How to Read the Bible: The Lenses of Law and Grace

 

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About how to read the bible correctly through understanding the principles of law and grace

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The Lenses of Law and Grace How to Read the Bible Ju ly 3 0, 2 014 e f cipl Oberdor s i D t L. er Alb 101 p i sh er

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2 Reading the Bible Through the Lenses of Law Ministers Death; Reading the Bible Through the Lenses of Grace Ministers Life Two people can read the same passage of the bible and come to completely different interpretations. This is so because how we understand the bible depends on which types of glasses (the interpretational framework) we are wearing. ! If we read the bible through the lenses of an interpretational framework of law (which focuses on what we must do to be justified), it will minister death to us. It will cause us to be discouraged and disappointed. It will make us sick and poor. And it will bring everything negative into our lives.

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3 ! But if we read the bible through the lenses of grace (which focuses on what Christ has done for us to justify us), it will minister life to us. It will cause us to be encouraged and uplifted. It will make us whole and prosperous. And it will and bring everything positive into our lives. So, it is a matter of life or death whether we read the bible through the lenses of law or through the lenses of grace.

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4 We Need to Hear the Word of Grace to Be Build Up “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. ...” (Acts 20:32) In this passage, Paul spoke to the leaders of the church in Ephesus. Paul knew how important it is that we read the bible through the lenses of grace and not through the lenses of law. So he commended them to the “word of grace.” Paul didn’t commend them to just any word of the bible, but specifically to the grace. ! word of

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5 ! ! And then Paul said what the word of grace is able to do. It builds us up. It enables us to receive everything (the inheritance) that belongs to us who are heirs of God. For example, our inheritance is to live in divine health. Our inheritance is to live in divine blessing and prosperity. Our inheritance is to live in peace and under divine protection. Our inheritance is to live in joy. Our inheritance is to live in success. And so on.

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6 We Reign in Life When We Receive Much Grace For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:17) ! In the beginning, Adam did something that affected the whole human race. God had created Adam to be in union with Him but then

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7 Adam chose independence. So through Adam, the whole human race then experienced separation from God, which is death. When man lived in union with God, he experienced everything positive. But then, when man was separated from God, he experienced negativity (such as sickness, poverty, failure etc) that came as a result of being separated from God. In other words, death (separation from God and the effects of that separation) affected (reigned over) all mankind. ! Jesus came to reverse that process and to bring us back into union with God. Those who receive much grace and the gift of righteousness that came through the cross of Jesus Christ can reign in life over the power of death and the effects of death. So those who receive much grace will experience victory over sickness, poverty, defeat, failure, and so on. That’s why we need to keep hearing the word of grace and stay away from law.

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8 Love Seen Through the Lenses of Law and Grace Let’s look at love through the lenses of law and grace. First, let’s look at love through the lenses of law. And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” " He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” " So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” (Luke 10:25-28) ! Law and grace are two totally opposite entities. The law demands from man what man cannot give. But grace supplies to man what man does not have. The reason God gave the law was so that people could see their

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9 inability to perfectly keep it. So, the law demands a kind of love from people which people do not have. ! When the self-righteous expert of the law came to Jesus and asked Jesus what he should do to inherit eternal life, Jesus pointed to the law. As the lawyer himself said, the law demanded perfect love towards God and towards our fellow human being. This is what man does not have. Natural man cannot love in this way. ! Now, let’s look at love through the lenses of grace. We love Him, because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10) ! Grace supplies love to us. So in John 4, we read that God first loved us. That is why we

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10 now love him. So, the reason we love him is because He loved us first. Our love towards God is a result of receiving His love towards us first. John also said it this way, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us.” We only love Him because He loved us first.

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11 ! So, if we read the bible and focus on the wrong idea that we now have to love God, and then try to love God in our own strength and will power, it will kill us. This kind of thinking will minister death to us. ! But if we read the bible and focus on how much God through Jesus Christ has loved us, it will minister life to us. The more we think about how great and unconditional God’s love towards us is, the more we will find that we start to love God and our fellow neighbor just naturally. Love will just naturally start flowing out from us. ! So be aware of law teachings that keep emphasizing that we ought to love God. These kind of teachings will minister death to us and we will find ourselves loving God and our fellow human being less and less. Instead, embrace teachings that keep emphasizing the greatness of God’s love towards us. These kinds of teachings will minister life to us, and we will find ourselves loving God and our fellow human beings more and more.

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12 Forgiveness Seen Through the Lenses of Law and Grace Let’s look at forgiveness through the lenses of law and grace. First, let’s look at forgiveness through the lenses of law. Jesus (before the cross!) taught his disciples to pray the following prayer: And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. ... For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:12, 14-15) ! Now, let’s look at forgiveness through the lenses of grace. Paul (after the cross!) wrote to the saints in Christ in Colosse: Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against

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13 another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also do. (Colossians 3:12-13) And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32) ! So under grace, God forgave us already. In other words, we are already unconditionally forgiven because of what Jesus has done for us. Under grace, God supplies perfect forgiveness to us. That is why we forgive others. So, the reason we can forgive others is because God forgave us first. Our forgiveness towards people is a result of receiving God’s forgiveness towards us first. We can only forgive others because God forgave us first.

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15 ! So, if we read the bible and focus on the wrong idea that we now have to forgive others, and then try to forgive others in our own strength and will power, it will kill us. This kind of thinking will minister death to us. ! But if we read the bible and focus on how much God through Jesus Christ has forgiven us, it will minister life to us. The more we think about how great and unconditional God’s forgiveness is towards us, the more we will find that we start to forgive our fellow neighbor just naturally. Forgiveness will just naturally start flowing out from us. ! So beware of law teachings that keep emphasizing that we ought to forgive others. These kind of teachings will minister death to us and we will find ourselves forgiving our fellow human beings less and less. Instead, embrace teachings that keep emphasizing the greatness of God’s forgiveness towards us. These kinds of teachings will minister life to us, and as a result (!) we will find ourselves forgiving our fellow human beings more and more.

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