Grace and Law
In the scripture we read that we are not under the law but under grace:
Romans 6:14-15 (KJV) For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Does this mean we are lawless? What is grace anyway? We shall answer these questions in our article this week.
Understanding what God means by law
We need to understand that when the Bible speaks of law in the verse above it is talking about ceremonial law: the physical rituals and ceremonies that were compulsory under the Old Testament (OT). Paul describes this in Heb. 9:10:
Hebrews 9:9-10 (NIV) This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings– external regulations applying until the time of the new order.
So in the New Testament we are no longer under the ceremonial making of animal sacrifices and washings. All these physical ceremonies were only physical illustrations of the cleansing power of the blood of Christ, the water of the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit all made available by the one and all fulfilling sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.
The physical ceremonies were necessary under the OT as a temporary covering for sin but did not have the power to remove the sin nature from the human spiritual so that the people under the OT were not born again.
So in the NT we are not under the law.
However we are not lawless as we are still bound to obey the moral injunctions of the Ten Commandments and the spiritual principles of the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
Romans 13:7-10 (NIV) Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law (i.e. the ten commandments).
Here in Rom. 13: 7-10 Paul calls the Ten Commandments (Ex.20: 3-17) of Moses the law. Furthermore he shows us that these Ten Commandments can be fulfilled by the NT Christian if they simply walk in love.
Romans 8:1-4 (NIV) Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law (ceremonial) was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law (moral and spiritual) might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
Also in Rom. 8: 1-4 above we read, that by the new spiritual nature we receive in Christ Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit we can fulfill the righteous requirements of the Ten commandments or walk in love and not sin and so please God.
It takes the grace of God to be able to partake of the new or divine nature in Jesus Christ and use it by the power of the Holy Spirit to keep the moral laws of the Ten Commandments and the spiritual principles of the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.
Understanding what God means by grace
Grace is God’s underserved favour that causes Him to release a measure of His life to you. Here you need to understand that eternal life is not just going to heaven to live with God forever, but the very nature and substance that is inside God that makes Him God. Just like blood flows in the physical body, eternal life is the spiritual substance or liquid that flows inside God. To illustrate it Jesus calls eternal life, living water. (John 4:10, 14). God’s life and nature, eternal life, cannot be earned by man’s futile attempts to be good when he still has the sin or satanic nature dominating his spirit. This why Jesus said there is none good but God (Mk. 10:18). This is why salvation is by grace and not works (Eph. 2.8). We can never be saved by good works because our nature through the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is intrinsically evil. To escape the contamination of this sin nature passed down through physical birth, is the reason why Jesus had to be born of a virgin. It is also why it is only His sacrifice on the cross that is acceptable to God to cleanse us from the guilt and power of sin. However when we are born again through faith in the sacrifice of Christ that evil nature is removed from our spirits and then we are now to do good works acceptable to God (Eph. 2.10).
So grace is God’s undeserved favour that causes him to give you forgiveness and cleansing of sin and his divine life. The key things to remember about grace are that it is undeserved and it causes us to have divine life.
We see this truth in 2 scriptures:
Psalm 30:5 (KJV) For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour (grace) is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
1 Peter 3:7 (KJV) Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
Keep the law by grace and humility
So it is by the grace of God we now keep both moral and spiritual law. The divine life that the grace of God releases in sufficient measure gives us the supernatural ability to walk in love and so fulfill the Ten Commandments and diligently operate the spiritual principles of the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. The principles are the principles of prayer in the spirit, the confession of God’s Word, meditation in the Word, doing of the Word and fasting and living fasted life.
It is vital to see however that it is the attitude of meekness and lowliness of heart or humility that makes the grace of God available.
1 Peter 5:5 (KJV) Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
In fact, the scripture says we should grow in grace. Practically this means the more humble you are the greater the measure of the life of God that will be released to you and the grace of God.
2 Peter 3:18 (KJV) But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.