THE LAW – GRACE AND US
BY: KENNETH GREATOREX
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE REALLY SAY?
WHICH COVENANT IS IN FORCE?
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. Titus 2:11 NKJV
Introduction: As a Christian we live under law. Which law are you under, Moses or Christ, sin and death, or life? We are ALL living under law. Most of us do not realize that we are attempting to live under the New Covenant while all the time the old Mosaic covenant guides us.
Our lives are filled with condemnation and fears because we have fallen prey to the seduction of Christianity, which happened long ago in the early church.
The early church was under attack from the Romans with its emperor worship, and the Gnostics with their mind reasonings. The greatest attack came from the Judaizers. The Epistles deal with many of the problems originating from them.
Acts Chapter Fifteen records the decision of the church council which then stopped the Judaizers attempt to place Gentile believers under the Mosaic Law. However, in time the Judaizers had a forceful and lasting influence upon the church. This effects us today when well meaning folk add Law and legalism to Grace.
As a child we sang, Every promise in the book is mine, every chapter, every verse, every line.@ We did not know what we were singing. We were including ourselves under the Law with it=s blessings and its curse.
When you mix white with black you have gray. Mix light with darkness and you have half light. Do we really want to live in the Twilight zone? When we mix the Mosaic law with Christ, we have confusion, fear and condemnation. We have religion. This word comes from the Latin,”religare.” (RE – back, and ”ligare” – to bind – Funk & Wagnalls Std. College Dictionary) It means to bring back into bondage.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE REALLY SAY?
2 Corinthians 3:6 “Who has made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” NKJV The word” letter” means the old Mosaic covenant. It kills us!
2 Corinthians 3:11 “For if that which was to be abolished came with glory, much more is that which is permanent arrayed in glory.” [Weymouth Translation] The outer appearance of the law was completely phased out in 70 AD by the total destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The Mosaic priesthood, and all its ordinances ended forever then.
Romans 8:1 “So then there is no condemnation at all for those who are in union with Christ Jesus.” (Note the verse ends here. The condition added in King James Bibles belongs to verse four.) Verse 2, “For the life giving power of the Spirit through union with Christ Jesus has set us free from the power of sin and death.” (Williams New Testament) Have you received His life? Then we must walk in the freedom He has given.
Romans 5:20 “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” The law made us sin conscious. Many of us Christians can only see sin. However, once we repent of sin, God forgives and we do not have to ever have to deal with it again. When some of us are, or make others, sin conscious, that is really sin! It takes our eyes off Christ. We must be Christ conscious!
WHICH COVENANT IS IN FORCE?
The Mosaic covenant with its sacrifices of animal blood gave temporary cleansing from sin. It kept one sin conscious. Keeping it was not possible. Legalistic Christianity is like this. It keeps us in self bondage. We must continually examine our self in case we have sinned. We live in fear of hell and the wrath of a God we call a God of love, but really He seems anything but loving to us.
Jesus fulfilled this covenant and therefore it is no longer in force. See Matthew 5:17; Romans 10:4. Its purpose was fulfilled, as Galatians 3:25-26 says, “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come we are no longer under a tutor.” (NKJV)
Some of us believe we are to live our lives as Christians, guided by the Mosaic law and the Spirit. This is not possible! We cannot serve two masters! It leads to confusion, legalism, fear, and bondage just as it did in the early church. Hebrews 10:9b says, ”He takes away the first that He may establish the second.” (NKJV) Let us receive the grace of God today! God’s grace is His Son Jesus Christ.
The Scripture makes it clear that we have a choice. We may choose to live in bondage to the Mosaic or other forms of religious laws. Romans 8:2 reads, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made (past tense) me free from the law of sin and death.” Regrettably, many are held captive to various death producing law systems. ALL attempts to be holy, or righteous, apart from Christ produce death.
John 1:17 “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
The Mosaic law has fulfilled its purpose in showing our inability to live a righteous life before God. In Galatians 3:24-25 we read of it being a tutor/schoolmaster. It brought us to Christ so we could Abe justified by faith.@ The Greek word used is “paidagogus” (Strong=s #3807) It means – a slave who watched over, disciplined, gave general training, and accompanied a child to school. The “law” brought us to Christ.
As believers we must understand that the initiator is GOD! Notice that nothing is of man in Ephesians 2:4-10.
Verse 4: GOD – rich in mercy, His great love, He loved us
Verse 5: Unsaid but, (He) Made us alive
Verse 6: “ ” (He) Raised us up together, – made us sit, IN CHRIST
Verse 7: His grace, kindness – in Christ
Verse 10: HIS workmanship (Greek #4161 – poiema (poem), GOD prepared “good works.”
Verse 8: Gift of GOD: Salvation by grace, through faith
Grace: Greek #5485 – charis – Favor, Divine influence, or Divine enablement
Faith: Greek # 4102 pistis – Firm persuasion, a conviction, which is based upon hearing, not upon sight, or knowledge; a firmly relying on what we hear from God in His word. Read, Romans 10:17. NOTICE: Faith by hearing – Hearing the word (Greek rhema) of God. RHEMA, is that personal word that the Spirit of God illuminates NOW. We may have read a verse many times, then suddenly it comes alive and full of meaning, and faith is imparted.
THE SOURCE of FAITH: Romans 12:3 – God dealt (Greek. #3307 merizo – to divide or distribute) each person a measure (a portion) of faith. Notice the truth of Hebrews 12:2: Jesus is the author (originator) and the finisher (perfecter) of faith. Man is not the source, nor do we obtain faith by our efforts to memorize or confess Scripture. It is the gift of God.
Again as we consider God, not laws, as the source, see what Paul wrote about righteousness. He made clear it was not his own from the law that mattered. It is “that which is through faith of Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.” (Philippians 3:9) God is the source.
There is a wealth of truth in our next Scripture, 1 Corinthians 1:30, so we will just emphasize some of it. Of Him – the source is God. He places us IN CHRIST JESUS who is our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and our redemption.
Do we feel that we need wisdom? Ask not for wisdom, but for more of Christ. Do we need more righteousness, ask for more of Christ? Do we need more sanctification, ask for more of Christ? Is the need, a greater sense of redemption – more of Christ? ALL that we require is to be found, not by less of self, but more of Christ. His life will overcome the death of self in us.
Redemption means restoration to the rightful owner. The devil has always been a thief and robber, he holds no legal title to you unless you surrender it to him. Christ the Son set us free!
The normal Christian life can be found in Galatians 2:20. Our death and new life are all of Christ (Read Romans 6:3-8). Life now is lived by faith. Who’s faith? AIl live by faith in the Son of God. The Greek word here is “ev” #1722, it means: A being or remaining within, with the primary idea of REST, in any place or thing. We rest in the faith He supplies.
If living the Christian life is too hard for any of us, it probably isn’t the Christian life, but a religious pretense. We must quit, because we will never make it. Only the Christ in you can live a true Christian life. His yoke is easy. Legalism and law kill us.
The fourth chapter of Hebrews speaks of a rest to be entered into. It comes from ceasing (literally “resting”) from our works, or those of the law.
Hebrews 4:9-10 “There remains therefore a rest (literally a Sabbath rest) for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest (Sabbath rest #4520) has also ceased from his works as God [did] from His. Now is the time for each of us to receive the grace of God and enter His rest.
ALL THAT WE HAVE, OR EVER WILL HAVE IS OF/FROM/THROUGH/OR BY GOD. IT COMES BY GRACE, THOUGH FAITH. NOT WORKS OR THE LAW OF MOSES.
LAW-GRACE AND US, THE [Kenneth Greatorex] 1