Going for a Grace Reformation? 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s Reformation. He started a Grace Revolution that we most certainly need to continue.
The Apostle Paul, following on from Jesus, and actually taught by Jesus, started the first Grace Reformation by announcing that Jesus has introduced a new “Administration of Grace” ( Eph 3). Paul was rather clear that this new administration or New Covenant superseded the Old Covenant, including it’s Law, stating that God’s Grace through the empowering of the Holy Spirit was the only way to righteousness and a life in God.
It is exclusively by faith that we are saved, redeemed and restored. By faith in Jesus, we get to receive His Spirit and receive empowerment to do the same as Jesus. Righteousness and empowerment are not rewards for things we try to do but are gifts of God’s Grace. Grace, as Jesus had, is God’s empowering presence and we get to receive all that when we believe. Rules (Law) cannot even begin to accomplish what He achieves in us by Grace. It is brilliant news!
Martin Luther finally understood that a believer’s acceptance in God and full righteousness came exclusively through faith in Jesus. Romans 1:17 radically transformed Luther and ushered in what we know now as the Protestant Reformation.
For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed – a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it has been written: The righteous will live by faith. – Romans 1:17
However, we still have a problem. Rather like the Israelites of old who when offered the privilege of talking and listening to God shied away preferring instead to have Moses be the go-between, Christians today still do not trust God or themselves enough to receive their instructions, guidance and empowerment directly from Him, preferring instead to listen to rules and not let go of Moses.
The Reformers (Luther, Calvin, et al) were right about salvation (justification) by faith alone, but, except for Luther, were wrong about sanctification and the need for Law to achieve it. On one hand, grace and freedom were given but the other hand, with their emphasis, could not be fully assured, took the confidence, joy, and freedom away.
We still need to promote Grace as being totally sufficient, and we need to understand that Law (Torah) totally undermines Grace and distances us from Jesus.
Somehow, the Christian church, despite Paul’s clear emphasis on faith and grace alone, and despite Martin Luther’s clear “faith alone” Gospel of Grace, still cling to Old Covenant Law as a backup to Grace. Using a “shadow” (Law) as a balance to Light (Grace) only serve to reinforce unbelief. Unbelief negates Grace.
Without the Holy Spirit, we will not understand Grace. Choosing not to let go of our dependence on Law means that we can’t live in the fullness of Jesus. The Gospel of Grace is the best news ever. It cannot be balanced with anything less than itself. Jesus cannot be “balanced” by Moses, and Grace cannot be “balanced” with anything else lest we diminish the power of Grace.
You who are trying to be justified (righteous) by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. – Galatians 5:4
Serious language indeed. The Law cannot bring about righteousness and is the antithesis of Grace. Law (the Ten Commandments in particular) is a “ministry of death” (2 Cor 3).
- Why is it that folks say that we should balance Grace with Law?
- Why balance Grace with something that alienates from Jesus?
- Why balance Grace with something that causes us to ‘fall away’ from Grace?
Welcome to UnfailingGrace.com.
We will do our best to teach and encourage you, perhaps even provoke you, but we want you to know and understand the fullness of life in Jesus. He is the Way of Life in its fullness. He is the way of Grace.