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The Grace Project

Growing Gracefully – Questions, Questions

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Q: Are Christians to imitate or to participate in the life of Christ? Is there a difference?;  Q: To mature as a Christian, do I need to become more holy?; Q: If we believe that we can lose our salvation, what is the only motivation for holy living? and But What About? And so the questions go on and on...
A clamour of protest will always be heard from those who believe that the free gift of grace can be forfeited.  They will refer to what I call the “But what about ...?” verses – their particular favourite being Hebrews 6:4‐6. It is a perverse malady and sad contortion of the religious mind that it seeks to find reasons to be anxious.  This incessant need to do something to convince God of their self‐worth causes them to hijack Scriptural passages and fly them into church buildings, destroying all in their wake.
 
I greatly suspect that Hebrews 6:4 has been commandeered in the same misguided way as Hebrews 7 has been recruited to teach tithing as a New Covenant principle when Hebrews 7  has nothing to do with tithing any more than Hebrews 6:4‐6 is a discussion on eternal security.  Hebrews 7 is simply overlaying the argument of the writer to the Hebrews that Jesus’ dispensation of grace and truth surpasses and outclasses the Mosaic dispensation of the Law (John 1:17).
 
Calvin understood that the purpose of Hebrews was not to convince the Jewish readers that Jesus Christ was the Promised Redeemer, but rather to show them what that meant, i.e., what exactly Jesus’ death and resurrection did accomplish.  It is evident that the Jewish readers did not understand and it seems equally clear that the letter to the Hebrews survives today as a means of fully evangelizing anybody who is still clinging to the Law as a means of procuring righteousness; is possessed of a lavish and inflated view of both the purpose and status of the Law (which can make nothing perfect but rather, to prove that nobody can make themselves perfect through it);
... has an impoverished view of the death and resurrection of Jesus (which has made perfect forever those who are being made holy – Hebrews 10:14); considers the Law to be operative still when actually it is obsolete as the way to and of righteousness (Hebrews 8:13); is living in the shadowlands of the Law and not the Promised Land of Grace;
is struggling with the consciousness of sin; is burdened by the need to feel forgiven; is lacking assurance; does not always feel very saved because of his or her behaviour; is not experiencing the abundant life of Jesus Christ.
 
In short, Hebrews is a book written to and for those of us who have not realized the absolute finality of the cross without which there is no prospect of resting in the reality of the res‐ urrection. It is for those of us who still need to recognise that the goal of the Christian life is simply to believe in the lasting efficacy of the sacrificial death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and enter into His Sabbath rest. The writer to the Hebrews is seeking to persuade us that we no longer need to live a religious life, but rather accept that Christ is our life and come boldly before the throne of grace and find help in time of need. The writer’s purpose is to demonstrate that either the cross has said it all or has said nothing at all and by calling the covenant “New”, the “Old” has become defunct and obsolete (Hebrews 8:13).
 
However, so insatiable is the religious appetite for the offal of Legalism that even if Satan cannot keep us from realising that we are under the New Covenant, he has little difficulty in persuading us that we must try to live under both the Old and New Covenants simultaneously.  
 
In response, the writer to the Hebrews insists that we cannot live under both. We have to make up our minds – either we live under the Law or under grace but we cannot live under both for nobody can serve two masters.

Notwithstanding the fact that nowhere in the Scriptures do we find Law and grace mingled, the overwhelming majority of Christians live as though the Covenants have been conjugated instead of recognizing that the Law has been abrogated.  Nowhere in the Scriptures will we see the two covenants conflated.  You cannot mix Law and grace.

 
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