To live in the spirit

No longer under the law but under grace

No longer under law but under grace

The longer I live, the more convinced I am that the Apostles statement in Romans 6:14, that believers in Christ are no longer under law but under grace is of immense importance. It opens our eyes to the radical difference between the two kinds of relationship between God and us which Paul articulates in the third chapter of Galatians: the difference between a bilateral covenant and a unilateral compromise.

The bilateral covenant refers to the kind of relationship God established with Israel through Moses; the unilateral promise refers to the kind of relationship God established with Abraham 430 years earlier. Under the bilateral covenant, God and Israel exchanged obligations, that is, everything God agreed to do for Israel depended upon how well Israel obeyed His commandments. But what God promised to do for Abraham depended only on God Himself as Paul says so well in Romans 4:20,21: No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

What had God promised? The answer is found in Genesis 12:1-3 and 15:5,6, where God promises to guide Abraham to a land for him to possess and in which to have many descendants, and through one of whom (per Galatians 3:16), God would bless all the families of the earth (Gal. 3:8). The fulfillment of that unilateral promise occurred in Christ through whom God acted redemptively on our behalf, not in response to our obedience, but in spite of our failure to obey. So Paul says in Romans 5:6, 8 & 10, that while we were helpless (to obey), at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.....(Thus) God shows His love for us in that while we were yet (disobedient) sinners, Christ died for us. ....(so), while we were enemies (of God), we were reconciled to God by the death of His son.

When the full import of this stupendous information is assimilated by us, we are filled with so much gratitude for Gods unconditional love and mercy for us (which Paul calls faith, that we are energized to become far more
obedient to Gods commandments than if we were still relating to Him on the basis of Law. Someone once said that the difference between law and grace is that under law, we work six days and rest on the seventh day, whereas, under grace we are given rest on the first day and work the next six days. There is a whale of a difference between these two kinds of work!

Work in response to law is burdensome and inadequate and often leads to burnout, while work in response to grace is joyful, restful and productive (as suggested by Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30). Also, work in response to grace is of a finer quality. It knows how to discriminate between what is of primary importance and what is of lesser importance (as noted by Jesus in Matthew 23:23-24).

Harry Fox

add a comment on this article

Sorry, which god was that?

Brainaddict 25.Jun.2004 15:02

I just like to clarify these things. It would be terrible if you were talking about one god and I was mocking a completely different one...
Confusion causes a lot of trouble these days.

How to revert to Islam

Abdul 26.Jun.2004 03:52

Christians lie saying you were born in sin. They teach that man is already dead in sin. Fact is you were born good and perfect in the sight of Allah. It is time to revert to your natural state of peace with Allah. This is Islam.

To convert to Islam, all you really have to do is to say "I bear witness that there is no GOD but Allah, and Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger."

There are 5 pillars in Islam. This is the first and most important pillar. Doing this by itself and truly believing in it will by itself make you a Muslim and grant you Paradise. Of course Allah Almighty's acceptance to you, and His forgiveness to your previous sins has to be accomplished before you get admitted to Paradise. Every human being is unique in his Judgement by Allah Almighty, His Lord and Creator.

Then, as a Muslim you have to fulfill the other four pillars, and they are:

- Praying by prostrating to Allah Almighty in worship.

- Pay Charity (Zakah) to the poor, which is 2.5 percent of your net annual income.

- Fast the Month of Ramadan.

- Do the Pilgrimage in Mecca at least once in your life time, only if you were debt-free and able physically and financially to do it.

The steps after becoming a Muslim:

Being a "Believer", Mu'min in Arabic, is the higher level than just a Muslim. A Muslim Believer is one who believes in the following:

1- Allah Almighty as the One True Living Undivided GOD Almighty. A Muslim too believe in this, because this is a Must to fulfill the first pillar above.

2- Believing in the Angels, i.e., believing in their different roles and their spiritual powers and influences to us, such as the "Holy Spirit" inspiration.

3- Believing in the Books and Revelations that Allah Almighty sent.

4- Believing in the Prophets of Allah Almighty, from Adam all the way to Muhammad.

5- Believing that Allah Almighty is the only One that determines the outcomes, results and destinies. In other words, after you try your best to accomplished a lawful task such as getting hired for a job, or starting a new business, or getting married, etc... it is only Allah Almighty that is responsible for the success or failure of your work. If you succeed, then it is from Allah, and if you fail, then it is also from Allah.

6- Believing in the Day of Judgement.

Read and listen to the Quran.

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