Law And Grace
“ For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: It is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9. For over two thousand years the conflict continues between law and grace. Christians talk of God’s love and freedom that is produced by the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, yet remain bound and frustrated. The question is asked by many well meaning Christians, “What am I doing wrong that I cannot get healed?” “What else do I have to do to get God to work in and through my life?” the fact that Christians ask questions like these indicate the root of the problem. Christians are still trying to work for, fix themselves, try harder, find or figure out the problem of why things are not working when that in essence is the problem. They are still under the Old Testament law. They are still trying to make it happen when Jesus has already made it happen. He’s already given Christians everything they will ever need for themselves and anyone they will come in contact with by His death, burial and resurrection. He said in John 19:30, “It is finished!” Hebrews 10:14. “For by one offering he has perfected forever (past tense) them that are sanctified.” According to Jesus, it (the fulfillment of the requirements of the law in order to be justified) is finished.
They are complete. The law is no more! Christians, people, will never receive anything from God by the merits of their own works. Everything received from God is by faith in Jesus’ completed works. The devil is defeated forever. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” 1John 3:8. Sin has been defeated because Christians, people, are no longer under law but under grace. Romans 6:14.
It is by grace we are saved. It is by grace we are healed, delivered, prospered and have power with God. It is by grace His glory is revealed in and through our lives. We receive everything based on Jesus’ finished work at Calvary. We lack nothing. In John 6:28, the people asked Jesus, “What shall we do that we might work the works of God?” In verse 29 of John chapter 6 Jesus answers: “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” The old-time Pentecostals sang this song at their healing revivals: “Only believe, only believe, all things are possible only believe!”
So what is so wrong with the works of the law? What is so right about grace? Simply put, works that try to move God or fix ourselves to receive from God, focus on us and what we do. Grace focuses on Jesus and what He has already done. It is of utmost importance to understand that in order to experience the true freedom promised by Jesus and experience His love and power, we must understand that it is all by His grace, His finished work, a gift from God, not of works lest any man should boast. So what are we lacking? What else must we do to be healed? What are we doing wrong? We may as well ask the same question about being saved. The answer is nothing! Only believe! Law and grace are two mutually exclusive dispensations. They are two different covenants. One (the law) brings death and condemnation. It kills. The other (Grace) brings life, no condemnation and God’s glory. We will examine the scriptures intently, in particular the New Testament, in order to know the truth that makes us free.
I) The Purpose of the Law
V19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
V20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
V21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
V22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise, by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
V23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
V24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
V25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
V26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
God gave a promise to Abraham by faith. It was the promise of the Messiah that was to come through his seed. Four hundred and thirty years later, the Law of Moses was added because of transgressions or sin. If the law had power to make a way for man to obtain righteousness, then Jesus would not have had to come. It’s purpose was to reveal to man that because of his sinful, unregenerated nature and his inability to live righteous, that he was in need of a savior. That promise was to come by faith in Jesus Christ not by works of the law. The law served as a schoolmaster in order to bring people to Christ. Once brought to Christ, the believer is now justified by faith and no longer in need of a schoolmaster (the law). It is important to note that God gave the promise of Jesus Christ, salvation, to Abraham by promise. In the gospels, the scribes and Pharisees continually pointed to Moses and the law. In the New Testament, in particular the writings of the apostle Paul, the New Testament figure of Christ is related back to Abraham.
V7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are children of Abraham.
V8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all the nations be blessed.
V9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
The apostle Paul called New Testament believers to freedom from the bondage of the law.
V1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Notice Paul calls salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ “the liberty which made us free.” In contrast, he calls the law “the yoke of bondage.”
V2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
Circumcision was a necessary practice of Judaism. In this, Paul is making a point that if that particular issue is their means to justification, then they must keep all the law all the time and not fail in one instance.
V3 for I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
V4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
When people try to get their justification by keeping the Law of Moses, they have fallen from grace. Paul is writing to born-again, spirit-filled Christians who were saved by grace through faith, operated in miracles, and yet went back under the law in order to be justified.
V5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
V6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith that worketh by love.
Paul is saying it is not what we do or don’t do to be right with God. It is by faith in Jesus Christ that works by the love of God.
I Timothy 1:8-10
V8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
V9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless, and disobedient, for ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers.
V10 for whoremongers, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine:
The law is not for a righteous man. We have been made righteous by Jesus’ substitutional work at Calvary. The law is for sinners which believers can no longer be classified as.
II) The Law brings a Curse
It must be emphasized that the only thing that the Law of Moses could bring was a curse. There are no blessings under the Law of Moses.
Deut. 28: 1,2,15
V1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
V2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.
V15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
It has already been understood that according to Galatians 5:1-6, that in order to be justified or blessed by the law, a person must keep it all , all the time and not fail in one point at any time.
V13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written. Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree:
V14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
The curse of the law is if we don’t do it all, all the time, if we fail in any one point, then we are cursed. But Christ Jesus became that curse for us when he hung on the tree. We are blessed by faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work at Calvary. However, the blessings we now receive are not the blessings of the Law of Moses which many Christians are trying to appropriate by obedience to the Law of Moses. The blessing we now receive is that of Abraham which came by promise through faith.
III) The Law Produces Two Kinds of Works
V1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
V2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law. or by the hearing of faith?
V3 Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
The Christians in Galatia had returned to the legalistic system of the Law of Moses. Paul condemned them for this, and told them that they were deceived, disobedient, and backslidden. Their reversion back to Judaism could produce but two kinds of works- “works of the flesh” and “dead works.”
V16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
V17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
When Paul says to walk in the Spirit, the context of chapter 5 of Galatians, he means to walk by faith in the grace provided by the Holy Spirit of God to the new creation. Most Christians try not to do or walk in the flesh. The more they try to not walk in the flesh, the more they try to keep the works of the Law of Moses, which are “dead works”, the more the flesh is activated. The remedy is to walk in the Spirit or grace or New Testament by faith.
V18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
V19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
V20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
V21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in times past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
The more people, Christians, try not to do the works of the flesh, the more they do them. Why? Because they have put themselves back under the legalistic system of the law. It is not, not doing the works of the flesh; It is – walk in the Spirit.
I Corinthians 15:56
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
To walk in the flesh is to try to keep the law which produces the “works of the flesh.” “Dead works” are those mentioned in Hebrews 6:1 which are works done to achieve righteousness. That was Paul’s dilemma in chapter 7 of Romans.
V4 Wherefore brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
V5 for when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
V6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in the newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of letter.
Paul later says in Romans chapter 7 that the things he knows he should do, that are right, he does not do. The things that he knows he should not do, the things that are wrong, those are the things that he does. This is not talking about a born-again man living by the Spirit of God by grace through faith. He is talking about a man either not born-again living under the law or a born-again man trying to keep the law. The only thing the law can do is resurrect the “old man” that has been crucified with Christ. Galatians 2:20 and Romans 6:6. By the law come “works of the flesh” and “dead works.” For the born-again person living under the law, the “old man” and the “flesh” are synonymous. The flesh is the way the “old man” used to think, that I must get my righteousness by keeping the law. The law kills, brings condemnation, puts people in bondage and fear, and if continued in will result in death.
IV) The Law Cannot Produce the Glory of God
V6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
The letter is the law, works to attain righteousness, the Old Testament. The spirit is grace, faith, and the New Testament.
V7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
V8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
The law is called the ministration of death, the glory which is done away. The ministration of the spirit, grace, the New Testament, is a glory, more glorious than the Old Testament that does not fade away.
V9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.
Again, the law is called the ministration of condemnation. The New Testament, grace, is called the ministration of righteousness.
V11 For that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.
V17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.
V18 But we all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
The content of 2 Corinthians chapter 3 is a contrast between law and grace. Law is said to kill. It is called condemnation and the ministration of death. It’s glory has faded away and is no more. It is non-existent. Grace produces righteousness and freedom. Law activates the flesh, the old man, the way the old man used to think. Grace activates the Spirit of God which produces freedom and glory.
V14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
V15 John bare witness of him, and cried saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that comes after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
V16 And of his fullness have we all received, and grace for grace.
V17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
V) Righteousness by Faith, Not by the Law
V16 Knowing that a man is not justified by works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
V17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
V18 for if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor’
V19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God
V20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
V21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
Justification by faith is salvation. It is imputed to us, it cannot be earned. No flesh is justified by the works of the law. Many frustrate the grace of God by trying to be right with God based on what they do rather than what Jesus has already done. At this time clarification needs to be made to distinguish works of the law to obtain righteousness and works of faith because we are already righteous. Faith has works. Those works do not move God. God is already moved on our behalf because of Jesus’ finished at the cross, which is God’s grace. Many teach that faith puts a demand on God. It moves God to respond to our words and actions. We maintain that our faith does not move God. As previously stated, he’s already moved in our favor based on saving faith in Christ as Lord. Faith moves us to be where God already is which is the promise, the blessing, the healing, the provision, all that is inclusive in salvation.
V10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them
V11 But that no man is justified by the the law in the sight of God is evident: for, the just shall live by faith.
V12 And the law is not of faith; but the man that doeth them shall live in them.
VI) Righteousness is Imputed by Grace Not Earned by Works of the Law
V1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
V2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
V3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
V4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
V5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
V6 Even as David describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
V7 Saying, Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered,
V8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
If a person works to get God’s favor and that is the intent of heart, then grace is not applied to them. It is a debt owed. That is law. But the one who doesn’t do works of the law to obtain righteousness, but believes only, to that person righteousness by grace is imputed.
V15 But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
V16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgement was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
V17 For if by one man’s offense death reigned by the one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.
Abundance of grace, the gift of righteousness, reign in life, this is all inclusive in salvation. It really is a definition of salvation and how it comes. It comes as a gift, in abundance through Jesus Christ. As stated previously, we are saved by grace through faith and we continue now in our reign of life by grace though faith.
VII) The Dispensation of Grace = No More Law
In order for the Law to still be in effect today for anyone, saint or sinner alike, the Old Testament which is the law must still be in force. We maintain, in accordance with the scripture that the law has been completely abolished in the body of Jesus Christ. It is vital to the New Testament, to the gospel of grace and the revelation given by the Holy Spirit to the apostle Paul, which is the entire message of the New Testament and that is law and grace cannot co-exist. It’s either all law or all grace. We maintain that it must be all grace for the law was abolished once and forever by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head and gave up the ghost.
What was Jesus referring to when He uttered his last words on the cross? We maintain that one implication of what He came to accomplish was to fulfill the Old Covenant and begin the New. Hence, it is referring to the law, the law is finished.
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way nailing it to his cross.
V1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
V2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
V3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh;, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
V4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
The only thing that can bring condemnation is the law. The only thing that Satan, the god of this world, can blind the minds of people by is the law. Jesus blotted out that law of requirements against us by nailing it to the cross. So if there is no law, then what constitutes sin?
And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them: and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
God is not imputing or reckoning or even considering the sins of even the unsaved against them. Why? Because Jesus bore the sins of the whole world so that the righteous requirement of the law was paid for all men. Now the only thing that stands between the sinner and God is their unbelief. This is not universalism. This is not the doctrine of inclusion. We maintain that although God is not imputing the sins of the trespasser against Him, the sinner must still be born-again by committing his or her life to Jesus Christ. He must have his nature changed. He must become a new creature in Christ.
V6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which is established upon better promises.
V7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
V8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
V9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
V10 For this is the covenant that I will make with them in those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God and they shall be to me a people:
V11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, know the lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
V12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
V13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. (Amplified – obsolete) Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
Jesus came preaching, teaching, and demonstrating the gospel of the kingdom. No where in the gospels did he use the Law of Moses in order to win someone to Himself. In many incidents He superceded the law. When the woman caught in adultery was brought before Him, it was pointed out that the Law of Moses required that she be stoned. Jesus, who is grace personified, did not follow the law, but pardoned the woman. His instruction was to “go and sin no more.” If whatever is not of faith is sin, what Jesus was saying was “go and disbelieve in Me no more.” After Pentecost, in the book of Acts, there was no use of the law to win a person to Christ. What did they preach? Jesus Christ, crucified and raised from the dead.
V7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
V8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement:
V9 Of sin, because they believe not on me
The job of the Holy Spirit in dealing with sin is to convict or reprove them of the sin of unbelief. The sin of not believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 1: 16-17
V16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
V17 For therein is the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith.
It is the good news of the gospel, that Jesus died for your sins, sickness, poverty and death; that Jesus took your place of punishment so all of God’s goodness could come upon you. That is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes. The law is not used to convert Jews or Gentiles. The gospel of the kingdom, the gospel of grace is what the disciples preached to the unsaved and it is the gospel of grace that must be enforced so Christians can live and walk in the power and liberty of the Holy Spirit.