In some developing countries like Ghana, there continues to be a strong sense of small scale entrepreneurialism. Everything is a business even if it is being done for free. There are hand held, bicycle borne, head carried, table top businesses by the road sides usually with slogans scribbled near by which are supposedly business names. These slogans almost always have a reference to God. For example ‘God dey we dey’, ‘ I am a winner’, ‘God is good’, etc.
Apart from the roadside selling to car drivers passing by, some also move from house to house or congregate at lorry stations or busy junctions. It is an open secret however that these businesses are not regulated and have never been. There are no business policies or procedures in place, no clearly defined laws or limits as far as they are concerned. Attempts to regulate them or to get taxes in any form is met with a lot of cultural resistance. These ventures and the way they are run is simply a way of life.
Somehow they never grow to the level at which they will be forced to be registered and to comply with the laws of the state and to have policies and procedures in place.
A life without God is like running such a business. You live in a ‘free market’ without spiritual ethics or rules to abide by. You peddle your wares anywhere and anyway you can to survive. You therefore never grow to the level of accountability or increasing productivity where your life benefits not only yourself but others too.
The kingdom of God has a growth agenda, a reward / yield agenda which is based on our exercise of faith in God. If you are going to exersise faith in God as far as your life is concerned, you will have to aim to hand over control to him and please him and abide by his commands. ‘But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him’. (Hebrews 11:6 KJV).
Everyone wants to become great, to be rewarded for their diligence. Some attempt to demonstrate their faith by diligently obeying the laws – mainly the 10 commandments of God. These commandments end up becoming a harassment to them. They find that they cannot comply, and like is done to the small business in Ghana, the law/ commandments chase them from one junction to another, and in their attempt to survive they try to find ways around God’s law / commandments, places to hide. It becomes a daily game of cat and mouse between them and God. They comfort themselves with the thought that at least they are better than some as they don’t commit the ‘big sins’ like, “thou shall not kill”,and “thou shall not commit adultery”.
But this is what the bible says; ‘If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all’.(James 2:8, 10 KJV). So any attempt to keep the law requires that you keep all of it every single one. This is no mean feat. The law then becomes a spotlight showing you your level of deviation. The law itself has no power to help you to live by it. You therefore find that you are not free to demonstrate your faith in God through how well you keep the commandments / law. The law instead of helping you grow has become an impediment showing you all your shortfalls.
But faith in God can be demonstrated not only by strict adherence to the law but by Grace. Grace is a free gift of God, where God by his power and his Spirit, enables you to live a life that is pleasing unto him. ‘For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God’. (Romans 8:13, 14 KJV) ‘But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name’.(John 1:12 KJV). ‘For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God’. (Ephesians 2:8 KJV).
Grace then, is the undeserved favour of God where he enables you to do what you could not do by yourself. You are now able to do it because you have become a son. You have the spiritual capital you need to fulfil even more than the law without being conscious that you are doing so. This is freedom indeed. It is the Law of Liberty at work.
Just like the small scale business that gets injected with a big capital can now acquire property, be registered, advertise and pay taxes and has no need to operate by the road side and run away from the police or the metropolitan authorities, you become free too. Just as the business does not even need to be reminded of the law because it now has the structure and the ability to automatically abide by it so you are able also by the grace of God to automatically abide by the law / commandments of God. That’s what salvation by grace does for you as a person.
You no longer need to play hide and seek with God. His grace enables you to automatically live the life that demonstrates your faith in him. You live by the law of liberty. And that is what you are judged by.
Grace does not exempt you from judgement. It does not remove all the limits. It just gives you a greater capacity to achieve. If God is so kind as to give you this free gift, it is imperative that you do not abuse this free gift. The law of liberty is not lawless.
God will still judge. ‘So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty’. (James 2:12 KJV). In this modern days though, people use the grace of God to substantiate their wrong dealings as if to say they live above God’s law and are not subject to judgement. We oppress the poor, and take the little they have from them. We do not plead the cause of the fatherless or the widow. Above all we contravene the royal command.
Someone asked Jesus a question; ‘Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40 KJV).
These two commands are the summary of all the laws and also the prophets. The prophets all prophesied about an era of grace which is what we enjoy now. What this scripture is saying therefore is that, these two commandments sum up both the law and grace. No one is exempt from them.
‘We then,…….. beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain’.(2 Corinthians 6:1 KJV). You cannot say you have faith in God and are living by Grace and just live anyhow. Your faith must be substantiated by what you do. ‘What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?’ (James 2:14 KJV) ‘Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also’. (James 2:18, 26 KJV).
Let the law and the grace that you live by evidence your faith in God and let the fruits of such a life as you live bear witness of your faith. Show the world that you are free indeed and that the Law of Liberty in which in walk is not Lawless.