Back in August I had the privilege of marrying Mark and Kaitlin, the young couple who head up our Young Adults ministry at Cross Community Church. Starting with pre-engagement coaching, we spent a considerable amount of time over the past year talking together about the stuff of marriage. I remember discussing the all-too-common prenuptials that many bring into their marriages today, even Christian marriages.
A prenuptial is defined as: “A contract entered into prior to marriage which commonly includes provisions for the division of property and spousal support in the event of divorce.”
Clearly, heading into a marriage with the end in mind is not the way God intended for two people to become one flesh. God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). We were all in complete agreement that marriage must be built on the Prince of Peace and not a prenuptial. And today I am happy to report that Mark and Kaitlin Roloff have been building on that solid Rock of Ages and putting the gospel on display as a young married couple.
I’d like to carry this concept of a prenuptial into your personal walk with Christ in order to make one thing perfectly clear: in God’s economy, love needs no legislation. This was the problem the apostle Paul faced in preaching salvation by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Many were trying to add a requirement of obedience to Jewish law to the simple message of salvation through faith in our risen Savior.
We must remember that the law of God was never intended to cause us to live an obedient life; it was graciously given to show us how we could not live up to God’s standards. Like a mirror, it shows us where the dirt is, but it can do no more. Once rightly understood, the law is intended to drive us to our Lord Jesus Christ, the only one who could keep the law and, in so doing, we are driven to our knees at the foot of the cross.
The law cannot save us. It was never designed to save us. And if the law cannot save us, it certainly cannot sanctify us and make us more like Christ in our thoughts, words and deeds! By the grace of God, it is a growing relationship with Jesus that leads to living a life of obedience, not a growing list of rules. Love needs no legislation.
When you love the Lord Jesus Christ, your heart beats for pleasing him. You begin living for the expansion of his kingdom rather than your own. As my friend Steve Brown says, “The law will tell you where the land mines are to keep from blowing yourself up, but it won’t lead you to living a life of righteousness. Only Jesus will do that!”
So, during February, the month that is often called the “love month”, let me encourage you to take some time to prayerfully consider your walk with Christ. Is your relationship with Jesus characterized more by a growing list of rules or a growing love relationship? Trying to legislate what love empowers people to do willingly is silly, foolish and counterproductive. Keeping in view the love that was poured out for you on the cross will keep you moving in the direction of living a life that is pleasing to God and beneficial to all others.
Christ’s love compels us (2 Corinthians 5:14).You are no longer what you once were because of what Jesus has done for you. You are a new creation, and that new creation is compelled by the love of Christ, not the law of God. To be sure, as a new creation in Christ you love the law you once hated. The apostle Paul reminds us of that beautifully:
“For in my inner being I delight in God’s law” (Romans 7:22)
But what compels you to turn duty into delight is Christ’s love. Love leads to a life that is poured out for the glory of God and the good of all others… love needs no legislation!
This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!
Tommy Boland is Senior Pastor of Cross Community Church in Deerfield Beach, FL. He blogs regularly at tommyboland.com.