I am loving Joseph Prince's new book, Grace Revolution! He is so good at explaining the difference in living under the law and living under grace.
On p. 142-145, he uses two stories from Luke, chapters 18 & 19 to show the results of living under law and grace. One is the story of the tax collector, Zacchaeus, who, when he understood Jesus' love for him pronounced, "Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold." As Joseph Prince says, "That's the power of grace! Grace changes people's lives from the inside out. Jesus gave Zacchaeus no commandments, no condemnation, no laws…just grace, grace, and more grace. And Zacchaeus's heart was forever transformed. Grace produces true holiness."
By contrast, the story of the rich young ruler shows the results of living under the law. When he approached Jesus to ask what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus recognized that the young ruler didn't equate Jesus with God because he calls Him "Good Teacher." So Jesus helped him to see that even though he had "kept all these [commandments] from birth", Jesus showed him he still lacked one thing--sell all and distribute it among the poor. This caused the rich young ruler to walk away sorrowfully.
As Joseph Prince says, "When you come to the Lord to be justified by your works, He will point you to the law! No matter how perfectly you think you have kept the Ten Commandments, like the young ruler, you will be found lacking in one thing. For the young ruler, it was in the area of money… No man can meet the demands of the law and be justified. We can be justified only by faith in the blood of the Lamb...
...Justification by faith produces hope, peace, joy and a heart for Jesus that results in good fruit. Attempting to be justified by works produces fear, anxiety and an inability to produce lasting fruit.
…The law demands, and it results in fear, guilt, and sorrow. Grace supplies, and it produces generosity, holiness, and inward heart transformation."
Many churches and ministries are teaching that we are saved by grace, but then we have to follow certain rules and restrictions to remain in God's favor (no smoking, dancing, long hair, etc. etc. etc.) The 'gospel' is preached as an outward 'keeping the law' instead of the wonderful news that Jesus provides the love & grace to make it possible to live a holy life.
I highly recommend Grace Revolution!
I also recommend getting yourself out from under any ministry that preaches law, or a mixture of law and grace, and instead listening to, or reading anything you can find to reinforce the grace message.
A wonderful revelation which will change your life is awaiting you when you do!
You should recognize that this doesn't mean the law of right and wrong behavior ceases to exist. It means that through Jesus the law goes from outside self effort to inside effortless. Jesus and paul never once say that the law is invalid and evil. They say the contrary, but only through a relationship with Jesus will you effortlessly live by the law.
We always need the law of right and wrong. Our problem is we need help from the inside to keep it. We can't do it on our own.
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