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A Christmas Story (5 of 5)

Who hasn’t been frustrated trying to find the perfect Christmas gift?

So why bother? Probably for any number of reasons… none of which is more important than giving out of a heart that is once again being warmed by the true meaning of the Christmas story.

The Gifts of the King

Continued from Christmas Morning and Evening

For 3 days the king’s family and friends were afraid and confused. Then on the first day of a new week, several of them found his grave empty. Within a few hours one of the women reported seeing him alive and well in the garden where he had been buried.

For the next 40 days the king appeared, and then reappeared, so repeatedly and convincingly that the same friends who had run for their lives at his arrest showed a willingness to die for their report that he was alive.

Now, the whole story could be told. To share his immortality and happiness, the king of creation had used his infinite power and eternal love to buy the perfect gift for anyone who would trust him. At his own expense, the price of which was understood only by himself, he bought us gifts infinitely and eternally greater than all of the gold, frankincense, and myrrh given to him at his birth.

Then in a final meeting, on a hill overlooking the city that had rejected him, the king told his friends to wait until he sent them an invisible companion who would remain with them until his return. In his temporary absence, this unseen presence would give them everything they needed to tell everyone who would listen where to find the gifts the king had bought and hidden…

The king’s secret was that the most perfect of all gifts was waiting for the asking at the foot of a barren tree, so ugly, and so empty, no one would naturally think to look there… unless they were told.

Then he left them with one more final act of inexpressible wonder…

The Gospel writer John later retold the king’s story saying, “In the beginning was the Word… and the Word was God… and the Word was made flesh and lived among us… and we saw his glory full of grace and truth… and of his fullness we have all received… for the law came through Moses… but grace and truth came through Jesus, the Messiah King” (John 1:1-17). 

For Conversation:

I’m thinking that there is something about the contrast between law and grace (that according to John is at the heart of God’s gift)  that could help us deal with the coolness, the relational distance, the self-protection, and the disillusionment that so often comes between us.

If grace is defined as the gift of God’s undeserved favor and help, let’s see if we can explore together  what the Apostle John meant when he wrote, “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

How would you describe the contrast between the law of Moses and the real, life-changing “Christmas” gifts of grace and truth?

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60 Responses to “A Christmas Story (5 of 5)”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Law and Grace….Isn’t it odd how people want grace for themselves but put others under the law.

    “The volume of the Book is written of me.” Hidden in all the scripture is the Christ. Openly in the Law of Moses is sin and disobedience shown, for it is impossible for anyone except the Christ, to fully obey the law. And so the Law shows us we fail. And shows us we need a savior.

    Grace….wow!! I have seen the painting Dali painted of a three dimentional crucified Christ in suspension over creation. And wondered….will we ever be able to fully understand the sacrifice God made for us?

    No matter how low in life a person has placed themselves, the free gift of God is eternal life, through his son Jesus the Christ. No matter how far down we have found ourselves. HE is able to change us from that lowly broken person into a child of God.

    The Law condems us and Grace forgives us.

    Christ transforms us into different people and opens our eyes and hearts to an entire different observation and relationship with Him and towards other people.

    His character takes over our old nature, and we begin to live for him instead of for us. In this there is still a struggle. Yet he is slow to anger and long suffering, grace continues as the process of growing and changing into the person God wants us to be. Instead of punishing us as required under the law.

    I am sure there are many of you who will be able to define the difference more eloquently than I. But I am forever in debt to my Lord for the life changing power his forgiveness has brought to me and as a result to all thoes whom I hold dear.

    Somehow, thank you just doesn’t seem enough. I must live that thank you now every day.

  2. macsisson22 says:

    I want the Truth!


    Whothunkit first? Was it Colonel Nathan R. Jessep (aka Jack Nicolson) defending ‘Code Red’ in A Few Good Men, or God’s reasoning for delivering grace and truth through progressive revelation and finally in bodily form, compilation and cannonization of the Book?

    I think there is more to it than just Law and Grace.

    C.I. Scofield is credited for dividing the Scripture into seven dispensations (Innocence, Conscience, Human Government, Promise, Law, Grace, Kingdom). A simple explaination for those of you who have never studied this, God sets up an economy, man fails to keep up his end of the bargan and God’s judgment comes in the form an added requirement or something completely new.

    As theology is a science I think that Johannes Kepler’s definition might fit here as well. Do you agree that Scofield may have been ‘Thinking God’s thoughts after him?

    As one that finds these divisions helpful I often wonder if there can be a failure on man’s part in this dispensation of Grace since it is not of ourselves but a Gift (Ephesians 2:8)?

    Some might say that it will be our lack of fulfilling the “Great Commission.” I wonder if it could be our lack of love or an “holier than thou” attitude (c.f. Matt. 24:12, Isaiah 65:5).

    I am glad for Grace and desire the time when we will have The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth!

    BTW, SFDDWB, I’m not sure that it is possible to say it any better.

  3. BruceC says:

    Not much that I can add to.
    The law points out our sin, and grace allows that sin to be forgiven.
    The law shows our imperfection, grace makes us perfect in His eyes.
    The law shows that everyone has sinned, grace makes forgiveness available to all who beleve in Christ.

  4. poohpity says:

    I believe the law had many wonderful teachings, it brought an uncivilized group of people together and taught them many ways to keep safe and be a Holy people. It seems that Jesus taught that the teachers of the Law carried it to extremes. When He the “Word” taught that the law could be summed up in two commandments, Matthew 22:37-40 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” I conclude then that as one lives by Grace and the Holy Spirit we end up living the Law as we are transformed.

    The human race began with fellowship and generation after generation we drifted away from that relationship to total separation, then God came that the relationship could be restored. He pursued us as a lover pursues the one loved, He did not change, He is still Holy. He provided the Holiness for us so we could be in constant fellowship with Him as it was in the beginning and will be for eternity. WOW, now that is love and because of that love we are able to love God and others.

    Sounds simple but the hard part comes when we do not put Him above everything else. That shows how hard headed we are but He changes us to His likeness if we hang around Him a lot.

  5. Mart De Haan says:

    rdrcomp, in my opinion you’ve captured the wonder and the enormous difference between wise law and saving grace. Thank you…

  6. daisymarygoldr says:

    It was gift-giving of sorts at work today …gift a.k.a grades.
    Those who played by the rules won the game and were happy. I was happy for them and said “Good, keep it up…this is not the end and there is still a long way to go”. Those who did not follow the rules and had tried to either break them or find a short-cut loop, failed to win. They were sad and it also broke my heart. To them, grace was shown as I said “Its OK… this is not the end of the world. Let’s start it all over again”. I sincerely wanted to help them succeed. The rules however, cannot change.

    BTW, these people are hoping to become health care professionals some day in the near future. If they are unable to perfect the rules, how can they be entrusted with caring for real people? Just FYI, name of facility- withheld, Place- Mesa, AZ: a Healthcare personnel made an error while converting mL to µL and administered thousand times more than the intended dose of radiation. Result- the patient who initially checked-in for radiation therapy to remove a tumor calls back and checks-in again with polyps growing all over her body.

    Spiritually speaking, the Law spells out the rules to the game of life.
    It is not the Law of Moses… The law was given, (not by Moses), but through Moses.
    Grace was given through Jesus- the Word who was God.
    His Word is the Law and the “…law is truth”. (Ps 119:142)
    His Word speaks grace and the “…word is truth (Ps 119:160)
    God = Law
    God = Grace.
    Is it correct to say that- Law is Grace? Can’t see any contrast…

    So, through Christ we delight to do the law that He has written on the tablets of our hearts and when we fail, we also delight in His abounding grace. The rules however, cannot change. If we are unable to perfect the rules, how can He entrust us with ruling real people someday? God gives us grace through Jesus to help each one of us succeed and win the game to achieve the ultimate gift, the crowns of- righteousness, glory and life!

  7. wretch-like-me says:

    Despite its power and righteousness… The Law could not accurately judge a person’s heart. The real truth of that person’s intent could not be reflected in keeping the Law of Moses. It had its apparent loop holes in the law. They were ‘apparent’ because in Truth (God’s Economy) they did not exist. The High Priests and Pharisees were described by Jesus as “White-washed Graves” outwardly keeping the Law while inwardly they were as corrupt as corpses.

    With Truth and Grace, Jesus gave us Hope in that we would escape judgement under the Law while being held responsible for the motives of our spirit despite the corrupt nature of our flesh which may alter the outcome of attempt to follow the Law. Do not be deceived, despite being in Christ we will still be held accountable. We must remember that HE said.
    “If you love me, you will keep my commandments!”

    When I consider the infinite aspects of God, I am reminded that He knows all things. To me, that means HE exists everwhere at all times. He knew Adam would fail. He knew I would fail. He created us knowing He would rescue those of us who made a sincere effort to worship and serve Him. Before a single stroke of the history of mankind began, God knew how it would end… chose the ending??? Not exactly, Lets just say he optimized the outcome.

    Thanks, poohpity, for reminding me of Our Only True Lover…(difficult for men especially to grasp)

    rdrcomp: excellent contrasting of Law vs Grace

    mac: loved your reference to “A Few Good Men”. If only more men understood the True Meaning of that phrase.

    SFDBWV: “Law and Grace… Isn’t it odd how people want grace for themselves but put others under the law.”
    Amen, Brother. God help me to live the reverse.

    BruceC: You cut to the chase. I admire your brevity.

    Merry Christmas to all.

  8. violet D says:

    I have nothing to add but want to wish you all a very Blessed Christmas.
    SFDBWV Thank you for your kind comments – It has taken 77 years for me to reach this point and obviously God still has much to teach me. I want to wish you and Matthew a very special Christmas. I have appreciated your comments daily and your sharing. You are an inspiration to me in the way you accept your care-giving role. God bless both of you.
    Mart – a special thanks to you, too for providing this blog and providing me with a ‘new’ family. May God’s grace be showered on you and your family.
    Violet ( Vi )

  9. DarleneJoy says:

    Again, I am blessed by the character and faith expressed through each one of you. I’m reminded of the illustration in Corinthians about the body – how each part is completely necessary. Each one of us has a part to play and together we can understand and appreciate God’s truths better than we could apart because it is enrichment to see how God manifests Himself in different ways to different people.

    Love the poem, rdrcomp. And good exposition from the others as well. I have just one thing to say – and I want it to be enrichment to the truths already expressed here – law is just as necessary as grace. Without the law, we would not know we even need grace, let alone understand it. And thank you, wretch-like-me, for reminding us that a lifestyle of grace-living will include a respect and obedience for the law. Not because the law can save – it cannot! – but because we know and love the One who gives the law and gives us grace to continue in a living relationship with Him despite our failures.

  10. Mart De Haan says:

    To press the question of the post regarding the difference between Moses/law and Christ/grace/truth, wish as many as possible of us would read 2Corinthians chapter 3:1-18.

    There Paul, like some of us– emphasizes the glory and goodness of the law. But he also explains the difference in very strong terms that come down to the difference between a “ministry of life” and a “ministry of death.”

    Changing terms slightly he says, “the letter kills”, and “the Spirit gives life”. See if what he says adds any more to the question, “What is the difference between Gods gifts of law through Moses and grace through his Son?”

    I’m not disagreeing with our discussion as much as suggesting that I think most of us are better at getting the law’s point about what is right and wrong than we are in seeing that trying to perfect our keeping of the law cannot put us in right relationship with either God or one another.

    Am hoping that staying with the question a little longer could renew our joy not only in the season, but in the inexpressible wonder in the gifts of God’s Son and Spirit. See if you hear Paul saying something like, “If you like the gift of the Law, see what you think when you unwrap “these”…

    At the same time, if you still think I’m flirting with lawlessness– then keep pushing back :-).

  11. BruceC says:


    I was very saddened to hear about the radiation patient getting an overdose and the health worker who made the error. Years ago before my Mom died she was a cancer patient and recieved radiation. I have prayed for both of them. God can make all things new.

  12. SFDBWV says:

    Mart. I am getting a mental picture of a classroom full of students all looking away from the teacher after he has ask a question. No one really knowing what he wants them to say and nobody wanting to sound stupid by asking.

    But that’s one of my talents…..I have read 2 Corinthians 1-18 as you have requested. I see agreement with what most all of us have expressed in our own distinctive ways concerning the difference between law and Grace.

    The Law is good it teaches us but can’t save us the result is still death. The Law transformed an entire people into a Nation, to provide us a Savior… Grace forgives us, but the fullness of Christ does more. We are given the Holy Spirit. Whereby eternal life is found and answers to all questions, direction for our lives and comfort for our grief. We are fullfilled as a result of Christ in us. As a result we then are and forever really alive. Then we can be a person God can fellowship with and use. Because of Christ’s Spirit within us. His life giving life changing free gift.

    For now, I work and struggle at becoming all that Christ wants be to be, and deeply desire to possess all the gifts he has to offer.

  13. pegramsdell says:

    When I was first born again, I remember feeling just like the veil was lifted from my eyes and my heart. Darkness fled and light was everywhere. Everything was beautiful and brighter. I was filled with love for everyone and all I did was smile all the time. I was really happy and filled with joy.
    I now had peace, I knew that Jesus is alive and that He loves me and that He died for me. I knew that no matter what happened from now on, He would be with me and taking care of me.
    I not longer had to live by the law and think about everything I did, I just felt. I just followed Him and gave every care to Him. What a freedom. I don’t deserve His grace, but I receive and accept it as the gift that is is.

  14. macsisson22 says:

    In the beginning God said Don’t.
    They Did.

    Awareness told them there was right and worng.
    Cane killed.

    Government allowed control.
    The thoughts and intents of their hart were only evil continually.

    Pronise gave hope and another chance,
    They sold themselves into slavery.

    Law gave Commandments,
    They were only able to follow them as suggestions,

    Grace offers liberty,
    Some make it law, some consider it licence, Truth sets you free!

  15. Mart De Haan says:

    SFDBWV, we’re learning together :-).

  16. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    I am getting the same mental picture as SFDBWV. Truthfully I am not sure what we are missing that I feel Mart is trying to teach us. For me I know I can not and have not followed the law and even being born again has not enabled me to follow the law with perfection. God’s grace is all I have and I don’t deserve that grace, but I am so thankful that God has given His grace to us. I don’t think I will ever fully be able to grasp the fullness of His grace in this body. I know God has unveiled my heart to His word and my understanding is much deeper now, than before, when all I had was the law. Now I have the Holy Spirit with the law. I would like to be able to say that the world sees through my actions the great unveiling of Gods truth to me by grace, But I fail there also. So Mart please share, what am I missing? I am so willing to learn. I have read 2 Corinthians 3 1-18 and it is the first sentence that most stirs my heart but can’t as yet say I have understanding of why. I still like the way you did the Christmas story in parts as that is how god keeps unveiling Himself to me. A little at a time as I grow and am able to understand. Enjoy all of your comments

  17. poohpity says:

    I believe that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law. He never broke the Law but He did break what people had made the Law into. The Glory shown on Mose’s face from the time spent with God was covered because it frightened Israel. That Glory we will show as well because of our time spent with God. We can only spend time with God because He is Holy through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross which gave us the Holy Spirit and sacrificial redemption (justification).

    Jesus was the Law, lived the Law and showed us that only He was able to keep the Law. He is God, we are not and never will be.

    Before the Law was given many had a relationship with God, after the Law many had a relationship with God and now that there is no Law we have a right relationship with God. Gosh I am confused!

  18. wretch-like-me says:


    15 “…But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart;

    16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

    17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

    18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”

    As I read this, seems to me that there can be only one outcome if we remained under the Law given to Moses.
    Death. (We had no hope.)

    Christ is our only HOPE. That must be what Marti is goading us all to respond.
    The gift of Christ means Life… No more Death under the Law. He has fulfilled the Law for us. Coming to a full realization of that makes me ‘giddy’ as Scrooge on Christmas morning.
    In our joy, we can finally respond with a servants heart and say without reservation,”I am free from the condemnation of the Law, Christ has set me free!!!”

    a final note: record snows in Spokane, Washington. Pray for my family as we travel to be together for a joyful celebration of Christmas, together.

  19. Mart De Haan says:

    Once again, thank you for your patience with me. I’m not sure anyone is missing anything.

    I just know that the New Testament seems to say that the love, mercy, and grace of God are more likely to bring people to God, than the knowledge of his law.

    Jesus said that the person who has been forgiven much loves much. Would he say that those who know a lot about the moral law of God are more likely to love him?

    What can we learn from the history of the nation that got the law, memorized the law, worshiped the law, and called for Jesus’ execution?

    Jesus taught us that a person who knows the law can stand up in the temple and pray, “Lord, I thank you that I am not like those who break your law.” Would a person overwhelmed by God’s grace ever pray like that?

    Again, this is not to say that I’m disagreeing with any of you. I’m just trying to see if we can agree on whatever it is that overwhelms us with a desire to trust and love the God who has done so much for us– as told in the Christmas story.

  20. daisymarygoldr says:

    BruceC, I don’t know that patient personally but there are thousands of such seemingly insignificant errors that result in life-threatening consequences. I use these news articles at work to show what happens in the medical world when the bar is lowered and the standard is not met. Just like the way they show video clips of fatal crashes in defense-driving schools, to reinforce the need to abide by the rules of the road. Sorry, to hear about your mother’s death…my grandmother (who was more a mother to me) had also taken radiation treatment and died of cancer …we can only take comfort in the thought that they have ceased from the toils and labors of this difficult life, to enjoy eternal rest in the Lord!

  21. daisymarygoldr says:

    IMHO, grace and truth have always existed… even before creation. Some of us think that blood was shed for the first time in the Garden of Eden. The Bible tells us that grace was given when God provided the Lamb which was slained before the foundations of the world. Hence, when the 1st couple broke the Law, God showed grace in providing them with skin coats to cover their nakedness. Grace was seen in every animal sacrifice that covered the violation of a Levitical Law.

    Jesus came to emphasize truth by redefining Law and Grace. So, in my own life, externally I may have conformed to the Law. Lest I tend to cast “superior-than-you” glances at those who have committed for ex., the act of adultery, Jesus extends the same law to a whole different level…that of the heart. So, now as the Law points out my failure to internally conform to its truth, the letter condemns the adulterous thoughts within my heart and… kills me for having committed adultery.
    The story doesn’t end there because as the Spirit reveals the inner most thoughts of my heart, I readily repent of my sinful thoughts to avail the grace of forgiveness through Jesus Christ… hence, the Spirit gives life.

    Agree with rdrcomp, that Law and grace are not exclusive… rather they complement each other. Without the Law we will remain forever, blind to our sins and will never realize the need for grace that restores us to the right relationship with God or His children. Choosing either extreme (law only vs. grace only) of the scale…will throw us out off balance. It is only in striking a balance; a child of God truly enjoys happiness and joy that pertains to the spirit of this Christmas season!

    wretch-like-me, wishing you and your family a safe trip and a very merry Christmas!

  22. poohpity says:

    I choose Grace ONLY!!I am made perfect in Christ and His gift of sanctification, justification, and redemption. He did it for me and I can never meet the expectations of Holiness required to come before the throne on my own trying to follow the Law. I will never be perfect until the day of the Lord and I can not expect anyone to be either because I CHOOSE GRACE.

    I CHOOSE FREEDOM from the LAW because I can never keep it and so I do not want to fail all the time. I want progress not perfection. I choose Love over condemnation, I choose service rather than judgment. I have been forgiven so much.

  23. daisymarygoldr says:

    poohpity, please, don’t let my comments bother you in any way. Whatever I write applies to me and is not meant for anyone else… so don’t get upset, okay? Be comforted in knowing this that you don’t have to look any further than the Cross for all the Love, Grace and Forgiveness which Christ has already provided for you and all of us. Just relax and rejoice in the freedom to feast on these free gifts that are so abundantly available in our Father’s house.

    My Q to all of us is: what are we giving Him in return for the gifts He has given us for free? After all, is He not the “Birthday Boy”? Other than our empty hands and a mere Thank you, shouldn’t He have the right to expect something special in response from us? Loving and showing grace to others is a duty He requires from all of us who have received the same from Him. What is it that we can choose to give Him back freely from the bottom of our hearts? Something that He never demands but something that really delights Him the most. In our desire to get the best gifts we can for our loved ones, have we ever paused to think of what He longs to get from His loved ones? On this Christmas, what is the gift we are bringing to our Savior?

  24. SFDBWV says:

    Deborah, One of the calming aspects for me is knowing that Christ chose me before I was smart enough to choose him.

    Christ also chose you, as he has all who are gathering together for Him. “Faithful is he that calleth you,” , “Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ.”.”,beloved of God, called to be saints.”

    I think it’s neat that the God of all Creation knows you and I personaly. And that as he planned out all of creation he had you and I on his mind. That he chose grace for us.

    Noah, found grace in the eyes of the Lord. What did Noah do to deserve it? The Law didn’t save him and his family, grace did. And it’s grace that saves you and all of us here.

    I concur with what Mart said about the people Jesus used as examples as having the Law but not having the Spirit of God in their hearts.

    Jesus began speaking in parrables only after the religious elite did not recogize the day of their visitation.. Had they understood the law they worshiped they would have recognized their Savior. But they did not and called for His death instead of falling upon their faces and asking for forgiveness.

    Christmas gifts…..
    Jesus, grace,mercy,enlightenment,the HOLY SPIRIT, gifts of the SPIRIT,fruits of the SPIRIT, eternal life, inheritors of the Kingdom, the package only keeps providing more and more gifts. All because of grace, all because of Jesus Christ.

  25. plumbape says:

    Is there going to be a test after this…? No one said anything about a test..?!

  26. poohpity says:

    My thoughts were in response to the blog and my feelings about the Law and Grace after thinking about them and praying for wisdom. It was not about you, I ask for your forgiveness if you thought it was.

    After reading some other scriptures and listening to some Christmas music, I was fully appreciating what exactly God has done for us coming in the form of man. I was experiencing the great excitement of His “GIFT” to mankind. “Jesus is the gift” and no one can top that.

    You asked about the gifts we have given back to Him. I have in His name given bibles, food, gifts and devotionals to children in Kenya, Tanzania, and soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan this Christmas so far and hope to do more as He leads. Daily I give Him every morning to read His word, pray and praise through music. I think about Him all day long and thank Him for all that He is. None of this do I do out of duty but out of my love for Him. I hope this answers your question.

  27. poohpity says:


    I just love your sense of humor!!!:) lol

  28. daisymarygoldr says:

    poohpity, no don’t apologize…since your comment emphasizing ‘grace only’ followed mine I thought maybe you were offended with my words …sometimes it is difficult to read the other person’s mind through their writings:)

    In asking the Q, I was not seeking an answer for myself. It just occurred to me that we have been talking about His gifts to us in detail…and if Christmas is His birthday then He should be the one to receive gifts from us. I don’t know the answer to those Qs myself and I really wanted to know what He would love to get from us!

  29. daisymarygoldr says:

    plumbape, this is why you are told not to miss classes…that way you stay well informed about the test! Of course, it is God who led me to this place for some strange reason which I’m yet to understand, but know this, that you… are one of the reasons I’m still around. So, when people throw stones at me…I expect you to be there to defend me:) Also, you are in my good books… don’t get influenced by the rowdy ones here and pl-e-e-e-z-e…, do not make me sad:(

  30. Mart De Haan says:

    daisymarygoldr, I dream of living my life in the spirit of the 119th Psalm that goes to such lengths to celebrate the words, wisdom, thoughts, and law/Torah/teachings of God. Yet, as I’ve indicated on other occasions, what I find more important urgent, critical, and life-saving than the knowledge, laws, and insight that I long for is the undeserved help that the songwriter alludes to when he says, “My tongue shall speak of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness.173 Let Your hand become my help, For I have chosen Your precepts.174 I long for Your salvation, O LORD, And Your law is my delight.175 Let my soul live, and it shall praise You; And let Your judgments help me…176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; Seek Your servant, For I do not forget Your commandments.

  31. pegramsdell says:

    Because obedience is better than sacrifice.

  32. Mart De Haan says:

    And the songwriter admits he has wandered from compliance

  33. poohpity says:

    Micah 6:8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
    And what does the LORD require of you?
    To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

    Hosea 6:For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
    and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

    Gosh do we not serve a wonderful God!!!!

  34. poohpity says:

    Ooops! Hosea 6:6

  35. SFDBWV says:

    It occured to me this morning while reading last evening and this mornings posts, that Paul spent a lot of energy and wrote a great deal about the subject of grace vs law.

    It was a point of contention then ,of greater uproar, than we have seen spoken of here in our blog. Because of Paul’s stance that he was to preach a crucified Christ, only, he was beaten belittled and thrown into prison.

    The Cross is our symbol of Grace. The resurection proof of our faith. Our faith is grounded in Jesus. Not in the law.

    Isaiah 58: the acceptable fast. Speaks volumes to me about what is really important to God.
    The Books of the New Testament are dedicated to enforcing Grace from God through Jesus Christ.

  36. macsisson22 says:

    I think that SFDBWV picked up on my point, Grace has always been a part of every dispensation. The law had not been written at the time of Noah’s rescue. We look back to the cross whereas Isaiah (c.f. 53) and others looked forward to it. The picture is clearer for us and Peter told us that Christ was our example that we should follow his steps.

    Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt, yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured, there where the blood of the Lamb was spilt. (Julia H. Johnston)

  37. uncertain says:

    I think rdrcomp made a good point. “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. I Cor. 10:23
    That seems to be a pretty radical verse.

  38. daisymarygoldr says:

    Thank you so-o-o much friends, for helping me see what the Lord loves to receive in return for what He has done for each one of us.

    We receive grace from Him and give grace to others but what can we give Him back? My answer after reading yours is, Love! Our praise, worship and sacrifice do not convince Him of our love- poohpity. He longs for our obedience- pegramsdell…to delight in His Law- MartDeHaan. Noah found grace and obeyed to build the ark on dry land- SFDBWV, Abraham obeyed and so did many others in the OT… but perfect obedience to the Father was demonstrated by the death of His Son on the cross.

    Yes, grace is the best gift of all- rdrcomp, macsisson22…that we find at the foot of the tree. However, when we lift our eyes to the Son on the tree, we also see that in order to give us Grace, Jesus had to first fulfill the Law …and it greatly pleased God to proclaim Him as His beloved son. We follow His example to please God our Father by our obedience to His Law in order to show grace to others. Christ fulfilled the Law and so we are not required to perfect it, but we are called to obey.

    What does it mean to obey the Law? In my case, can I ever control my adulterous thoughts? Never! They rise and cross the floor of my mind even before I can think of stopping them. How then can I keep God’s Law to not commit adultery? Remember, He sees the inclination of the heart. God hates sin and if my heart hates that sin it will refuse to take pleasure in it. So, instead of entertaining those impure thoughts I show my displeasure by calling it “yuck”…I will not condemn others of adultery and I will also not condone that sin.

    What if I choose grace only and refuse the Law? I can easily fool others by presenting a perfect outward appearance… (in fact that’s exactly what makes you all mad…hence, the accusations of me being “superior”, “mastered it all” and “top of the game”). However, I cannot fool God because His Law points out my inner sins and keeps me humble to not consider myself better than others…only then, its possible for me to show grace to others.

    So, correct me if I’m wrong in saying- this Christmas I choose to offer Him the gift of love, by showing my love for His Law which alone enables me to show grace to others. In this life, my gift certainly will not be perfect…but He sees the importance in the inclination of my broken heart!

  39. daisymarygoldr says:

    poohpity, you are right …it is mercy and not sacrifice… that the Lord requires. You readily showed me mercy when I asked for it and you are also one of the reasons that make this blog a joyful place for me. Mercy to the poor and deprived is our way of showing mercy…it will be inhuman to do otherwise. God’s grace and mercy is different from ours…He showed mercy to us in giving His Son, Jesus… to us, who broke His law. Today, there are many people in our church communities who have broken God’s Law of love. People who stabbed us in the back…not once but countless times, who maligned us and called us names, who quoted scriptures to criticize us and these were not people from outside…they are the very ones we called friends and when we gave them our hearts, they stomped all over us and broke us to pieces…they constantly wounded us…leaving us with layers of hurt and unhealed pain… when we wanted their love they mercilessly condemned us….they do not deserve our mercy…nevertheless, God requires us to show them mercy…it is hard…He does not expects us to succeed… but He loves it when we try… and obey!

  40. macsisson22 says:

    I was on foxnews.com earlier and there was an article regarding a woman that was ‘concerned for her family’ because the church that she was attending is going to expose her adulterous relationship unless she repent.
    Jesus says that if you look with lust youv’e already committed. Paul tells us to expose them. How does this relate to our topic of Grace??

    BTW, daisymarygold I think you have it exactly right.

  41. SFDBWV says:

    Getting late for me, I have to tell you I am getting dizzy. It is either from all the spinning, or something I’ve been fed.
    Don’t worry friends, I’ll be fine. Just my little attempt at lightening things up a bit.

  42. gr8grannyjacobs says:


    Author: Cara G. Stanfield

    You’re the first thing I think of
    Each morning when I rise.
    You’re the last thing I think of
    Each night when I close my eyes.

    You’re in each thought I have
    And every breath I take.
    My feelings are growing stronger
    With every move I make.

    I want to prove I love you
    But that’s the hardest part.
    So, I’m giving all I have to give
    To you… I give my heart.

    Grace enables me to give Him my heart

  43. poohpity says:

    The only thing that we have to give is ourselves.

  44. Gena says:

    This week I heard a pastor preach about Joseph’s older brothers and how they were sooo upset when their father gave Joseph the best coat and a feast of celebation. The older brothers tried to convince their father that it was wrong – after all look at all the things Joseph did (sins), but their dad said, “He was lost and now he is found”. So while the celebrations took place one of the brothers refused to participate. I’ve been having some personal experiences within my family and have been shocked at the lack of mercy being shown to me. There has been plenty of criticism and stern words. Despite much apologizing and so forth, no mention of forgivingness, but constant reminders of the wrongdoings or shortcomings (sins). By God’s grace, through my faith and by the blood of Jesus, my sins were forgiven. The sins have not been brought up again.
    I think the best gift anyone can give is mercy. It’s way easier to dole out judgement, but much more graceful to forgive. Just gotta practice it!

  45. Mart De Haan says:

    daisymarygoldr, weeks ago in that wonderful BC/AD conversation where many of you were telling your story, you asked me to tell mine.

    In my response to you I said this: “My BC/AD moment came early; grew up in a happy sheltered home. The result is that I identify with the statement, “to whom much is given, much shall be required”.

    In spite of all of that, the peace, joy, and security that I have in Christ is often mixed with intense inner struggle. I identify more with wretch-like-me than with those who seem to have mastered the spiritual life.

    As I’ve indicated in posts, I often feel like my heart is a mess, which is probably one reason I come back repeatedly to what Peter wrote in 2Peter 1:1-13 about bringing order to our inner world.

    I find to my embarrassment that too often I don’t like and even am afraid of fellow Christians who act as if they are “on top of their game.” I often feel that if the Lord doesn’t help or rescue me, I’m not going to make it.

    Having said that my life is also filled with far more joy, love, friendship than I deserve– including deep peace mingled with real torment. So daisymarygoldr, you smoked out a brother who owes everything to Christ and loves the company of those who realize that without the grace of God– they’d be sunk.I hope those who have followed my posts up until now will see the relationship between what I’ve written then and here.” (End of quote)

    Since then I’ve sensed by a number of your comments that I hurt you by saying that “to my embarrassment” I didn’t like, and am afraid those who think they’ve mastered the spiritual life and are on the top of their game.”

    I’ve wanted on occasion to apologize to you and to say, “But DMG, I really do like you, and am so thankful that you are such an important apart of our shared journey”. That’s the way I really feel and think.

    Where I made a mistake, (that I hope I’m not repeating now) is when I personalized the issue and indicated that I identify more with those in our conversation who readily express brokenness than with those who don’t.

    When you challenged me and indicated your willingness to wait for me to confess that I was like the pagans who only love those who love them, I should have readily confessed– because by the standards of the law of impartial love, I do fall so short.

    Having said that, there are so many things about your candor, knowledge, and forthrightness that I really value– like when you told me you wished that sometimes I would be like one of the little boys in your class and just– be still :-).

  46. SFDBWV says:

    After coming home yesterday afternoon and seeing the additions to the blog, I was at a point of “arguing”. But I am not going to be dragged into a point where someone else wants to take me.

    I have before and will again state, that all Christian people are at different levels of understanding scripture. That we are all at a different and personal relationship with God.

    And hopefully still growing.

    I have never met anyone who has actually mastered Christianity nor any thing spiritual. Except Jesus Christ.

    I have met plenty of people who think they have. And yes they do carry an attitude about them I don’t care for. They look down on the rest of us and try to make us feel stupid.

    It is these people who run off most of us from church.

    I follow the Holy Spirit’s lead in my spiritual life and understanding of scripture. If HE want’s me to move on or change my mind about a matter, HE will give me understanding and peace concerning the matter. This has worked for me throughout my Christian walk.

    On the matter of Grace vs Law. I have stated my belief and I am not going to change my mind. This is not a slander against anyone who disagrees.

    This Blog should be a place where we are all free to express ourselves without the fear that we are being criticized. If not, than very few people will share their thoughts.

    This Blog should be about Jesus Christ and our walk with him…

  47. desert rose says:

    I cry inside because I struggle with God’s grace for myself. To me it is simply amazing that God used me (for years) in His ministry. Now, I cannot participate as I once did. So, I am thankful that these comments and scriptures help me more to understand God’s Grace.

    We never know the backgrounds of individuals and why they act or respond like they do. So God’s grace is a very important fact of salvation and then our walk with the Lord.

    Thanks everyone for the fine posts.

  48. poohpity says:

    Gosh it seems that here lies the struggle between the Law and Grace. The Law keeps one focused on self and Grace keeps one focused on God. It is the power of the Holy Spirit who will guide us into all truths and as Rick Warren puts it “It is not about me”. Obviously the whole bible tries repeatedly to direct us to God only. We as humans try to make it about us (self).

    As satan tries to worm it’s way into this Christmas season, it is time to give thought and attention to the ONE of whom it is about.

  49. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    I used to pray to God, let me be your friend. I so longed to be as close to God as Abraham, Moses,Enoch, (who is special to me 300 years!) and the list goes on. I felt if only I could have that close relationship with Him just like them. Then one day God showed me they were just like me,ordinary people with hearts seeking God and His truth, willing to walk with God and learn His ways. I try, and fail often, to listen to everyone and encourage each one God puts in my life in their walk with God. Regardless of how I may feel about some things they may do or say. I try to always remember only God can see the heart. We don’t all present with a broken and contrite heart to others, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have one before God. I can’t find any prefect people in the Bible but I find God’s grace everywhere. Moses and the Israelites had both grace and the law and so do we. We still fall short so I thank God for Grace. I also get frustrated when some folks present as tho they have all the answers and understanding about our Father, then I look at myself and once again thank God for grace.

  50. daisymarygoldr says:

    Mart, Thank You! I knew you would get back with the answer…and with this answer you have earned back your rightful place in my good books!! Your appalling words in that BC/AD post, sounded exactly like my daughter’s… who came back one day from her kindergarten class… venting out her dislike for “fat kids” after being rough-handled in the playground by “Big Ashley”. To correct that attitude of- “I love only to play with kids who are slim like me”, her poor mother had to go through one long painful process that eventually helped Ashley and Fran to graduate from KG as BFF! Do you see the striking similarity there? However, this is not to correct, but simply expressing a friendly pain-filled plea- now that you know what it means to love… go and show love to those who have hurt you… and also p-l-e-a-s-e,
    – Teach the other little boys and girls here to love others with the love of Christ. Right now, one of them is pouting about people in the church who are looking down on him. Tell him that people who have that attitude have actually lowered to place themselves below him, hence now it is his turn to not look down on them but to love them instead.
    – Teach them that the poor and needy do not need our forgiveness. If we have been forgiven much we are also indebted to love much. It is those who hurt us that need to be forgiven much and those who hate us are the ones who need to be loved much.
    – Teach them about Jesus who is full of ‘Grace’ and ‘Truth’. There are 2 sides to a coin, isn’t it? We do not remain stuck with the grace only side of Jesus. Yes, Grace enabled us to give Him our “hearts”, the day we accepted Him as Lord and savior of our “lives”. It is Truth that will set us free from all our struggles with sin, sickness and every other shortcoming that robs us of our Christian joys.
    Only when we learn to show “grace” to “love” each other within the family of God, then and only then we will enjoy the real joys of celebrating Christmas in its “truest” sense!

    BTW, though it took a while for the left side to “get it”, I’m asking you to teach… because being the right side of the brain, I am not supposed to teach…already I feel ashamed and convicted of having talked too much

  51. daisymarygoldr says:

    “I also get frustrated when some folks present as tho they have all the answers and understanding about our Father…”- gr8grannyjacobs, your love for me is also one of the reasons that has brought me back to this blog…it is a God-given gift that I greatly envy….but then Love never envies:) “superior”, “mastered it”, “top of the game” are the very words that resulted in the Holocaust. Those awful words should never find its way into the body of Christ. Who amongst us can claim to be the greatest… with more knowledge and understanding?- Ps 18:27. We are all sinners saved by His grace!

  52. poohpity says:

    We will always be students when it comes to the things of God! Humility shows that we will never know it all and pride says we do.

  53. SFDBWV says:

    Mart, and any others that may need to be reinforced about the Law vs Grace issue discussed here these past few days;

    The entire book of Galatians is dedicated to the Gospel of answering the question. From the outset Gal 1:7 Paul says, any other teaching is a perversion of the truth of God.
    Gal.3:1-24,expresses the freedom from the curse of the law.
    Gal.3:24-4:31 states the superiority of the gosspel over law.
    Gal.5:1-26 the freedom of the Christian.

    And if I may I borrow a quote from DMG in her last comments,”Ps 18:27.We are are sinners saved by His grace.”

    I’m sure we have exhausted this subject. But wanted to show some scripture that speaks directly to the subject.

    Mart, What does RBC teach in your Bible course as the theme of the book of Galatians?
    I have read several studies of Galatians and they all teach that Grace is superior to law. As a theme.

  54. poohpity says:

    Ephesians 2:8,9
    8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—AND THIS IS NOT FROM YOURSELVES, it is the GIFT of God—9not by works, so that no one can BOAST.9not by works, so that no one can BOAST.9not by works, so that no one can BOAST. Grace is unmerited,unearned favor.

    Just thought I would push it a little farther yet. :)

  55. wretch-like-me says:

    sounds like you guys having been having too much fun while I have been gone…
    thanks for your prayers… writing you from Boise, Idaho where I am visiting my son, daughter and 3 giggling granddaughters. Praise the Lord, I love being a grandpa. (love the T-shirt that says, “If I had known they were gonna be this much fun, I’d have had them first!)
    Not wanting to ‘beat a dead horse’ I just want to add…
    “Grace is everything to me. Marti, thanks for causing me to take a refreshing long look and reigniting the flame that I confess had been reduced to embers. I wish you all will rediscover the JOY that you first felt when you realized your sins were lifted from you by a Savior who is everything you need and much, much more.”

    Merry Christmas o

  56. SFDBWV says:

    God bless you poohpity (aka Deborah). As always you get it!
    I have been rethinking the conversation of the past few days with this subject of law vs grace. My conclusion is this.

    Grace is one of the base issues of Christianity. Paul was beaten,critisised,put in jail, alienated from his friends and family, and even put to death for his stance on grace being superior to law.
    This should not even be a point of contention for Christians.

    But here in our conversations these past few days, confusion found his way into the issue, and once confusion was there he brought along dissention, and then strife. I only say “he” because I know who the author of confusion is.

    I only bring this up because there may have been or may be others who read this blog and may have been hurt because they may not fully understand.

    No person can do anything, except accept Jesus Christ as their Lord. To gain salvation. This is not an act of obedience but an act of faith. Free will.

  57. infiniti07 says:

    The validity of law presupposes that not only an authority (person or institution) is accepted but this authority’s set of standards is also accepted. Grace is undeserved favor granted by the One who is accepted as an authority figure by free will.
    Law is irrelevant to those who don’t accept it as a means to be guided by and grace is likewise irrelevant to those who don’t freely choose to believe. Therefore, those who accept law will continue to search for that relevance in their lives and still have hope in discovering and accepting grace. Those who reject law are a god to themselves and their only hope is that their relationship to someone (of faith) will lead them to examining the worth of that relationship and so have the opportunity to accept grace.

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