Law and Grace

Law and grace are not both sides of the same coin that work together for God’s good, let alone our good. Law and grace are the exact opposites of each other, in other words, if you are depending on law plus grace you have nullified grace completely and end up in confusion. The teaching that law and grace co-exist to bring man into right relationship with God has caused much confusion to the Gospel of Grace that Jesus came to establish. The Law was given by Moses. Grace was given by Jesus Christ. Law is a demander, grace is a giver. The law demanded righteous behavior from man as a condition for acceptance by religion, acceptance and blessing. Grace provides all that is needed for life to UNDESERVING people!

Why is it that religion is so drawn to law-keeping? Is it because of the correlation between the law and the flesh? Many times in the New Testament law and flesh are mentioned in the same verse or the context is such that the  correlation between the two is undeniable and are listed to many times to be coincidental. It is impossible to read and understand these passages without concluding that there is a special affinity between law and flesh. The law was initiated to target the weakness of the flesh in specific ways. The law demanded, but was at a lost to provide help. The law exposed the flesh by making impossible demands on it. Through the law, God required of man what He knew they could not do, fleshly men were incapable to do what they were most eager to attempt, righteousness by law keeping and the law was so man could see and understand this.

You may ask what good is the law then? Its purpose was to make man aware that nothing good resides in his Adamic nature or flesh (Roman’s 7:18). The law was not given to edify or build up man, but to corral him and reveal his true nature. The law demanded godly behavior from ungodly humans that had lost their innocence way back in Eden. It demanded that fallen and delusional humanity take an honest look at themselves and give up all hope of self-redemption, turn to Christ as the last Adam, and be reborn as a new creature having a new nature by the Grace of God.

Controlling the flesh by the law is an impossible task. The law tells man to be righteous by keeping its commandments, but the harder man tries the more apparent it becomes that he cannot and the more the law reveals that he cannot. It is just a matter of time before his energy is spent, his resolve is dashed and he collapses under the weight of it all. From God's view the law has done its work. It has destroyed the illusion of man's righteousness. It has tested him and found him wanting. His early hopes of obeying the law and being counted holy through law-keeping are dashed. All that is left is the seeing and knowing his own inadequacies.

It is hard for man to understand how redemptive this is. The law was never given as a remedy for sin and the flesh. It was given to increase the offense so that as sin abounds, grace would much more abound (Romans 5:20). Paul went so far as to say that "the power of sin is the law" (1 Corinthians 15:55-57). Sin was empowered by the Law. In what way does the increase of sin serve God's redemptive purpose?
Salvation begins with an honest and accurate assessment of your own condition. All efforts to cover sin by masking it in human philanthropy must be acknowledged as futile. You must see yourself unable to receive His righteousness   by your own efforts before you can receive His free gift of righteousness.

You cannot receive the grace of God as long as you think you can do any good thing in the eyes of God to gain His favor. You cannot be counted righteous until you stop trying to be blameless through works and trust Him who justifies the ungodly. "But to him that works not, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans 4 5). The law leads man to the turning-point of giving up on works as a means to God or being justified by God.

The flesh prefers its own sacrifice for sins and devalues the cleansing blood of Christ. God bestows grace. Man wants to earn it. God gives repentance. Man prefers penance and restitution. Under grace we are not asked to undo or repair every evil thing we have ever done. We are asked to accept free and full payment for our sins provided by Jesus Christ. We are asked to stop trying to be righteous on our own. We are asked to cease from these dead works and accept His free and unmerited gift.

If we do receive forgiveness and the free gift of righteousness, another temptation arises. Pride tempts us to balance the ledger by paying God back, and soon every act of obedience becomes a payment. That does not mean that as believers we are to live a life of complete inactivity; God's grace is the most active force in the universe, but grace does not permit purely human activity. God's grace is the most powerful and sufficient when it meets with good old honest, non-delusional human weakness as we put out trust totally in Him to do His work through us.


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