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In What State Do You Police? Print E-mail
Written by Ray Fairman   
Now Before you answer too quickly, I don't mean to refer to your geographical jurisdiction. No, I am talking about the state of your heart. You see I heard a couple of Christians having quite a discussion the other day about legalism and grace and as I listened to them, I began to think they were arguing as though they were from different planets and yet from the same universe.
Since I am always looking for opportunities to express God's message in the simplest of ways, I of course began to look for a transferable message in their discussion.

Grace Vs The Law

As I listened to the two sides of the argument unfold, it seemed that each was trying to convince the other that Christianity was based either in the "State of Legalism" or the "State of Grace". Neither was willing to see that both could still apply simultaneously. One man was convinced that since the Old Testament came first and God the father actually inspired "The Books of the Law". They took precedence and Legalism was, therefore, the foundational plank of Christianity. The other man was convinced that since the New Testament was founded on forgiveness, love, and Grace and that it's covenant was the most recent and was "Grace Based", that Christianity was, therefore, founded and based on Grace.

I don't know if all my years of handling domestic disputes made me wiser or just cautious, but, I had to listen to both sides of the conversation carefully before coming to a firm conclusion and then I did as the Bible advises and placed my conclusion before the Holy Spirit as God directs us to do when He says to always seek wisdom from the Counselor who was left to guide us through life.

In simple police language, I found their conversation boiled down to this: One man was sure that since God the Father has ruled from the beginning, no changes to His original polices ever superseded or amended His original General Orders or SOP's.In that man's eyes, The Father lived in "The State of Legalism" since He wrote or dictated all the rules and no matter what anyone said those rules or laws were there for our own good and had to be acknowledged and adhered to without exception no matter what we think.

The other participant was just as adamant that Jesus the Son Of God came because we could not live by the law and since The Father truly loved us and desired that we spend eternity in heaven with Him, another way had to be provided for us to achieve that status and that way was "the Way of Grace" opened up by the death of Christ His only Son, the propitiation for all our sins. Thus, he was proclaiming that Christ, The Son Of God lived in "The State Of Grace" and therefore Christianity was definitely a "Grace Based" religion.

As I began to mull over their conversation I realized that in every man's perception of truth there is usually a grain of accuracy upon which their premise is based. So I took their discussion a step further in my search for the message it really held.

If I remember the Person of God correctly He is not a parallel God, existing as only two persons and on two planes at once, but as three persons in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost to some of you). So If God , The Father lives in the State of Legalism and The Son lives in the State of Grace, Where does the Holy Spirit Live?

When I sought to include the entire person of God who also lives simultaneously in the past, present and future, I had to find a home for the Holy Spirit who actually lives within me and each of you who profess to be a Christian. Well I needed to know in which state to look for a home so I asked The Holy Spirit to show me in which state He wanted me to live. The answer I found was not so shocking as one might expect.

Since we are required to pay heed to both the laws God provided for us to live by and the grace He provided when He died at Calvary (Yes, it was the same God who provided both) The Holy Spirit prefers to live on the state line so He can help direct us along the thin line between excessive use of Legalism and an overdependence on Grace.

We Cops often begin to think we can live our lives making Godlike decisions on our own. Especially after serving in law enforcement for a number of years with any amount of success. (Read the article on Playing God if you need reminding) When you look at the Mosaic Law of the Old Testament and Place it side by side with the New Testament Law of Grace, you will find The Old Testament Law has never been repealed, it is merely reinforced with new wording. We as peace officers must all know the law of man and we are all required and expected to apply the law with justice, mercy and compassion. If we who are so fallible are expected to do this can our Father and God, who is perfect, do any less? I cast my vote in the no category on this point. God will always reflect the epitome of Love, Mercy and Justice. So I went to Him and asked the Holy Spirit to help me make this issue of Grace Vs. The Law somewhat clearer. the result of His direction is documented below:

Jesus showed us that we cannot be saved by the laws that God provided, For no man can obey the law well enough to make it to heaven on his own.

Ac 7:53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.

Ro 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

Ro 2:13 For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

Ro 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Ro 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Ro 9:31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.

Ro 9:32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;

1Co 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

Ro 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

Yes the law still exists and it still shows that All men haved sinned and fall short of the glory of God when they try to reside only in the state of legalism, but thank God for the State of Grace:

Ro 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Ro 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Ro 6:15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

Ro 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

Ga 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

And never forget you are not alone when deciding in what state you need to take up temporary residence, for the Lord our God has provided a guide and companion to help us through life's trials, He is the person straddling that imaginary state line between legalism and grace. Listen to Him and He won't let you get too legal or too loose. As Paul pointed out (and I paraphrase as I so often do) Just because Grace, Peace and Forgiveness abound in Christ, that is no reason to sin wantonly or carelessly just so you can receive more grace. In fact the more you love Christ, the less you will want to draw on that grace. You will instead want to live more like Christ, even in the presence of your enemies. For a man who loves not his enemies is not even trying to live like Christ. So depend on the Holy Spirit to guide you along life's way and He will not fail you.

Ro 8:26 And in like manner the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered;

Ro 8:27 and he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

1Co 2:10-13 But unto us God revealed them through the Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For who among men knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the man, which is in him? even so the things of God none knoweth, save the Spirit of God. But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is from God; that we might know the things that were freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual words.

1Co 6:19 Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own

2Co 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty

Ga 3:2-5 This only would I learn from you. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now perfected in the flesh? He therefore that supplieth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Ga 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other; that ye may not do the things that ye would. But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Ga 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Ga 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk

So I guess the question I started with still remains, but it can only be answered by you... In what state do you Police? The State of Legalism or the State of Grace? As for me I think I'll stroll along the State line with the Holy Spirit with one foot in each, listening to his guiding wisdom and when I stray too far to either side, readily accepting His corrective and loving chastisement and redirection, after all that is why Christ sent Him to reside in each of us isn't it ?

Gotta Go 10-7 now so until next watch

God bless you all and be cautious

Colonel Ray Fairman, Chaplain Article Manager module by by George! Software.

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