I have just finished a great weekend with Pastor Paulo Cardos and some great people in Luxembourg. God was very good in His word and His presence. I believe that there is going to be increased fruitfulness from all that happened here. Thank you so much Pastor Paulo and all the hungry people here.
God’s grace is His manifest presence in our lives and His manifest presence transforms who we are. Our earthly realities become heavenly testimonies by the power of God’s grace. I have friends who believe they understand grace and they reject Paul’s writings because they say he was a law man. But the more I read Paul, the more I believe he was a man who understood and lived in grace. He understood that grace casts a shadow that looks like law. His number one passion was to free his Jewish brothers from being under the law. God sent him to gentiles, people who didn’t understand or desire the law. These were people who didn’t even know there was a law. God sent him as an apostle to gentiles, people who were not people of the Torah / Temple culture of society. I think it was God’s gift to Paul. I think it was God’s gift so Paul could be changed by grace. I also believe Paul was God’s gift to the Gentiles because he had a revelation of the shadow of grace. Law is a shadow of grace that is real. We were not intended to live our lives under the administration of law, but an administration of grace in our lives will cause us to cast a shadow in life that looks like obedience to the law.
Paul was Saul of Tarsaus. He was a Pharisee of Pharisees, he was a law man. He was under the law more than most people are today. The law is good, but it is not God. It is good, it is not bad. It is good in its correct place and its first correct place is it is good enough to tell someone they need God. But needing God is not enough. Finding Him, embracing Him, being transformed by Him and becoming the word of God that others can see is what is necessary. The word became flesh and moved into the neighborhood so that every fleshly neighborhood could become an expression of God – the word. God expressed Himself in flesh so that all flesh could become an expression of God. The law is a written expression of God.
In Romans chapter 7 Paul wrote to his Jewish brothers. He wanted them to find the faith to no longer be under the law. He wanted to be sure that no one is tricked to be under the law again.
Romans 7:1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? 2 For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. 4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. 6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. 7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.
These verses are not talking about marriage. These are not verses intended for a husband to use to keep their wife in bondage to the law of marriage. Paul was using terminology that people of the law thought they understood to present a truth concerning grace. Mercy pronounces us dead. We cannot be tried for the same crime again because we have already been found guilty of mercy. The end of the law is mercy. Mercy has triumphed over the judgment of law. Paul wrote to the church of Corinth that when Christ died everyone died. In verse 4 or Romans chapter 7, Paul confirmed that law is dead and it is time to marry Christ – to marry the administration of grace.
The law only served to showed us our sentence. It showed us our judgment. It revealed that we must all die, but Jesus made a way for us to die, but live! He made a way for the sentence of death to be completed with a provision of resurrection life in Christ for all who believe. This is the power of grace! We can only live if we get married again. We were married to the law, but the law died! Now we get to marry another, we get to marry grace. We get to embrace the Holy Spirit and marry grace. He empowers us. He changes us. Grace transforms our lives by the manifest power of Christ in us!
Ted J. Hanson
Thank you so much to those of you who have been able to contribute to our cause. In this past month I have been in the Netherlands, Ireland, Wales, England, Spain, and again in England. This week I head to Bulgaria and after that I will be in Luxembourg. Without your prayers and support we are limited in our ability to do our part in the place of our calling in Christ. If God blesses you to bless us, please consider supporting House of Bread Ministry. Checks Payable to: House of Bread Ministry, 3210 Meridian St., Bellingham, WA 98225
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