Monday, September 26, 2016

Living Under Grace

ROMANS 6:15 “Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!”

I read that “justification” is defined in the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary as “remission of sin and absolution from guilt and punishment; or an act of free grace by which God pardons the sinner and accepts him as righteous, on account of the atonement of Christ.” Justification is God’s legal declaration that we are righteous in His sight by the imputation of the merit of Christ to our records, establishes our heavenly citizenship and guarantees eternal life. By the blood of the Lamb of God, the wrath of God will “passover”. We are granted peace with God and are secure in salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and we are confident that the Lord will preserve His justified people forever. In justification, we look only to what Jesus has done in our behalf. However, justification is not the entirety of our salvation, which also encompasses the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. In other words, those who have been justified begin to serve God truly, but this service is never the basis for our right standing with our Creator. We don’t serve to get saved, but because we are saved.

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

The article stated that Theologians refer to this transformation by the Spirit as sanctification, which includes a definitive aspect and an ongoing aspect. Sanctification is defined in the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary as “the act of making holy. In an evangelical sense, the act of God's grace by which the affections of men are purified or alienated from sin and the world, and exalted to a supreme love to God. The act of consecrating or of setting apart for a sacred purpose; consecration.” When we first trust Christ, we are set apart as holy unto Christ once and for all.

Thus, Paul can refer to even the notoriously sinful Corinthian church as “sanctified in Christ Jesus”. However, there is also the ongoing process of sanctification by which the Spirit conforms us in practice to the holiness we enjoy in our Savior. Romans 6–8 focuses on the process of sanctification. Paul raises the question:  Does the fact that we are not under law but under grace give us license to sin? Paul’s answer is an emphatic: “By no means!” Grace not only liberates us from the law but also has a constraining power unto obedience. According to standard Jewish interpretations of the Old Testament, those who did not have the old covenant law had nothing to hold back their sin, and it is likely that some Jews accused Paul of promoting sinful libertinism by saying that in Christ we are “not under law but under grace”. The Apostle turns their interpretation of the Old Testament on its head, indicating that on the contrary, those in whom sin is excited the most are those who are under law. Grace alone, not more law, gives us the willingness to serve God.

“We are no longer under the law in the sense of being underneath the awesome, weighty burden of the law. We are no longer in the condition of being crushed under the weight of the law, no longer oppressed by its burden of guilt and judgment.” We are no longer under the law as guilty people, for we are righteous in Christ. We are living under grace.

In Christ, Brian

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