The song Amazing Grace was written by John Newton, an ex-slaver who repented. It’s easy to think that the amazing part of grace is that God forgave him for his horrible past. This isn’t true, however. What do you call it when a judge lets a first-time criminal off with probation? It’s called mercy. The defendant throws himself on the “mercy” of the court, not the grace of the court.
Grace is different from mercy, and it’s important that we know that. Grace is that “amazing” influence from God that breaks the power of sin. In Romans 7 we read about ourselves and our struggles to do what is right. There is Romans 7 and there is grace. They are two opposite things. The Law produces Romans 7. Grace overthrows Romans 7.
The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age. ~Tit. 2:11-12
Sin will not have power over you because you are not under law but under grace. ~Rom. 6:14
This is grace, but there’s something just as amazing about grace as what it produces and that’s how easily it’s accessed. We miss it. We struggle and look for strength within. We strive with temptation. All of it is looking in the wrong direction.
The mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. ~Rom. 8:6
If you are risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Think on things above, not on things of the earth, because you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. ~Col. 3:1-3
Though our outward man is perishing, yet our inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works in us a far greater and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at things which are seen, but at things which are unseen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are unseen are eternal. ~2 Cor. 4:16-18
We need only to turn our minds–to keep them set on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. But how often do we remember this? Instead, we strive as though we trust in ourselves. It is one thing to strive to get your mind on things above, but we have to know where our strength comes from. We have to be striving to get to the source of our power, not striving to obtain power from a place that has no power: ourselves.
We are far too prone to establishing a new law. We have a New Testament law rather than an Old Testament law. LetÂ me tell you that if the Old Testament Law, which was specifically designed for a fleshly people that do not have the Spirit, was too hard to keep, the New Testament commandments, which were designed for a spiritual people empowered by grace, will be even harder to keep.
Let our striving be towards God, not toward some strength we’re trying to obtain from ourselves. Let us remember that our job is set our mind on the things of the Spirit and on things eternal, not to keep a new law. If you are a disciple of Christ, and if you have the Spirit of God, then setting your mind on the things of the Spirit will lead you to live the life God wants from you. Nothing else will.
If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. ~Gal. 5:18
As many as are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. ~Rom. 8:14