I (amos) was preparing a message for youth group last sunday on Ephesians 4:25-29. If you’re not familiar with the passage, it’s where paul exhorts the church of ephesus to no longer be liars, no longer be unrighteously angry, no longer thieves, and no longer have corrupting talk. These are all imperatives (commands) that Paul gives us in light of the gospel. As i was preparing the sermon, I couldn’t help but notice how easy it was to actually come up with the outline for the sermon. Don’t be a liar. That section was easy. Don’t be unrighteously angry. It was easy. Don’t be a thief and don’t have corrupting talk come out of your mouth. Easy. Right off the bat i could think of illustrations and applications for all the commands that Paul lists. But then i had to come to the part about the gospel. And frankly, to be honest i had to spend more time thinking about how the gospel applies to the commands that Paul makes.
That’s when it hit me. I am by nature so attuned to the law (moral commands) and this idea of grace is still awkward for me even as a christian. I mean i’m not denying anything about what Jesus did on the cross for us, but just the concept of grace boggles my mind. Grace is so foreign to me that when it comes time to actually preach about it, it actually takes a good chunk of my time just communicating it. Why is that? We are by nature people who put ourselves under the law.
This doesn’t mean that because we are so used to the law (commands) and so foreign to grace that we shouldn’t obey what Paul is preaching about. Instead, it’s because of the fact that Jesus already did everything on the cross for us that we can obey. He was the one that perfectly fulfills the law. We no longer live under the paradigm of “do this and live,” but instead we live within the paradigm of “my grace is sufficient for you.” Grace is the motivating factor that makes us obey without a legalistic framework. It’s grace that makes us become people who obey. Not the other way around.
Friends are you constantly preaching the awkward and foreign news of grace into your lives daily? Are you becoming more familiar with the gospel?