2016-02-25

Grace, Law and Joseph Prince's Preaching

Listening with the discerning mindset and get the maximum from Joseph Prince's pod cast on Grace & Law and the Power to live a victorious life without sinning.
The New Commandment:
Here is a recent pod cast from Joseph Prince on Laws and Grace, #431 - Are There Commandments Under Grace? As typical of his message, it was a very encouraging one. It emphasised that the new commandment under grace is in 1Jn 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. The Love-God of the OT becomes "Believing in His Son Jesus Christ" with Prince adding especially of Jesus' love for us. This shift of emphasis from "We love" to "Believe in His love for us" is very important. As can be seen from the story of Peter and John. Peter, the one who claimed his love for Jesus ended up denying Him three times. John, the one who claimed Jesus' love for him, ended up at the foot of the cross of Jesus receiving instruction to care for Jesus' mother. It is with this Love of Christ that we are to love one-another. (see Platinum Rule - Loves as Jesus - NT Extends OT).

The Potential Misunderstanding:
The new commandment was preached that it was opposite the old commandments, with of Moses especially mentioned, in comparison to Jesus Christ. But, did Moses come out with the commandments himself or were they from God, the Father of Jesus Christ? Saying that it is opposite to the ten commandments could create the misunderstanding that under grace, laws can be throw away and violated without any consequences (those are typical criticisms and accusations laid against Joseph Prince's preaching).

The Clarification:
The commandments were given to reveal sins (Romans 7:7) and were not for men to achieve righteousness by himself (Rom 3:20, Gal 2:16). As man was unable, God gave His Son, as redemption and new birth, under grace to enable man to surpass the Laws requirement. Grace is not just a redemption for sins but actually it is the power to enable man to live the life that is pleasing to God. (See Christianity Rediscovered: "Grace is Unmerited Favor" - This Common Definition is Wrong). Jesus came to fulfill the Law (Mat 5:17) "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. Of course, by fulfilling them, in a way do away with the Law, but only in the specify area of "justification by the works of the Law".

Grace comes Before the Law:
When was the Law given? It was given after the Jews were delivered from slavery. They were first freed (grace given) and then given the Law in the desert. What was the purpose of the Law? It was for the Jews to show the world that they are different. Circumcision was given to show they were different. The Law is their branding of God's people. God's people must exhibit Godly behavior. So, as in the New Testament of Grace, the Old Testament also starts with grace. God is the God of the Old and New testaments and He changes not. Abraham was accepted and counted righteous by faith before the Law. So, new testament does not do away with the Law, but rather, men were given grace, at their wish, to enable and empower them to exceeds the requirement of the Law. From man's effort to God's Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit within, to exceed the Law. And the behavior is seen in loving one another with the Love of Jesus Christ within and experienced.

The sinful man who want to find excuse in grace as a licence to sin shows that he does not understand grace and will be condemned for his sins. There are no escape and excuse. For grace is for us to overcome sin and not to ignore sins. If he follows his sinful flesh, he will die in his sins.

Law is Our Branding and a Bottom Line Check List
The Law is actually an attribute of God and a branding for God's people. It is a minimum check list. For the Law requirement is surpassed by Love. If we wilfully violate law, we have to ask ourselves, are we children of God? Children of God must behave like their Father.  If we say we could not, then the 'new' commandment, with emphasis, is to believe and experience the Love of Jesus. With His love, with his empowerment, we can do all things through Him who loves us.

  • Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
  • Gal 3:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Believe in the Love of Christ and live the victorious life freed from sins. This is the key message of Joseph Prince's pod cast.

Lim Liat (c) 25 Feb 2016

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