A few days ago, on my way home from the airport, I was able to witness a conversation about God between two elderly people. The one was an old man who believed in grace, while the other was an old woman who believed in law.
They started speaking about grace and law and it was interesting to see the massive difference in teachings and how that has impacted thought patterns. It was heartbreaking to see how one’s thinking has indoctrinated and the affects it would have on our daily lives. It honestly showed me the reality of mixing law and grace…God had showed me in the flesh, just what an impact this leaves on people and what a gap it creates in our getting to know God.
The old lady, a widow, seemed to be holding onto a lot of pain due to her husband’s passing away. The way she seemed to be going on about this, sounded like her husband had been murdered and his body not found. She strongly argued that there is no grace or salvation for murderers or any sort of criminal…arguing that some sins are bigger than others and quoting law from the Old Testament in her defense. The old man on the other hand, spoke of Christ’s dying on the cross and His grace being more than sufficient for everyone, and that included murderers and any other person on this earth. According to him, anyone who believed would receive grace, and would be saved. It was just a matter of accepting it. But this woman argued, where the justice would be in that… I agreed completely with the old man, but was in tears as I wept for the old woman. She just couldn’t accept that God’s grace was sufficient for all and seemed to confine God’s grace and God to a certain little box and certain type of people.
On this little trip, God showed me so much. My heart wept with God, as God weeps for His children when they do not see the truth.
I honestly feel, we do a great disservice to the Gospel when we mix grace and law… Because as we mix law into things, we decide to accept pieces of grace or the Gospel and add law into it. And by doing that, we end up condemning people and ourselves. Like what has happened with this lady. And I’m not saying ignore the law in the Old Testament. Everything in the Old Testament points to Christ and His dying upon the cross, but we no longer fall under the law due to Christ and what He did for us.
John 3v16 shows that the real purpose of Jesus coming to earth and dying upon a cross is so that we could have everlasting life. It shows that our sins WERE a barrier between us and everlasting life (note: not a barrier between us and God, but us and everlasting life). It not only shows that our sins were a barrier between us and everlasting life, but also that God wants to give us everlasting life. That is also proved in John 10v10 where it says that Christ came to give us eternal life and life in abundance. So God wants to give us eternal life and life in abundance.
According to John 17v3 the everlasting/eternal life is knowing Christ. It is having a relationship with Him. The word KNOW, as I have explained before, in scripture has always described the most intimate and personal relationship you can have. So the real purpose of salvation isn’t living forever in heaven but rather to have intimacy, a personal relationship with God, and that is to KNOW God and that is to have eternal life.
This then tells us that INTIMACY with God should be our goal and NOT the forgiveness of sins as that has already been taken care of through Christ Jesus. Christ died for our sins but also to bring us close to Him.
Now back to grace and murderers and basically every person… We are saved by grace through faith, which isn’t a result of anything we did or possibly can do according to Ephesians 2v8-9.
Grace is God’s unmerited, undeserved favour. Grace cannot under any circumstance be earned, it stands independent of my or your performance. It is a gift. Faith is our positive response to what God has already done, therefore faith doesn’t and will not try to get God to do or give something, rather it receives what God has offered.
So the part that is so cool. Christ died for us while we were still sinners, demonstrating His love for us (paraphrased from Romans 5v8) which shows us His unconditional love for us. And unconditional means without any conditions. Like – there’s no catch. And it was made available to all of us, murderer or not, it was made available to and for you. You just have to decide to receive it by faith.
Titus 2v11 – After all, God’s saving grace has appeared for the benefit of all people.
So grace is a beautiful thing. It shouldn’t be mixed with law. (Go read 2 Corinthians chapter 3 but especially chapter 3 verses 6 to 9) And God’s grace is available and more than sufficient for all!