LAW & GRACE
In the Old Testament the Ten Commandments were given to the Israelites. They are listed in Deuteronomy 5:6-21 and Exodus 20:2-17. When the people sinned, they sacrificed animals. Many of the religious leaders in the New Testament and even the rich young man in Matthew 19:20 thought that they had kept the law, but Jesus showed them otherwise.
1. You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, “Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.” But I (Jesus) tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, Raca, is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, “You fool! will be in danger of the fire of hell. Matthew 5:21-22
2. “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:36-39
3. You have heard that it was said, “Do not commit adultery.” But I (Jesus) tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28
4. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. James 2:10
The Law was not given to make a person righteousness by keeping it because no one can keep it, but to show us what is sinful and displeasing to God.
5. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. Romans 3:20
6. Law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. Romans 4:15b
7. What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. Romans 7:7-8
By concentrating on the Law and what we should not do, we are only thinking of sinful actions which entice us to sin. But then Jesus came and died in our place, taking our sins and making us righteous.
8. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! Galatians 2:20b-21
9. Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses. Acts 13:38-39
10. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest (Jesus) had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. ... Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” Hebrews 10:11-14,17
11. For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. Hebrews 8:7
12. And the child (Jesus) grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. Luke 2:40
13. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17
14. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. II Corinthians 5:21
15. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. Romans 10:4
16. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Hebrews 12:1-2a
17. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. I John 1:7-8
18. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Colossians 2:13-15
19. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17
20. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans
21. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
The only way to become righteous is by having faith in Jesus Christ and what he did when He came and died on the cross, taking the punishment for our sins. Trying to be righteous by observing the Law will not work.
22. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ (Ye are severed from Christ); you have fallen away from grace. Galatians 5:4
23. You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you; Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Galatians 3:1-3
24. Offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master (have dominion over you), because you are not under law, but under grace. Romans 6:13b-14
25. Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! II Corinthians 3:7-11
26. What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. Romans 4:3-5
27. Come to me (Jesus), all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus has already come and lived a sinless life and died on the cross, taking our sin and giving us His righteousness (II Corinthians 5:21). We can therefore stop striving to be sinless and just rest in what has been done for us, getting our eyes off ourselves and onto Jesus. We are already righteous as we rest in what Jesus has done. As we realize that, we will act more righteous, and the enemy will not be able to make us feel unworthy. Not only that, but the grace of God will give us the power and ability to do whatever we are called to do. The grace of God made Paul who he was and empowered the apostles.
28. For I (Paul) am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am. I Corinthians
29. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. Acts 4:33
30. When he (Barnabus) arrived (in Antioch) and saw the evidence of the grace of God (that a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. 11:21b), he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. Acts 11:23
31. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. II Corinthians 9:8
We must not just think of God’s grace as providing forgiveness of sins so that we can go to heaven, but as empowerment to serve the Lord. Whatever God has called us to do for Him, we can do it because we are empowered by His grace.
32. I can do everything through him who gives me strength (who empowers me). Philippians 4:13
33. For if, by the trespass of the one man (Adam), death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:17-19
34. Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. II Peter 1:2-4
Here Paul was writing to “God’s fellow workers,” so they were already saved. He did not want them to fail to use God’s grace so they could fulfill their calling.
35. As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain (not let it be wasted) (do nothing with it). II Corinthians 6:1
Prayer: Father, thank You for Your great plan of salvation that Jesus fulfilled. Help me not be deceived into thinking that I am not righteous because of my sinful actions. If I confess any sin, I will be forgiven. (I John 1:9) Knowing this truth will set me free. By relying on Your grace, I am able to do whatever You ask me to do, things that I cannot do in my own strength. In Jesus’ name, amen.