Understanding grace

It happened last night: watching someone really understand grace is a beautiful thing.

We know that everything in the Law was written for those who are under its power. The Law says these things to stop anyone from making excuses and to let God show that the whole world is guilty. God doesn’t accept people simply because they obey the Law. No, indeed! All the Law does is to point out our sin. Now we see how God does make us acceptable to him. The Law and the Prophets tell how we become acceptable, and it isn’t by obeying the Law of Moses. God treats everyone alike. He accepts people only because they have faith in Jesus Christ. All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins. (Romans 3: 19-24)

By faith we have been made acceptable to God. And now, because of our Lord Jesus Christ, we live at peace with God. Christ has also introduced us to God’s undeserved kindness on which we take our stand. So we are happy, as we look forward to sharing in the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2)

We know that the Law is spiritual. But I am merely a human, and I have been sold as a slave to sin. In fact, I don’t understand why I act the way I do. I don’t do what I know is right. I do the things I hate. Although I don’t do what I know is right, I agree that the Law is good. So I am not the one doing these evil things. The sin that lives in me is what does them. I know that my selfish desires won’t let me do anything that is good. Even when I want to do right, I cannot. Instead of doing what I know is right, I do wrong. And so, if I don’t do what I know is right, I am no longer the one doing these evil things. The sin that lives in me is what does them. The Law has shown me that something in me keeps me from doing what I know is right. With my whole heart I agree with the Law of God. But in every part of me I discover something fighting against my mind, and it makes me a prisoner of sin that controls everything I do. What a miserable person I am. Who will rescue me from this body that is doomed to die? Thank God! Jesus Christ will rescue me. (Romans 7:14-25)

If you belong to Christ Jesus, you won’t be punished. The Holy Spirit will give you life that comes from Christ Jesus and will set you free from sin and death. he Law of Moses cannot do this, because our selfish desires make the Law weak. But God set you free when he sent his own Son to be like us sinners and to be a sacrifice for our sin. God used Christ’s body to condemn sin. He did this, so that we would do what the Law commands by obeying the Spirit instead of our own desires. (Romans 8:1-4)

We have a great high priest, who has gone into heaven, and he is Jesus the Son of God. That is why we must hold on to what we have said about him. Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin! So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Jesus is the high priest we need. He is holy and innocent and faultless, and not at all like us sinners. Jesus is honored above all beings in heaven, and he is better than any other high priest. Jesus doesn’t need to offer sacrifices each day for his own sins and then for the sins of the people. He offered a sacrifice once for all, when he gave himself. The Law appoints priests who have weaknesses. But God’s promise, which came later than the Law, appoints his Son. And he is the perfect high priest forever. (Hebrews 7:26-28)

Christ did not have to offer himself many times. He wasn’t like a high priest who goes into the most holy place each year to offer the blood of an animal. If he had offered himself every year, he would have suffered many times since the creation of the world. But instead, near the end of time he offered himself once and for all, so that he could be a sacrifice that does away with sin. (Hebrews 9:25-26)

The Holy Spirit also speaks of this by telling us that the Lord said, “When the time comes, I will make an agreement with them. I will write my laws on their minds and hearts. Then I will forget about their sins and no longer remember their evil deeds.” When sins are forgiven, there is no more need to offer sacrifices. My friends, the blood of Jesus gives us courage to enter the most holy place by a new way that leads to life! And this way takes us through the curtain that is Christ himself. We have a great high priest who is in charge of God’s house. So let’s come near God with pure hearts and a confidence that comes from having faith. (Hebrews 10:15-22)

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