Weekly Bible Study
Law or Grace
January 9, 2013
If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done. Ecclesiastes 11:4
Law or grace? Now that we have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, don’t we still have to try living by the 10 commandments? Can we simply turn our backs on what God gave His people through Moses? I hear Christians refer to meeting on the Sabbath, meaning Sunday; or for some, Saturday. Which is proper and what does God expect from Christians today?
Faith in Jesus Christ brings righteousness (apart from the law) to all who believe! ALL!
(Romans 3:19-26) Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God.20 For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago.22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past,26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By one of works? No, on the contrary, by the law of faith. For we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
(John 1:16-17) “From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
(Galatians 2:3-5) “Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”
Christians Are Dead To The Law!
Realizing how difficult it is for Jews, who have been taught that following The Law is essential, Paul uses strong language to explain that faith in Christ is what justifies everyone…Jew and Gentile.
(Gal. 2:15-16) “You and I are Jews by birth, not ‘sinners’ like the Gentiles.16 Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”
And then, one of the most powerful explanations of the difference between law and grace is verse twenty-one:
(Gal. 2:21) “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.”
Beginning chapter three, Paul slaps the Galatians in the face with this powerful point:
(Gal. 3:1-4) “Foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of His death on the cross. Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?”
Pounding the message home further, Paul’s fervent love and concern for the Galatians continues in verse 5, “I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.”
A scribe asked Jesus, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”
(Mark 12:29-31) Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord.30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
In the Gospel of John, Jesus emphasizes the importance of love as a command:
(John 14:15; 15:9-14, 17) “If you love me, you will obey what I command…As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command…This is my command: Love each other.