Friday, October 12, 2012

Fullness of Law and Grace

Discipline.  Its necessary.  Just ask God. 

I know, its difficult.  

Depending on your personality you fall into one of these two categories.  You either discipline by showing the law and handing out the punishment or you discipline by showing grace and letting the punishment slide here and there.

Maybe this is the reason God made opposites attract so that marriage would have a balance of Law and Grace in our relationships and in the way we discipline our kids or better yet, a fullness of the two. 100% of both.

By taking a look at different parenting styles, we can see how an out of balanced ideology can cause so much harm.  Kids raised to fear their parents may be outwardly obedient but inwardly it probably causes a lot of hurt and resentment. Other parents have thrown away the rules and its disciplines and raise kids to use their own judgement and their own measurement when it comes to right and wrong and receive no accountability for their actions.  

We end up with adults who have this image of God as being a dictator, rule- with-an-iron-fist God.  On the other hand, we end up with adults who have an image of God as being permissive, therefore lack reverence and respect for His Truth. 

But this isn't what God shows us, in the beginning, starting in the garden.   
Adam and Eve sinned. His very first created beings, whom he loved so much and made to be in relationship with Him now in a sinful state.  There was no going back. What a heartbreaker this must have been for God! I don't think we can imagine the pain God felt when he saw this happening...knowing the result...Separation from God.

So He demonstrated tough love. 

Couldn't there be another way?  Seems tough for a first offense, don't you think?

Genesis 3:16-19
To the woman he said,
I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
    with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
    and he will rule over you.” 
 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
Cursed is the ground because of you;
    through painful toil you will eat food from it
    all the days of your life.
 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
    and you will eat the plants of the field.
 By the sweat of your brow
    you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
    since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
    and to dust you will return.

And so we could look at this and see a harsh punishing God! Where's the Grace?!

Oh, it's there...100% (in a God sized-heart big way) there. God, while firm in 
His discipline, didn't leave them in a state of sinfulness forever. 

Genesis 3:21-23

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.

I'm sure His decision to banish them from the garden was not an easy choice, but it was the right one.  Can you imagine living forever in our present sinful state, without the chance of ever achieving perfect love, hope, or peace?                      

Isn't this the way we should discipline? First, equipping our kids with what they needed. Second, not letting our children stay in their state of rebellion by punishing the offense and third, drawing them closer by finding a way to bring them back around. 

Of course, God being merciful and kind, showed us undeserved grace by sending us a Savior.  His love is never-ending!

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Matthew 5:17  Jesus speaking,

"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.

What do you think?

100% Law, 100% Grace.  The fullness of both.  

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