Where the Spirit of the Lord is…

The last two days of been filled with reviewing the legal aspects of Special Education, the many many court cases that led to laws that determine the function and procedures of everyone involved with children in Special Education.

As I rehearse the “do’s and don’ts” of the laws and memorize what each court case accomplished and how I need to apply it, it got me to thinking 🙂  In the situation of Special Education and justice and crime and many things that fall into these categories – I am very grateful for laws.  They govern and define and protect, and even when they limit – it’s appreciated – because of the “crazies” of this world that are the reason we have laws.  It’s saddening to me that we have to have laws regarding appropriate and humane treatment of children with Special Needs – but I’m glad we have those laws – God only knows how much worse things would be if we didn’t.

 

But beyond that, in matters of religion –  it’s a different story.  While Christianity clearly has defined what is “sin” and the consequences thereof, it is the only religion that where “keeping the law” is not enough.  It’s defining characteristic from ALL other religions in the world is that salvation cannot be earned – it is a gift of grace – no matter how few or how many sins one commits.

“Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.  However to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.”  Romans 4:4-5

Every other religion has laws, rules, etc that when followed, done, accomplished, completed can equal “salvation” – sometimes not even then – sometimes it is left up to the whim of the god.  How incredibly hopeless.  I, for one, would never make it.  And I don’t know of any human that can.  I’m so grateful for a True God.

So, when Christ has given us such a priceless gift of grace, why do Christians insist on trying to live out a works-based faith?  Is our God a God that requires us to keep appointments with Him, that requires us to follow rules to earn His love, that mandates works? He is a God of grace!  Even in the Old Testament, before Christ came to be the ultimate sacrifice for human sin, the followers of God lived according to His law to be protected and distinguished as belonging to Him – worshipers of the one True God.  But even that law did not earn them salvation, and sacrifices were not enough to atone for the sin.  When Christ died for our sin, both Jew and Gentile, the new law of grace by faith was established – now that the ultimate sacrifice had atoned for the sins of the world.  So – why do Christians insist on reverting to the old law – or even worse  – an extremely legalistic form of the old law that wasn’t from the Lord in the first place? Does all humanity need to be and act like the Jews of old in order to earn salvation? Absolutely not.  Do Christians need to be extreme and secluded in effort to be “not of this world” – in essence, imposing rules and religious mandates on the body of Christ? Absolutely not.   GRACE BY FAITH, NOT BY WORKS.

 

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  Mark my words!  I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.  Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.  You, who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.  But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value.  The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.  You were running a good race.  Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” Galations 5:1-7

 

” The law was added so that the trespass might increase.  But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.  What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means!  We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” Romans 5:20 – 6:2

 

 

Our God saves, through faith in Jesus Christ, and as a gift freely given – so that no man can boast.  So BREATHE.  It’s done.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”  2 Corinthians 3:17