We are New Covenant people. We are no longer under the Law but under grace. While grace is far better than Law, for some reason, we keep running back to Law.
Yesterday, (read here) I shared about the confrontation between Paul and Peter when Peter behaved hypocritically and fell back into the law. As I was preparing to run errands yesterday, I felt as if the Holy Spirit say, “I wasn’t finished. Let me share three signs that indicate you are embracing law rather grace.”
1. Separation based on an act. Peter and the leaders of the church were breaking fellowship with other believers because of circumcision. What actions are we allowing to separate us? The words used in baptism? Speaking in tongues? Voting? If you require something other than believing and confessing Jesus to unify with a person, you may have fallen from grace. (Unity does not mean agreement.)
2. Adding requirements to salvation. Paul is very clear: “We are not justified by works but by faith in Jesus Christ.” Galatians 2:15. I encourage repentance, giving, fasting, baptism, reading your bible daily, living holy but all of these things are a response to salvation, not requirements to maintain our salvation. Grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness.(Titus 2:12).
3. Creating a hierarchy in the faith. Using terms like, “the true church”, “the remnant” only promote suspicion, judgment, pride and is generally based upon outward actions – The Law. We become like the Pharisees demanding acts as a show of piety. Notice Peter separated from the Gentiles when others leaders arrived. He was demonstrating his piety.
Boys and girls please remember, righteousness is a gift. It cannot be a earned and therefore cannot be lost. When we try to earn it, we fall into law. When we require performance we fall into law. When we judge other’s righteousness, we fall from grace into law.
Meditate on these words from Paul:
“he saved us —not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy — through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”
Titus 3:5 CSB
“He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 CSB
“and yet because we know that a person is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we ourselves have believed in Christ Jesus. This was so that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no human being will be justified.”
Galatians 2:16 CSB
“If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 10:9 CSB