The Ironic Dynamic

Throughout the New Testament we read about Paul being persecuted by the Pharisees. His full understanding of grace led to him casting off the hedge of Phariseeism and his persecution by the Pharisees. But when grace changes you, you answer, like Paul, that you do what you do because you must. This is the experience of those who have had an encounter with Jesus and experienced grace in an intense and life changing way. The hedge of modern day Phariseeism is cast off and suddenly the length of your skirt becomes of less importance than whether or not you are visiting the sick and feeding the hungry. And extending grace to your children is not an issue of dishonoring your father and mother, but of raising them in grace so that they will understand grace, rather than in Law so that all they know is Law.

And yet, until you come to realize that all you know is Law, you don’t realize that you don’t get grace. You may have even received it, but until you understand what you have received you aren’t living in the fullness of the Spirit. This is another irony. The churches that most emphasize the external changes don’t realize that they only mask what is on the inside, but if grace is embraced and lived then the inside changes and the outside will become all that they believe it should be (except for things that don’t really matter to God and are just their personal pet ideas). Modesty is not a way to dress so that you mask your sexuality; modesty is a way you dress when you realize that your sexuality is holy and you desire to not draw undue attention to yourself.

When I say that Grace-Based Discipline is a paradigm shift, it’s because Grace requires a paradigm shift. Whether you need to understand grace in your life, in your faith, in your parenting, or all of the above, there has to be a paradigm shift. And it’s not a work you can make happen. It’s something that the Lord does in you — something that comes from pressing into Him. As you seek first His kingdom and His righteousness — not by seeking the map that will lead you to the treasure, but realizing the treasure is intimacy with Jesus and seeking that through learning all you can about Him and loving Him because He first loved you — you will have these things added unto you.

As you allow Him to change you inside, your outside will reflect your changed inside. If you want your child to avoid such a struggle in understanding grace, you can choose to raise them in an environment of grace. A child who has never been required to pay the penalty for their own sins will more easily accept Jesus paying the penalty for his sins — especially when you are teaching them who Jesus is, what he has done for them, how much he loves them, and modeling your faith and relationship with Jesus for them. As your children honor the Lord with no fear of Him, because perfect love casts out all fear because fear comes from punishment, they will honor you. Not because they spank their children or parent like you do, but because they love the Lord and live a life pleasing to Him. That is the intent of that commandment — it’s for the child’s benefit, not the parent’s.

So I challenge you to consider if you live under the law or under grace. Do you reject the OT Torah but put yourself under the modern day Pharisees’ hedge that provides a list of do’s and don’t’s that will keep you looking good regardless of what is on the inside?

Let Jesus embrace you in grace. Let Jesus change you. Become a new creation in Christ. Realize that you not only need Jesus’ sacrifice for yourself because you have sinned, but by sinning even once you will never be able to pay the penalty for any of your sins. So be grateful that Jesus already died for your sins–all of them–past, present and future. And by realizing that Jesus’ death was for your sins yet to come, perhaps you can be impacted to not go on sinning, but live like the new creation you are in Christ!

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