Tag: morality

The Law and Grace: Not What You Think

The Law and Grace: Not What You Think

When you hear “The Law” mentioned in Christendom and Judaism, people are referring to the sum of about 600+ laws given by God through Moses to the people of Israel. God gave them numerous laws, rituals, and regulations, meant to keep them pure and holy.

Many have created resources that attempt to provide understanding of the functionality of the Law and Grace in our lives as believers today. It is a point of great spiritual and doctrinal controversy.

Some believe we ought to still keep the law as strictly as the Israelites of old. Some postulate that because of the Messiah’s sacrifice, we are no longer under law, but under grace; and are free from the requirements of the Law.

What makes these conversations so difficult to process is because of the various verses that speak to how the Law and Grace operate in our lives today. It can be difficult to interpret them.

One of our biggest obstacles for understanding Law vs. Grace is our desire to believe a specific thing. Some WANT to believe we have to follow the Law in the specific way in which the Israelites did. Some WANT to believe that GOD’S grace cancels the Law.

For some, following the Law seems to be too oppressive and it doesn’t sound like God to them. For others, Grace seems to offer more freedom than they could fathom God giving.

This is proof that we take our perceptions of God into conversations like these and refuse to expand our view of Him.

No matter where you fall on the proverbial spectrum of this idea, choose to lay down your preconceived notions to perceive God in a new way. Allow God to reveal Himself afresh to you. There are some things we believe because they’re true. Then, there are things we believe because we’d prefer to believe them.

It’s dangerous to get to a place in which God doesn’t surprise you anymore–or God agreeing with EVERYTHING you do, say, or think. At that point, I’d begin to question whether or not it’s God you serve–but you.

I’ve been craving depth in my relationship with the Most High and understanding of who He is. I’ve prepared myself to think and live differently depending on what He reveals about Himself, me, and others.

I don’t want to believe what I believe because it’s comfortable for me. I want to believe what He says is true. Sometimes, that will put me in a position to look foolish to the world and that’s okay; because I’m not living for them.

I live for God in hopes that others would see and know Him. But He is my Authenticator, my Refuge, my Father, my Friend, my Savior, my Deliverer, my Judge, my Answer, my Everything.

My prayer is that if you’ve made it to the end of this post that you receive the blessed opportunity of knowing Him.

You can pray this prayer below and continue on a journey of knowing Him. Once you pray this prayer in belief and faith, there are some things that will automatically change. You may not feel it, but it has.

There are other things that will require a journey of becoming in relationship with Most High (God). Have faith and be encouraged.

Most High,

Thank You for revealing Yourself to me. I believe what you’ve shown me. I believe that You sent Your Son to Earth to die to reconcile me to You. I believe He resurrected in victory over sin and death — the very things that separated me from having relationship with You. I have faith and believe that You are the one true God. Thank You for saving me. I ask that You continue to show me who You are and teach me Your ways. My heart will never be separated from You. I ask that You connect me with people who will help me grow in my relationship with You and knowledge of You. Thank You for loving me.

In Your Son’s Name,
Amen.

Scriptures to study: (the whole Bible…but here’s a few to get started)

  1. John 1-3
  2. Romans 6-8
  3. Genesis 1-3
I’m Not a Christian Pt. 2

I’m Not a Christian Pt. 2

Let’s dive in. Shall we?

In Part 1, we discussed the fact that religion has the tendency to focus on outward appearance. “Just follow the rules,” “do the right thing,” “do this,” “say that,” etc. It does not address the inner to outer transformation mandated and desired by God (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Another Problem With Religion:

Religion requires no intimacy and therefore offers no true change. Let me explain.

Religion, generally defined, is a specific set of beliefs and practices concerning purpose for life and deals with the idea of a supreme being or the lack thereof and its (or theirs) relation with humanity. We could add to this definition that religion includes certain rules, regulations, and traditions to be followed.

My fellow “Christianers (check Pt. 1 for definition)” know these all too well. We measure our success and holiness by our ability to “follow the rules” and “look the part.”

This is a problem.

For argument’s sake, let’s say there are indeed a set of rules and traditions to which we are to adhere  and God, the Rule Maker, gave us these rules by which to abide. And let’s say adherence to these rules is the means by which we are considered holy.

The Rule Maker’s ONLY requirement would be for you to obey the rules. He wouldn’t need to KNOW you. It wouldn’t matter that you knew Him, but that you knew the rules and followed them. Fortunately, the very premise on which God and man’s relationship is built is the idea of an ongoing, everlasting intimacy. If our relationship with God never extends beyond a set of rules, we’ve missed out on the greatest treasure of knowing HIM. THIS is where true transformation is found.

What if I told you there are no rules?

We understand laws, theories, and rules of this life based upon what we can measure (science). We have a need to understand existence & our limitations. So we call them laws, boundaries, etc. Many would say we have an unconscious understanding of what “ought not to be” and what “should be,” right and wrong, etc. What if I told you God never set any laws?

C.S. Lewis said,

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust (Mere Christianity)?”

We understand ‘do not murder,’ ‘do not steal,’ and ‘do not cheat’ to be laws of some sort. Whether or not we attribute God as the author of these boundaries is in fact important. However, HOW we understand God to be the author may need some adjusting.

God encapsulates every idea of what is right, just, and holy. There are no laws. There is simply God. There is simply His nature. Who He is dictates what “ought to be.” He does not need anyone’s permission or power to exist. He just IS.

The universe and all life in it is simply governed by and according to His nature. God is the very precept for everything ever created and that will ever exist. Any attempt of substitution for relationship with Him is counterfeit, unnatural, and empty.

This is why religion doesn’t WORK! Religion seeks to follow rules for the sake of reaching holiness. “If I’d just do this, then I’ll be alright.” “If I don’t do that, then I’m okay.” Becoming intimate and familiar with GOD is how one reaches holiness. For God’s nature is the boundaries in which we should exist!

How can you say this?

It’s simple really.

If you were an actor hired to play the role of Michael Jackson (I’m a big fan); how would you approach personifying this legend? Would you find it sufficient to have a set of rules to study from with a list of “don’t do this,” and don’t do that?” Would you prefer to have dialogue with him, review his videos, listen to his voice, talk to his fans, and study his mannerisms? My guess is many would choose the latter. No set of rules are going to give you the proper perspective about who Michael Jackson was and his ongoing impact on the world. Rules will not give you the necessary direction.

This universal law, this unconscious understanding of right and wrong, this common nature with God, has historical origins. ”Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…so God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it (Genesis 1:26a, 27, 28a).”

God created us in HIS image according to HIS nature so that we would know what ‘ought to be’ and what ‘ought not to be.’ If we seek Him, we will find everything we could EVER need. If we seek to KNOW Him, we fulfill the ultimate purpose for our existence.

I leave you with this.

“I think all Christians would agree with me if I said that though Christianity seems at first to be all about morality, all about duties, and rules, and guilt and virtue, yet it leads you on, out of all that, into something beyond. One has a glimpse of a country where they do not talk of those things, except perhaps as a joke. Everyone there is filled full with what we should call GOODNESS as a mirror is filled with light. But they do not call it anything. They are not thinking of it. They are too busy looking at the SOURCE from which it comes (Mere Christianity).”

God IS goodness.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and it has encouraged you!

Please like, comment, and share! I look forward to hearing from many of you!

Over and Out!

 

Note: I do not own rights to the featured picture.

I’m Not a Christian Pt. 1

I’m Not a Christian Pt. 1

Religion, generally defined, is a specific set of beliefs and practices concerning purpose for life and deals with the idea of a supreme being or the lack thereof and its (or theirs) relation with humanity. You can examine any major or minor religion against this general definition and you’d find they line up in some fashion. Today, I’m specifically examining Christianity and its “religioners (did I just invent a word).”

There are so many traditions and fads of the Christian faith by which Christians measure the sanctity of one’s lifestyle. Does he go to church? Does he raise his hands in worship? Does she carry her Bible? Does she dress up for church? (People really consider this) The list goes onnnnnn.

We don’t simply verify one’s ‘holiness’ by what they do (go to church, carry Bible, say they’re a Christian, etc), but by what they DON’T do. “He doesn’t smoke,” “She doesn’t curse,” “We’re not as bad as so-and-so,” and many others are common phrases we hear Christianers using to justify one’s “Christian” lifestyle.

The Problem With Religion

The issue with “Christianers” is our tendency to deal with the outer appearance and oftentimes this solely. Our adherence to the specific rules and regulations of the Christian faith allow us to APPEAR holy before man.

Additionally, the struggle for Christianers is this tendency to try to Christianize the world instead of evangelize it (Matt. 28:19-20). We are so sensitive and uncomfortable around anything that’s not “Christian-like.” I’d venture to say we don’t often differentiate between what is “God-like” and “Christian-like.” This is a sad thing.

What’s so wrong with being a Christian(er)?

A “Christianer” (I’m making words up left and right) is one who believes Christianity is the Way.

Well, Darveiye I thought Christianity is the true religion, the right religion, God’s religion. Are you saying you believe Jesus isn’t the way?

No. I am not.

What I am saying is God did not create religion. Man created religion. It is the way by which we can comprehend and measure faith-based things in real time. God did NOT come to earth in flesh as Jesus so He could establish the TRUE religion. Jesus didn’t die so you could pick up a religion and wear it like a badge of honor. Jesus died so that the kingdom of heaven could be established in the hearts of man (Luke 17:20-21)! The kingdom of heaven is the RULE and REIGN of God. Jesus died that the very culture INSIDE of us would transform and return back to what God originally intended! This is why religion DOESN’T work! It focuses on how you can look holy, and “do” holy, and not BE holy ( 2 Cor. 5:21). It’s like putting flowers on a coffin. At the end of the day, the body is still dead even if the casket looks beautiful.

The truth is, the reason we are so attached to the words Christian and Christianity is because we don’t understand why God came or what He did. We don’t know because we don’t seek Him and would rather measure holiness, purity, truth against other seekers and not the one who ORIGINATED it. Simply: we measure our righteousness against the righteousness of other “Christians.” The problem with this is I never truly have a full picture of another’s righteousness. Therefore, they are not a worthy or accurate standard by which to measure my life. Thankfully, I’ve been given THE standard of TRUTH by which to measure my life. Hint: Jesus.

There’s no need to compare my works to my sister at the end of the pew when I’ve been given Christ by which to measure my heart AND therefore my works. Humans are not holy apart from God. So why use a flawed individual to determine how holy or NOT holy you are? It’s a moot cause.

If people are my only standard for holiness, I’m in trouble. Let’s take it a step further. If I am the only standard for holiness, I am in a WORLD of trouble. If all I can meditate on is how much more holy I am than others and how “if only they could live like me,” I’m in for a rude awakening. My sole ministry is to reconcile people to God (2 Cor. 5:11-21), not people to me. My life should witness unto who Jesus is (Acts 1:8). I am a deflector and reflector. I cannot be this if I don’t spend time learning and knowing who this Jesus is.

Remember, God didn’t send Jesus to give you the “right” religion, but that you could “become the righteousness of God in Him(Christ).” Holiness is not about what people see you do, what they think you are, but who God has said that you are and will be. You ARE the righteousness of God in Christ JESUS!

Scriptures to Study:

2 Corinthian 5:21

21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Luke 17:20-21

20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’[a]For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Acts 1:8

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me[a] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading and are encouraged by this post!

Please comment below with questions, comments, requests, etc!

Thank you for reading!

Note: I do not own rights to the featured photo.