There are two false ways of living: 1. to live by a grace that has no law in it, where there is no accountability for one’s actions, and no obligation to live in a true way. 2. to live by law that has no grace in it, where there is only success or failure to do the right thing, and no real forgiveness. 1. leads to chaos and the disintegration of life and society. 2. leads to totalitarianism and hopeless despair.
All human societies have oscillated between these two false ways of living. And all of us have oscillated between them. We have all had, and have, our lawless moments, being unaccountable, and doing our own thing; and our times of being harsh, legalistic and unforgiving toward others.
Only God’s truth, perfectly personified in Jesus Christ, demonstrates the true way to live by holding grace and law together in perfect balance. Jesus, full of grace, insisted on accountability and obedience to God’s law (Mt 5:18), and at once overflowed with mercy and forgiveness toward the repentant who had failed God’s law (Mt 9:1-8).
Above all else, in His death on the cross, Christ pays the law’s penalty for all of our sins, which brings us the grace of forgiveness and eternal salvation, which woos and obligates us to love Him and do His good will forever.
Grace and law, Jonathan.