Rod Parsley: What Both Legalistic and Hyper-Grace Christians Forget

William McDowell with Rod Parsley
William McDowell with Rod Parsley (Rod Parsley/Facebook)

In his book Grace: Uncovered. Unfiltered. Undeserved. (Sept. 4, 2018), Pastor Rod Parsley exhorts Christians to walk in the grace of God and to also remain obedient to His laws. However, the church has given in to extremes, dividing over lifestyles and mind-sets that God never called them to.

Parsley reflects on his experience in a fundamentalist, Pentecostal church where holiness was measured by the length of the hems, cuffs and other manmade regulations. Meanwhile, hyper-grace Christians use God's grace as a license to disregard the Bible's teachings on holy living and, consequently, live a life of rebellion.

"All of this makes me grateful for the amazing grace of Jesus," Parsley says.

He dissolves the tension by expounding on one truth:

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"To understand how law and grace should shape us today, we have to understand what the law was before grace came to us in Jesus Christ, and then we have to understand what the law is now that we are under grace."

When Jesus came, everything changed. Parsley points to the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament, which addressed how rituals, feasts and sacrifices were to be done, how the tabernacle was to be structured, and how the priests were to advise the people. But when Jesus came, those laws were no longer needed. In Grace, Parsley breaks it down:

  • The laws of the Old Testament—the Old Covenant—required the intermediary efforts of a priest to access God. The New Covenant gives us Jesus through whom we are given direct access to God.
  • The Old Covenant had a tabernacle while the New Covenant gives us heaven—our heavenly tabernacle
  • To atone for their sins, the people under the Old Covenant had to sacrifice animals. Jesus' once-and-for-all shedding of blood washes away our sins.
  • The Old Covenant lifestyle involved sacrifices and offerings while the New Covenant grants us a life of generosity and worship.
  • There were specified holy days under the Old Covenant. The New Covenant decrees every day to be holy to God.
  • The nation of Israel were the people of God under the Old Covenant. But the New Covenant means that we "are all sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus" and that "there is neither Jew nor Greek" (Gal. 3:26, 28).

By unpacking how Jesus changed what it meant to lead a godly life, readers can live in a way that reflects the balance between God's law and His liberating grace. Grace enables readers to live more powerfully by Bible-based principles and the power of the Holy Spirit.

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