For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Grace: …a spontaneous gift from God to man – “generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved”. (The New Dictionary of Theology)
Law vs. grace. Which do we follow? The good news is that we get to choose–well, both. When we really accept grace, we don’t just brush the law aside; we want to please God, and we keep trying. But when we choose the law, we brush grace aside!
Sadly, some small but very vocal groups have hijacked the media, leading people to believe that Christianity is all about law and punishment and hell. It’s not.
Yes, God wants us to follow the law. Otherwise we take advantage of the gift of grace. “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” (Romans 6—the whole chapter) and “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.” (Romans 3:20)
And… accepting His grace allows me to obey the law. We cannot ever earn God’s favor. “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.” (Romans 3:20)
So which is right? Ultimately, grace is what sets Christianity apart from other religions. Because of Jesus, we don’t have to obey the law, but because we have been freely granted grace, we want to please God. “For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh.” (Romans 8:3)
“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17)
Let’s accept God’s gift to us. All Christians have been given the free gift of grace; it would be rude to turn it down.