Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
Have you ever heard another Christian say something like, “The law was all about punishment, but I do not have to judge my life by it anymore. I live under grace, not under the strict standard of the law”?
People who say things like that fail to understand two things. First of all, the law is not evil. In Romans 7, Paul said, “Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’ . . . So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good” (vv. 7, 12). There is nothing evil about the law. Apart from the law, we would never know Christ.
Imagine you go to your doctor complaining of severe pain in your chest. The doctor orders an X-ray, and it shows you have a massive tumor that needs to be removed. Do you say, “If only I had not had that X-ray, then I would be just fine”? No, the X-ray did not cause the tumor; the X-ray revealed the tumor. The law is like a spiritual X-ray. It does not cause us to be sinful; it reveals the sin that is already in our lives and leads us to Christ. That is something to be grateful for, not something to despise.
Second, purveyors of bad grace fail to understand that we still have a standard under which we live. When Paul repeatedly wrote that we are not “under the law,” he was talking about the ceremonial rituals that had to do with dietary restrictions, festivals, and sacrifices. Paul said in Colossians 2:16-17, “No one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day–things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.” Those regulations were foretelling the coming of Christ, and now that Christ has come, we are no longer under those laws.
But we have exchanged those laws for a new law–not a law by which to earn our salvation, but a law by which we please God. In fact, Jesus made it clear that the new law is even more strict than the old law. For example, in Matthew 5:27-28, He said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” That is a more severe standard. Grace does not free us to be under no law; instead, grace gives us a new law.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Laying Down The Law Without Giving Up Grace” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org