Grace Only In The Cross

This post is based on Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5 through 7. Imagine Jesus was speaking these words to people who did not know anything but law! What hope did He have that His words would change them? Could the law they were under change them even by hearing such beautiful words?

But Jesus was speaking of a time that would come, after His crucifixion, when there would be a revelation of the cross in the hearts of God’s people through the power of the Holy Spirit. Remember, before the Holy Spirit was shed forth on the day of Pentecost, the risen Jesus spent forty days with His disciples talking to them the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. But after the Holy Spirit had come, Jesus left the scene.

The gospel can never be about law. Just because you tell someone not to do something does not give them the ability not to do the thing you told them not to. Just tell a man not to look at a woman lustfully and all you end up doing is to make him aware that there is a woman around. And once he becomes aware of the woman’s presence, his carnal nature kicks in. Without the revelation of the cross in our hearts, we can only fulfill the letter of the law. But the law is powerless to defeat sin.

On the contrary, the gospel of Jesus Christ is a revelation; the Holy Spirit revealing to our born-again spirits the incredible power in the cross of Jesus Christ – power over sin and death. That is the grace of God.

That is why, when we are people of law, we easily get angry at people who are not changing. We short-charge and quickly get impatient with them. Which, of course, is an indication that we ourselves have not changed one iota!

Grace, on the other hand, can wait it out. It can give all the rope to a man.

Jesus would not have expected the people in His time to change instantly because back then, grace was given only in a measure. In other words, during the era of law, grace was scarce! That is difficult to comprehend today with all that we know about the abundance of God’s grace. But before Jesus died on the cross, it was all law; but God, because He is merciful, still gave measures of grace to His people.

After Jesus had come, though, grace was given without measure. The Bible declares that even before Jesus was crucified, He Himself was given grace without measure (John 3:34)!

In our present time, therefore, we do not need law to teach us how to worship God in true holiness. In the first place, as we have said, law cannot perfect us. On the contrary, today, what we need is a revelation of the cross in our hearts. This was the revelation that was given to the Apostle Paul as an Apostle of Jesus Christ (1Cor. 2:2 and elsewhere).

This revelation makes available to us the abundance of God’s grace in our lives. We can therefore live a life that is pleasing to God, and to men because our spirits have grasped the power in living a crucified life. The Apostle Paul said,

“I am crucified with Christ…”

Let us also read about the life of Jesus who, during His life here on earth, had grace without measure:

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Lk. 2:52)

As a result of the grace of God upon His life, Jesus gained in wisdom and in favour with both God and man. That is our calling as children of God.

4 thoughts on “Grace Only In The Cross

  1. I agree. I will expose myself by saying, though, that I accept God’s grace has always been available in great quantity. There is a teaching that God acted differently in different historic periods, a teaching I consider to be in error. Just the word “grace” occurs in the Old Testament about 40 times. The exercise of God’s grace, slow to anger and abounding in mercy, occurs many more times. The prophets repeatedly say that God does not want sacrifices, but changed lives and justice. Because Jesus came we have a more complete record and proof of God’s grace, but not more grace. I say this with deep respect for you and not with any intention to detract from your teaching here that is so important for both the world and the Church.
    Peace

    • Much respect to you too, my brother. The OT does not talk much about grace with relation to God, but much mention of the word grace is between man and man. And the OT prophets’ references to grace (Jeremiah and Zechariah) concern Jesus and the new covenant.
      On the other hand, in the NT, the word grace appears more than 100 times! and the books of the NT are far much fewer than the OT books. Beyond that, we cannot butrespect scripture’s affirmation in John 1:17: “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” Peace and love to you, my brother.

      • I understand your observations, but grace is the way God behaves! Did God start to behave differently after the cross? Was it not God’s grace that loved King David, a terrible criminal? Can God be love without grace, and is not grace how God shows love? I am comfortable with God graciousness through all of time, and still accepting that with Jesus (Who is Truth John 14:6) grace was brought out into the open.
        Peace (and Grace)

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