So Are We Under Grace or Not?
Bible Reading: Hebrews 13:8-16 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8
“I DON’T get it,” Lauren said. “If Christians today are still supposed to obey the Ten Commandments, what does Paul mean when he says in Romans 6: 14 that we are ‘no longer subject to the law’?”
Confusing, isn’t it? As Christians who trust in Jesus as God’s provision for our sins, we no longer fear God’s wrath. And understanding how grace and law fit together is the core of what it means to be a Christian.
You know that when Jesus died, he paid for our sins and opened the way for us to relate to God. We can know God because of grace-the unmerited, unearned favor of God expressed in Christ’s work on the cross.
Christ’s death on the cross removed the need for us to please God by acting perfectly-or die for our failings. Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us” (NASB). To be no longer under “the curse” of the moral law of the Old Testament means we are no longer subject to its penalty-an eternal death sentence-because Christ paid the penalty for all law-breaking. That’s good news!
But here’s where you have to think hard. Taking away the penalty of the law and doing away with its moral principles are two different things. Since the Ten Commandments are restated in the New Testament, these moral principles of the law-the things they teach us about right and wrong-still apply to Christians.
See, love didn’t change from the Old Testament to the New Testament. When Christ came to earth; God did remove the ceremonial requirements of Old Testament faith-more on that next time. And by dying on the cross, Christ removed the penalty we faced. There is no longer a death penalty for adultery, for example. That’s why Paul said we are no longer under the law’s curse.
But get this: God’s definition of what is right, good, and healthy for us hasn’t changed. Nor have the consequences of sin been removed. If you’re sexually active outside of marriage, for example, you might have to live with an unplanned child or a sexually transmitted disease as a result of your disobedience.
God hasn’t changed (see Hebrews 6:18; 13:8). In the New Testament, he’s still the God of love you meet in the Old Testament. And the moral principles that express his love to us and show us how to express it to God and others are still the same. You can’t escape that fact!
REFLECT: Why does God still expect you to heed Old Testament commands that tell you right from wrong?
PRAY: God, I’m grateful that your definition of love doesn’t change. Thanks that you have always made clear the best way to live.