“Whenever we preach grace in a way that takes away personal responsibility we are preaching a different Gospel.” – Kris Vallotton
Our holiness is no longer based on the Law. Yes — but there is more: Since our good works, and therefore our holiness, are based on grace, that grace transforms both works and the law. This is a new thought to some in the Christian world: Through the transforming power of grace, both works and the law become grace in action. It’s all about grace, and yet — the law has not passed away!
This was God’s plan from the beginning. God didn’t give a law that would pass away; on the contrary, Jesus said that “not one jot or tittle of the law would pass away” Matt 5:18. We who are under grace are all called to good works because they are the only way that we can live the life we are called to, and be Jesus to others. By walking in the good works that we are saved for, Jesus gives us supernatural power to fulfill the very law that we have striven against!
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” Ephesians 2:8-10. Notice that we are not saved by our works but we are saved for good works! To walk in them!
For this reason we can’t say: “the law has been fulfilled” in the way that the Church has been saying it. Fulfilled does not mean “completed, therefore over and done with”. Fulfilled does not mean “passed away”. All that is in God – all that has ever been in God — is for then, now, tomorrow and forever and ever!
Fulfilled does mean: “it’s completed, therefore it’s not the law anymore”. Fulfilled means: it is now possible to participate in the good works of God through grace which is the life and power of Christ in us. Fulfilled means the law has been perfectly lived out in the life of Christ; so now we may enter in with God through Christ and participate in this very life: living by His plan, His commands, His purposes since the beginning of time, and into eternity.
For example, because the law has been fulfilled, does this mean that the greatest law has passed away? Does this mean that we no longer need to love God with all our hearts? Of course not! To the contrary: because our debt of love has been paid and the law has been fulfilled, it means that we now can enter into the works of Christ, with Christ, and participate in the very love of God found in the Godhead.
Further, because the law has been fulfilled, does this mean that the second greatest commandment has passed away? Does this mean that we no longer need to love others as ourselves? Of course not! To the contrary: because our debt of love has been paid and the law has been fulfilled, it means that we now can enter into the good works of Christ, with Christ, and participate in the very love of God found in the Godhead — with one another.
Just in the same way, then, we could go through each law and every command of God, and demonstrate that they are not fulfilled in order to be set aside and forgotten. Quite the contrary! Because they have been fulfilled they take on new importance for us who want to enter into God’s purposes in the earth. All of the law has been fulfilled in the life of Christ, so that we may now enter in with joy and participate with God by practicing His eternal purposes.
This is holiness: Now, instead of having to follow a legal statute, loving God is life to us. In the same way, now keeping Sabbath under grace can be life to us; loving our neighbor under grace can be life to us; abstaining from sin under grace is life to us — and on and on. All of the commands of the lover of our souls will be life to us as we follow Him in completing every commandment – under grace, and in the power of the Spirit!
May we participate with joy. It’s not a dead law to us anymore. It is a living choice. May we choose life. This doesn’t mean that we put ourselves under bondage to Old Testament rules. But it also doesn’t mean that we may dismiss them out of hand in the way that the Church has done. It means that we must carefully and circumspectly walk out the life that God has always held out for citizens of His Kingdom! May we choose life! May we choose to walk in the life that Jesus lives in us! May we choose to fulfill the law just as Jesus has. There is much life in God that Christians do not participate in because we think our theology is correct!