Theology Essay — Grace and Law

I share the essays that I have while working on my Bachelor’s degree because they reflect changes in my thinking about who God is and about the finished work of Christ.  Feel free to read it knowing that I am still a work in progress.  He has unveiled so much of Himself in me and will continue to do so.  I am so thankful for all I have learned these past 7 months and know that there is still so much more to discover on this beautiful, sometimes messy, journey of grace.

Enjoy ~

GRACE AND LAW

When I finished course 3, it felt as if all of these new truths I had been learning just fell into place in my thinking.  Things like the inclusion of ALL, transitional generation, and Adamic sin nature only affecting mankind from Adam to the cross.  What I hadn’t previously understood about these things, when I finished the course, just suddenly made sense.  I felt as if I had uncovered some hidden treasure or unwrapped a beautiful gift that was there all along just waiting for me to discover it.

But when I started course 4, it felt like there was an unraveling going on inside me.  Course four on Law and Grace was full of such beautiful, liberating truths that Holy Spirit has been using to reveal areas of my heart where law or legalistic thinking is still working in me.  Areas that as I continue to allow Holy Spirit to renew my mind in, the shackles fall off and I have been experiencing such freedom!  A freedom I have never fully known and will only continue to unfold in me because once you’ve tasted freedom, there is no turning back.  Or, at least not for me.  Maybe because freedom is never something I’ve truly enjoyed in my life.

My life has always been one of doing the right things for fear of letting people down, an adherence to a level of perfection that I had created in my mind.  Fear that is probably rooted in fear of rejection and failure, caring more about what people think than about being free from the bondage it produces.  Rules and performance have always just been a part of me.  I guess in truth rules created a sense of security albeit false security.  Because in reality, all it produced were the shackles of fear of failure and bitterness at always having to be the one to do the right thing.  And while there are still areas He’s healing and liberating in me; I’m rejoicing in the freedom that I’ve been experiencing.

I’m learning just to be me.  I’m letting go of false ideas of perceived perfection.  To just be the me that my Daddy was so pleased to create.  Learning to be free in my writing and my teaching – not always hesitating because of what people might think.  But instead learning to co-speak (homologeo) what my Daddy is saying to me.  Grasping that I don’t have to dot every “i” and cross every “t.”  That it’s ok to make mistakes in this beautiful journey called grace.  Understanding that by resting in His finished work is “doing” the right thing.  And understanding that it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks because Daddy is overwhelmingly pleased with me!!

I also think I enjoyed this course so much because what started me on my grace journey was an awareness of the vast difference between law and grace and how as “Gentiles” the law was never for us.  And yet, so many in the church believe that the law is what holds them accountable and teaches them to lead moral, godly lives acceptable to God.  A couple of years ago while teaching Bible study, I got ahold of Titus 2:12 and learned that it is grace that teaches us to say no to sin and trains us in righteousness, not rules and commands.  Then I learned through Creflo Dollar about the language of the law is “do,” and the language of grace being “done.”  That started my love affair with Paul’s teachings on this gospel of grace.

Paul said the gospel he preached is not according to man.  It wasn’t in agreement with the religious men of his day.  And unfortunately, it’s not in accord with religious men in our day.  It goes against our rationale and isn’t what is typically preached on Sunday mornings.  It isn’t a presentation that makes sense because it’s the “almost too good to be true news.”  This gospel message that doesn’t agree with how we communicate or think he called the offense of the cross in Romans 5:11.  Peter said that Paul’s words are hard to understand in our rational intellect.  It will take spiritual ears to hear.  But all mankind has been given the freedom to hear like Jesus. The Mirror Bible in Hebrews 5:9 says that By his perfect hearing he forever freed mankind to hear what he had heard.  

Sometimes we are the religious man that it doesn’t agree with it.  All of us have some trace of Pharisee and/or some trace of Sadducee in us.  John tells us that IF our hearts condemn us God is greater than our hearts.  The condemning factor in our hearts is the unbelieving believer (Pharisee in us) and the unbeliever in the supernatural (the Sadducee in us).  Learning all of that through Mike Miller’s class on Galatians, was a real eye-opener for me, realizing that I still have a trace of Pharisee in me.  Falling back at times to the default setting of examining my behavior at times when circumstances arise.  At times, still in bondage to all of these “may-be’s.”  Maybe I’m not good enough, maybe God’s not talking to me, or maybe I need to reach a level of “obedience.”  Still operating at times in a performance system, a maybe “if I do this” mentality.

For Paul, what cut the cord of law in his life was the Father’s revelation of the Son in him. That was the end of the law’s control over Paul.  The good news is that’s what will cut the cord of law, of performance mentality, in my own life.  The Father’s continual revealing of His Son in me is what will forever separate me from the law and a sense of having to do to be.   And so knowing this, I have been zealous to learn as much as I can through these courses and allow Holy Spirit to renew my thinking.

It’s a process, and sometimes a slower process than I’d like.  But oh the freedom in knowing that even when the revelation of righteousness seems contradicted when I fall back into performance mode and momentarily lose sight of grace, that I do not nullify the grace of God in my life.  I cannot nullify His grace in my life.  Even when I’m focused on my failures and sins, I can never be judged by the law!  In my Daddy’s eyes and heart I have been reconciled to Him and am always accepted, loved, blameless, and in union with the Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit.

I think my favorite class during this course was Francois du Toit’s class on Grace Empowered!  He has such a beautiful way of presenting truth to you about your identity in Christ that it’s like Abba speaking directly to your heart revealing who you are in His heart.  Glimpses of His thoughts, His joys and His love toward you is made known and you get a sense of your value to Him.  Having a revelation of the Father’s truth of who I am IN CHRIST is the key to walking in this resurrected life and walking in the freedom from self-efforts.

An understanding of the oneness that I share with Him is vital. A beautiful union with Christ where we are seated with Him in the heavenly places and walking here on earth at the same time. It is Christ as me and Christ in me expressing Himself through me.  It is a seamless union where there is no distinction between Christ and me. I am joined to the Lord and, we are one Spirit!!  Our union isn’t a place where Christ starts, and I stop or where I begin, and Christ ends…..that’s dualism.  While there are still many moments of duality thinking on my part, I am so much further than I used to be.

We are sons, not servants.  A servant’s worth and value are based on their performance level.  But a son is just a son.  He is a son no matter what his behavior, good or bad.  He can never stop being a son.  It’s his identity.  I used to believe that as sons we begin as immature, young sons and then gradually progress to huios, mature sons.  Now I know that under grace we are all recognized and acknowledged as adult sons, not children.

A child was under the law.  He wasn’t able to speak, was immature and simple-minded.  When we fall back under the law, under a performance mentality, our words don’t produce the authority in our lives that the Father has given to us.  We become disabled in our ability to administer our inheritance when we rely on our own efforts instead of the finished work of Christ.  The child was only intended to be under the law until Christ came.  Until the time appointed by the Father, and then he was declared a son with full rights and privileges.

In Christ we’ve all received the adoption as sons — we’ve all been face to face with the Father and received this declaration of manhood that allows us to administer our estate with His full authority. The Father has declared us sons.  What freedom comes in being declared a son!  Being declared master of all IN HIM.  We had nothing to do with it.

I am the one who has the privilege of preparing my own environment.  Making my own choices and administering my inheritance.  Understanding my identity as a son — who I am IN CHRIST, helps me to do that.  Things are subject to the revelation of our identity.  If I don’t have an understanding of that identity, then my inheritance is really out of reach.  But to the degree of my perception of my status as a son, the more effortlessly that inheritance will manifest.  Health and abundance become the expected way of life so, I don’t talk sickness, disease or lack.  I don’t have an association with those things because He has no association with them and I am IN HIM.  I am a beloved son in whom Daddy is well pleased, always.   His life defines my new life.  It’s no longer I who live, it’s Christ in me, and this life I live in the flesh can’t get sick or experience poverty, fear, etc. because I’m a member of His flesh and bones.  I’ve been declared innocent forever by Christ and have had revived in me the knowledge of my sonship.

A son like the Son.  As He is so am I in this world.  Not as He was in the Gospels but as He is in His resurrected state.  He has no association with sin, death or the law.  They have no mastery over Him.  They have been defeated and exist no longer.  As He is so am I — no association to sin, death and the law!  No association in Adam!  Grace defines my life. 1 Corinthians 15:10 says By the grace of God I am what I am.  It goes on to say that His grace IN me is not void, but I toiled (labored) more than all – not I however but the grace of God with me.  In the Greek that last part says:  However not I, but God’s grace, the grace joined with (sun) me!  There’s another co-word of the Gospel.  I love that as I study through this lens of the finished work of Christ and as I look at the words in Greek, I come across so many co words that I never saw before.

Co-grace!  I am defined (I am what I am) by His grace in me.  All that I do in life (labor) is not by my own being but by co-grace.  His grace in and through me.  Grace is not an impersonal verb — an action or power working in me.  Grace is a person – Grace is Jesus.  Co-grace is a co-union, an intimate oneness with the Spirit of Grace.  It is an awareness of Him in me, as me and through me.  A son abides in the House forever — our union, our co-grace is forever.  I am who I am by His grace – by His co-grace in me.  And I am not who I am not by that same co-grace.  I am not a slave under the law, under its authority (hupo).  I am a son under grace’s authority (hupo).  As a son, I abide in and under grace.  I live and move and have my being in and under grace.  I hear under grace, hearing from above – hearing my Daddy’s language of grace. I co-speak, speaking His expression of grace.  I do not hear or speak under sin, law or death.  My language is righteousness, liberty, and joy.  My language now echoes His — it is finished!

Only as a son IN CHRIST can I know me even as I am fully known.  1 Corinthians 13 likens a child to one who speaks, thinks, understands and only knows in part.  He talks about face to face (sonship) as one who knows as he is known.  When I come under the performance system of the law I speak, think and understand as a child, not being able to know fully as I am known.  But as a son under grace, I can know who I am through His intimate knowledge of me.  Knowing that I have always been fully known and fully loved is probably the most significant, most treasured revelation that I have had on this grace journey.

 

Paul said in Galatians 4:9 (The Voice Translation): But now, when you are just beginning to know the one True God—actually, He is showing how completely He knows you—how can you turn back to weak and worthless idols made by men, icons of these spiritual powers? Haven’t you endured enough bondage to these breathless idols? He’s saying “Why would you go back to self-efforts, to the bondage of performance mode to please God, once you have a revelation of how fully known you are by Him?” An understanding of His always having known you — from before the foundation of the world.  FULLY known and FULLY loved by Him that’s who I am.

In His knowing me is the revelation of His pleasure over me, His desire for me, His passionate pursuit of me!   It is through His unveiling of what He knows of me that I fully understand that there is nothing more I can do to please Him.  Knowing that He was not and is not looking for one who will serve Him out of fear of rejection or fear of His displeasure.  Not desiring my obedience and adherence to His commands.  Not desiring that I would learn to hear His voice so that I would fully obey Him and do His will!  But instead that I would learn to hear His voice so that I could hear His declaration of love for me, His eternal pleasure in me, His intimate knowledge of me – of who I am and always have been in His eyes!

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