Law versus Grace
There are many today who are confused when comes to understanding the differences between the Mosaic law or the old covenant and Christís law the new covenant. While there are many different aspects we could examine on this subject, the main focus on our study tonight comes from,
John 1:17† For the law was given through Moses, but
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
on this verse and several other misunderstood verses some have came to
conclusion that there was no grace under the law of Moses and that there is no
law under the system of grace. Another way to put this is that grace and law
are mutual exclusive. Is the true? Is this what the Word of God teaches? These
are the questions I will be answering tonight. Before we jump in and examine
should all be familiar with this story of how all of mankind had turned is back
on God and he was ready to destroy all of them. Notice this as we read from,
Genesis 6:6 And the
LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His
heart.† 7 So the LORD said,
"I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both
man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have
made them."† 8 But Noah
found grace in the eyes of the LORD.†
we have just barely begun our study and we have already found grace in the OT.
But the next† question becomes what kind
of grace is God giving Noah? The answer can be found as we continue reading the
story of Noah starting in,
Genesis 6:13 And God
said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is
filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the
earth.† 14 " Make
yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and
outside with pitch.† 15
"And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three
hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.† 16 "You shall make a window
for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of
the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.† 17 "And behold, I Myself am
bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in
which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth
shall die.† 18 "But I
will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark -- you, your
sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you.
God was offering Noah and
his family salvation. The NT summarizes this story very well in,
Hebrews 11:7 By
faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly
fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned
the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
You see God gave the gift
of Grace to Noah. Clearly we can see God grace working outside of the New
covenant but another very important thing that we learn from Noah is that he
received his gift of grace from God in the same manner that† we receive his gift of grace today. Please
keep in mind that Noah gift of Grace was his salvation but in order for him to
accept this grace it took an obedient faith. He could not be saved until he
obeyed Gods commands. It took Noah 120 years to build that ark and he followed
Gods instructions very carefully and did not add anything to them or take
Genesis 7:5 And Noah
did according to all that the LORD commanded him.
It should be easy for us to
see that Noah could not have possible accepted God gift of grace of salvation
until he completed what God asked him to do. When God asks you to do something
that is a law or commandment showing that Grace and law work together hand and
hand and they are not mutual exclusive. The same thing is true under the NT as
well. God has offered to us the gift of salvation but in order to accept it we
must have an obedient faith and obey those commands that God has given so that
we may accept Gods gift of grace. When Noah obeyed Gods commands it did not
make him earn his salvation just as we cannot earn our salvation by obeying
Gods commands. No, instead Noah and each of us today are simply meeting Gods
requirements for us to accept his gift of salvation.
Our next OT example comes
from Moses and the children of
Exodus 33:12 Then
Moses said to the LORD, "See, You say to me, 'Bring up this people.' But
You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, 'I know
you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.'† 13 "Now therefore, I pray, if
I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and
that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your
people."† 14 And He said,
"My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."† 15 Then he said to Him, "If
Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.† 16 "For how then will it be
known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with
us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are
upon the face of the earth."† 17
So the LORD said to Moses, "I will also do this thing that you have
spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name."
again we find grace being given in the OT. Now notice what is said after Moses
receives the second set of the 10 commandments in,
Exodus 34:6 And the
LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, merciful
and gracious, Ö
You see not only was God
merciful he was gracious because his grace was available in the OT as well. Our
next example comes from,
Numbers 21:5 And the
people spoke against God and against Moses: "Why have you brought us up
In this account the
as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man
be lifted up,† 15 "that
whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
Obviously the big difference
here is that Christ healing is for the whole world and the bronze serpent was
just for those who had bitten by a viper. But we clearly see that it was an act
of grace on Gods part.
next examples comes from the story of
Joshua 6:2 And the
LORD said to Joshua: "See! I have given
we see the same pattern repeated.
you can see there are many example of Gods grace in the OT but I want to really
drive this point home so I want to show a few more verses that show the grace
of God in the OT
Ezra 9:8† "And now for a little while grace has
been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give
us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a
measure of revival in our bondage.††
Psalm 84:9-12†† 9 O God, behold our shield, And
look upon the face of Your anointed.† 10
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a
doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.† 11 For the LORD God is a sun and
shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From
those who walk uprightly.† 12
O LORD of hosts, Blessed is the man who trusts in You!
should be no doubt that grace was defiantly available during the OT times.
The second thing we need to find out is there law under
the system of Grace.
First of all we have
already shown that Grace and the obedient faith to Gods law worked together
under the OT. Now we must simply find out if the same is true under the NT. I
believe the main reason people are confused about law and Grace is because when
the see the word law used in the NT they assume this means all law when in fact
most of the time the word law in NT is referring to Moses law or old covenant.
Let me give you an example.
Romans 7:6 But now
we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so
that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness
of the letter.
You see when people read
these verses giving all law as the†
meaning for the word law the draw the conclusion that† there is no law under the system of grace. But
that not what is being said here. Paul is talking about the Mosaic law and not
all law in general. He is saying that you cannot be justified by the works of
the law of Moses that is to merit your salvation, no it is through an obedient
faith. Jesus delivered us from the law of Moses which was a tutor to bring us
to Christ (Gal.
Before we even begin to
look a verses that clearly show that we are under grace and law today, I want
you to think about this idea of a new covenant. As you look through the Bible
and read about the various covenants that are made with God is there always
stipulations in keeping that† covenant?
Of course there is and the same is true in the NT. God has provided us with his
will and to be in the right relationship†
with him† we are to obedient to
Hebrews 5:8 though
He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He
suffered.† 9 And having been
perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,
The mere fact that we
under a covenant and contains commands that we are to obey proves that we are both
under and law and Grace at the same time. Now look at this next passage.
Ephesians 2:8 For by
grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the
gift of God,† 9 not of works,
lest anyone should boast.
This is another high
abused verse that people use to say that you are saved by grace alone even
though the word alone is not used. Again this passage is teaching the exact
same thing I† have been talking† about. We cannot merit or earn our salvation
but we must accept God† gift of Grace
through an obedient faith. That is what the verse has in mind when it† says you are saved by grace through faith.
Grace is Gods part an obedient faith is our part. Now watch this,
This a great passage to
use along Eph 2:8 to help people understand the difference between works of
merit† and works of obedience. Those who
teach that grace and law are mutual†
exclusive would say that baptism can be a part of salvation because is
it work of the law. Paul makes very easy for us to see that baptism is a part
of our faith in Jesus Christ. Look at the text again. Notice we are made sons
through faith and very† next verse says
that those that had this faith which is a obedient faith were baptized into
Christ. So here we see both† faith and
baptism working together as a part of making us sons of God. So you† see baptism is work of obedience and not a
work of merit.
This tells us clearly
that there is law to follow under the system of Grace. Unless a person wants to
argue that a command is not a law. Besides all of this the word of God
specifically calls the new covenant a law in several places.
. Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ
Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death
This verse† points out†
that both the old and new covenants are to considered as law.
Galatians 6:2 Bear
one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
James 1:25 calls the new covenant the perfect law of liberty and says we will be
judged by this perfect law of liberty in James
I believe have shown
beyond a shadow of a doubt that there grace in the OT both under the Paterical
period and under the law of Moses. I have also shown that there law under the
system of grace and how they work hand and hand. Now that we have examined
these questions in detail let us know return back to verse,
John 1:17† For the law was given through Moses, but
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Based on what we have
looked at so far we can certainly know what this verse is not teaching. It is
not teaching that there was not grace under the law of Moses and that there is
no law under the system of Grace. Now if a person take a verse out of† context and doesnít search the Bible for what
it teaches on this topic it would be easy for a person to interpret a verse wrong.
That is why it is important for us to take the sum of Gods word and not some of
Gods word. For example let take this verse in John 1:17 and look at logically
all by itself. If this was all we had to go by then we would have to conclude
the Law came by Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. If we say that
there is no law under grace then we must also say that there is† no Grace or Truth under law. Now think about
this would† mean that Gods law under the
OT was lie if try to use verse alone without trying to understand its full
meaning. I donít know of to many people who claim to be Christians that† would be willing to call the OT a lie.
So what is John† saying here? Well, lets look at it context,
John 1:14 And the
Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of
the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.† 15 John bore witness of Him and
cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me is
preferred before me, for He was before me.' "† 16 And of His fullness we have all
received, and grace for grace.† 17
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through
Jesus Christ.† 18 No one has
seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father,
He has declared Him.
point John is† making is the same
principle through out the NT.† He saying
that revealing of Gods truth and Grace through Christ is at it highest form.
Jesus became flesh and humbled himself before and suffered many hardships and
died on the cross for our sins and then overcame death and is not sitting at
the right hand of God. All of these things show the greatest possible Grace
that God could give us. Through out the OT it was foretold that something
greater coming and that Jesus Christ. Nothing has or every will exceed this
gift of Grace.
2 Corinthians 3:9 †For if the ministry of condemnation had glory,
the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.
Paul is saying that the
old law had glory but the new covenant has much more Glory.
Again we see that under
the NT grace† abounds much more and
nothing exceeds the grace we are under now. Yes they had grace back then but it
was leading up to the ultimate gift of Grace Salvation to Jesus Christ.