10/15/12 Carly, about 30
Moses, or Jesus? Law, or grace? Can we really have one without the other? In the mind of one churchgoer I met today, the answer seemed obvious. "We don't need the Ten Commandments anymore" she said. "That's back in the Old Testament. Jesus changed all that." In her mind, God was angry and strict throughout the Old Testament, but in Jesus He somehow changed His mind. Her idea about what it means that we are "saved by grace" is that since Jesus came, God has graciously decided to lower His standards. What this has meant for her is that to be "saved" means that she has decided to start living God's way, and since the God of the New Testament has lowered His standards, all she really has to do to be saved is to attend church and be a nice person. "Are you really sure that Jesus was less strict about the law?" I asked her. I reminded her how Jesus said that to call someone a name in anger is like murder, or to look with lust is to commit adultery. (Matt. 5) I told her that the law still has a very important purpose - to show us our need for the forgiveness that can only be found in Jesus. "he law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." (Gal. 3:24) Carly's mistaken idea of grace has led her to think she can earn salvation by acting "Christian". Instead of the law of Moses leading her to the grace found in Jesus, her mistaken ideas about Jesus have returned her to the law, watered down as she believes it to be. Law or grace? No, we can't have one without the other, but let's just be sure we get them in the right order.