Do you know what a law is? Can you name a law that you have to obey?
The first 18 verses of John’s gospel are really important. They tell us so many things about Jesus and about God and about us. For the last several days we’ve been looking at all that John says about Jesus at the beginning of his gospel.
In John 1:17 John makes a contrast. Do you know what a contrast is? A contrast is when you tell how two things are different. Listen to verse 17 and see if you can tell what two things John is contrasting:
John 1:17. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
John is contrasting the law of God that came through Moses at Mount Sinai (the ten commandments) with the grace and truth of God that came through Jesus at the cross.
God’s law is not a bad thing. In fact, since it comes from God, his rules are always good and perfect. The problem is that the law of God says that if we don’t obey it perfectly then we deserve to be punished and separated from God forever. The law forces us to earn our salvation by being good all the time, without any mistakes. But that is impossible.
But Jesus is different. Jesus tells us that we are forgiven and made perfect by his kindness, not by our being good. He was good for us. He was perfect for us. He obeyed God’s law for us. That’s grace.
And when we trust in God’s grace through Jesus, then we can also hear God’s truth through Jesus about our sin. When there is no fear of being punished then we can listen to what God says about how bad we are and not be afraid at all. In fact, we might even want to stop being bad and start choosing what is right simply because God loves us and we love God.
Because of Jesus we are no longer trying to keep God’s law, but are living in his grace.
With Jesus we can obey God because he loves us and we love him, not because we fear being punished.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Spend some time playing together (maybe with toys or a game). Talk about play with your kids. Playing is an act of grace. Do you like to play with toys with a whole lot of rules or do you like to just play and have fun with the toys? Do you like the board games that have lots of rules or the ones that are easier to play because there are fewer rules? Jesus wants us to be able to enjoy what God has given us without needing to turn it into a bunch of rules or “law.”
Your grace and truth is much better than me trying to obey all of God’s rules. Help me to obey because I love you, not because I fear being punished.
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