Speeding and Grace

Speeding and Grace

Date: 07/24/2015 
Meet Derek. He has a lead foot just like his father Henry. One day, Derek overslept when his alarm went off, now he has to race to work to make it on time. Not that he needed an excuse for driving fast.
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Meet Derek. He has a lead foot just like his father Henry. One day, Derek overslept when his alarm went off, now he has to race to work to make it on time. Not that he needed an excuse for driving fast. As fate would have it, a police officer was sitting on the side of the road with his radar on and Derek got pulled over for speeding. Derek knew he deserved a ticket and begged the officer for mercy. After thinking about it, the officer decided not to give Derek a ticket even though he broke the law.

Now, do you think Derek would then peel out from the side of the road, throw gravel on the officer and then speed away? Not likely. Derek was under the condemnation of the law, he should have been punished, but the officer showed him mercy by not writing him a speeding ticket. The grace shown to Derek by the officer had a transforming effect on him. He drove away very willing and motivated to obey the speed limit, even after the police car was out of sight. That's what the Bible means when it says, we are no longer under the law but under grace.

Like Derek, we have all broken laws. He violated the civil law and everyone on earth has violated God's moral law. It's no surprise that God's law demands punishment, however, his law only condemns, it cannot save. We are saved through faith in Christ alone. Jesus earned the right to set aside the demands of the law by taking the punishment for our sins upon himself at Calvary's cross. That way the justice of the law could be maintained, and we lawbreakers could be saved. The fact that the creator of the universe had to come to our earth to pay the penalty for his broken law proves the law is unchanging and unchangeable.

If God's law were changeable, then God could have just changed it before Jesus came or even done away with it completely. That way, he could have spared his son the terrible experience of taking our punishment on the cross. Paul said in Hebrews 5, "Once Jesus was made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him." Hebrews 5:9, "As Christ is our example in all things, His obedience to the requirement of the law shows us the perfect pattern for holiness." The grace and mercy the officer showed Derek did not remove the law against speeding, nor does the grace God gives to the sinner remove the law against sinning.

God's perfect law will be the standard for all creation forever. In Romans 3, Paul said, "Do we then make void the law through faith?" Certainly not. On the contrary, we established the law. How could the law be established through our faith in Christ's death and yet nailed to the cross at the same time? Any confusion about the law being done away with at the cross comes from confusion between two laws. The ceremonial laws were necessary until Jesus died on the cross.

After Christ died, no one needed to sacrifice animals. The sacrifice that ended all sacrifices for sin was Jesus. The killing of animals, Paul said, had been contrary to us. It had not been easy to kill an innocent animal, knowing it must die because of sins that people committed. What was nailed to the cross, then? It was the handwriting of ordinances written by Moses. The ceremonial law dealing with sacrifices and feast days. That's what was nailed to the cross and taken out of the way, not the moral law written by God in stone.

Let's consider for a moment the popular Christian view that the 10 Commandments were nailed to the cross. As a Christian, doesn't this give you cause for concern? Are we not then promoting the idea that Jesus died to remove moral accountability to our Creator and each other? That idea sounds more like a secular agenda than one a Christian should advocate. Apostle Paul wrote that Christians are no longer under the law but under grace. Does that mean, then, that we don't need to obey the law of God? Let's think about that.

Which of the big 10 are Christians willing to say were really done away with at the cross? Certainly not taking God's name in vain, worshiping idols, dishonoring our parents, lying, cheating, stealing, killing, having adulterous affairs or coveting. No, there is only one commandment many are willing to admit was nailed to the cross. Ironically, that commandment is the only one that begins with the word, remember. James wrote, "if you break one of the commandments, you have broken them all."

The Bible says, by the law we have the knowledge of sin. The law is a teacher that leads us to seek pardonment and forgiveness for our sins. It shows us where we are lacking in genuine love for God and our fellow man. The only definition of sin found in God's word is, "sin is the breaking of the law." Going back to Derek, without posted speed limits he couldn't be held accountable for speeding. Without God's laws, we can't be held accountable for sin either. No law, no sin, no need of grace.

The logical conclusion of the popular view that the moral law was nailed to the cross must be this, Jesus died for us because we broke the law, but now we don't have to keep the law. Is that what the Bible teaches? No, not at all. Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments." He taught that willing obedience to the commandments is how we demonstrate our love for him and for others. In 1 John 2, the apostle John urged the believers to sin not, they knew the moral law was still in effect.

David said in Psalms 119:160, "all your words are true, all your righteous laws are eternal." However, God knows we cannot obey the law without his divine power and grace. In mercy, then, God empowers the repentant sinner to do that which he cannot do of himself. That is, to keep God's law in his own strength. As we contemplate Jesus' great sacrifice in taking our punishment upon himself, our hearts are one in loyalty to Him.

The fact that God's moral law was not nailed to the cross is really good news when you think about it. Just think if the whole world kept God's commandments, there wouldn't be a murderer, thief, adulterer, rapist, criminal, or lawbreaker in the world. Now is the time to allow Christ to write His law on our hearts and minds. Those who willfully disregard His laws now would find no joy in the earth made new where sin and sinners will not exist. Something to think about.

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