of it. They did not make any distinctions between “the moral laws” and the “ceremonial laws”. ONE Law was given, and ALL of it needs to be followed in order to be righteous before God.

    If the Law requires absolute obedience in order to justify us, yet we are unable to keep all of the Law, this presents a major problem for us. If we are unable to keep the Law by our own efforts, then this should cause us to give up and realize that we desperately need someone to help us. This is why the Law was given. It was not actually supposed to be an effective and doable guide for our conduct in life. We are supposed to live by faith. (Gal 3:11, 3:19, Heb 7:19, Rom 3:19-20)

    So then…

    No part of the Law applies to the New Covenant believer

    Gal 3:24-25 says that the law was given to lead us to Christ. Once we are found in Christ, we no longer have any need for the Law to continue leading us to Him. It was ordained (put into effect) UNTIL Jesus came to fulfill it (3:19, 24). There was a time limit placed on the Law, and its mandate ran out when the New Covenant was established and put into effect. (Rom 3:31, 8:3-4, Gal 3:13, Heb 10:9)

    Heb 10:1 says that the Law was just a shadow of the things to come. If it was just a shadow, the the real thing was always there, it just wasn’t put into place yet. But now that Grace has come to us through Christ, we no longer need to observe the ‘shadow’ to guide our daily lives. (Rom 7:6, 10:4, Gal 3:13-14) if the Law was unable to make us holy before the New Covenant was established, then it can not keep us holy now that we are free from the Old Covenant. (Heb 7:19, 9:15) the New Covenant was not just a revision or amendment of the Old one to make it more effective. The New Covenant was completely new, and it superseded and did away with the requirements of the Old Covenant. (Gal 4:3, 5:18, )

    1 Tim 1:9 says that the Law was not given for those who are just, but for the unjust. If we, believers, have been justified by the Blood of Jesus, then the Law is no longer applicable for our conduct in life. If we claim that we must still observe part of the Law, then we are required to observe the whole Law, and thus place ourselves in the same category as unbelievers. It is those who won’t believe in Jesus and the grace which He offers, those who are trying to earn their justification by their efforts, and those who think they can live without any accountability who need the Law to show them how far short they are from what God requires. Once we have received the righteous that God offers freely, the Law has then accomplished in us what it was meant to do (bring us to Christ), and we no longer need it to keep on working in our lives.

    To say that God can/will judged us by any part of the Law is to say that the entirety of the Law has not been fulfilled in us and we are are still under it’s bondage. If we have been set free from the Law then we can not be expected to have to keep any part of it, nor can we be judged by any of it. Rom 3:21, 28, 6:4, Gal 2:16- seeing as we have been justified apart from the Law (it was not even considered, nor was our justification based on any requirements from the Law) then failing to keep any part of the law can not have any effect on our justification. Rom 8:33-39 says that nothing in this world can separate, condemn, or bring charges against us before God, who has elected and JUSTIFIED us in His sight. So even if the Law had the power to condemn us, God has already justified us, making any charges against us of no effect. And, just in case that wasn’t enough, Jesus is seated a the right had of the Father and is interceding for us for when we do sin.

    Eph 2:14-15 says that Jesus removed the dividing wall between us and the Jews by abolishing the Law of commandments and ordinances. All the Law did was create hostility between us and God (Col 2:14) and brings wrath to us (Rom 4:15), and if we have been reconciled to God then the Law can not be present in our relationship with Him, for all it does is condemn us, which causes hostility and death (Rom 8:2, Gal 3:10). 2Cor 3:6-7 says that the Law that was written on stones is a ministry of death. All it causes is separation from God and therefore death . Rom 6:14, 7:5, 8-9, 1Cor 15:56 say that sin is aroused and gets its power over us because of the Law. Rom 8:1-2 says that sin and death are connected and come with the Law (they attach themselves to the Law.).

    >It makes no sense whatsoever to attempt of adhere to a code of conduct that was specifically sent to separate us from God by condemning us in sin and thus causing death. Jhn 10:10 Jesus said that He came to give us life, Jhn 21:31, 1Jhn 5:12 say that it is in Jesus that we have life. Eph 2:13 says that the Blood of Jesus has brought us near to God in the same way that Israel was supposed to be near and special to God (1Pet 2:9). Heb 4:16 instructs us to draw near to the Throne of Grace to find mercy, grace, and help in times of need. Heb 7:19, 25, 10:22, 11:6, Jam 5:8 all indicate that it is by drawing near to God that we are saved, perfected, and find victory over the devil and sin. If the Law was sent of show us how holy God is and how sinful we are, thus forcing us away from Him and condemning us to death when we fail to uphold it, then the Law clearly is incompatible with Grace. Grace says that regardless of what we have done, do, or will do, God will never forsake us, condemn us, nor does He leave us to our own efforts to receive our justification, overcome sin, overcome the enemy, and live victoriously in this life. This is the message of the Grace of God that we’ve been commissioned to teach. These are the rights that we as believers have received because of what Christ has done for us on the cross.

    The only sin that can condemn us and separate us from God is the sin of unbelief – to reject the justification which He offers by grace through Jesus Christ. John 16:8-9 – the only sin that the world will be convicted of is the sin of unbelief. Mar 3:27-29, Mat 12:31-32 – to blaspheme the Spirit is to speak against, and to have contempt and irreverence for Him. Rom 8:2, 4, 9, 14, 16, 15:16, 1Cor 6:11, 2Cor 1:22, 5:5, Gal 4:6, 5:18, 6:8, Eph 2:18, 4:30, 1Thes 2:13, Heb 10:9 all point out that it is by the Spirit that we are set free from from the Law, sin, and death; we are justified, sanctified, and marked as God’s people (in short, receive God’s offering of Grace), so contempt and irreverence for the Spirit would make us unable to receive the justification He brings. So it stands, if justification by Grace is the ONLY way to be justified, then rejecting the justification is the only sin that can keep a person from God. There is no other way to be forgiven, so that is why it is unforgivable to reject the Spirit of Grace.

    This does not mean that we are free to life how ever we want as long as we don’t ‘blaspheme the Spirit’.

    Learning to live for God apart from the Law

    Titus 2:11-12 It is the Grace of God… that teaches us to live soberly, godly, and righteously, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts.
    Rom 6:14 Sin shall not have dominion over us, we are under Grace, not the Law. It is because of Grace that we can be free from sin.
    5:17 Receiving the abundance of Grace enables us to reign in (this) life (over sin, the enemy)
    8:4-9 Being in the Spirit enables us to please God.
    2Cor 1:12 It is by the Grace of God that we can live in this world and with other believers in sincerity and honesty
    12:9 It is by the Grace of God that His power is perfected in us, despite our weaknesses
    Gal 5:13 Our freedom from the Law is not an excuse to sin. Jude 1:4 it is ungodly people who turn the Grace of God into lewdness.
    Gal 5:16 Living as the Spirit leads is the antidote to overcoming the the sinful desires of the flesh.
    Heb 12:25 Living in the Grace of God will prevent the root of bitterness from rising, which can defile us.
    12:28 Let us have Grace, by which we can serve God acceptably with reverence. -it is Grace that enables us to serve God (live) in a way that is pleasing to Him.
    13:9 It is by being strengthened in Grace that our hearts will not be carried away by false teachings.
    1Pet 5:10-12 It is the God of Grace who will perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish us. It is not by our own efforts – This is the true message of Grace!
    2Pet 3:17-18 Growing in the Grace of Jesus helps to stay away from the errors of lawless men.

    The New Testament makes it clear that sin gets it’s power and life from the Law. (Rom 7:5, 8, 11 1Cor 15:56). If we want to live free from sin, it doesn’t make sense to focus on something that will give sin power to operate in our lives. It is said that what we focus and think on is what we become. In running, we are told to look straight ahead (towards the finish line in short races), and not at the people beside and behind us. Obviously, the probability of loosing, tripping or going off course rises significantly if we’re focusing on where we don’t want to go. We must focus on where we do want to go. If we focus on the righteousness that we have in Christ, then it will lead us away from anything that is unrighteous. If we focus on the Grace of God that enables us to be pleasing to Him, then it will lead us away from sin, which displeases Him. But if we focus on sin in order to avoid it, then we give it power to trip us up. If we focus on the Law, then we give sin power to become or remain active in our lives. (Phil 3:13-14, Heb 12:1-2)

    The idea that believers need to keep the part of Law in the forefront of their minds in order to stay out of sinful lifestyles is based in fear, and it’s another example of man relying on his efforts to find favor with God. This thinking effectively says that God is not able to keep and lead His own away from sin (Heb 13:20-21, Jude 24), so we must install some checks and balances to help Him (or us) out. This is not faith, it is not relying on the Grace of God, and it is a tactic that the enemy uses to get us to focus and rely on ourselves instead of on God and the power that He has placed in the inside of us through the Holy Spirit. We have been called to live by faith – those who are justified must live by faith. Not faith in ourselves, not faith in the Law, but faith in what God has done and is doing for and in us. (1Pet 5:10, Phil 1:6)

    The writers of the New Testament make it clear that living in the Spirit and trusting in the Grace of God are the keys to living in a manner that is pleasing to God. In Jer 31:32-33 it is prophesied that the externally written code of the Old Covenant was not going to be used as a model for the New Covenant, but rather that it would be internal – written in our hearts. This is why the Spirit was given to us: to teach us how to be pleasing to God without having to rely on a list of dos and don’ts. We understand that when man relies on himself that he will fail, and God did not want to place His ability to bless us or our ability to be pleasing to Him on our shoulders as we would fail more often than not. This is where Grace comes in: when God looks at us He doesn’t see us and our failures; He sees Jesus and His perfect obedience.

    Again, this does not mean that we can remain in sin (Gal 5:13). It must be understood that from God’s point of view sin is a non-factor in our relationship with Him. Jesus already paid the penalty for sin, so it doesn’t have any sway over how God feels about us: He loved us so much even while we were rejecting Him that He sent His Son to redeem us; now that we are His children, it would be a slap in His face to say that sin can change His attitude toward us. Rather, sin can change our hearts toward Him and give the enemy a place to come in if we allow. If the Spirit speaks to our hearts and tells us ‘stop doing this, start doing that’ and we obey, then we will be pleasing to God. But if we are intent on continuing in a way that we know in our hearts is displeasing to our Father, then this will give the emeny an opportunity to move into our lives and cause havoc; or, over time it will cause our hearts to be harden until we can’t hear the voice and leading of the Spirit anymore (Eph 4:18, 4:26-27, Heb 3:8, 13, 4:7, 1 Pet 5:5). This will lead us away from Him, and this is why sin displeases Him; but the sin itself has already been dealt with and God does not remember it.

    Sin does not have any power over us unless we give it power because we misunderstand the authority and standing that we have in Christ Jesus. When we sin, we should run to God and rest assured in His unending love for us, knowing that He has already forgiven us and forgotten the sin even before we ask. Even if we’re caught in an addiction that we want to break, we can still be assured of God’s unwavering love for us even in the midst of the addiction. It is when we are rooted, grounded, and have total confidence in the love of our Father toward us that we find the strength to overcome. The enemy would love nothing more than for us to beat ourselves up and distance ourselves from God as we try to fight our way through sin in our lives. On our own we are destined to fail, even if we seem to be getting somewhere in the struggle to live holy. God is holy, and if our heart’s desire is to be like Him, then the obvious thing to do is to remain as close to Him as possible regardless of what we look like on the outside. He will not reject us based on how we look when we draw near to Him; rather, He will embrace us. It is by being in Him that we can begin to be holy like He is. (Rom 11:16, Heb 4:16, Eph 1:4, 3:16-21, 1Jhn 2:28, 4:13, Col 1:22-23, 2:10, Phil 3:9, 4:13, )

    If we are intent on continuing in sin (giving it dominion in our lives), then we place ourselves under the Law, and Grace is no longer at work in our lives (Rom 6:14). Grace gives us the power to over come sin but if we’re inviting sin into our lives, then clearly we are not using Grace to overcome sin. Grace it not an excuse to continue in sin as the the Bible makes it clear that it is through Grace that we are able to please God and overcome sin. Those who see the Grace of God as an excuse to sin clearly do not have a true understanding of the power that Grace imparts, or they had no reverence for God in their hearts to begin with. Looking forward, Jeremiah prophesied that it is when we have the fear of the Lord in our hearts that we will not turn away from Him (Jer 32:41). Jude 1:4 states that it is ungodly people who use the Grace of God for lewdness. So, if we are godly and we have reverence for God in our hearts, then we won’t be going out to find ways to be displeasing to God.

    We have been called to live holy as God is holy, to walk in the light as He is in the light, and to be examples of Christ in this world. We know that we are already forgiven of all our sins, justified, made righteous, and have joint seating with Christ in Heavenly places so that we can live victoriously in this life in Him. This is how God sees us and desires for us to live, yet a holy life of victory doesn’t automatically become the norm once we’ve placed our faith in Jesus Christ. This is the battle that we face: the enemy is trying to sabotage who we are in Christ so that he can continue with his ways, and we are living to establish God’s will in our lives and everywhere we go. Thus we must always be on our guard, resisting the attacks and tricks of the enemy by keeping our eyes on Christ and being firmly grounding in all He is and what He has done for us. It is only by the Grace of God given to us that we are able to overcome the enemy and establish the Kingdom of God in every area of our lives! TGBTG!

    Read Destined to Reign by Joseph Prince.:)

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