Tag: salvation

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
Hang In There

Hang In There

“Have the kids drove you crazy yet?” she asked. “Absolutely.” I replied.

“Hang in there.”

Those three magic words calmed and reassured me as my coworker with great empathy encouraged me. I didn’t even know I needed to hear that or that it would have the kind of effect it had.

The beauty of those three words strung together is that there are no empty promises or frilly pretenses. It means what it says. “Hang. In. There.”

No one tells you to ‘hang in there’ when things are easy. The very reason for which they’re saying that to you is because things are NOT easy. ‘Hang in there’ means:

  1. You may not have much left to give, but give anyway.
  2. You may be tired, but press anyway.
  3. You may not be noticed, but serve anyway.

The Bible says, So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up or quit” (Galatians 6:9 MSG). Paul is specifically addressing believers and how they engage with other believers and those who do not share their faith. This response is important because it’s not a response to humans, but a response and result of relationship with God.

Paul is teaching the church at Galatia that God does not ignore our efforts, hard work, good intentions, good deeds, etc. While those things are no good in and of themselves to save us, God still recognizes them and responds to them. 

The verses before verse 9 explain a basic principle that most people believe regardless of religious or cultural background. Some call it karma. Some call it ‘energy’ or ‘vibes.’ Some call it the power of positive thinking. We call it many things without fully understanding the weight of it.

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reapFor the one who sows to his flesh [his sinful capacity, his worldliness, his disgraceful impulses] will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life(Galatians 6:7-8).

Basically: whatever you plant, grows. Whatever you put in, you get it back. The beautiful thing about God is when you choose to plant according to His desires, His nature, and His will, you don’t just get back what you put in. You get a HARVEST. You get MORE than what you put in. Unfortunately, some of us feel as if we haven’t seen anything that looks like a harvest.

Some of us are frustrated right now because we don’t feel like our efforts are being noticed by the people we’d like to notice. Some of us feel God doesn’t seem to care about the pain, discomfort, or difficulty we may be walking through. Know this:

The Bible also says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

If there is anything that you take away from this, let it be this: God sees. More importantly for some of us, God sees you. Specifically. Clearly. Lovingly.

So, whatever you’re going through, know that God has a beautiful plan for you. It may not be easy or comfortable; but it’s worth it. God never promised we wouldn’t suffer; though He did promise that He’d always be with us (Deut. 31:6). So, hang in there. Better yet, rest in the One who is holding you.

What Would Christians Do? Pt. 2

What Would Christians Do? Pt. 2

If you’re even remotely familiar with Christianity, you may have heard the phrase W.W.J.D. What Would Jesus Do? In part 1, we explored the origins of this phrase and the implications of it. Is it more than a phrase or is it a personal conviction? The answer? It depends on the person.

We may not find this specific phrase in the Bible; but we do find various verses that encourage us to live like Christ and as an example (Ephesians 5:1-17, 1 John 4:7-21, Acts 1:8, John 14:12, 1 Timothy 4:12).

Oftentimes, in the process of living like Christ, we equate Christianity with Christ. Our hearts begin to believe ‘Christianity is the Way’ instead of ‘Yeshua (Jesus) is the Way.’ There is a difference in believing ‘Christianity is the Way’ as opposed to ‘Yeshua is the Way.’

If we pour all of our energy into following after Christianity, we’re no different than the Pharisees. Oftentimes, Christians demonize Pharisees as these historical enemies of Christ. The heart of the Pharisees is not specific to the Jewish culture or the time period in which Yeshua walked the earth. Many times, we are the Pharisees. We don’t want to believe that because we’re upholding what we believe Christ has required us to uphold. Isn’t that the same issue the Pharisees had? They were more concerned with upholding traditions and ideals, that they missed the more important truth and gift presented to them: Yeshua Christ, the Messiah.

There is no one expression or way to live like a Pharisee. (Disclaimer: Pharisees were not innately bad. They were leaders in Jewish culture and the temple. I’m specifically referring to their mindset and lack of precedence on what was most important.) For to live like a Pharisee, we would seek to justify ourselves because of the expectations and rituals we maintain.

For some of us, it’s our service to our church, our ability to pray, or memorizing Scripture. For others, it’s all the ‘bad’ things we don’t do. For many, it’s all of the ‘good’ things we do. There is no ‘amount’ of bad that you can do to keep you from being accepted by God. There is no ‘amount’ of good that you can do to cause you to be accepted by God.

It doesn’t matter if you think you’re a good person. Good is relative in our eyes. Good is holy in God’s. We don’t come close to God’s standard on our own. Your attempt at doing “enough” good stuff is empty religion.All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). There will never be enough on your own. That’s the equivalent of believing ‘Christianity is the Way.’ ‘If I’d just attend church service every week,’ ‘if I’d just not do this,’ or ‘if I’d just read my Bible enough’ or ‘if I’m seen as a Christian by other people,’ are all traps.

It’s the trap of self-sufficiency. It’s when we move from ‘Yeshua is the Way’ to ‘I can provide my own way.’ This proves to us, more than anything else, that we don’t really understand what Christ did before, during, and after the Cross. “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14).

This means: there is and never will be a way in which we can save ourselves.  Only Christ can. Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Yeshua, by a new and living way opened for us.. let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings” (Hebrews 10: 19, 20a, 22).

Your religion will not save you. The rituals you participate in will not save you. The traditions you uphold will not save you. They were never given the power to do that. “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship (Hebrews 10:1).”

We don’t truly know how much power and freedom we strip from our lives when we try to live as our own savior. 

When Christ died, He didn’t just die for the Christian. He died for the world (John 3:15-17). He died for those who wouldn’t even accept Him. While they may never receive the beautiful gift of salvation because they never accepted it, the gift of salvation is for anyone who would believe (Romans 1:16; John 3:16).

So, let your salvation be found in Christ, not in yourself. For you can’t bear the weight of salvation on your shoulders. Christ already did.

I wasn’t planning on going this direction with this post, but I felt led by the Holy Spirit and was given revelation as I wrote. So, I hope this truly blesses and challenges you to rest in the grace and salvation provided through Christ, not your ‘Christianity.’

To further understand some of the ideas I alluded to in this post, check out two previous posts. I’m Not a Christian Pt. 1 and I’m Not a Christian Pt. 2. It may offend you, but may be exactly what you need to hear.

Let me know what you think and how this blog is impacting you personally! Like, comment, share, or email me. I’d love to hear from you!

Happy reading!

Over and out.

 

*The featured photo belongs to http://www.mercworks.net. I do not own the rights to or the photo itself.*