John 1:17. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Have you ever installed a new operating system onto your computer? The old, out dated, and obsolete system is replaced by the new updated system which should make life a whole lot better. When computer companies unveil a new operating system they usually use words like “more powerful,” and “easy to use.”
John’s language here is pretty radical. He’s not claiming that Jesus came show us how to keep the law, or even that Jesus’ primary purpose for coming was to keep the law (which he did), but that he came to replace the law with a whole new way of living – a new operating system.
We were each born under the law. A flesh powered operating system aimed at earning our salvation. But in Christ we are rebooted with a grace and truth operating system, powered by faith in the unconditional love of the indwelling Spirit of Christ himself.
The problem is that most of us are still functioning from that old operating system of law-keeping. We fail to fully embrace the new, “more powerful and easy to use” system of free grace. Why? Because we love being measured. We love score keeping. It helps us feel like we’re in control. The law’s operating system gives us constant feedback as to how we’re doing at life. Am I being “blessed?” I must be keeping the law. Am I being “cursed?” Oops, I must have messed up somewhere. But the only possible overflow of this system is either pride when we keep the law, or shame when we fail. And both are deadly. Sadly, these emotions have been our closest companions for so long that it’s hard to embrace the humble, guilt free living of Jesus’ grace and truth.
But God, in Christ, came to replace the Law’s deadly operating system with the life giving freedom of grace. Full forgiveness. Imputed righteousness. Guaranteed inheritance. Unconditional love. And every other spiritual blessing now received and not earned.
Every time we return to the law’s operating system, or more likely, every time we mix the law’s operating system with grace’s operating system, we allow death to enter our lives. Every time you slip into a mindset of earning God’s favor, death sneaks in. Every time you place the ones you love under the demands of law, death arrives. The death of peace. The death of hope. The death of love.
So which operating system are you living from?
Do you find yourself feeling stressed out today? Hopeless? Discouraged? Frustrated with others? Are you exhausted trying to live up to standards and expectations? Do you feel disconnected from the love of Christ? Do you think you can actually keep God’s law? Are you surprised and distressed when you fail? Is your Christian life littered with vow after vow, recommitment after recommitment? Are you proud? Intolerant? Self-righteous? Cynical? Hypocritical? Constantly comparing your life to others?
If you are answering yes to many of these questions, then you are living under the law’s deadly operating system.
Do you find yourself able to receive the love of God in Christ? Do you allow the law to reveal your sin rather than motivate your behavior? Are you kind and gracious with others? Do you honestly love people, even “enemies?” Are you not surprised at your failures? Do you boldly confess sin? Do you see your life as one of neediness and dependence? Are you grateful? Can you empathize with others, forgiving them when they fail you? Do you see your continuing need for growth through grace?
If you can answer yes to many of these questions, then you are finding life within Christ’s life giving operating system of grace and truth.
The truth is that most of us are toggling back and forth between the two systems. But the good news is that God will never stop transforming your mindset from law to grace. He’ll never give up on your growth and transformation into the operating system of Christ himself.
“To live is Christ” gives us a whole new operating system of grace. Will we boot up the old deadly system of law keeping today, or will we trust the power and ease of use of living from the indwelling life of the eternal Son of God?
Which operating system are you living from? Law or grace?
You in Christ
In Christ you have received full and free grace. How should this change how you relate to God and others?
Christ in you
How can grace and truth be your operating system today?
Playlist: Songs of Grace.