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Archive for the category “Law & Grace”

Too Hurt Or Too Christian? (Personal Experience)

The Holy Spirit was burdening my heart about this subject.  He is the author of what I am now writing.

I’ve experienced much in my 33 years as a born again Christian.  Jesus saved me on April 1, 1979.  It only seems like yesterday, but life has gone by so quickly.

Accepting Jesus Christ as my personal Lord & Savior is by far “the greatest decision I ever made.”

I’ve experienced the highs and the lows of being a Christian.  I’ve lived reality.  What I will now share is an accumulation of what I have learned from all this experience and how it relates to today.  Specifically I will be referring to the hypocrisy that many Christians live – whether intentionally or not.  The majority of this hypocrisy is called legalism.

One of the biggest challenges a Christian faces is using discernment and common sense when dealing with other Christians.  It’s challenging enough to do this with the world, but the hypocrisy Christians do to one another is nothing but a big disgrace and scandal in God’s eyes.  God’s heart is deeply grieved when He sees His children acting more like children of Satan, the devil.

A good portion of my life from childhood was lived with severe depression.  Unless you have been depressed, one has no idea of the depths of one’s pain.  It basically was a deeply, hurting, broken heart that I lived with for decades.  I wanted so much to be accepted and loved by anyone and everyone.  Without going into many details, the depression stigmatized my life that I couldn’t even function as a normal person.  I often would cry myself to sleep every night.  I would avoid stress or conflict at all costs.  My hands & body would shake whenever a stressful even occurred – which was often every day.

The depression actually led me to give my life to Christ.  What a joy it became as a Christian.  I never experienced such joy in my entire life.  It was like every joy and need in my life was filled.  Life became totally worth living.

I grew over the next few years as a Christian.  Reading the Word of God about my personal Savior Jesus just made me fall in love with Him more everyday.  I could not put the Word of God down.  His Word and Love were rooting deeper into me.  I was memorizing Scriptures and becoming more involved in ministry within my church.  I was believing that I had arrived at maturity as a Christian.  That was a bad thought. 

My life started to become self-righteous and egotistical.  I thought I was so much more mature than other people that I started proudly showing off how spiritual I was.  I looked to be pat on the back whenever I could.  I took credit for things that I had little or no part in.  My ego was definitely inflated big time.  I looked down on other Christians and enjoyed making mincemeat out of them – for they were so immature as a Christian.

My Christian life was only one of a hypocrite, a fool.  I could quote Scripture and be available at church whenever needed.  However, my tongue was one of evil, but, of course, I would not admit it.

Many Christian hypocrites live the same way.  They scoff and demean other Christians thinking they know it all.  Of course, they would never admit they are wrong.  For only the Holy Spirit can reveal the depths of a hypocrite’s heart.  Fortunately, they is what occurred to me.

After 12 years as a Christian, the depression symptoms I experienced earlier in life came back to haunt me more than ever.  What made it worse was being a Christian I was suppose to have all the answers.  It did not make one bit of sense.

What was I doing wrong?  Very simple: I was a hypocrite still living with depressed issues and a broken heart.

The symptoms overwhelmed me again.  The Holy Spirit showed me how evil I was living as a Christian.  Jesus was still living inside me, but I was letting my ego side of sin control me  – acting like a Christian.  I never stopped being born again for I knew Jesus lived in me despite all my hypocrisy.

Fortunately, with this revelation of how evil I was as a Christian, I admitted I was a very mean person to others.  I was not a very pleasant person to be around.  I was so grateful to the Holy Spirit for this revelation of evil within me.

This revelation actually was the big turnaround I needed.  The Holy Spirit was showing me the depths of my broken heart.  I cried again like never before.  Fortunately, the stage was set for my total healing and victory.  I was living a life as a Christian that only Christ can live through me.  No wonder I was a mean, arrogant, and egotistical failure.  That is a Christian hypocrite.

The healing and victory is CHRIST IN ME.  It is Jesus in me living His life through me.  I am simply to rest in His love and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in me as to what actions to take or words to say.  That’s all.  So simple, but we Christians make it so difficult.

Jesus is the Christian life.  Only Jesus can live the Christian life through us.  No matter how evil and hypocritical we live as a Christian, Jesus in us will never leave.  We don’t become unborn again.

When your eyes are focused on Jesus, Jesus lives His life through you.

  • This means you will simply look at people with love – the way Jesus does.
  • You will not judge as condemnation the wrong motives of other.
  • You will not showoff your Christian knowledge.
  • You will not boast about your Christian intelligence.
  • You will not scoff or demean others.
  • You will simply let Jesus live through you and leave the results to Him.

I was hurt with depression and a broken heart.  Jesus saved me, but as time went by, I still had a broken heart.  I covered up the heart by becoming a legalistic hypocrite – too Christian.  Jesus delivered me from being a legalistic hypocrite but showing me to let Him live His life through me.  Life now is the most magnificent it has ever been.

My prayer for you is the following:

  • From my experience, may the Holy Spirit teach you whatever lesson you need to learn about understanding & being Too Hurt or Too Christian.

 

 

 

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Running From The Law

Whenever my front door at home opens, my cat, WD, usually attempts to run outside.  When he is successful, he is difficult to catch.  He purposely runs away from me every time I am about to catch him.  However, he will not run far.  He darts away so quickly once I believe I have caught him.

His behavior with the door fascinates me.  He has a warm, loving home.  Yet, he would love to be outside.  I began realizing that he loves his family; he just does not like the door.  The door limits his freedom.  When he can’t get out, he scratches at the door and cries.  He wants his freedom, but the door keeps him locked in. 

The door can actually represent the law.  As the door limits WD’s freedom, so does the law limit our freedom in Christ.  When WD is outside, he is free to run away, to go wherever he wants to and never come home.  However, the remarkable thing is that he does come home.  As much as the door (the law) is there, he places greater emphasis on the love he receives from my family (grace).

The same holds true for us in our walk with Jesus.  When we are set free from the law (the door), we can run wherever we want to and indulge in any type of sin.  However, once the pleasure of sin fades, we realize how far better is the grace and love of God in our life.  So we return home to Jesus.  He embraces us with open arms.

Another remarkable thing is that WD will often just sit at his master’s feet.  He loves his master so much that he prefers to be with him than to run away.

Again, the same is true for us.  That is why it is called the grace of God.  We love Jesus so much that it is easier to choose being in His company (grace) than running away (from the law into sin).  We prefer to sit at our Master’s feet and enjoy intimate fellowship with Him – just as Mary did in Luke 10:38-42.

 

TITHING (Under Law & Under Grace)

If you are in Christ, you are no longer under a curse.  You must clearly see this because many Christians (including ministers) tell Christians they are under a curse for not doing “certain” things, especially tithing.

If you encounter this, I only ask you to take to heart Galatians 3:10-14 especially “Jesus redeemed you from the curse of the law by becoming your curse on the cross.”

Whose words would you believe?  God’s words or a Christian’s opinion?

Have an open, humble heart so the Holy Spirit can reveal all this in the proper context – for Jesus alone and what He accomplished for you is the ONLY context.  Otherwise, you wind up back “under the law” and into legalism.

Tithing is a beautiful concept that God initiated for His people, Israel.  However, today tithing has been twisted from its original context (grace) into a condemning context (law).  Yes, there is “tithing under grace” and “tithing under law.”

I personally “tithe under grace” because God has blessed me so much that I cheerfully give (tithe).  Abraham and Jacob are excellent examples of “tithing under grace.”  For there was no law yet that required tithing.

Tithing under grace” is giving cheerfully to God (as Abraham and Jacob did) when you FIRST see the many blessings and love that God has for you.  You only respond with love from your heart to give (tithe) to the Lord.  You don’t feel obligated, under compulsion, or under condemnation that God is not pleased with you.

On the other hand, “tithing under law” is a requirement that must be fulfilled.  There is limited joy, if any, in tithing when it is required.  Therefore, to tell Christians that they must tithe (under law) or they are under a curse for robbing God of His tithes (Malachi 3:8-9) is totally inconsistent with Jesus becoming a curse for us by redeeming us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13).

This is a conflict of “law and grace.”

HOW CAN ONE BE CONDEMNED (LAW) AND UNDER A CURSE WHEN CHRIST HAS BECOME OUR CURSE (GRACE)?

Impossible!  See how easy it is to fall back “under the law?”  Again I ask you to consider – “Whose words would you want to believe?”  Jesus’ words or a Christian’s opinion?  So place tithing in the proper context (under grace) and don’t be duped into the “Malachi mindset” of legalism.

Tithing is beautiful when used in the proper context (grace).

Remember: The issue with “law and grace” is the motive of our hearts on how the Christian life is to be lived.

If I am required (If I must) tithe, then that is “tithing under law.”  If I choose (desire) to cheerfully tithe because of what God has blessed me with, then that is “tithing under grace.”  The motive of the heart is what makes the difference.  I pray you do see it.

  • Law says “I must, I have to tithe.”  And there will be punishment, guilt, and condemnation when I don’t.  And, of course, don’t forget curses.
  • Grace says, “I want to, I desire to cheerfully tithe because I see how much God blesses me and loves me.”  Remember Abraham and Jacob.

So for anyone telling Christians they are under a curse by not tithing or not tithing properly (according to Malachi 3:7), he better make sure he applies tithing in the proper Biblical context – “under law” or “under grace.”

It is unbiblical to tell someone they are under a curse for not tithing (law) or not tithing properly, when Jesus has redeemed that person from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for him (grace).

In other words, they are preaching a different gospel.

This is very serious – as Paul shows Galatians 1:6–9.  “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”

They are the ones under the curse for preaching a different gospel.  And that is clearly Biblical.

This reminds me of Jesus stating in Matthew 7:5 “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mole out of thy brother’s eye.”

Cheap Grace? (A Mockery For Even Considering)

Don’t get caught off guard by Christians who emphasize that less effort on your part to work for Jesus or to work out your own salvation will lead you to backslide.

They call it “cheap grace.”  They emphasize that, by abusing the grace of God, you will be using grace as a “license to sin.”

Think about it.

First, because of our sin nature we don’t need a license to sin; we sin quite easily without one.

Also, and more importantly, how can one dare call God’s grace “cheap?

Grace may be free to us, but grace cost our Savior His life.

How can His sacrifice ever be called “cheap?

Jesus’ sacrifice for our salvation can never be measured.

The cost of some things cannot be measured – not because they are free, but because THEY ARE PRICELESS.

So to call God’s grace “cheap” is to slap Jesus right in the face.  They are the ones abusing the grace of God. 

 

Profiles In Legalism —– The Tattered Suit

The following are excellent illustrations and highlights to summarize “law and grace.”  You will find them very helpful.

  The Tattered Suit

 There were two men who were neighbors – Joseph was Jewish, Greg was an atheist.  Joseph is required to obey the law of Moses.  Greg is not because the law of Moses was only given to the nation of Israel.

Both men go about their normal lives.  Joseph faithfully observes the commandments of the law.  He observes the Sabbath and is faithful in his tithes and keeping many of the specific parts of the law.  Greg, on the other hand, goes about his daily business completely oblivious to the requirements of the law.  Basically, Greg could care less about the law.

Greg frequently observes Joseph, his Jewish neighbor, trying his best to keep the law.  Joseph leads his family in prayer and leads them to the synagogue faithfully every Sabbath.  Greg notices, however, that lately Joseph looks worn down and physically ill.  So Greg decides to talk to his friend to ensure he is fine.

Joseph explains that he is burnt out and run down with life.  He explains that he has done his best to keep all parts of the law, but has realized he just cannot.  He explains how he redoubles his efforts every week to ensure keeping the law, but he always winds up failing.  He frequently becomes ill as a result.  He promises Yahweh God that he will always do better, but he can never seem to keep his promises.  Joseph feels enormous guilt and condemnation for failing.  He believes that Yahweh God is not pleased with him.  Yahweh must be very disappointed with him.  Therefore, the only practical result is that Joseph feels guilt and condemnation everyday for his consistent failures.

Greg thinks the Jewish faith is much too stringent – since he sees his neighbor Joseph frequently worn down and uptight.  Greg thinks to himself: “I sure am glad I am not Jewish.  Who would want to serve a god who requires such hard laws to be kept?”

About a month later, a Christian evangelist happened to be preaching in a nearby church.  Both Greg and Joseph went separately to hear him preach.  The preaching was a very moving and penetrating message about God’s personal love.  At the end of the service, the evangelist invited, to come forward, anyone interested to ask Jesus in his or her heart and become a born-again Christian.  Quite a few people went forward; among them were both Greg and Joseph.  The evangelist led everyone in prayer – to ask God forgiveness of all their sins and inviting Jesus to come live in their hearts.

After the prayer concluded, both Greg and Joseph sensed a very deep peace and joy they had never experienced before.  Then they noticed one another in the crowd that came forward.  They ran towards each other and embraced – for there was the deep joy of Jesus flowing from their hearts.  They realized they had become one – brothers in Jesus Christ.

I use this illustration to highlight the major differences between “law and grace” and to show how one easily slides back into legalism to keep God’s laws through self-effort.

For Joseph, the Jew, and Greg, the atheist, became Christians by faith.  They are now one in Christ.  However, they each had a different way that God used to draw them.  Being Jewish, Joseph was required to keep the law; Greg was not.

Look at it from the view of putting on brand new, clean clothes (Christ).  Ephesians 4:24 “And that ye put on the new man (Christ), which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”  Joseph and Greg have both put on Christ.  However, remember our distinction between “law and grace.”  Galatians 3:24-25 “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”  The law is given only to the Jew to follow.  The law shows the Jew that he cannot keep it – as we see in our example of Joseph trying his best to keep it and failing.  Joseph is left feeling miserable, burnt out, and feeling guilty.  The law’s purpose is to convict and condemn so the Jew can turn to Christ.  If the law convicts and condemns, then it has done its job.  In our example, we see the law has precisely done to Joseph what it was supposed to do.  Joseph feels like a total failure.  All he can do is cry out to God for help and grace and he sees God’s answer in Jesus Christ.  He accepts Jesus’ sacrifice and becomes born again.

Therefore, Joseph realizes that Jesus did fulfill the law – the law he always failed to keep.  So Joseph now puts aside the law (trying to keep it) and puts on Christ.  Joseph has died to the law and has accepted God’s grace.  Joseph now lives under the grace of God, no longer “under the law.”  It’s like he is wearing a “tattered, worn out” suit.  The “tattered, worn out” suit represents the law.  Now Jesus comes with grace to put a new suit on Joseph.  But, first, Joseph must take off the old suit and then put on the new one.  So he takes off his old “tattered, worn out” suit (the law) and lays it on the backyard fence separating his house from Greg’s.  Then Joseph takes the new suit (grace) and puts it on.  So the Jew must take off the old (law) and put on the new (grace).

On the other hand, Greg is not required to keep the law of Moses.  Being an atheist, he is not wearing a “tattered, worn out” suit.  Greg is not even aware of sin in his life because there is no law to show him.  So when he does become convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit (Romans 2:6-11), all he must do is put on the new suit (grace) that Jesus gives him.

So now we have two new Christians in new clean suits with the love and light of Christ coming from them.  Imagine the two in their backyards talking over the fence about their new life in Christ.  Off to the side, still hanging on the fence, is Joseph’s “tattered, worn out” suit.  Joseph shares that it is now such a joy to not wear that burden any longer.  Greg agrees.  They share emphatically this new life in Christ – a life of grace and love with Jesus living in them.  They experience a deep love between each other as brothers in Christ.  They begin to meet everyday to fellowship, pray, read the Bible, and worship God.  You can say that God truly exists between them.  They both passionately love Jesus first and grow in His grace and love.  This goes on for almost an entire year.  God is growing in them individually and together.

So far in my illustration, this is exactly how the Christian life is supposed to be lived.  I am sure you can easily see that.  Only the pureness of God’s intimate love is to motivate them.  They experience a life “under grace.”

After growing in grace for about a year, one day, Greg, the former atheist, happens to go out into his backyard.  Joseph is not there.  Greg notices Joseph’s old “tattered, worn out” suit still hanging on the fence.  Immediately he thinks: “Joseph couldn’t keep the law because Jesus was not living in him.  However, since Jesus did fulfill the law and since Jesus does live in me, then I know that I can and will be able to keep the law.”  Greg quotes: “After all, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  So he takes Joseph’s old “tattered, worn out” suit (the law) and puts it on over his new suit (grace).  “Not bad!  Not a bad fit,” he exclaims.  “Watch out world!”  At that moment, Joseph steps out of his house into the backyard.  There before his eyes in amazement, he sees Greg wearing his old, tattered suit.  Joseph thinks Greg looks “stupid” and tells him so.  Greg replies that all is well; he has only tried on the “tattered, worn out” suit to see how it fits over the new suit Christ gave him.  Greg believes it fits perfectly; Joseph knows otherwise from experience. But Greg insists to keep it on, while Joseph chooses to keep his new suit (Christ) showing.  And unknowing, Greg has stepped into legalism.

Need I say more?  Just imagine seeing a man with a new, beautiful suit on.  Imagine seeing him then put on an old, dirty, torn suit over the new one.  Then he goes about his business living.  That is legalism – attempting to live the Christian life wearing the law.  That is what occurred to Greg.  Don’t fall into its trap.  That is why it is invaluable and necessary for you to know and understand the difference between “law and grace.”  Legalism is a very serious threat to the grace of God.  So only let grace live through you.  Only let the love of Jesus motivate your every part of life.  Just know the purpose of the law and drop it, so that only grace is left.  Praise His Marvelous Name!

Beware of the subtle, legalistic mindset in Christianity that emphasizes what you have to do for God, instead of what God wants to do through you.  Legalism stresses works done for Jesus more than the works Jesus does through you.  These works could be anything from Bible reading, Bible memorization, prayer, witnessing, spiritual gifts, spiritual warfare, tithing, etc.  Whatever takes you away from your intimate walk with Jesus will draw you into legalism.  2 Corinthians 11:3 “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your mind should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”  Yes, keep your walk with Jesus simple and pure.  Read the letter to the Galatians frequently so the Holy Spirit can teach you the dangers of legalism.  Don’t wind up like Greg and cover Christ with the law.  Then the world will only see you living the Christian life by keeping the law.  They certainly will not see Christ and His love living through you.  They will see your old “tattered, worn out” suit.

Wearing an old, torn suit over the shining one is how law covers grace.  That is what one looks like when he gets back “under the law.”  That is what legalism does to the Christian – it hides Christ so His love and light cannot flow out from the Christian.  Instead, all you see is the Christian puffed up in his ego flesh – all puffed up about his works done for Jesus.  And he will begin boasting about it thinking it is God’s will.  But, it’s not.

The real problem with the law is not the law itself.  The real problem is you and I.  We can never keep the law because of indwelling sin.  No matter how hard we try, we will always fail.  The law requires total perfection and sin actually gets its power from the law.  Therefore, we are in a no-win situation when we try to keep the law.  We simply cannot and, as a result, easily fall into sin’s power.  So why don’t we stop trying to keep it?

Our only way out to escape the law and sin is THE CROSS.  The road of Calvary is a narrow road “of death.”  So our escape is through death.  After all, that is what the cross represents – death.  It is not a physical death – but a death “in our spirit” to sin and the law.  It is a death to the things that have power over us.  It is a death to those things in life that keep us from God.  At the cross, we cry out to Jesus and give ourselves in total surrender.  Magnificent!

Jesus is the door/way for our escape.  And the road He leads us through is the road to death.  It is our daily death of Calvary.  Yes, we must die (in our minds) to what keeps us in bondage.  In other words, Jesus wants to “desensitize” us to the temptations of sin that Satan throws our way.  Jesus also wants us to focus on Him and His grace when the law arises to challenge us.  This is why there is His life in the resurrection to experience after we die daily to sin and the law.

No wonder so many Christians remain in bondage to sin and the law.  Who wants to experience death – especially daily?  So no matter how much a Christian tries to free himself from the bondage of sin and the law, he simply cannot.  (This is not a complicated Scriptural principle to understand.)  He struggles and will continue to try as hard as he can, but he just cannot free himself.  This is because he is trying to keep the law in his self-effort.  He may appear to succeed in some areas, but we know he will fall flat on his face just like Joseph.  That is why he needs grace, not the law.  Once he realizes he cannot keep the law, he should turn to Jesus who did keep/fulfill the law.  This is his (and our) escape – through the cross (death to sin and the law) and into the resurrection (alive in Christ and His grace).  Romans 7:24-25 “O wretched man that I am!  Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”

This is God’s simple plan for our salvation in Christ.  The law condemns us, shows us as failures.  God provides our escape through Christ – His cross and His resurrection.  “Under the law,” we attempt to live the Christian life and miserably fail.  “Under grace,” Jesus lives the Christian life through us and always succeeds as long as we let Him live His life through us.

This is why the Christian life is only Jesus Christ.  Everything begins and ends with Jesus.  Jesus is why the Christian life is such a joy.  If you struggle in your Christian walk trying to keep the law, you will be missing the joy and intimacy of Jesus living through you.  You will miss the daily experience of His grace and love for you.  This is because you are trying to keep the law when you simply cannot.  You struggle and burn out.  You redouble your efforts to try your best and you still fail – just like Joseph.  Then Satan pounds you with feelings of guilt, condemnation, and frustration.  But remember that is the law’s one and only purpose.  You must see this if you want to be free and enjoy your life with Christ.

Christ is knocking at the door of your heart.  Let the Holy Spirit show and convince you that this is the only purpose of the law – to convict, to condemn, and to convince you that you cannot keep it.  Once you are convinced, then, I guarantee all you will see is Jesus.  You will be so grateful.  You run to Him, rest in His love, and realize only He can do what you never could.  So cease striving and rest in His love.  Then, the joy of experiencing Jesus daily begins to return.  You have now experienced the true meaning of living “under law” and living “under grace.”  So, choose daily to live “under grace” – only resting in His love.

The main issue and struggle many Christians face is their failure to understand the difference between “law and grace.”  What many do instead is mix the two together.  It comes out in this type of mindset: “Because Jesus has saved me by His grace, I now have the ability to keep the law.”  (This is exactly what Greg did by putting on Joseph’s tattered suit (the law) over his new clean suit (grace).)  And before they know it, they innocently and ignorantly try to keep the law.  Failure is inevitable.  As we have extensively studied in this book, law and grace” can never be mixed.

God wants us to be confident in the grace of His Son.  We are God’s children and must only focus on Jesus.  This guarantees a life “under grace” – for Jesus is the grace of God.  We can then be confident that the life Jesus lives through us will be God’s life.  This is why it is grace – a life free from fear, guilt, condemnation, and frustration.  It is a life only in love with Jesus.

This is why it is critical for you to have a clear understanding between “law and grace.”  Otherwise, only confusion will occur.  “Under the law,” guilt, fear, and condemnation arise.  Also arising will be doubt that God loves you.  If you fail to keep the law, God must be disappointed in you.  “Under grace,” the joy of the Christian life bursts forth and becomes the most exciting experience to ever encounter – the joy of experiencing the intimate love of Jesus daily.  (See Philippians 3:7-11.)  And then Jesus gives you a passion to share His love with others.

Therefore, the Holy Spirit has a question for you that you need to answer.  After reading this book and understanding the difference between “law and grace,” the Holy Spirit asks you the following: “How prepared are you to put aside the law and be totally dependent on Jesus and His grace?”  Only you can faithfully answer.  And you must answer.  So give yourself a thorough self-examination before you answer.  There are only three possible answers.

  1.  NO!  “I choose to live ‘under law’ – to obey God’s laws through my self-effort.  In that way, God will accept me.  I can make it on my own.”
  2. YES!  “I choose to live ‘under grace.’  I accept Jesus’ sacrifice as fulfilling the law.  Therefore, I choose to be totally dependent on Him to live His life through me.  I know that God accepts me as I am because I accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on my behalf.
  3. BOTH!  “I choose to live a mixture ‘under law’ and ‘under grace.’  By being saved by God’s grace, His grace now makes it possible for me to keep the law.”  Under this choice, one feels that he must always do something to make himself acceptable to God.  He has mixed “law and grace” and will become double-minded and unstable in all his ways (James 1:8).

The choice you make will chart the entire course of your Christian life.  For “law and grace” is at the source of the Christian life.  Remember: God already knows we can never keep the law.  He only expects failure on our part.  That is why He sent Jesus to fulfill the law.  Therefore, the law becomes fulfilled in us when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of our life.  Jesus comes to live in us forever, for He will never die.  We do die because of sin and the law, but Jesus never will.

I now realize when I begin to feel condemned, guilty, or frustrated over something in some area of my life, I have not died to the law in that area of my life.  Satan will use the law to torment me into believing that God is upset with me and, therefore, does not accept me.  Satan whispers to me that God does not love me.  Baloney!  I now realize that to be totally free, I must do what Paul writes, “Through the law, I died to the law.”  Therefore, God does accept me just as I am.  God accepts me as His child.  He loves me unconditionally.  He also does the same for you.  You are under God’s grace.  You have put on Christ – and choose not to put the law on over Christ – to not mix “law and grace.”  So don’t put on “tattered, worn out” clothes and hide Christ in you.

– excerpt from ARE YOU UNDER LAW OR UNDER GRACE

– author Bob Bennett –  http://www.LifeUnderGrace.com

Are You IN ADAM Or IN CHRIST?

In Romans 5:12-21, Paul explains the significant differences of being either “in Adam” or “in Christ.”  These differences can also be applied as the differences between living “under law” and living “under grace.”

“Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also [is] the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more THE GRACE OF GOD, and the gift by grace, [which is] by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as [it was] by one that sinned, [so is] the gift: for the judgment [was] by one to condemnation, but the free gift [is] of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness SHALL REIGN IN LIFE BY ONE, JESUS CHRIST.) Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. BUT where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”  What a magnificent salvation our Lord has given us! 

Even in I Corinthians 15:21-22, Paul shows the specific difference between being “in Adam” and being “in Christ.”  “For since by man (Adam) came death, by man (Jesus) also came the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive.” 

Highlights:
Romans 5:12-21
Jesus, The Foundation Of Our Salvation

IN ADAM                      ​                              ​        IN CHRIST
Sin enters the world.                        ​                The grace of God enters the world.
Through sin, death entered the world.         Through grace, life entered the world.
All are dead.                         ​                              ​ All are alive.
Condemnation by sin.                          ​              Justification by faith.
Sinner by birth.                        ​                           Child of God through regeneration
​                              ​                    (new birth) of the Holy Spirit.
When law enters, sin increases.                    ​ Where sin increases, grace increases
​                              ​                    all the more.

Controlled by sin.                          ​                     Controlled by the life & love of God.
Unrighteous.                  ​                              ​        Made righteous.
Unsanctified.  People-pleaser.                        Sanctified.
Unredeemed.  In bondage.                      ​          Redeemed.
Imperfect.                    ​                              ​           Perfect forever.
Incomplete.                   ​                              ​         Complete in Christ.
Alive to sin.                          ​                              ​   Dead to sin.
Spiritually dead.                         ​                         Spiritually alive.
Sinner (by birth) in need of forgiveness.      Forgiven sinner.
Corrupt and evil sin nature (flesh).               New creatures in Christ, a new nature.
Fulfill the lusts of the flesh.                        ​     Led by the Spirit.
God’s enemy.                        ​                              ​ God’s child. 

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