Law and Grace

It seems to me that we evangelicals too often get mixed up on the roles of law and grace in our conversations with those who need to entrust their lives to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. It is certainly clear to us from Scripture that it is the law of God - what he expects of us - is what the Spirit uses to show us our sin, and the brokenness that pervades us as a result. This sin means we're guilty before God, and it is this cognizance of sin and the penalty it deserves that moves us to look to Christ for remedy and rescue. But a funny thing happens when we're talking to folks and the conversation turns to religion, and Jesus.

I find that too often we preach grace to unbelievers instead of God's requirements. That is, we try to "sell" salvation based on all the goodies believers receive. We entice them to "believe" by showcasing all the benefits of following Jesus, and entrusting our lives to him. But the problem is that this may bring them to make a decision, but to propelled by an inner conviction of sin. It is only the knowledge of God's standards, and his expectations on our lives as those made in his image, that can bring true conviction, and usher in repentance and saving faith.

But perhaps just as misguided is our tendency to preach law to believers. It seems we are so mixed up! We preach grace to unbelievers, and then once they are "in" we burden them with law after law and rule after rule and legalistic expectations arising from our own preferences rather than Scripture. Grace to the unsaved, and law to the redeemed! That's certainly backwards!

I am so glad God preaches law to the sinful heart in order that he might bring us to Christ, where we find grace that is greater than our sin, and an ongoing refuge for our soul. And it is time we follow his model.