New Grace vs Old Law?

This post was published on Sunday 30 June 2019.

The NT does not proclaim grace where the OT proclaimed law, since God’s calling his people into healthy patterns of living was always his gracious gift. No, rather we see the same problem in the OT as we have continued to experience as God’s people–thinking that God’s choice and call on our lives somehow makes us better and more deserving than those around us.

When you look at the poetic presentation of the Magnificat in most English translation, something is very striking about the layout, especially in the second half. ‘He has, he has, he has...’ It is all focussed on what God has done, not on what we deserve or what we might achieve.

It is often said that God’s love is unconditional, but I am less and less convinced that it is true. Put that way, it suggests that God loves us and God’s love has its effect, does its work, regardless of any action on our part. But the story of Mary shows that is not true. Yes, God’s love is indeed unconditioned–there are no preconditions that we need to fulfil first. But there are conditions in letting God’s love do its work in our lives–that we receive it and respond to it. As with any Christmas gift, we need to hold out our hands, receive the gift, and unwrap it.