In my last article, I shared why Pastors Andy Stanley is right, that Christians are not under law, but under grace. We shouldn’t rush to put the Ten Commandments everywhere, nor should we expect Christians to live by that standard.
The Ten Commandments expresses God’s nature, of God’s character. Our Heavenly Father God does not want his creation to kill one another, nor debate one another through theft, fraud, etc.
Christians who advocate for the Ten Commandments do acknowledge righteousness is a gift from God (cf Isaiah 54:14, Romans 5:17). They simply argue that the law is a standard for Christians to live by, to make us holy.
However, the strength of sin is … the law! Paul writes to the Corinthians:
“The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.” (1 Corinthians 15:56)
The larger question arises: why do so many preachers insist on Christians go back to the living under law?
First, some incorrectly believe that “No longer living under law” means “No More Old Testament”. That’s not true at all. There are many prophecies recording in the first 39 books of the Bible which have not been fulfilled yet. In Luke 24, Jesus revealed Himself to Cleopas and his fellow traveler “beginning at Moses and all the prophets” (Luke 24:27).
Second, some commentators believe that by no longer living under law, Christians are rejecting all Biblical morality as a standard for the world.
Indeed, Jesus did fulfill the law—all of its requirements against us, its stinging condemnation against mankind for our sin. Jesus not only fulfilled the law, but He died our death because we had failed to keep it, and to this day He serves as the full and forever propitiation, or mercy-seat, for our sins and the sins of the all the word (1 John 2:1-2)
The law is still in effect as a ministry of condemnation for the world, for those who do not believe on Him whom the Father sent (cf John 6:29). The Ten Commandments should remain displayed in our courthouses. But for the children of God, we are now dead to the law (cf Galatians 2:19). Paul stated pretty clearly that the law was designed to bring us to Christ. Once we receive His life, we are no longer under that schoolmaster (Galatians 3:23-25).
Three: those Ten Commandment advocates do not understand the fullness of what Jesus accomplished on the Cross for us. Jesus did not die on the Cross just to take away our sins. And grant us eternal life. He also died on the Cross so that He would live in us:
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9)
More than a mere sinner, man is dead in his trespasses. He needs life, and it’s Christ Himself alive in us who guides us to live godly lives (Ephesians 2:4-6; Colossians 1:27).
When we understand that Jesus is our life, not ourselves or our efforts (Galatians 2:20-21; Colossians 3:4), it makes more sense that the law is not for us.
Fourth: Preachers do not understand how amazing grace is. Grace does not just save me from hell, but empowers Christ to live in us, through us! We don’t need rules telling us what not to do. We need to be guided what TO do.
Paul writes how Christ leads us from within to accomplish that!
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” (Colossians 3:15)
The Ten Commandments is weak and beggarly beginners’ stuff—Paul writes as much:
“But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” (Galatians 4:9)
Think about it: if you are an adult, a mature individual, do you need someone to tell you how to hold a knife? Or to tell you not to stick your finger in an electric socket?
The same holds true for those who are in Christ, we have been saved by grace.
Consider what Paul wrote:
“Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:10)
Love actually goes further than the demands of the Moses.
The Law says “Thou shalt not steal.” The Law does not make one generous.
The Law says “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” That laws does not encourage a man to love his wife.
Christ Jesus causes us to love one another, because He so loved us first.
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” (1 John 4:11)
Pastor Andy Stanley is right—Christians shouldn’t focus on the Ten Commandments. We all need to focus on Jesus and let His life flow in us.
The gut reaction from many preachers isn’t all that surprising. David Martin Lloyd-Jones argued:
“If your preaching of the gospel of God’s free grace in Jesus Christ does not provoke the charge from some of antinomianism, you’re not preaching the gospel of the free grace of God in Jesus Christ.”
Pastor Andy meets this standard, and would that more preachers met this standard, too.
And this brings us to the fifth reason why many preachers don’t preach the fullness of God’s grace: They fear the reproach of men. They don’t want to defend the truth that God will no longer punish or condemn man for his sins. Jesus’ death on the Cross paid for all sins for all time. When people believe this, they are set free from sin!
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)
We need more preachers to be like Pastor Andy, who are not ashamed to preach the Gospel in its fullness!
Arthur Christopher Schaper is a blogger, writer, and commentator on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance. Follow his blogs at The State of the Union and As He Is, So Are We Ministries.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.