Law is for justice, Grace is for holiness

Law is for justice, Grace is for holiness

We need both justice and holiness. Justice seeks to give everybody his or her fair share. The harder we work, the more we get. That is justice. Law is suggested and passed and built in the light of this sense of justice. However, justice needs grace.

What would happen to those who cannot compete with others because of their mental, physical, and social handicap positions? Some people need sheer grace. They cannot work but they need foods, clothes, housing, and respect and love. When law takes up the form of grace, we call that social benefit.

Even in the most capitalistic society, we need some kind of network for the fellow citizens who cannot make adequate living by themselves. Some cannot function well because of their age, physical and mental conditions, and their social status. So, we share our resources.

However, here is the problem. We do not want to share our resources to the point that we sacrifice ourselves. We are willing to share when we have surplus. So, from my experience in ministry, people tend to share 1% of their income even though God commands us to share 10% of our income. If we share 10% of our income we feel that we have done a lot. How about 50% or 70%? Some countries force their citizens to pay 65-70% of their income as taxes. Then they will enjoy all kinds of social benefit later. In a sense, that is not a sacrifice. It is a social covenant made through the law making process.

When we share our resources even to the point of sacrificing our own fair share, we call that holiness. Jesus is holy because he sacrificed his divine status and became a human being. He sacrificed his power to save all human being. He died for our sins. He did not claim his fair share. He did not demand justice. He did not carry out divine laws. He sacrificed his privilege and rights and life for us. That is why we call him holy.

Human society strives for justice. Followers of Jesus try to realize holiness in their own lives and in the world. That is why we seek not justice and human rights but holiness. However, in many communities, we do not have even justice not to mention holiness. So, we first try to find justice. Many times, we stop there. Just societies are full of fighters for fair shares. Nobody dares to sacrifice. Even in churches, we see many fighters for justice. Can we go beyond the just society and move forward to the holy nation?

We need people who experience God’s grace. We do not deserve eternal life and God’s forgiveness. We were dead but now alive through God’s grace and forgiveness. We are ready to do the same thing to those who transgress against us. To be holy, we need to move beyond justice. We need to go much beyond laws. We have to sacrifice our rights and claims. In other words, we have to bear our own crosses. Can we do that with joy and willingness? If we can do that, we will recover holy churches on earth. May God bless us and lead us into that holy Kingdom of God!

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About biblepreacher

United Methodist Church Pastor. My wife, Hysung Hong Lee, is also a UMC pastor and my children are all grown and have their independent life. We have now empty nest. I and my wife are collecting some mission eggs now in that nest!
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