Monday, June 29, 2009

Grace Period

We know from the New Testament and the Book of Mormon that the Law of Moses was given to point to us to Christ. Everything in the Law of Moses in one way or another symbolized or typified some aspect of the life and gospel of Jesus Christ. Additionally, the Law of Moses was our schoolmaster that taught man our unworthiness before God and our need for a Savior. Despite this understanding however, I think many Christians misunderstand just what it was exactly that the Law of Moses was teaching.

Paul in the New Testament reminds us that the Law brought death while the gospel of Christ promised grace. Now many Christians interpret this incorrectly. Many Christians would say that the Law of Moses promises death because it is impossible for man to keep all the commandments. Therefore, we need Christ who promises to overlook justice and our sins through His grace. While that is partially true, I think it is incorrect to believe that God could never overcome our flesh and eventually empower us to keep His commandments. The Book of Mormon promises us that God gives no commandments unto men that He will not empower us to keep. This is a little different from some Evangelical understanding of the purpose of the Law of Moses that it was somehow given knowing that man could never keep it. I don't say this to deny that all men sin and need the mercy and grace of Christ.

So, How did the Law of Moses bring death and what is grace? Grace is not just about sweeping our sins under the rug or whitewashing sepulchers that are still filled with dead mens bones. The issue with the Law of Moses was not that it was so difficult to observe. Remember that the rich young man told Christ that he had kept the Law from his youth. The problem with the Law was that there were very many commandments that if broken required immediate punishment and in some cases immediate death. There was no mercy or grace period given in the law. If a person committed certain sins they were immediately killed end of story.

Conversely, the gospel of Christ promises mercy and grace. When I say grace, the Bible doesn't mean to say that God will turn a blind eye to your many sins. Grace doesn't mean that God doesn't really expect you to keep His commandments. But as the Book of Mormon clarifies, God will grant us a grace period, a time to repent, a probationary time when judgment and punishment is withheld allowing us time to learn how to obey, and prepare to meet and live with God. And we are promised that if we have real faith in the grace and power of Christs atonement that all our weaknesses can be made strengths and that we will be empowered to eventually overcome all our sins. This is the gift of a grace period and the power of the atonement of Christ.

No comments: