Sunday, September 22, 2013

Grace Says We Are FREE!

But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.                        James 1:25

It is amazing that in the new covenant, we have been completely taken out from under law.  The 'law' that we find ourselves under in this wonderful new covenant is called the law of liberty.  How is it described by the NIV above?  As the perfect law that gives freedom!  Wow, what kind of amazing law is this that actually gives freedom!

Usually when you think of laws being put on people, what kinds of words come to mind?  For me, thoughts of bondage/being bound, pressure, fencing people in, rules, requirements, being tied down, being compressed, structure, force, compliance, should and must - these are the words and images that come to my  mind on hearing the word "law"..thoughts of obligation and things being demanded of me, or else something negative will happen.  Yet the verse above says the new covenant law of liberty gives freedom!  How can that be, when law seems to denote restriction and loss of freedom?

I was thinking about this, and I realized that there is another use of the word 'law' in scripture - it can mean a defining or overarching principle, a description of how things work.  Sort of like the law of gravity. What does the law of gravity tell us?  Does it 'demand' that we not float off into space? No!  It describes what is always true of us, tells us that we will not float off into space because we are held on the earth by an overarching force keeping us 'grounded.'  I think the law of liberty may be kind of like that!  This 'law' explains the state we are in now as new creations in Christ - we are in a place of freedom, and we won't be  in bondage to rules anymore, we are free in grace!

What did Jesus free us from?  He freed us from sin, from the effects of sin (death), from the bondage to the law, from the curse, from our futile way of life handed down to us by religious tradition (a performance-based way of life where we thought we had to earn blessings or do certain things to avoid cursing, and it was all up to us, all based on what we did).  Jesus set us free from all this!

We are free from sin's reign in our lives:  Sin doesn't have any control or hold over us, it can't make us do wrong anymore! We are free from sin's bondage!  It doesn't have any power over us!

And we are also free from the rules and regulations of the old law:  The law doesn't have any jurisdiction over us!  The law cannot make demands on us (demands that we could not keep and were doomed to fail at anyway).  The law cannot condemn or curse us or hold a verdict of guilty or a punishment/penalty of death over our heads! 

We are free from living by performance:  We don't have to earn blessings by our good acts, thoughts, words or even beliefs!  And we don't have to worry about incurring curses by our bad acts, thoughts, words or even beliefs!  We will never get all those things completely right, and God knows that.  That is why in the new covenant everything is based on Christ's perfect acts, thoughts, words and beliefs, not our own!  His work is perfect and is already completed on our behalf, and we get all the benefit of it - all blessings, no curses - completely for free, right from His loving hand!  Now that's what I call freedom, that's what I call a glorious new covenant, that's what I call grace!

So what does all this tell me?  We have been so freed from sin's rule over us, law's rule over us, performance-based thinking's rule over us.  One thing it means to me is that we are not under any obligation today.  What a relief this is!

What does it mean to be without obligation?  It means you don't owe God anything.  Nothing is required of you.  God makes no demands on you today.  He is not pushing you.  He is not forcing you to do anything.  There is nothing you have to do, or else He'll be disappointed, withdraw from you, stop working in your life, or stop blessing you! Nothing you do could stop Him from loving and blessing you, because He does those things out of who He is, not based on your performance!  There is nothing YOU have to do, HE does it all; and also there is nothing you HAVE to do, there is no pressure on you to change, measure up, get better, improve, meet a standard, be a good Christian, be more spiritual, or perform in any way!  There is no requirement put on you!

God isn't struggling with you today, wishing you would just shape up or clean up your act!  God is at total peace with you right now.   He is not judging you.  He is not evaluating you.  He is needing nothing from you.  He is completely satisfied with you, just as satisfied with you as He is with His Son Jesus!  If you did nothing at all for God ever again, never even prayed or looked His way ever again, He would be loving you and blessing you just the same!

This gives such relief and rest!  For this means you don't have to 'try.'  You can cease the strivings, you can relax, you can be..you do not have to try..not even try to have more faith or understand grace better or seek His face or ANYTHING..you can rest!  He will do it all.  He will bring you to see who you are in Him.  He will take care of everything that concerns you.  He will manifest your new creation life without your help!  Wow!  You are really free to stop trying to become and just BE your beautiful self that you already are, perfect and lovely and beloved!  You can simply BE and just enjoy life!

You are really free to do anything you wish and it will not change you status with God one bit, because it is totally based on the finished work of Christ.  You are so secure it's beyond words!  You cannot fall out of His grip.  You cannot even fail! Yes, wow, with grace, you cannot fail! Failure will make no difference in your relationship with Him!  Because He bases that relationship totally on His loving nature, Christ's finished work, and His commitment to you, not on anything that you have to do or be.  He is holding up this relationship from beginning to end - and there is no end to it, yay!   You are in Him for all eternity, safe within Him!  So if you fall, the safety net of His grace catches you every time!  He is holding on to you and won't let go!

As R F Capon says, "You can't get away from a love that will not let you go."  That's grace, the love that just won't let us go!  The love that makes us safe and free to be ourselves, free to relax and even do nothing, free to expand our horizons and discover new things, free to ponder and ask questions, free to feel and not be rebuked for the way we honestly feel, free to make mistakes and still be accepted, free to spread our wings and fly!

The new covenant law of liberty describes your state in this new creation realm - in this realm, you are free!  Free to do and be anything!  The question is, what do you wish to do?

3 comments:

  1. This is EXCELLENT! You have helped me understand the perfect law of liberty. I have struggled with understanding that phrase for years. Now I know what it means and how I can apply it to my life. This post is perfect for explaining the "law" side of law and grace. Can I reblog this on For His Glory? It would be such a blessing for me and will definitely help my readers understand their true identity in Christ. You and your writing are such blessings to me.

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  2. Yes, isn't it wonderful to be free! I too have struggled with figuring out what the law of liberty means, and I know that I have much more to learn, but it is such a relief to me to know God isn't struggling with me and isn't putting obligations on me today, whew! And yes, you can always re-blog anything written here, no problem and no need to ask!

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  3. you said " If you did nothing at all for God ever again, never even prayed or looked His way ever again, He would be loving you and blessing you just the same!" and I think I understand how you could say this. It does go against everything most of us have learned. Anyway I guess the key word is if but wouldn't you agree this should not be the natural inclination for a believer in Jesus Christ?

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May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14