Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Grace Required

Scripture Texts: Exodus 20; Romans 13:8-10; James 2:8-11

What if we approached the ten commandments as a radical minimum standard rather than a lofty set of goals? God gives the law, the ten commandments, as the standards for living a holy life. These are not offered to us as standards that are always out of our reach. In fact the commandments are offered to us as guidelines that if followed will lead to a life of holiness and fulfilment in our relationship with God.

It is easy today to look at the ten commandments as something locked in the past, or as something that we do not have to pay attention to because of the grace of Jesus Christ. Reality is living by the ten commandments is still the call of God, the difference is what happens when we fall short. Before Christ when a person fell short of living the law they had make atonement through a series of prescribed sacrifices. There was a perpetual human effort required to make up for falling short. After the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, grace and the atonement offered through Christ is all that is needed.

Just because we live in grace does not mean we ignore the law. We depend on the grace of God to live the law, not as a lofty goal rather as a radical minimum standard. More accurately stated, it is only through the ongoing grace of God that we are able to live the standards of the law.

When we shift the lens to marriage we can fall prey to the same thinking. We desire a marriage that is filled with love, caring and connection with our spouse. We set the goal of achieving a whole and full marital relationship as something that can only be achieved if we happen to get everything just right. The grace of God is not only for living the ten commandments, it is also for living the marriage that we desire. A marriage filled with love, caring and connection is not a lofty goal, it is the product of the grace of God as found in Jesus Christ.

There will be days when a marriage is less than everything we have hoped and dreamed for. Days will come when the feelings of love, care and connection are harder to find. These are the days we need God's grace to live the marriage we desire. It is possible to experience marriage in this fullness now, not only someday in the future. It can only be done through the grace of God, and the commitment of the couple to live in this moment a marriage of love, care and connection.

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