“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions…For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:4,5,8-10).”
In Hamlet Polonius tells his son Laertes, who is preparing to travel abroad, “This above all: to thine own self be true.” This line from Shakespeare speaks of the fact that we all have our own personal values.
Sometimes people adopt the values of the culture in which they live. For example , cowboys in 19th century America lived by the unwritten Code of the West. Cowboys were required to be brave and defend themselves. If they proved themselves to be cowards, they were shunned.
Other people create their own personal identity and live according to that. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first novel, This Side of Paradise, Amory Blaine developed his own philosophy as a teenager. Amory’s was the Code of the Young Egotist. He believed himself to be superior to others physically, mentally and socially.
The Jews in the book of Acts lived by the Law of Moses. This code came from God and it was good. But because of man’s sin, it was impossible to keep. Since God is just, this code was a curse for those who tried to keep live by it (Galatians 3:10).
But the apostle Paul proposed to them a new code. This code was one of grace, made available through the work of Jesus Christ. They could accept forgiveness of their sins and stop trying to keep the old code, which would only lead to failure (Acts 13:38,39).
Let’s call this new philosophy the Code of Grace. With this code, we get new values and a new identity from God. This code emanates from God’s love, and is meant to produce his character in us.
Any other code is inferior to this one.