October 29, 2010

The Gospel Is NOT... A Set of Rules

Sometimes, I think it is helpful to understand what something is through negative understanding, or by understanding what something is not. Particularly, the more complex and important an issue is, the more beneficial it is that we hear something taught in a variety of ways. Therefore, I will be posting several posts on what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is NOT:

1. A set of rules: Commonly, it is said that Christianity is not a religion. By this most people mean that true Christianity is not simply a list of things that one must or must not do, which is entirely correct. While God's law certainly is still valid, those who try to abide by the His law will certainly die (1 Cor. 15:56). You see, the law was and is meant to show us our sin, because we could never keep it no matter how hard we try. This should lead us to depend on Jesus because He is the only one that was able to obey the law perfectly. It is by faith in Him that we are saved, not by anything we do or don't do (Eph. 2:8-9).

Does this mean that if we place our faith in Jesus, then we can do whatever we want? Paul asks it this way:
"Shall we sin that grace may abound more?", a question he then answers with an emphatic "By no means!" (Romans 6:1-2). You see, if we truly have an understanding of God's grace within our lives and the gravity of our sin, our failure to keep the law, then our faith will be real, and as James tells us, our faith will produce works as a result (James 2:26). In other words, it is out of our love for Christ that we will obey His law, not because we are seeking to prove ourselves to God or make ourselves good enough, because we never could. Jesus did what we never could, took our punishment for breaking the law and offers His free gift of salvation to all who believe.


Mollie said...

Amen! I'm looking forward to the rest of What the Gospel is Not.



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