……….at getting them out serving. I have been struck recently how cycling through Feltham at about 8.45am on a Sunday morning the (so-called) Jehovah’s Witnesses have had their stand set up on the street (two stands actually on March 12th). And I am left thinking how do they do it? How do they get people out at that time on a Sunday Morning on the streets. Hence my conclusion is that law must be more powerful than grace in getting people to do that kind of thing.
Why do I say it is law? It is law because the whole JW system is based on performance. It is based on doing things in order to get into the favour of God. So the more “door time” or “street time” you do then the better. So if you are a leader, in that system, you have got a ready made structure in place to get people doing things. Ultimately it is a system of drudgery. It is such because against your will or better judgement, to keep in the system you have to do your time out on the doors or streets.
As for us believers in Christ we believe in grace. We believe in a system of faith which is established in grace;
- Jesus Christ gave Himself to the cross for our sins.
- It is through the grace of God that we are saved. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith (Eph. 2:8a).
- It is in grace that we live For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. (Rom. 6:14)
This last point is pertinent for us here. I say this because in Romans 6:13 we have these words.
Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness
The connection between the verses is that we offer every part of our beings to God because grace not law is operative. Our whole focus of motivation is found in the grace of God.
Surely this should be more potent than law. Grace leads to life in God and being delighted in God should be displayed in a delight in life. We are reconstructed people who now want to live for the pleasure of God and the benefit of others. In 2 Corinthians 5 Paul speaks of how through him knowing of the fear of God (see v 11) and Christ’s love (see v 14), he is motivated to serve.
So how is it that law seems more effective than grace is in getting people serving. It should never never ever be. So what is going on. Here are some thoughts:-
- Is it the preaching? Are we just not centering on the grace of God in Christ enough?
- Is it the praying? Are we just not praying people into the grace of the Lord?
- Is it because we are all innately law people rather than grace people? But the gospel should be changing that all the time.
- Is it because we are not living in vibrant fellowship with the God of all grace? So we are not receiving His grace continually into our lives.
There is something enticing about a law system that “gets people out”, but it is destructive. So I will dive (and drive) into grace in all my living and leading although I so easily can become a “law merchant”. The law system seems very attractive, but ultimately it is tawdry and miserable. Grace, in contrast, is beautiful and delightful. So go for grace Philip in all your ways.