Last night, our Bible Study class began a new study focusing on Biblical truths. We talked a lot about absolutism, relativism, and subjectivism...and determined that we fall somewhere in between absolutism and relativism on most things.
One of the topics we discussed was the balance in truth and grace. Are we super legalistic about things? Or, do we have an "anything goes" philosophy because we claim grace? Both ways are dangerous, we decided. Living a life of do's and don'ts reduces God's power and makes it much more difficult for us to be in true relationship with Him. Having no standards isn't right either, as we are called to be set apart from the world.
So, what on earth are we supposed to do???
The key to finding balance between grade and truth is to be in relationship with God. Romans 8:1-2 says, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." Jesus released us from legalism. Following rules and doing the right thing won't justify us; only grace will. He calls us to live a holy life, but provides grace for those times when we fail. . When I get angry or jealous, or I say something I shouldn't say, or withhold my love from my neighbor, He will forgive me. Now, I shouldn't take advantage of that grace, but it is there- and it is plentiful. Forgiveness is a daily necessity. I can't earn it, I can't repay it, and sometimes, I can't even understand it, but I know that it is true.
God's grace is an outpouring of His love for me. His unbelievable, unending, unconditional love. It's a gift and He wants us to accept it. He desires a relationship with each of us. No matter how terrible our sins have been, His grace is deep enough to cover them. There is nothing about me that is good enough to deserve God's love and grace. That's a hard thing for a lot of people to accept. I think it's hard for a lot of us to digest the fact that Jesus loved us so much that He went to the cross to sacrifice for our sins. We tend to see all the bad we've done and think we're unlovable and unredeemable. Not true! Romans 8:38-39 tells us, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
I started by talking about absolutism and said the folks in my group and I decided that we fell somewhere in the gray area of all the black and white on most issues. Well, that's still true in a lot of respects, but one truth I can accept without hesitation is that of grace. I've seen it at work in my life, and it continues to amaze me.