The Law vs. Grace: Is Either View Really Valid?

by Joshua Tilghman on June 1, 2012


Paul is an interesting Bible character. His writings have stirred many interesting debates, especially between keepers of the law and those who live by grace. But the law vs. grace debate isn’t necessary. In fact, it has no bearing whatsoever on what was really meant by the writings of Paul or the commandment teachings of the Old Testament. Paul was a mystic, and mystics have never cared about such issues. Those issues are nothing more than ideas and doctrines in the minds of man, and, if we get wrapped up in them, the real experiences of God are sacrificed for religion. The religious are concerned about earning God’s favor (law-keeping) or accepting something that someone else did for them so they can be saved (grace). But the mystic…well, let’s just say that the mystic is concerned with “experiencing” God first-hand. This is the ultimate reality of the earliest and truest Christians! Paul was such a mystic, and mystics know that God is a divine experience we have within ourselves, which is where the kingdom really resides. It is where we all share common ground through the realm of the spirit, because in this realm, or mode of consciousness, we are all really one anyway. As this website firmly asserts, God is not “out there.” Rather, God is “within” you.

Let’s get right into our important topic this week by beginning with a very important Old Testament scripture. It is the great commandment given to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 6:4-5:

“Hear, O, Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

This is the great commandment that thousands upon thousands recited and contemplated during Jesus’ day. Every Jewish child knew it by heart. The LORD God came first, and so did loving him. But are God and the individual really separate? The obvious answer for mainstream Christian thought is: “Yes, of course!” But how true is it? Did Jesus and Paul agree?

Consider that most mainstream Christians also believe Heaven is a physical location when Jesus clearly said that is wasn’t:

“…The kingdom of God comes not with outward observation. Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or lo there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21)

So if mainstream Christianity gets Heaven so mixed up, is it possible that mainstream Christianity has God all mixed up, too? The obvious answer is: “Yes, of course!” Paul agrees, and we’re going to use a few interesting scriptures and concepts to truly get to the heart of this issue where it is easy to see that the law vs. grace issue isn’t even valid!

Let’s review a well-known scripture in Romans 13:8-10:

“For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself…therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

Wait a minute, Paul. Aren’t you forgetting something here? What about the first and great commandment, which is to love the LORD God with all your heart, soul, might and strength? Why didn’t that get mentioned first? That one is the great commandment! Don’t you care to even mention it? You said “…and if there be any other commandment…” It almost sounds as if you, Paul, don’t consider that commandment even worth mentioning!

Of course this is not Paul’s reasoning. It is not as if Paul didn’t consider this commandment worth mentioning, but rather, he knew a little secret that seems to allude most Christians today. And that is this: singling God out as a separate being to love and adore isn’t necessary nor is it the point! I can imagine law keepers wanting to pick up stones to throw at me as I write this blog post. But this is only because the Bible is greatly misunderstood. So, why is it NOT important that Paul left out the great commandment? Because Paul is letting us know that loving everyone else is no different than loving God. The mystics understood that in God, everyone is ONE, and that everyone has God in them; the part of you beyond your own individual ego is the part of you that God IS! And yes, this even includes sinners and heretics and blog writers who say God is not “out there” somewhere in the heaven to be found!

This may sound like a radical concept to many, but bear with me. Even Jesus agreed! He states:

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the Prophets.” (Matt 7:12).

Do you see how Jesus combined both separate commandments from the Old Testament into one, making the point that loving God is the very same thing as loving your neighbor? Why would he bring such a revolutionary concept than the one that seems to be portrayed in the Old Testament? Because Jesus, like Paul, was a mystic at heart, and he advocated, like Paul, that God is in everyone!

There is no such thing as asking Jesus into your heart, and then all of the sudden Jesus sets up residence there. God doesn’t come to live within the sinner when they repent from their own ways. God’s already living in the sinner and saint alike. The only difference is that the sinner is ignorant of this fact, which causes them to act in a way contrary to God’s nature: love. So the next time you hear someone asking Jesus into their heart, let them know God is already there. They just have to awaken the Christ consciousness latent within. As Paul says:

“…now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” (Rom. 13:11).

Notice that Paul is telling even believers to awake out of their “sleep.” Believers can have the Christ nature within them slumbering. It needs to be activated and awakened.”

 In another place Paul states:

“…Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light!” (Eph 5:14).

Paul even goes so far as to call believers without this great realization DEAD! We must realize that Paul is speaking of the light of the Christ consciousness accessible to all through denying the ego and practicing meditation. It is not a belief (doctrine or idea) that awakens you to this salvation. It is not about saying a prayer and inviting Jesus into your heart. It is a knowing and an experiencing. It is an experience of the same caliber which Paul experienced when he saw the bright light of Christ on the road to Damascus. (Notice he didn’t see a physical Jesus: more on that here).

Take a look at another scripture by Paul in Romans 12:5:

“So in Christ we who are many form ONE BODY, and each member belongs to all the others.”

Paul’s Christ is the Christ nature, or Christ consciousness that dwells beneath the ego in everyone. When the ego is crucified, this Christ nature awakens and you truly realize that in this state, we are truly ALL ONE BODY!”

The problem with many religions is looking for a God “out there” instead of treating each other as God. Does that sound heretical? It shouldn’t. Religion and ignorance has taught you that. Let it go. And when you realize that everyone has the divine “within” them, you might be truly worthy to follow Jesus when he says to not judge others, for we cannot understand their life until we have walked in their shoes.

Can we now see that ideas and doctrines such as grace vs. law isn’t really the issue of the Biblical teachings? The Bible is written in a very mystical language that is hard to understand with the wrong mindset, which is the religious one!

As a final note, I would even encourage you to extend the action to do unto others as you would have them do unto you to animals and the very planet that sustains you as well! This is a step that I took when I began to realize that my ego should not be the one in charge and that we are all connected in the spiritual plane. I had a heart change to treat animals and the earth with respect. God isn’t going to magically come down and save the people, animals, or earth from our destruction. That’s our job! And the ways things are looking, we have made a pretty big mess in this world. How will our children feel about the Fukushima disaster when their fish from the ocean are filled with Cesium 37? How will our children think of us when they realize that greed, profit, and ignorance are the reason that they have to worry about the contamination in the soils and the air they are breathing, not just from radiation, but GMO crops and pesticides and deadly pharmaceuticals? Mainstream Christians who think that these issues are of no concern to them because God is going to return to set all this straight are just as guilty as the people who are committing these crimes in the first place. Let us wake and arise from the dead (ego), and let the Christ consciousness that was meant to be in control truly bring the light of Christ consciousness into the world!

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Jill Tilghman June 2, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Excellent article. Please keep feeding us!

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Canis September 27, 2012 at 7:00 am

Josh, Your writings are amazing…don’t get me wrong – but to say that everyone has the Christ spirit in them, and they only need to ‘dissolve the ego’ through meditation and assume to the consciousness – is not the doctrine of Christ for sure! We are taught in Romans 8, “those who are led by the Spirit,they are the sons (speaking of maturity) of God…and if anyone HAS NOT the Spirit of God he is none of His”. There are many spirits for sure. But we are taught that you ‘receive the Spirit of God by BELIEVING in Jesus (the atonement)’. The teaching of ‘meditation and prayer’ is not for the world, but rather for the church – it’s an ‘inside’ message…and the is the wisdom (1Cor2) which Paul mentions as ‘not of this world’ (the doctrine of Christ – Col 1:27)but for the ‘mature’ (in the FAITH). Faith is what connects us to this grace, not merely meditation – Bhuddists meditate and elevate to higher realms of consciousness, no doubt – but by what spirit? of Christ? – definately not.
#grace and peace

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Joshua Tilghman September 27, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Canis,

Thanks for your comment. And you’re right, my writings definitely do not reflect the traditional Christian mindset. I used to be a die hard Christian from the literal camp. But when I began asking some hard questions and doing some serious research, I began to realize that the religion I was following was a far cry from spiritual truth. I am not going to get into a lot of detail here (that’s what I do in my posts every week), but if you read through a few of my posts you will begin to understand why the scriptures were never meant to be interpreted literally. In fact, doing so can rob you of some serious soul growth since it sacrifices the deeper and more complete understanding of our purpose on earth.

Again, thanks for the thoughtful comment.

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Bernhardt Adjedi Cadbury October 23, 2012 at 4:54 am

Hi Josh,
You see, the reason why i begin to wonder what kind of a person you are since you haven’t yet had your third eye awakened as you wrote in an earlier post and yet you are able to understand deep spiritual / biblical meanings is making me seriously “jealous” of you. Josh, please allow me add impetus to your posts as a living testimony of your project.

I earlier on made mention in a previous comment that, a mainstream typical church going religious person will not and cannot understand such deep spiritual matters and will only ague about them because such persons mindset is still under the spell of religion and have not yet had his/her slumbering Christ awakened and looking for a God outside of him but not within because they have been brainwashed to believe in a God out there and a heaven when they die, so that the priests and pastors can still have authority over them and enrich themselves via mask doctrines. I have tasted the spiritual bondage of religion to the highest degree which was without inner peace, happiness and nowhere satisfaction even though i had money. I had to stop work, deny myself and family’s physical existence to have time and diligently seeking for the true God within where i met God and i have never regretted. You see, the word God has been misused and misunderstood. When a seeker looks at God as LIGHT, SOURCE, INFINITY and even PHOTON he will stop searching for Him outside.
Josh, all you have mentioned in this post is really my current state of spiritual journey where i experience energy flow through my crown chackra flowing down and experiencing unconditional love with everybody and nature, endless happiness within, peace and total bliss and all these comes at the time when i don’t even know where my next meal will come from and yet healthy in a balanced mindset, spirit and body experiencing soul rejuvenation and integration into “At – One – Ment” with Source. Knowing God is not a belief concept system, but an endless experience or actualization. I hope readers will stop wasting valuable time with religious dogma as we are waiting to become ONE with them at the other-side. Thank you.

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Joshua Tilghman October 23, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Bernhardt,

First off I just want to say thank you for such an insightful comment. About who I am…I am just a regular Joe who has had the same experience as you have described above. I have enjoyed deep meditation sessions where I have “experienced” ONENESS. But I have not had a full-blown pineal gland awakening. I believe there is much more to this experience than simply experiencing oneness. By being fully present in each moment of the day, everyone can experience an altered state of conscious bliss, but there are many, many states of consciousness. There are even states of consciousness beyond enlightenment. I will admit, much of my writing has been head knowledge. I have spent untold hours studying scripture, philosophy, myth, ancient history, and science. I began to see where religion was a big mistake through the intellect before I began to have the proper attitude to experience it. We have to be careful not to let the ego use the intellect as a prop, but the intellect is still a beautiful gift of our development. The intellect, however, cannot bring you through the door of enlightenment. It can only bring you to the door.

One of my problems has been time. I get tripped up by it. I have taken too much on at once, and I know this is a balance I have to bring to my life before I can progress any further. I am working on storing and releasing energy properly.

I wish you the best!

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Ezekiel: Amenra February 7, 2015 at 11:08 pm

Bernhardt Adjedi,

Hummm, the Afrakans of the Nile Valley were most astute of a persons name. For the name carries essence and the function of a thing. Hence to name is to beget. In today’s culture and many societies the name of a child is simply another name that ones parents liked or favor because of some affinity with that name i.e: some pleasurable occurrence, elder family member/relative, some famous person, or simply liking how the name sounds. Which makes it difficult for many persons today to fulfill their life destiny as their names isn’t carrying the structural energetic configuration to propel them into the proper karmic force of their karmic pool, in order to full-fill ones purpose. In other words, the name you’re using may or may not be befitting of the spirit within that vessel (body) to carry out ones destiny purposeful.

The ancient Afrakans of the Nile Valley (Egypt) used the terms (djed/djedi) of your middle name (ad/ jedi) Burnhardt as the stabilizing tool of the life-force when Kundalini energy was being summoned upon the brow of the Divine (God) King, 2-3% of the entire world population. Hence, ones crown chakra coming into functionality symbolizes that you’ve reached a mile-stone very few people will comprehend other than reading it form someone else point of view (i.e – YaShuwa misnomer Jesus) or attending some virtual reality simulations or seeing it in a film. Therefore, please spend your time wisely and move into the next phase of your spiritual development and growth. For the planet and masses will need your guidance in the years coming as we sit on the eve of the resurrection and global collapse in all many sectors of the world systems. In the last days of Sodom and Gomorrah two angels sat homeless at the gates of the city awaiting further orders as too the hour and time of the doom of that world. Only Lot, had the spirit of discernment too decipher whom they really were. The book (bible) gives us many clues as to similar occurrences to come again in the evolutionary circle of this planet many civilizations falls and new births.

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Bernhardt Adjedi Cadbury October 23, 2012 at 6:41 am

The ultimate goal of creating man as particles of God is in man’s own free will, for man to be raised up into the Spiritual being for which he was designed, he must take his own unfoldment in hand and give conscious direction to the evolutionary forces within him.

You see, for some time until now we have been deceived under delusion and our energies used to feed “negative spirits”. resulting in the believe of duality and its results.

The belief in duality has robbed man of power and has polluted philosophy with untruths; it has divided matter against itself and has made countless thousands go through life with saddened hearts.

The belief in duality has given rise in theology to the idea of a God and a devil, each with equal power to impose upon man a blessing or a curse, and men have worshiped a devil just as truly as they ever worshiped God. Even to-day this monstrous thought is robbing men of their birthright to happiness and a sense of security. Even to-day, and openly, men still teach that there is an evil power in the universe, that there is damnation to the souls of those who do not fall down and worship—they know not what. But the time is rapidly coming when such teachings will be thrown on the scrap heap and numbered among the delusions of a frantic mentality. It has been the habit of many religious teachers of all times to hold the crowd in awe before a mighty throne of condemnation and utter destruction, till the poor, ignorant population have rent the air with their lamentations of complete despair. This, indeed, was a good method to compel the attention with the hope of salvation through some sacred rites to be performed by those whom God had appointed. In justice to such an awful performance, we would better give to these religious teachers the benefit of the doubt and say that they themselves have believed in the atrocious teachings which they have so unhesitatingly given out.
Be this as it may, the time has now come for a clearer understanding of the true nature of the Deity, in Whom we all believe, and Whom we all seek to know and to understand. That there is a God no sane person would deny; that there could be a God of vengeance and hate, having all the characteristics of a huge man in a terrible rage, no person can well believe and keep his sanity. We will say, then, and without mincing matters in the least, that the most we had better believe about such a God is that there is no such being. To actually disintegrate our souls from delusion, please say the following mantras:-

Oh, weary heart, laden with earth’s weight and care,
Oh, feet, stumbling on the way, bleeding and bare,
Oh, arms outstretched, and hands upheld in prayer,
Oh, back, which so oft has felt the lash and rod,
Oh, soul, which cries aloud for the living God,
Oh, life, struggling to free itself from the clod;
Know this: there is no power from without,
Yourself must answer every fear and meet all doubt
With some divine, indwelling power
Which you yourself, upon yourself, shall shower;
And giving, take, and taking, give
Unto that life which you, yourself, shall live.

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motla68 February 25, 2013 at 10:52 am

I am still catching up with the many articles in your blog, a very high percentage hit home with me, i been thinking this way for a few years myself and grateful to find this blog. Perhaps the great return is within us as well, eradication of selfishness, removal of the money addictions, loving neighbor as our self.
A local friend and I have discussed these concepts, here is one of the articles from his blog: http://onlashuk.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/the-purpose-of-life-is-to-express-love/

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Joshua Tilghman February 26, 2013 at 6:37 am

motla68,

Thanks for the link. It’s always nice to find another blog with similar ideas.

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motla68 March 23, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Reading through this again it is interesting you used Paul as an example, I missed that little tidbit about the missing referenced commandment.
Another character of the same controversial caliber is Matthew, he was both a apostile and a publican, huge misconception in the book of Matthew 9 and 10 by mainstream christianity and the patriot community, in that book where speaks about the ” publicans {and ) sinners ” who came to feast with Jesus they automatically group together that all publicans were sinners, reading further carefully you can see in between the lines that when he meant sinners he meant the publicans who were abusing their positions by taking more then what was necessary and pocketing the rest for their own personal gain. This was no doubt a peace talk session to hopefully effect the heart of those abusers to understand all that who believe are under the one most high, when they abuse one they abuse all. Although the theme Spirit of the Scripture is a good theme i think some people are looking for direction on the application with one who is in a higher spiritual plane, i.e. testimony of how it has changed one life. Chalk it up to lack of faith I guess, I have helped encourage some in this prospective which is a journey in itself, people really do not understand they will not come into full knowledge until they have done it themselves and have lived the experience.

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Justin September 5, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Joshua,

If you could please help with the understanding of the following verses from Galatians 2: 19- 21.

“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (NIV)

To me this shows that Paul lived by “Faith in the Son of God” and that the Grace of God is not to be set aside.

Thank you in advance for your reply. Live Blessed;
Justin

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Mikush June 1, 2014 at 12:37 am

Oh Josh, I love so much of what you say- and do forgive me if I have misunderstood you, but am not sure about what you say about God not being out there and only in here… yes He resides in us, but He also resides outside us and is far greater than us. The Holy Spirit is a person- I am not clever like you with all these Bible quotes to back me up- but you do say that God is about experience and not the letter- so maybe you will understand me when I say that God visits me. It is a real experience. And it has nothing to do with if I am meditating or praying or anything really …. I just suddenly feel the presence of God so powerfully. I spent many years meditating, doing yoga, pursuing all sorts of New Age paths in search of enlightenment, and all very helpful to me- but it was not until I believed in the person of Jesus, that He was the son of God that everything suddenly changed. Since then I feel the Holy Spirit coming in and going out…. just as the Bible says. He comes to visit me. And it makes me want to worship, to get down on my knees and bow down….. not sit on my haunches crossed legged and meditate! Don`t get me wrong- I know He is there within me too, that I am a temple, and I love to meditate. But there is definitely a God out there too…. Josh, why throw the baby out with the bath water? Why can`t we have it all? God in us, God in our neighbours- but also God out there as The Holy Spirit to be worshipped. And then what about the love I have for HIM. I love Jesus, and He loves me – it`s a great and deep mystery, but it is palpable and very real. If I would agree with your post above then I would only love myself and love my neighbour because as you say I am God and my neighbour is God, and that is all very well and true and scriptural – but you leave out the third bit, the BEST bit!! – I love God out there also- and He is definitely the Holy Spirit …. a love as profound as the song of songs….. Anyway, I do hope I have not misunderstood you, and forgive me if I have…..don`t get me wrong… I love so much of what you write, so many things which have blessed me, and am so grateful for- but just felt I needed to clarify this. All the best, Mikush

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Joshua Tilghman June 2, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Mikush,

No problem. I always respect and appreciate what others have to say here. And I’m glad you did. For me, I have come to believe that a God out there as a person would only limit What God is, whereas the God within every person can only be limited to the person expressing. If God were an individual person, he would have to be limited, as part of being an individual is limitation. Does this make sense?

Thanks for you comment.

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Mikush June 8, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Hi Josh,

Thanks for taking the time to read my post and respond-

In reply I wanted to say that when I said God was a person, I didn`t mean walking around separate, because God is omnipresent- but what I meant is that this omnipresent energy is a thinking intelligence with a will, ( rather than an energy like electricity that can be levered as some teachings suggest) basically all the traits of a ´person`- and we know that because we are made ´in His image`- so when you look at a human being, you are looking at God- or a spark of God. And in that way, we are saying the same thing! But I am more talking about ´relationship`. Isn´t that what the deepest mystery of The Bible is all about? From the song of songs, the psalms, right through to Paul`s teachings on the Bride and Christ- that we can have a relationship with God. If you do not believe in a God out there, how can we have a relationship? God`s force impregnates us, like a man does his wife , a virgin, as the veil ( hymen) was torn in the temple, that is Christ IN us, the Bride, the Virgin, ( and so through us more things are made!) but God`s force is still up there controlling the planets, I mean I am not doing that- a force greater than I is doing that for sure out there. And it comes from out there into here. And that Force desires relationship. I am definitely in love with that Force, and though I am learning to love myself, I am not ´in love` with myself, or even my higher self . If you seem what I mean. No, when I pray I am definitely praying to something that responds. It is SO edifying to talk about the wondrous things of God! Many blessings, Joshua! And thank you for your edifying and wonderful website. All best, Mikush

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Scott October 19, 2015 at 8:46 pm

Mikush,
It sounds to me that you are on the well on the path to salvation and ‘seeing’ and ‘hearing’ with you Christ-Mind’s eyes and ears. In other words, seeing and hearing what the bodies eyes and ears cannot see or hear. Don’t let the spectifics of this blog hang you up. Let the Holy Sprit lead you which I know you are already doing.

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Chris February 19, 2015 at 6:16 pm

Josh, another wonderful article but let me chastise you just a little for your doom and gloom speech at the end, not because it is “wrong” but because, as with The Law, your words of warning could be given too much weight by those whose eyes aren’t open to the true meaning of The Word.

Of course we should be concerned about the welfare of the planet, but not at the expense of love for our brothers and our own inner peace. Obsession with the condition and future of the planet is making a great many people angry and hostile and is causing them to wallow in erroneous thinking that will have a more negative and lasting impact on the planet than Fukushima ever will. Environmentalism can be another form of Phariseeism too.

Let’s not forget that while our planet is finite, God’s Love is eternal. Let’s find Love first and save ourselves. The health of the planet will follow naturally .

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Alvin Davis May 2, 2015 at 2:34 pm

Josh,

Great, one minor comment to thank about, we are truly all one Mind/christ consciousness.
Just a thought.

later alvin,

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