At LifeGuard Ministries we believe strongly that because of God’s grace, all of us, including those with SSA (same-sex attraction), can overcome our spiritual bondage through trusting our new identity in Christ Jesus. We tend to focus on His grace, but what about the Law? Didn’t Christ come to fulfill the Law? How does that work, and look to us today?
Recently I read a marvelous passage in Tullian Tchividjian’s latest book, One Way Love. While discussing some of the challenges he has faced in his life he gave his thoughts on the Law:
“Looking back, the root of Kim and my marriage problems those first few years wasn’t that I was too focused on the Law— the problem was that I wasn’t focused on it enough! J. Gresham Machen counterintuitively notes that “a low view of law always produces legalism; a high view of law makes a person a seeker after grace.” The reason this seems so counterintuitive is because most people think that those who talk a lot about grace have a low view of God’s Law (hence, the regular charge of antinomianism, that is, of preaching in such a way as to imply that the Law is bad and/ or useless). Others think that those with a high view of the Law are the legalists. But Machen makes the very compelling point that it’s a low view of the Law that produces legalism, because a low view of the Law causes us to conclude that we can do it— the bar is low enough for us to jump over. A low view of the Law makes us think that the standards are attainable, the goals are reachable, the demands are doable. The Law gets softened into “helpful tips for practical living” instead of God’s unwavering demand for absolute perfection. It’s this low view of the Law that caused Immanuel Kant— and Pelagius before him— to conclude that “ought implies can.” That is, to say, “that I ought to do something is to imply logically that I am able to do it.”
A high view of the Law, however, demolishes all notions that we can do it— it exterminates all attempts at self-sufficient moral endeavor. We’ll always maintain a posture of suspicion regarding the radicality of unconditional grace as long as we think we have the capacity to pull it off. Only an inflexible picture of what God demands is able to penetrate the depth of our need and convince us that we never outgrow our need for grace— that grace never gets overplayed.
Contrary to what some Christians today would have you believe, the biggest problem facing the church today is not “cheap grace” but “cheap Law”— the idea that God accepts anything less than the perfect righteousness of Jesus. My friend John Dink explains cheap Law this way:
“Cheap law weakens God’s demand for perfection, and in doing so, breathes life into … [our] quest for a righteousness of [our] own making.… It creates people of great zeal, but they lack knowledge concerning the question “What Would Jesus Do?” Here is the costly answer: Jesus would do it all perfectly. And that’s game over for you. The Father is not grooming you to be a replacement for his Beloved Son. He is announcing that there is blessing for those who take shelter in his Beloved Son. Cheap law tells us that we’ve fallen, but there’s good news, you can get back up again.… Therein lies the great heresy of cheap law: it is a false gospel. It cheapens— no— it nullifies grace.”
Only when we understand that God’s Law is absolutely inflexible will we see that God’s grace is absolutely indispensable. A high view of the Law involves the devastating reminder that God’s acceptance of us is ultimately contingent on Christ’s perfection, not our progress; Christ’s imputation, not our improvement. Such inscrutable demands push us toward the infallible deliverance we find in the Gospel. In other words, a high view of the Law produces a high view of grace. A low view of the Law produces a low view of grace.”
Tchividjian, Tullian (2013-10-01). One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World (Kindle Locations 1000-1015). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.