For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
You ask a random person to define Christianity and they will tell you things like:
"It's a way to live a better life and become a better person"
"It's about rules– the 10 commandments. What you should do and not do. Morality"
"It's about standing for what's right in the world and against all the evil. Fighting for justice, truth and all that is good".
Guess what? That's not what Christianity is! Those are all valid and true puzzle pieces in the jigsaw puzzle box. But that is not what the final picture is supposed to be. Don't get me wrong – I would like to be a better person. I do stand for justice and truth. I hate sin and love people.
BUT– and this is a big BUT– that's not what Jesus came to die for! You have plenty of that in the old covenant. Judaism had that. Moses had that. Most of world religion and ideology to the extent that it attempts to be moral– is about that.
Think about Karma. Karma rewards you for good things and punishes you for bad thing. My question to you is– if your definition of Christianity is no different than Karma, why in the world did Jesus have to die?
No. Christianity's message is very different. In some ways it is the opposite. It is first and foremost about Christ. Not rules, not "morality", not "being good". It's about how God sent Jesus to fulfill all the rules, live a perfectly moral life, and be good on your behalf and you accept it by faith. It involved the Creator of the universe humbling himself by taking on flesh, then taking our sin and curses and dying on the cross for us. And then he rose without them, so we can as well. Tell me any other religion or ideology or anything on the planet that is remotely close to that. This is truth. Grace is truth. Grace and truth are on in the person of Jesus.
Christianity is about the Cross of Jesus. It's about the fulfillment of everything that was required, and all of that placed on your account because you received Jesus by faith. It's not about about you being good, you being moral, you being "a better person" because it is not about you. It is FOR you but not ABOUT you. It is about Christ, His mission, His story, His finished work on the Cross.
We need to stop mixing law and grace
There is a clear distinction here. Moses vs Jesus. Law vs Grace. Giving vs Coming. There is a shift. But have we shifted?
On pulpits across the world we still preach law as a means to be righteous, blessed and accepted by God. Why did Jesus die then? The sum total of the Bible's truth is Jesus and his gospel. You miss that and you miss everything.
Mixing law and grace is like mixing oil and water. How do you mix "earning and deserving" with "freely receiving what was freely given"? You just can't. They are opposed to each other. You can't earn something and get it for free at the same time. God will either bless you because YOU ARE GOOD or because HE IS GOOD. Once your goodness is a part of this, then you have no hope.
“And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.” Like 18:19
Only God is good, and even Jesus didn't want someone to trust in his goodness without the revelation that he was God. Because he wanted it settled, no MAN is good. No man is deserving or worthy of God's goodness. We receive it simply because God is good.
The Law is Over
Aside from law and grace being opposed to each other, the law is over.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
Christ ended it. Fulfilled it. Abolished it.
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace
Are we just sweeping the law under the carpet? No! By pointing to the Work of Jesus we're actually giving the Law the respect it deserves.
Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
Everyone who is preaching for man to follow the law for justification is actually spitting on the holiness of the law. Everyone who points to the cross for the fulfillment of the law upholds its high standard. Only Jesus can fulfill it and he has.
You need to see this: From Moses to Jesus is almost 1400 years. That's it. That's how long that covenant lasted. We're not living in it anymore. Stop acting like you are. You're righteous by the work of Jesus. That's the TRUTH.
Giving versus Coming
Moses gave something he had. You can only give something external to you. If I give you my car, it's no longer with me it is now with you.
But Grace and Truth came.
That's because Grace and Truth are not something Jesus had. It is who he is.
When you think of what grace is– undeserved goodness and favor and provision. God smiling on you even when you fail. Loving you even when you rebelled against him. Treating you the same after you sin. When you think of mercy– how he took your punishment for you. How you don't get what you deserve because you would be burning in hell for all eternity if you did. These are not things God "gave" from a distance. He came to give this to you.
You can't find true Truth and not find Grace. You can't find God's justice without mercy. You can't find him speaking truth without love. You just can't separate the goodness of God from the Truth that he is. When you put on the belt of Truth, you put on the belt of Grace.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
So if Jesus came with grace, you come to him boldly. God's throne– the place people find scary, unapproachable, where they expect their faults to be called out– this is called the throne of Grace. God's throne is grace.
Why then are we afraid? Because we don't have a true revelation of Grace. I pray this article moves you closer to this truth. The truth you're looking for looks like grace.