What is the Law?
The Law, given by God to the children of Israel, regulated almost every aspect of life in the Old Testament times. It was while on Mount Sinai that Moses was given the Ten Commandments.
“Law vs. grace—why is there so much conflict among Christians on the issue?”
Answer: One side says, “Salvation is by faith alone.” The other side says, “That idea leads to lawlessness. God’s righteous standard in the Law must be upheld.” And someone else chimes in with, “Salvation is by grace, but grace only comes to those who obey God’s Law.” At the root of the debate are differing views on the basis of salvation.
When sharing the Gospel with an unbeliever it is critical that we always preach the law before grace. If you fail to convict a sinner using the law, they will have a lackadaisical attitude towards the grace of God.
Try to imagine for a moment, your sitting on the couch in your home when suddenly you hear a knock at your door. You open the door and you are addressed by well dressed young man who advises you that he has some kind of antidote for a cancer that you have never even heard of. The young man proceeds to tell you how he had to sell off practically all that he had in order to pay for it and he wants to give this antidote free of charge. You want to be polite and non-confrontational and besides, he is not asking for anything in return so you politely tell him thank you as you take the antidote from him and you both shake hands prior to his departure. You then think how it was a very nice gesture, but you can’t help but think that this guy has to have some sort of mental impairment to sell all that he had to give you an antidote for some strange cancer. So you take the vile and place it in your dresser drawer and go about your business because after all… you don’t feel bad at all so you don’t believe you have this strange disease so it doesn’t effect you one way or another.
This is what it is like if you attempt to give someone the good news of God’s grace without first giving them the bad news of the law. If the young man first took a moment to explain to you that he was a doctor and that he has seen multiple cases like yours that have all proved fatal. Then he proceeds to explain the symptoms along with various tests in order to prove to you your current condition and finally advises you to get your affairs in order because you don’t have much time left to live. Your response and acceptance for this antidote would be for more appreciated and it would now become the most precious item you possessed.
This is why we utilize the 10 Commandments in giving people what we sometimes refer to as the Good Person Test in our GOSPEL TRACTS. To reveal that they are not as good as they think they are. Then the antidote for our sin truly becomes priceless.
Deuteronomy 4:40 Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever. (see Exodus 34)
Romans 7:12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
Pslam 19:7-8 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
What does the Law do?
Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
D.L. Moody once said that the law is like a mirror—useful to convince one that his face is dirty, but a poor thing to wash it with.
What can’t the Law do?
Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Acts 13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
Hebrews 7:18-19 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
Why was the law given?
Galatians 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
Galatians 3:23-25 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law 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.
What is the believer’s rule of life?
1 John 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
Philippians 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
(Believers are to have the mind of Christ.)
What is grace?
Grace is the freely-given, unmerited favor and love of God.
Ephesians 2:7 That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Titus 3:4-5 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
What does grace do?
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Titus 2:11-13 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Is Christianity a mixed system of law and grace?
Romans 4:4-5 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.
Galatians 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Compare Deuteronomy with Luke in the following verses of scripture to see a beautiful contrast between law and grace.
Deuteronomy 21:18-21 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
Luke 15:18-23 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: