What God accomplished as Jesus on this earth was nothing short of miraculous. He did what no one else could so that we would be free. Free from a life of strict law that says we must earn God’s favor and a life of blessings that are solely based on human behavior … as imperfect as it may be. Although the law was perfect, it couldn’t make us perfect, which left people in a frustrating, revolving cycle. They tried to live right, but they messed up, gave a sacrifice to “negate” the blemish of sin from their record and started over again by trying to live right. The quest for perfection through human ability alone was the never-ending cycle that continued for generations until Jesus completed his assignment as the world’s ultimate and final sacrifice. The law may have come through Moses, but Jesus introduced the world to truth and grace (John 1:17).
Why is grace better than the law? Fulfilling the law requires a level of perfection that we are simply not capable of on our own. Try as we may, we will always fall short (Romans 3:23). However, grace is Jesus working in us to achieve a life free of sin and victory over any barriers that hold us back, such as sickness, disease, depression, anger and fear (Galatians 2:20). Because Jesus fulfilled the law perfectly, he is entitled to all that God has for him. When we allow Jesus to be the Lord of our lives, we allow his ways to become ours. We are a new creation and the old has faded away (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Jesus made a tradeoff by living a perfect life, yet taking the punishment that we deserved. It seems he did it all for nothing, but basically, he paid for our dinner. Let me explain. When someone pays for your meal, you eat for free. The giver may have spent the money, but you’re the one who gets to indulge. Jesus was stripped of his clothes and shamed publicly on the cross so we would never have to be ashamed. When he forgave the prisoner on the cross, it was to show us that no one was “too far gone” to be saved. God had forsaken Jesus on the cross so that he would never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). When he went into the lower regions of the earth and defeated the Devil and ALL powers that rage against us, it was so we could experience victory in any situation Satan throws at us. Jesus suffered our punishment and we get to enjoy all that God has for us. Jesus paid a debt that we could never pay and all is forgiven. This is the free gift of grace. We don’t have to earn anything. All we have to do is receive the gift.
Does this mean we can live lawless lives? Not so fast. The beauty about having Christ in us is that he does a work in us that helps us live by his ways effortlessly (Philippians 2:13). The book of Romans is an excellent book that explores how grace works in our lives. I’ll do an in-depth study of Romans in the near future. As Jesus’ body was pierced he flowed blood and water expressing to everyone that he is life. In fact, he is the way, the truth and the life and all good things come from him (John 14:6, James 1:17). Following Christ is the best decision you’ll ever make. Although life will have its challenges, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish with Jesus Christ.
Kirby N. McKinney