πŸ‘‘ Grace Takes Over Where Mom Left Off

“The grace of God… appeared… teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11,12).

When I was a boy, my mother taught me to be good. I wasn’t under grace, I was under law–the law that Solomon called “the law of thy mother” (Pr. 1:8)! When I was good, she’d reward me, but when I was bad, she’d punish me–just like Moses’ law did for the Jews (Lev. 26). Her “rod of correction” (Pr. 22:15) was one of those long leather straps that barbers used years ago to sharpen their razors, and I can assure you it sharpened my behavior on many occasions!

But as every parent eventually learns, the day comes when a child is too old to take over your knee. The Apostle Paul had that in mind when he wrote, “a child…is under tutors and governorsΒ until the time appointed of the father”Β (Gal. 4:1,2). In those days, children had tutors who taught them and governors who punished them with a rod. But that only went on until Dad realized his boy had become a young man. After that, he’d correct his son withΒ words, the way you parents of older children correct your adult sons.

In the rest of Galatians 4, Paul uses this as a simple illustration of the difference between law and grace. Under the Law, God treated His people in Israel asΒ children, rewarding them when they were good but spanking them when they were bad with the correcting rod of droughts, famines, pestilences, and–when all else failed–by allowing their enemies to take them captive. But under grace, God treatsΒ usΒ as adult sons, correcting us with words–the words of the Bible. The apostle of grace wrote: “AllΒ Scripture…is profitable…for correction” (II Tim. 3:16).

See the difference? Under the Law, God corrected the Jews with theΒ rodΒ of correction. Under grace, He corrects us withΒ wordsΒ of correction–the words found in His rightly divided Word. That means when you get some pestilent disease, or your community is going through a drought or famine, you don’t have to wonder if God is punishing you. He’s not!

Now there’s no question that God’s people in Israel learned to be good under the law. They often fell into idolatry (Lev. 26:30), but after God spanked them with 70 years of captivity in Babylon they never messed with idols again. So the Law used to work well in making God’s people godly. That’s probably why legalists insist that the law be taughtΒ today.Β They just don’t seem to understand howΒ graceΒ can teach us to be godly.

If you’re not sure thatΒ youΒ understand it, consider how Paul spoke to the Ephesians about “fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness” and “filthiness” (Eph. 5:3,4), and then added,

“…because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not YE therefore partakers withΒ them” (Eph. 5:6,7)

Paul is saying, “Someday God’s wrath will come on unsaved people in Hell because of their sins, so don’tΒ youΒ partake of sin just because you know His wrath won’t come on you.” What kind of person would continue in sin just because he knows he won’t beΒ punishedΒ for his sins?

There is an answer to that question. In New York, diplomats from all over the world meet to represent their countries in the headquarters of the United Nations. These ambassadors have what is called “diplomatic immunity.” That means they canΒ breakΒ the law without beingΒ prosecutedΒ by the law. Occasionally diplomats take advantage of this by flagrantly violating our laws. We have words for people like that, and none of them are very pretty! The word “ingrate” comes to mind, because you have to be pretty ungrateful to your host country to act like that.

But the same word applies to us when we choose to breakΒ God’sΒ laws just because we are immune from His prosecution. Grace should teach us toΒ denyΒ ungodliness out of gratitude to God for saving us. If you’re not, why not begin to “live in denial”! You’ll be eternally glad you did. source

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