Tullian Tchividjian: Living by Grace vs Living by Law

Kent Shaffer —  October 3, 2012

At Catalyst Conference 2012, Tullian Tchividjian of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (Ft Lauderdale, FL) discussed how grace or law determines how you live.

Your identity is shaped by either grace or law. I don’t think Christian leaders think deeply enough about the human condition and the why behind the what.

Life by Law

When we root our identity in anything other than Jesus, we become enslaved. Things must go our way.

As a preacher, I have felt like I need the congregation to like my preaching in order for me to have value. That is life by law! We see life by law play out in a thousand different ways in our life.

When you decide to live life according to law, you think it is up to you to do everything. Slavery according to the Bible is self-reliance, and that is where it all started in Genesis 3 when the serpent says, “You can be like God!” The world says the bigger you are, the freer you will be. It is simply not true.

If law is all there is, then all of our pursuits become a burdensome self-rescue project. It is all law – you must do. And it leads to nothing but despair.

Life by Grace

Grace alone is what frees us from the law. The gospel of grace liberatingly declared that in Christ we already are. Grace reveals that our true identity is in Christ.

If you are a Christian, who you are (your background, abilities, resources) has nothing to do with you. At first that may seem like bad news, but it is great news. Your identity is rooted in Christ’s performance, not yours. It is rooted in Christ’s abilities, not yours. It is liberating!

Somewhere along the way, we’ve adopted the idea that who you are is what others think of you. Because we are so addicted in finding our identity and worth by what others think about us, we are lost. We’ve come to believe that the core of our identity is grounded in who we are and our strengths.

We need people to think we are great, but we know that if they know the truth, they wouldn’t think we are great.

The gospel announces that because Jesus is extraordinary, you are free to be ordinary. What others think of you doesn’t rattle what your true identity in Christ is. The gospel comes as good news.

Freedom happens when we finally see that we can’t fix ourselves. Life by law is do, do, do; your worth is anchored in your doing. Life by grace is done, done, done; your worth is anchored in what Christ has done.

Special thanks to Skylark Audio Video for covering my travel expenses so that I can live blog the conference for you.

Kent Shaffer

Posts Twitter Facebook

I live in an RV with my wife and 2 kids and work with OpenChurch.com to help Christians collaborate and build a global Church library of free, open content.

One response to Tullian Tchividjian: Living by Grace vs Living by Law

  1. This was great, Kent, and so very true! Thanks for posting!