Grace 101

Over the past several Grace 101 posts I have focused on the parable of the sower from Matthew 13 to give us a structure for looking at enemies of grace.  I started with the trampled or trodden path, the hard ground that would not let the seed take root.  But other enemies take advantage of the hard ground to pick off the seed as it lies on top.  Jesus calls them the “birds of the air.”

The birds of the air are opportunists.  They watch for something to happen and then try to take advantage of it.  If you drop your french fries out of your car window in the parking lot, it won’t be long before the gulls or crows are there to eat them.  I once saw eight bald eagles eating the carcass of a dead deer alongside the road.  So, if the seed of the gospel of grace is scattered among the people, the birds will be there to pick it up.

One of those birds is what I will call the “anti-law crowd.”  You know these folks.  Since they are under grace, they say, anything goes.  I won’t go into details on their behavior, but their attitude is usually flippant, rebellious, and self-serving.  They excuse any behavior they choose by arguing that there is no more law over them.

The message of grace has always attracted the anti-law crowd.  Paul talked about them in Romans 6.  They push the limits of acceptance, even among unbelievers.  We are not supposed to scold them or criticize their choices, no matter how hurtful or foolish.  Why?  Because they are “under grace.”

And when the legalists criticize the message of grace, guess who they point at to make their case?  Of course, the anti-law crowd.  When grace is confused with “license to sin,” someone will point to a person who has little understanding of grace but wants to have the freedom to exhibit behavior God warns against.  We are called “antinomian,” anti-law, because we teach grace—even though we don’t do the things they do.

Now, I understand where the opening is for this error and I would never want to close that door.  The law no longer condemns us for our behavior.  Grace has freed us from that measurement system.  Those who belong to Christ and commit sinful behavior still belong to Christ.  That’s because He is the only measure of our acceptance to God.  We couldn’t change that if we wanted to.

But listen: no one is more free to sin under grace than he was under law.  I chuckle when I hear someone say that people sin more under grace.  I have lived under law and I have known very many people who live under law.  Sin is still very active under law.  It may be more hidden, less admitted, but it is certainly still there.  In fact, I could make a strong argument that the only real way to overcome sin is to live under grace.  Paul suggests that law only shines a light on sin, never stops it.

There is one important difference.  Under the law, sin is seen as evidence that the person needs a Savior.  Under grace, sin is evidence that the flesh is leading.  Making a Christian feel that he or she is under the law can only result in a life without assurance and more sin.  Allowing a Christian to understand grace is the beginning of life in the Spirit, rather than the flesh.  We are free under grace.

So what do we do about those who flaunt their behavior and excuse it by saying that they are under grace, when they are really just happy to be out from under the constrictions of the law?  Probably nothing.  We can warn them that sin still has consequences, I suppose.  We can explain that they do not represent our thinking when others point them out.  But it is hard to keep the birds away.

The anti-law crowd does not invalidate the message of grace.  They are simply confused and they confuse others.


Filed under Freedom, Grace 101, Grace definition, Legalism

7 responses to “Anti-Law

  1. UnForsaken

    Thanks for writting this food -for- thought in the midst of dealing with so much! The peaple in CO are still in my prayers.
    Met a lot of birds, mostly under-law ones, and sins are overlooked or hidden just as you say. Bless God for opening eyes after that–to His Love and to sharing it!

  2. Penny

    I really liked this post. So often, the anti-law person holds everyone else to a standard that they refuse to hold for themselves. And yet, they excuse their sin by saying “it doesn’t count” (under grace). But what the scripture really says is that our sins don’t count against US–because they are counted against HIM. Ouch. That probably won’t give the anti-law person pause, but it gives me pause. My sins DO count, just not against me–they are on Jesus. Hmmmm….what if they were on my little boy? Or my little girl? Or my best friend? Or my sister? Or my favorite niece? Or even my beloved dog? (sorry–just making the point). I doubt that I would be so cavalier. I hope I would feel terrible and grieved… and grateful and overwhelmed at the cost. I probably wouldn’t say so easily, “it does’t matter b/c it’s paid for”. It DOES matter. Someone had to pay for that. I don’t want them to! I no longer want to hurt Jesus. I want to be grateful.

    • Fellow Survivor

      Penny, just after I read your post a proverb popped into my mind, one of my favorites. Its the one that says something like this ” get wisdom my son, and with all thy getting get understanding” The words you have written will be shared by me with others and I hope I take to heart what you have written. Thank you.

  3. UnForsaken

    Humbling. Your logic is exceptional, Penny. I know God is the Perfect Father, but I really benefited from hearing this context. Bless you!

  4. Shirley

    Great post!!!
    I just wanted to add the simplicity of the Gospel,, this is the only way it ever penetrated my soul.. That is the law was written on stone and was outside of us ( or the Jews whom it was given to ). But grace is given via the holy spirit… In other words God has replaced the LAW with the SPIRIT……!!! So there is no argument for me of Law & Grace as the unbeliever has to live by his conscience ( Law ) and the believer has to have their minds renewed by the holy spirit and not concentrate on their sins or the sins of others…Any conviction of sin is from satan please don’t listen to preachers who say God is constantly on their backs about the sins you have committed,,,this will only lead us into depression and unbelief ( satan’s tactics )…

    The holy spirit has mainly two jobs to do and that is to simultaneously convict ( convince ) the unbeliever of their unbelief in Christ, and to convict (convince) the believer of all the truth about how much he loves us then we’ll reciprocate that love only when we’re convinced,, then the understanding of his people so we can genuinely love them..and finely but not least the understanding of the unbelievers of the Gospel ( religious & non religious ) so we will be able to have a charitable love for them….

    We know by instinct that God hates sins but we have to remember he is not concerned about them as we are…He has dealt with them all sufficiently…Jesus said It is FINISHED and the law of sin and death were nailed to the cross….The Faith has come ( Jesus ) and what is not of faith is sin…..I just love the way God speaks about the likes of Abraham, David, Jacob, Moses and rehab the prostitute.. He never once mentions their sins,,and boy did those people sin..This gives me great hope that he is not pointing his bony finger at me…….

  5. Shirley

    Oh I just wanted to add when we sin against love we should not be filled with guilt but have Godly sorrow….They are not the same thing as God never talks to us who are not under the LAW via our consciences. He talks to our hearts via the holy spirit….To bring about Godly sorrow…. You know one of the first things kids learn is to say sorry just to get out of trouble,,then we say ” say it like you mean it “…I don’t know about you but when someone says ” they are sorry or I love you ” I want them to mean it,,,,and not say it out of duty or because their Religion requires it…

    • Fellow Survivor

      Shirley, excellent post. Both you and Penny are full of wisdom and insight. Thanks for sharing whats in your heart.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s