Here are 20 bullet points to consider on the effects of grace versus law from Rob Rufus's latest sermon; "Do Christians Need To Confess Their Sins To God?". I am increasingly realising that there is no middle ground here. A useless mixture of preaching Old and New Covenant doesn't work. When I read about a senior Christian leader talking of a weary daily battle for joy and that joy having to come from a "humble" consideration of being; "I am the worst sinner I know" - I am somewhat at a loss to reconcile that with Scripture that speaks of "joy unspeakable and full of glory" and references to joy springing up like a spring of water. The shadow of law rather seems to loom over a statement such as that rather than applaudable "discipline". So it is criticial that we recognise what part law plays and it's limitations as compared to grace.
Even Mahaney's one-time hero C H Spurgeon would see the relationship between the grace of God and abounding joy as being paramount;
"Our dream is not of devils descending a dreary staircase to hell, but of angels ascending and descending upon a ladder, the top of which leads to the shining throne of God. The message of the gospel is one of joy and gladness, and were it universally understood and received this world would be no longer a wilderness, but it would rejoice and blossom as the rose. Let grace reign in all hearts, and this earth will become a temple filled with perpetual song; and even the trials of life will become causes of the highest joy, so beautifully described by James as "all joy," as if every possible delight were crowded into it".
It is just as critical that we fully, 100% embrace the New Covenant in it's entirety and that does NOT include "accountability groups" that spend day after day, week after week examining sins. I asked someone who goes to one such accountability group faithfully this - what sins have you triumphed over since being in that group? The answer wasn't clear and certainly wasn't positive. So here's Rob's list. The stakes couldn't be higher! "It was for FREEDOM that Christ has set us FREE!".
1. The law is only a weak and useless shadow. Grace is the reality of the good things.
2. The law demands perfect righteousness of you and will judge you and send you to hell if you are not perfectly righteous all the time. And you may try to be righteous for a little while but if you do not keep the law one hundred percent then you’ve got to confess your sin. And if you don’t confess your sin before you die, then in between your last confession you could go to hell.
3. The law demands the absolute perfect standard of God’s righteous of you all the time. Grace gives you God’s free gift of his righteousness for you to stand in.
4. Law says do, do, do. Grace says it’s done. It’s done. It’s done, you’re safe.
5. Law makes you conscious of your sin. Grace makes you conscious of you being righteous in Christ Jesus.
6. Law always condemns you. Grace never condemns you.
Grace lifts you into the cloud of his presence. Into the cloud of His glory. I say with integrity, I walk in His Presence every single day his Presence comes on me. Every day. I’m not talking about I sort of think he’s there, I’m talking about tangible, electrical Presence. The Presence of God every day. And it’s because of grace understanding. Not because of trying to keep the law.
7. The law took the disobedience of Adam and condemned us all. Grace took the obedience of Jesus and declared us all to be perfectly righteous in the Father’s eyes.
8. Under law God says I will by no means forget your sins. Under grace God says I will by no means ever remember your sins again. (So ... "I am the worst sinner I know"? God doesn't seem to share the same opinion if the New Covenant is to be believed. How God-glorifying is it to remember something God says He has forgotten ... deliberately?). Past, present and future. Because Jesus didn’t die somewhere in the middle of your life, he died before you were ever born. And he died to cancel all your sins and they’ve all already been forgiven according to what we read in the book of Hebrews. Under grace God says I will never remember your sins.
9. The law is a revelation of how much is wrong with you before God. Grace is a revelation of how perfectly right with God you are. At the cross, Jesus identified with you at your worst so that in Him you can by identified with him at his best.
There is no height into the glory Presence of God you cannot ascend on a daily basis because there was no limit to death and depravity that Jesus refused to descend to on your behalf. The reason why grace brings so much relief to the sole is because grace takes the focus off our unworthiness and puts the focus on Jesus’ worthiness and the glorious fact that we are always permanently in Him.
10. Under law sin abounded but grace has super excessively, more abounded. When your sin and grace meet in the boxing ring, grace triumphs easily every time.
11. The law makes you self conscious, grace makes you Christ conscious.
12. The law makes you ask, “What must I do?” Grace asks what has Jesus done already?
13. Under law, the burden is on you to perform. Under grace, the burden is on what Christ has performed on your behalf already.
14. The law is a heavy burden with a difficult yoke. Grace is a light burden with a yoke that’s easy.
15. The law is a ministry of death. Grace is a ministry of life.
16. The law demands of you. Grace gives to you.
17. The law demands you earn the blessings. Grace has already earned the blessings for you.
18. The law demands you earn the blessings, grace has already earned the blessings for you.
19. The law is dependant on you. Grace is dependant on what Jesus has already done for you.
20. You will always fail the law, but grace will always succeed for you.
"The law justifies no one and condemns even the best of us. Grace justifies, accepts, and approves even the worst of us".