[Thought questions for The Law of God and the Law of Christ May 21, 2014]
1. The law of God and the law of Christ. Are we guided by two laws? One the law of the God eternal and almighty, the other of Christ the Saviour? If you think so, what is different about these two laws? During Jesus’ ministry on earth, which law did He follow and preach? Why?
2. The relevance of the Ten Commandments. Why do many Christians refer to the time after Christ’s crucifixion as the time of the law of grace? During the time of the law of grace, what do these friends of ours seem to believe about obeying the law? The 10 Commandments are divided into two sections. What are the topics covered by each section (Laws I to IV? and V to X?) Do these ten short paragraphs sum up all laws that are relevant to Christians today? What does your obedience to the law of God tell others about your love for God?
3. These are the “rules of love.” How do the ten commandments of God help others see our love for others–and for Him? Don’t people keep those commandments to feel better about themselves or to impress their friends? Why couldn’t the disciples understand what Jesus said about the law? What interfered with their understanding? Do you and I have a perfect understanding of the Ten Commandments? What does it take to obtain that?
4. All things to all men. If Jesus’ greatest desire is to draw all men to Him, why couldn’t He create a universe occupied by all the people He has created? With Satan out of the picture, couldn’t He become the Best Friend of all of those people? Instead of that approach, what does Jesus offer us sinners now? Does His offer of salvation to everyone who believes on Him include those who believe in their minds but have not yet accepted His grace in their hearts? If we embrace the law of Christ, can we love sinners, even those “worse” than us? How?
5. Fulfilling the law of Christ. Paul makes it clear (Rom. 6:15, Eph. 2:10, Titus 2:11-14), that grace empowers the believer to live an obedient life. Does that mean that everyone who believes in Christ will follow Him and lead a perfect life? Last week I called the IRS because I’d neglected to turn in my returns for a previous year, and they wanted an explanation. After several minutes on the phone, the agent said to hold for a while, and when she came back she told me it was okay, to forget about it, that they’d forgiven me, and that I didn’t owe anything (even though I was sure I did.) I felt I had received a gift of grace from the U.S. tax system! Had I? Now that I’ve been forgiven this debt, do you think I’m going to try to dodge my taxes next year? and the next? By no means. What about when Jesus forgives our sins? Does that make us skip for joy to the next sin opportunity?
6. When the law of mercy becomes the law of judgment. Hasn’t this gift of grace been wonderful? But wait! Is it not always to be so? Are we going to receive a penalty for our blatant sinning and our self-centered lives? Don’t we get credit for the good things we did in our lifetimes? Which of God’s laws didn’t we keep well enough to make it over the line? Can’t God just keep on forgiving? What’s that you say? That God is looking for people filled with love, love for God and love for fellow man, not self-centeredness? How can I be sure I have an abundant measure of that kind of love? What can I pay? You say it’s free? That Love does it all?