Church of God, New World Ministries

Law Or Grace - Which?

No question excites more controversy among professing Christians! Were the Ten Commandments abolished? Does Grace do away with the Law? Here is what your Bible says, the plain teaching of your New Testament!

Many sincere people believe God’s Law is “done away.” “It was nailed to the cross,” they say. The law of God, they will tell you, was a harsh, stern law, but Jesus Christ came to free us from the “curse of the law!”

Christians, they will feelingly tell you are not “under the law.” True Christians are under Grace, and grace does away with the need for law! Often they will quote Romans 10:4 to show you that “Christ is the end of the law.” They may go on to cite Romans 7:4 to show that Christians are “dead to the law.”

But what you are going to do with Jesus’ words? Jesus Christ Himself said: “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments”! (Matt. 19:17.) Did not Christ know? Was Jesus mistaken about the law?

Now read what Paul told the Romans: “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law” (Rom. 3:31). Did Paul know what he was talking about? In one verse he says that Christians are “dead to the law.” Yet he turns right around and says they “establish the law”! What a paradox! It is time you understood the truth about law and grace! It is time the truth was made plain, so simple a child could understand!

Picture the common teaching in your own mind, if you can. A nation of Israelites, sinning, struggling under grievous bondage. Over them a harsh, stern, monstrous law, a terrible yoke of bondage. To redeem them from such miserable bondage, God sent Jesus Christ to do away with the law! Now, does that picture make much sense?

There is something flagrantly wrong with this concept of God! It pictures God the Father as having made a mistake as a cruel, harsh Monster. It pictures Jesus Christ as a young man who came to do away with His Father’s law. Christ is pictured as having more wisdom and knowledge than His Father, for He saw that the law was a harsh yoke of bondage. So He came to abolish it, nail it to the cross! Such a picture totally distorts the mercy, love, and goodness of God!

Think for a moment! Let’s just suppose that God did abolish His law for some reason. Suppose He decided to do away with it. What then? Do you realize what this would mean? This would mean that there would be no law against committing idolatry, worshipping false gods, cursing, swearing, breaking God’s Sabbath, but more, it would mean that murder would be all right; stealing would be acceptable as well; lust, adultery, rape, every sex crime; lying, cheating, bearing false witness, all these things would be all right. There would be no law against them! And since there would be no law, there would, of course, by no punishment! Sinning would be impossible, since “sin is the transgression of the law.” If no law exists, there could be no transgression, no sin!

You would be living in a world where everything goes! Nothing would be wrong. There would be no definition of right from wrong. Anything you had a mind to do would be alright. If you murdered your parents, or anyone else, you could get away with it! There would be no such thing as a judge, or a cell, a prison, an execution, or any kind of penalty, and no hellfire!

You could do exactly as you please, regardless of how it affects other people! You could be a real “devil,” as they say. You could be a homicidal maniac, and no one would be able to have you arrested. And, spiritually, God would not be able to punish sinners since sin would not exist!

If the spiritual law of God were nailed to the cross, then from that time almost 2000 years ago to the present, today, sin would be nonexistent! And there would be no need of a Savior, since there would be no need to be saved from sin! Hitler, Mussolini, and all the other arch-criminals, Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, Al Capone, and all the rest would not be guilty, in God’s sight!

Now, does that really make sense? How does that strike you? Can you believe it? And if there is no sin, from the time of Christ to the present, then there is no such thing as a sinner, no need for repentance, no need for forgiveness, no need for mercy or pardon, no need for Grace!

Absurd isn’t it! But if you follow the reasoning of the no-law advocates through to its logical conclusion, that is where you are finally left, that is where you end up! But this is not the teaching of Jesus Christ!

Was Christ “at odds” with His Father in heaven, as some say? Was it God’s law that separated man from God, or was it sin? Just what is the LAW? And what is this thing called GRACE? And where does sin enter the picture? Why did Christ have to die? What, and who was nailed to the cross? No subject is more vital, more urgent, more crucial to your salvation!

To really understand, let’s go back to the beginning. Let’s get the true picture of God’s dealing with man!

Many assume, first of all, that law did not come until Moses. Prior to the time of Moses, grace was the way God dealt with mankind. And the example of grace that ministers usually turn to is the example of Abraham, the “father of the faithful.”

Notice, now, the fascinating and vitally important example of the patriarch Abraham, to whom the promises were made! Was Abraham under grace? Did Abraham obey God’s law?

You have probably read what the apostle Paul wrote about Abraham: “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Rom. 4:1-3).

Further: “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (vs. 4-5). Notice! Abraham was a man of faith. He believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. Abraham did not receive the promises, including the promise of salvation, by works. What the apostle Paul means by “works” will be made plain later.

Abraham did not earn salvation or the promises! They were given to him, by God!

Does this mean that Abraham did not have to obey God? Does it mean, even more importantly, that we do not have to obey God today? Turn to the book of James. Let’s notice what the apostle James tells us about faithful Abraham. James relates, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered Isaac his son upon the altar?” (Jas. 2:21.)

Wait a minute! Doesn’t that sound like a contradiction? Let’s read on: “Seest thou how faith” – now he mentions “faith” - “wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” (v. 22.)

James shows us that faith works together with works! This is no contradiction! James continues: “And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:23-24). “Even so faith, if it hath not works is dead, being alone,” (v. 17). How clear! Faith and works, said James go hand–in-hand!

God tested Abraham’s faith by his obedience, his works. Abraham met the test without flinching, with dauntless courage. After showing God his willingness to obey, even if it required the life of his only son Isaac, God confirmed the promises He had made to Abraham. Why? “Because thou hast obeyed my voice” (Gen. 22:18).

Abraham not only had faith in God, but by faith he obeyed his Creator! His faith went hand-in-hand with obedience! God later told Isaac exactly why Abraham was blessed. What was the reason? “Because that Abraham obeyed by voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statues, and my LAWS” (Gen. 26:5).

How plain! God’s spiritual law was in force in the days of Abraham, long before Moses!

Abraham obeyed God. That’s what your Bible says! By faith he accepted God’s promises as a gift. God did not owe Abraham the promises. He gave the promises to him because Abraham was willing to obey! Abraham did not “earn” them by his works! Nevertheless, unless he had demonstrated his willingness to obey God, through his works, he would not have had the promises given to him.

The promises came freely through God’s grace. But works were involved. Does this sound contradictory? That does not mean one can ever earn salvation! Not at all! James said, “faith without works is dead, being alone.” God’s grace alone, by itself, will not save us since God will not give His grace to a person who refuses to obey, who rebels against Him.

Grace is simply free, unmerited, undeserved pardon or forgiveness. God gives us grace when He forgives us of our past sins. But, unless we are willing to obey God, and stop sinning, we will lose that forgiveness, or grace. But the fact that Abraham’s obedience was involved did not earn him salvation! Abraham did not “earn” the promises. And no Christian can ever “earn” salvation! It is not something which we receive as a result of all our deeds and works. Yet most people believe their faith earns them salvation! It isn’t your faith that gives you eternal life.

The apostle Paul wrote, “For by grace are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).

Christ’s faith in us is a gift. We do not receive it because of all our works. All one’s good deeds cannot save anyone. They are only what ought to be done anyway. God gives it because of His merciful pardon and grace, not because we are ever “worthy” of such a gift.

But does this mean that works are not involved? Not at all! Read the next verse: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).

There you are! Faith without works is dead, a dead, useless faith. There are works involved! But these works of themselves, don’t earn salvation they merely demonstrate our willingness to obey Him and be submissive to His government!

God will not give salvation to anyone that He cannot govern! Before God will give us His promises, we must prove our willingness to obey Him, even as Abraham did, to the very end! There are conditions involved. These conditions involve repentance, faith, surrender and submission to God as well as the condition of obedience to His authority! But these conditions do not earn salvation. They are the conditions God sets in order that he can give you eternal life.

This illustration should help you understand! You are sitting on murderer’s row. You have killed a man. Lonely, miserable, full of fear and terror, you await the footsteps coming down the corridor of the prison guard, beckoning you to your fate.

The jury found you guilty of murder in the first degree. The judge sentenced you to death. Droplets of cold sweat breaks out on your forehead. You shiver with fright and dreadful anticipation. Then, as these thoughts race through your mind, you notice footsteps. Soon a key turns in the lock of your cell door. A voice booms, “Come with me.” You follow the guard down the hall, appalled at the awful deed you committed. A door opens ahead of you, and suddenly you find yourself standing face to face with the warden of the prison.

Then a voice calmly says, “You are free to go. Your crime has been pardoned by the governor. You are free to go.” You stagger back. You can hardly believe it, free! In a state of shock, you can hardly grasp what is happening. Free! “Free to go!” You have been given a new lease on life!

Sound like a strange tale? It has happened in the past. But why do I mention it? Why, because you, in God’s sight, were just like this murderer. You were in sin, and the death penalty was waiting irrevocably for you (Rom. 6:23). You were doomed! But Christ set you free by paying your penalty in your stead!

Now is the released murderer free to go out and break the Law? Is he free to murder someone else? Does the gift of life give him license to kill? Of Course not!

Even so, when a sinner repents, and accepts the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as atonement for his sins, he comes under the Grace of God. His past sins are forgiven. The death penalty for sin no longer hangs over his head.

Does this mean he can now disobey God? Does this mean he is free to do whatever he wishes? Obviously not! The grace of God and faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ to atone for your sins must be accompanied by law-abiding works! If you willfully turn again to the way of sin, knowingly rejecting God’s way, there remains no more sacrifice for your sins, and you will incur the death penalty once again, this time, without any escape! (Heb. 10:26; II Peter 2:21) That’s what your Bible says!

Salvation is a gift! But it is predicated on certain conditions! A sinner cannot earn salvation, for he is already condemned. But through repentance, and the grace of God, he can receive it as a gift. He must, however, meet the twin conditions of faith and obedience, even as faithful Abraham did, setting us an example!

Abraham, we have found, obeyed God’s law. His faith was combined with obedience. But, what about Christians? Aren’t Christians under Grace, not law?” Isn’t God’s Law a harsh monster? A yoke of bondage? Wasn’t it but a temporary substitute until the coming of Jesus Christ?

Notice what God’s Word has to say! Abraham kept God’s commandments, His statutes, and His laws (Gen. 26:5). Speaking of God’s law, David was inspired to write, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul” (Ps. 19:7). He added, “The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (v.8).

The law David was speaking about is a good, pure, perfect law. There is nothing wrong with it! It is not a harsh yoke of bondage. A stern, exacting, monstrous, evil thing! David wrote, “The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness” (Ps. 111:7-8). The law of God which David spoke of endures forever! It is an everlasting law! This obviously means it is in effect today! Clearly, then, it has not been done away! Isn’t that simple and easy to understand?

Now notice what the apostle Paul himself had to say about the law of God: “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Rom. 7:12). Paul went on, “For we know that the law is spiritual” (v. 14).Those things which are spiritual are eternal.

Now I ask you, would God institute a holy, just and good law, a spiritual law, and ordain it forever and then abolish it? Do you believe in such a fickle, changeable God? Do you believe in a God who doesn’t know His own mind?

But what is the purpose of God’s law? Why did God institute law in the first place? Was God’s law just a temporary measure for ancient Israel?

Why do we have national laws and state laws today? Who do we have motor vehicle laws, regulating the operation of automobiles and the flow of traffic? Isn’t the answer rather obvious? Men make laws for the well-being of the public. Laws are made to maintain order. Without traffic laws, for instance, city streets would be a scene of sheer chaos. Without penal laws and criminal statutes, crime would go unpunished. The lawless and greedy would be free to ravage society, without fear of punishment. Men’s laws are intended to guarantee liberty!

This same great principle applies to God’s spiritual law. God made His laws for our good. They tell us which way to go. They reveal to us the difference between right and wrong!

Few people realize it, but Almighty God created in each one of us a carnal, defiant, God-rejecting, rebellious human nature. God says “Because the carnal (natural, normal) mind is enmity (hostile) against God” (Rom 8:7). Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9).

When born, we know nothing. Everything you know today, or think you know, came into your mind since the time you were a little baby. You were born with a rebellious nature. Hostile to God. You were born in complete ignorance to the spiritual law of God, without knowing how you should live and govern your life. But God did not leave the human race without this vital knowledge. He gave mankind His holy law to regulate human conduct. He gave a law which explains how to live, how to be happy, how to have an abundant, joyous and brimful life!

Sadly, most men have ignored that way, that law. And even most preachers today scoff at it, spurn it, and claim it is done away! When will mankind learn? When will we see? (If you have not received our FREE DVD entitled, “Why Did God Give The Law?”send for it right away.)

God’s spiritual laws are in motion today. They are eternal, immutable, inexorable and binding on every one of us! To break one of them is like breaking the law of gravity. There is always a fearful penalty which automatically follows ever infraction!

God not only created physical laws for the control of the universe – laws of chemistry, physics, mathematics, laws like the law of gravity and inertia. But God also created spiritual laws for man’s happiness, laws which automatically regulate man’s relationship with God and with his fellow man!

Just like the physical laws governing matter and energy, these spiritual laws are always binding. You break them, and they break you! You may ignore them, but they never ignore you. They are always present; whenever broken, they always exact a penalty commensurate with the offense. But they were created for our good!

What’s wrong, for instance, with a law which tells you to love your neighbor? What is wrong with a law which says you should love God with your whole being, your very Creator, who gives you every breath you breathe? What’s wrong with a law which spells out how you should behave, whom you should worship, forbids you to commit murder, or steal, or commit adultery, or lie, or commit other things which are bad for you? Is such a law wrong?

Hand-in-hand with the modern “no law” concept is the current plunge into gross immorality and sexual promiscuity, the rising crime rate, and the threat of explosive racial violence! Where ministers teach there is “no law,” there is the growing menace of lawlessness among the people! It is time we learned respect for God’s Law!

Listen to these words of the apostle John: “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments” (I John 2:3). John was so positive of his statement, which he continued, in stronger language: “He that saith, I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (v.4).

John was inspired to write these words! This scripture was inspired decades after Christ was put to death! It means exactly was it says!

Back to the original question, since the scriptures do not contradict (John 10:35), and since every scripture is given by divine inspiration (II Tim. 3:16), how do we explain those verses which might seem on the surface to give the impression God’s Law is not binding today? This is one of the most misunderstood matters in the Bible! This is the rock over which more theologians stumble and fall, than perhaps any other! They have assumed falsely that the law of God, The Ten Commandments, and the Law of Moses are one and the same! Nothing could be further from the truth.

Two Laws – One Temporary, One Eternal

This is the crux of the whole matter! It is so simple, a child can understand!

First, then, remember that God’s spiritual law, Commandments did not start with Moses! The law of God long anteceded the time of Moses! In fact, God’s spiritual law has been in effect since Creation! When Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s instruction, and ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they sinned. What is “sin”?

Very few people know the Bible definition of “sin.” Here it is: “Whosoever committed sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4). There it is! Sin is breaking of God’s law. Adam and Eve sinned. Therefore they broke God’s law! They stole what was not theirs and broke the 8th commandment. God’s law was then in existence! They “transgressed” against God. But, we read in Romans, “where no law is, there is no transgression” (Rom. 4:15). Isn’t that plain? So there was a law long before Moses!

Adam and Eve broke God’s Commandments. They dishonored their only Parent – God – and thereby broke the 5th commandment (Ex. 20:12). They stole something which wasn’t theirs (Ex. 20:15). They coveted something which did not belong to them (Ex. 20:17). Three of God’s basic Ten Commandments already broken!

The apostle Paul said, “Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin” (Rom. 5:12). Death is the penalty of sin (Rom 6:23). Adam sinned. And yet, Paul; added, “sin is not imputed where there is no law” (Rom. 5:13). But sin was imputed. Adam therefore broke God’s law! And he died – and so have his children. “Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression (Adam knew better), who is the figure of him (Christ) that was to come” (v. 14).

Sin was not in the world. Sin is the transgression of God’s law! Death is the penalty of sin, and death reigned from Adam to Moses – for sin is not imputed where there is no law. That’s Paul’s teaching. Those are the plain words of the New Testament. God’s law was in effect from Adam to Moses! Nothing could be clearer! But then, exactly what did Moses bring?

The Bible does, very plainly speak of a law which came with Moses. The law which the legalistic Pharisees tried to bind on the brethren was the “law of Moses” (Acts 15:5). This is the ritualistic law which was added 430 years after the covenant was confirmed to Abraham!

The apostle Paul wrote: “And this I say, that the covenant, (of promise), that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law (the Law of Moses), which was four hundred and thirty year after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promises of none effect” (Gal. 3:17). Paul was here speaking, clearly, of the Law of Moses. What was this law? Let’s go back into the days of Moses and see!

Moses, you will remember, was the one whom God used to lead the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt. He was a type of Christ, who is our deliverer from sin. After crossing the Red Sea, in great and awesome glory, the Israelites came to the Sinai Peninsula and the hot desert. They began to murmur, grumble, and gripe. Nothing seemed to please them. It was not long before rebellious men began complaining openly against Moses, and against God (Ex. 16:2-8). They flagrantly disobeyed God. What does God say? “How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?” (v. 28.)

This was weeks before they came to Mount Sinai! This was almost immediately after they crossed the Red Sea! Yet, already, plainly, God’s laws were in force and the Israelites were found disobedient and rebellious.

Consequently, God added another law for the Israelites. It was the “Law of Moses.” It consisted of ceremonial washings, various laws of offerings and sacrifices, and carnal, physical ordinances, enjoined upon the people and the Levitical priesthood. It was not a spiritual law. It could save no one. Why was it given to ancient Israel?

Let the apostle Paul give us the answer! “Wherefore then serveth the law? (What purpose did the Law of Moses serve?) It was added because of transgressions, till the seed (Christ) should come to whom the promises were made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator” (Gal. 3:19). Did you catch that? The Law of Moses was added – why? “Because of transgressions”! There was another law – a spiritual law in effect, which was being transgressed, broken, by the Israelites! What law?

Remember, God has said, “How long refuse ye to keep My commandments, and My laws?” (Ex. 16:28).They had been breaking God’s eternal spiritual law, the Ten Commandments. Because Israel had been breaking God’s law; He added another special law, “the Law of Moses” to teach them the habit of obedience! To teach them to acknowledge their sins. He gave them certain ceremonial washings, offerings, and commanded sacrifices, and carnal ordinances to foreshadow things to come. What things? The coming of the True Sacrifice for our sins, Jesus Christ Himself! And the Holy Spirit which cleans us up spiritually within. These duties, sacrifices, washings, taught them their need for a coming Saviour and God’s Holy Spirit.

“Wherefore the law” – the “Law of Moses” – was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster” (Gal. 3:24-25).

The Law of Moses, with its constant round of sacrifices and washings, was to the “yoke” which had been put upon the ancient Israelites, because they refused to keep God’s spiritual laws and commandments. Are Christians, today, required to keep the “Law of Moses”?

No – clearly not, As Paul said, “we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” As Peter said, “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” Paul also wrote: “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins? (Heb. 10:4). “But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance (a recalling, not a forgiving) again made of sins every year” (v. 3).

Speaking of the Law of Moses, a law of physical works, Paul wrote: “Which (the Law of Moses) was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks (that is, meal and drink offerings), and divers washings, and carnal ordinances (Greek, “rites and ceremonies”), imposed on them until the time of reformation” (Heb. 9:9-10).

These animal sacrifices, washings and such were hard physical work. They were the “works of the law” that could not save anyone (Gal. 2:16). Those things, of course, are not obligatory on true Christians, today. They clearly were types –typifying the coming of the supreme sacrifice, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. They were but a type of the spiritual, and were given to a carnal, fleshly people, to help them understand! They are not necessary for salvation!

The sacrifices of the Old Testament times could never take away sins (Heb. 10:11).”But this man” – Jesus Christ – “after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God” (v.12). Now can you begin to see how cleverly some have twisted God’s Word, how they have misrepresented the law of God?

Someone might exclaim, didn’t Jesus plainly redeem us from the curse of the law? “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is every one that hangs on a tree” (Gal. 3:13). Some people taking that scripture alone, claim it means God’s law – which Paul called holy, and just, and good, is a diabolical, dreadful, curse! They point to this verse as supposed proof.

Let’s understand this point! It is the “curse of the law” – the curse which results from the penalty of law, that is, from breaking the law! It is not the law that is the curse. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law. Exactly what did Christ redeem us from? From the penalty of sin -- the death penalty! Sin brings a curse. When you sin you bring upon yourself the penalty of sin, the curse of the law, the death penalty!

Because of our sins, we were all under the death penalty (Rom. 6:23).But Christ paid the penalty for us, in our stead. He redeemed us from death! Christ died for us. He took the curse, which we had incurred through disobedience, upon Himself. “For he (God) hath made him (Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (II Corth. 5:21).

God promised ancient Israel blessings for obeying His law (Deut. 28:1-14). He also promised curses would come on them, if they disobeyed His Commandments (vs. 15-19).The punishment which results from breaking God’s spiritual law is death -- eternal death. Christ Himself redeemed us from the death penalty by dying for us!

Why can’t we see that Jesus Christ came to redeem us from the wages of sin – the death penalty? Why can’t we see that sin is what separates us from God, and sin is the transgression of His law? Why don’t we see that Christ came to deliver us from sin, from the way of disobedience, from its penalty, death?

The curse is not the law; the curse is the penalty for disobeying the law! Christ bore that curse for us when He was put to death on the stake as our sin-bearer.

Nevertheless, animosity to God’s law dies hard. When someone’s mind is made up, it is made up. It is hard for a person to be willing to admit truth, and change when he is wrong!

Those who attempt to do away with God’s law now often turn to Romans 10:4. In the previous verse Paul explains how the Pharisees were going about trying to establish their own righteousness, apart from God’s righteousness. They ignored the sacrifice of Christ, and thought that mere commandment-keeping would be enough for anyone. But as Paul pointed out in verse 4, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” What does “the end of the law” mean? One definition is the aim, or the purpose, the fullness or outcome of the law. Christ in us gives us the power to keep God’s holy, perfect law, since we lack the spiritual strength ourselves (Rom. 8:4).

Apart from Christ, no one can manage to keep God’s law in the spirit. By his very nature, man falls far short. But through Christ, we can (Phil 4:13). The aim or end of the law is to make us like Christ. Jesus Christ is the purpose or aim of the law, for righteousness, to every one that believes. But what is “righteousness? David said, “for all thy commandments are righteousness” (Ps. 119:172). There is the definition! Clearly, then, God’s law is not done away. It is to teach us to be righteous like Christ was, and still is.

This word “end,” used in Romans 10:4 is also found in James 5:11. It is the same word. James writes, “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” Now, did James mean that Christ’s end had come? Of course not! Christ arose from the dead and lives today at God’s right hand in heaven! (Heb. 7:26; 9:24) Rather, James explains it himself. They had seen the purpose or aim of the Lord, “that the Lord is pitiful, and of tender mercy.”

What did Paul mean in Romans 7:4, when he said, “Wherefore, my 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.”

Notice carefully what he said. First, he did not say “the law is dead,” he clearly said, “Ye are become dead.” The law of God did not die, or perish. It was not destroyed or done away. But the people became dead to the law by the body of Christ.

Verse 5 helps explain it. “For when we were in the flesh” – that is, before we were converted, and were living according to the pulls of the flesh – “the motions of sins, which were (manifest, revealed for what they were) by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.” Do you see? When we were yet sinners, we were worthy of death in God’s sight. We had transgressed His holy law, and the death penalty hung over our heads.

“But now,” Paul explains in verse 6, “we are delivered from the law” – that is, from the death penalty of the law. Christ paid it for us, in our stead! The law of God no longer claims our lives, “that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”

This verse in no way says the law is done away. It merely shows that Christ paid the penalty of the law for us, died for us, and our date with death has been kept by Him. We are “dead with Him” (Rom. 6:3-4). No longer does condemnation await us (Rom. 8:1), because we are also made spiritually alive with Him through His resurrection from the grave.

Some will say, it is impossible for mortal man to keep the perfect law of God. Would God impose a law on people which cannot be kept? Is God some kind of fiendish, sadistic monster who expects more than we can give? Does He imperiously demand more than we are able to do?

Let’s understand! God is love. But He is also supremely wise. God knows what He is doing! First, it is true that man of his own ability, is not able to keeps God’s law in the spirit, because his human nature is filled with weaknesses and downward pulls of the flesh.

But, this fact alone does not mean we should forget it, give up, and quit! God has made a way whereby we can keep His law in spirit! And he commands us to follow it! But how? What is the way? How does a Christian keep God’s law?

Here is the answer: “For what the law (by itself) could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh (that is, people were too weak to keep it spiritually perfect), God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh (He kept it, showing us that God’s law could be kept by a human individual): that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:3-4).Christ kept the law through the power of God’s Spirit. Of Himself He could not do it. But the Spirit of God in Him did!

God expects us to fulfill the righteousness of the law of God, even as Christ did, thereby condemning sin in the flesh showing there is no excuse for sin. How? “After the Spirit.” As verse 2 shows, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” The law of God, the Ten Commandments, expresses the character of the Spirit of God. The apostle Paul explains it more fully in Gal. 2:20. “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives 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.” Through the Spirit of God, we are to mortify – put to death – the deeds of the flesh (Rom. 8:13).

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that keeping God’s law is impossible! It is possible, through the power of the Spirit of God! Those who deny it are denying the power of God! They are blaspheming!

Some, however, will still turn to Romans 6:14, where we read, “For it shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under Grace.”

After reading all the verses we have seen so far, could we believe Paul contradicted himself? If he did, then obviously his words are not inspired – and if that be true, the Bible is not inspired, and you have no Saviour!

Therefore let’s understand. Begin with verse one. “What shall we say then?” Paul asks. “Shall we continue in sin” – that is, breaking God’s law, for sin is law-breaking (I John 3:4) - “that grace may abound?” In other words, is it all right for Christians to transgress God’s law so they can have more grace to cover their sins?

Paul answers this question, “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Rom. 6:2).There is your answer! God does not save us “in our sins” rather, He save us from our sins!

As Christians, we are to reckon ourselves dead to sin (v. 11). Paul plainly says, “Let not sin (commandment-breaking) therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof” (v. 12). Lawlessness is not to reign over true Christians! We are to be law-abiding people! We are commanded not to yield ourselves as instruments of evil, sin, or law-breaking (v. 13). Rather, we are to be instruments of righteousness. And, what is righteousness (Ps. 119:172)? Now we come to verse 14, “For sin” (that is, again, commandment-breaking) shall not have dominion,” or rule, control, “over you.” Why? Why doesn’t sin have power over true Christians, as in the case of other people? Paul continues, “for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”

This has to do with sin having power over a person! When does sin or the penalty of sin have power over a person? When he has broken the law! Transgressors of the law are in a state of condemnation – doom – awaiting death! Sins holds them captive!

True Christians are not under the penalty of the law. In other words, the law is not hanging over their head condemning them. They are not under the penalty of the law! Because true Christians are “under grace” – that is, they have received the grace, the mercy, the unmerited pardon of God for their sins, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who died for them! Their sins have been pardoned, forgiven, washed away!

God’s law stands! It is sin which must be abolished, done away and nailed to the stake! Sin, transgression of law, is what separates one from God!

Yet, some will tell you that they wish to serve God out of love, not out of a guilt-ridden, fearful terror of the consequences of disobedience to law. Such people do not even understand what the love of God is! They seem to think love is but a sentimental emotion welling up in the heart, a “sticky” kind of sentiment.

But what is the love of God? (I John 5:3) “For this is the love of God that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous.”

Ministers and teachers who ignore and attempt to do away with God’s law, then, do not have the love of God! The very love they profess, they reject because they reject the commandments of God which expresses that very love. Are you willing to accept, and cling, to God’s truth? Do you tremble before the very Word of God, and fear to misinterpret, and misapply scripture? Are you willing to repent and obey God when you see you have been in error?

The law of God defines right from wrong. It tells us what to do and what not to do. If defines sin for us, so we can know how to live!

Grace is forgiveness for the sins we have committed and repented of. When God bestows His grace on us, He forgives us for our past transgression of His law. He blots out our sins and removes the death penalty from us. Christ died in our stead, paying the penalty for us.

Grace is not contrary to law. Rather, grace is the interposition of the mercy of God in regard to the death penalty which we were under. Grace merely removes the condemnation which we were under; we must obey God’s law through the help and power of God’s Holy Spirit.

There is no conflict whatsoever between God’s law and the grace of God! It is not a question of “Law or Grace.” Without law there would be no need of grace. Law and grace go together like hand in glove. One is dead without the other. One is useless without the other.

Law, apart from God’s grace, is impossible for men to keep perfectly! But grace, apart from God’s law is not grace but license to do evil!

It is not a matter of “law or grace.” It is a matter of Law and Grace.

You have just read what is dangerous knowledge. Those who possess this knowledge of the law of God will be held accountable for it. It is precious! It is priceless! And God does not expect it to be treated with disdain.

With the knowledge of God’s truth comes the sincere obligation to obey that truth, or have to face Almighty God in the judgment and fully explain why you did not. God wants you to enter His eternal Kingdom! He wants you to receive the glorious gift of salvation and eternal life in the Kingdom of God! Will you?

 
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