Jesus never sacrificed grace for the sake of truth or truth for the sake of grace. He was a perfect and balanced blend of both. But when people heard and saw Jesus, that isn’t what they saw. That isn’t what they walked away believing. As far as the religious leaders were concerned, Jesus was all about grace, and they hated him for it.
Jesus would do away with the religious system. He would fulfill the law and establish something better: a covenant, an agreement with the world, established by Jesus on the basis of grace. Jesus would create a new system which was free from the law, the rules, and the checklists of the Old Testament. Because of Jesus there are no laws to keep, only a love to give away.
1. In today's world there is a large misunderstanding of what it means to follow Jesus fueled by a misrepresentation by those who claim to follow Jesus. We tend to swing too far in either the direction of grace (and neglect truth) or in the direction of truth (and neglect grace). In your experience what has the church emphasized or overemphasized that has fueled people's misunderstanding of faith?
2. Have you ever personally overemphasized grace or truth? Explain. What effect did that have on you? On the people around you?
3. We are justified by faith. Justification means God sees us as though we had never sinned. But it's better than that. God isn't blind to anything. God knows every sin you've committed and every sin you're going to commit. Yet He still sees you as though you've never sinned. How is that better?
4. Paul said that "the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." He would clarify by saying that love does no harm to yourself or to your neighbor. Is that clearer or simpler than the law? Is it easier?
5. Why is the temptation to mix law and grace so alluring? Why is it so dangerous?
6. Have you ever felt it was a problem to emphasize the Ten Commandments but not all of the Old Testament law? Or is that something that made sense to you?
7. In which areas of your life is it hardest for you to accept God's grace? Why do you think we try to uphold the law instead of accepting grace in those areas?
8. There is no sin that could overpower God’s grace. Why does that type of grace make us uncomfortable even though it’s such good news?