I would much rather be enveloped by grace than be bound by the law. I was thinking about culpability and people who intentionally or unintentionally inflict harm or commit a crime. In the law of man, there’s a term called ‘mens rhea’ which means, in a simplified version, a person with a guilty mind. A person with a guilty mind is one who intentionally commits a crime. They may even plot with friends or family how to carry them out. They are most certainly bound by the law.
Then there are those who do things unintentionally. They are the ones who are enveloped by grace. For example: Let’s look at two driving accidents: Driver One is driving when a pedestrian steps out in front of their car, but they don’t see them until it’s too late to stop. No matter how hard they push their brakes, it is impossible to stop the car and the pedestrian is killed. Driver One would be liable, but most likely only have to pay monetary damages.
Driver Two goes out looking for a certain pedestrian and when they see them; aim their car at them and they kill the pedestrian with malice. They hit their gas pedal instead of their brakes when they see them and then say it was tough luck the pedestrian was on the same road. Driver Two is bound by the law; criminally liable, and will most likely have to pay damages and do jail time. Their offense was premeditated and they had a guilty mind. This is ‘mens rhea.’
Now let’s look at grace. Grace says if you confess your sins to God, you can be cleansed and healed. God’s grace takes care of the unintentional and the intentional! You will still face the consequences of man’s law, but you can get rid of your guilty mind and turn from your harmful intentions. Jesus told the guilty person on the cross next to him, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” This man showed remorse at the last moment of his life and Jesus showed mercy and gave him grace.
1 John 1:8-10 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.
Ask yourself, ‘What sins are in my life that I need to have forgiven? Do I need to ask Jesus to come into my life and give him control, so grace can take over? Am I driving over other people’s rights? Do I feel no remorse in my actions? Maybe there are sins you are unaware of and need to ask God to make you aware. He will bring them to you and make them apparent so that you can deal with them. The Holy Spirit helps us in whatever we need to confess. Grace is freely given, but it cannot be taken if we aren’t willing to let go of our sins.
1 John 3:4-6 Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is.
Once we have renewed our hearts and minds, he is there for us and we are forgiven. Our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west! Note that it says if we continue to live in sin, we don’t know or understand who Jesus Christ is. Jesus knew no sin and if we use him as a pattern for our lives, we have no desire to live in sin or sin against others. We seek to have peace with everyone.
Romans 8:1-2 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
Psalm 103:12 He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.
We are free from sin’s hold on us when we totally turn our life over to God and allow the Holy Spirit to work through us. Some may need a ‘Road to Damascus’ conversion like Saul did. It took Paul, who was once known as Saul, to be shown the light and then be struck blind for three days before he saw the error of his ways. He thought he was living for God, when he was persecuting him and his devout followers. What drastic measures it took to give him a wake up call, but look what a minister Paul became! Ultimately, in the law our errors are held against us, yet in Grace our mistakes are forgiven and not remembered. God doesn’t bring up past offenses or hurts, those have all been cleansed by the blood of Jesus. This is the same mercy we must extend to others. We must forgive them their sins if they have asked for forgiveness and many times even when they haven’t. The difficulty is when they keep committing the same offense, that is when we must give them over to God to handle, because nothing we say will change their habits. God will choose how to show them the error of their ways, we are powerless. This is when our grace is extended in prayer.