Are Grace and Law Polar Opposites?
The conversation is usually about how grace and law can coexist and whether too much emphasis upon grace undercuts the requirements that we obey the law of God. I hope I’m helping people understand that these are not polar ends of some controversy, but rather grace enables us to fulfill the requirements of the law.
Grace Is Fuel
Now, what is the law? If you just say, "It’s what you have to do to make God happy with you," then you’ve not really understood the law. The law is an expression of the character and the care of God. And when I understand that—that this is the safe path that God has given to glorify and enjoy him—then what grace is doing is not freeing me from that, but actually helping me understand God’s goals for my life. If this is a reflection of his character and care, then grace is not earned by obeying the law, but because God is extending his grace towards me, I desire to walk with Him.
The beauty and the goodness of who he is is reflected not only in the grace of God but in the law of God. So when I see that the law is reflecting his heart, and his grace toward me wants me to follow his heart, then grace is actually the fuel for the Christian life.
These grace and law conversations typically try to put grace and law in some kind of antipathy or tension with each other—I’m showing how grace actually fuels the Christian life.