Friday, February 10, 2012

Were We Set Up To Fail? - Some thoughts on the purpose of the law and grace.

We all know of the common objection to the rules of religion. Don't do this. Don't do that. As a kid, I remember neighborhood friends telling me they didn't like the focus Christianity put on following rules.

Today, I started thinking, "Maybe God doesn't like the focus Christians put on the rules either."

There was a period of my life where I resented God for the Law. If He knew nobody could ever keep it, didn't that mean He set us up for failure? Did He really expect us to keep trying to be perfect even though He knew it was impossible?

In Enjoying God's Grace, Terry Virgo writes, "The law was never intended to be a way of salvation. Salvation is entirely a matter of grace." Romans 7, if you have the mental endurance to read it, gives an excellent explanation of the law's true purpose.

I'm wondering if the purpose of all those rules was like a window and a mirror both at the same time. It opened a window to show us God's goodness, but then acted as a mirror to show us how much we sucked. I don't know how the mechanics of that mirror window would work, but then I'm not an engineer.

If God proved to be the only person capable of keeping it perfectly, I think the law was put in place as a way for us to recognize Jesus as God. He said as much himself in John 5. Virgo explains the law was meant, "to show people their need of a covenant of grace."

So what do you think? Is it fair to say God doesn't like the focus Christians put on rules? If we're saved by grace and not by following rules, is it okay to act as if the opposite were true?

1 comment:

Dan Knight said...

We have it backwards when we try to use the law to earn salvation. Israel had already been saved from bondage in Egypt before God gave the law. The law was a guide to righteous living in gratitude to what God had already done, a set of guidelines on how to talk about God, deal with our neighbors, handle food, make sacrifices, etc. In a way, our "thank you" to God for the grace he has given - much like respecting your parents is a way of thanking them for all they have done for you.