Foundation Series #3: Relationship Of Law And Grace


Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

John 1:16-18 (KJV) And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. [17] For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. [18] No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

Many people are confused about the relationship of the Law and of Grace. In fact, most Christians are confused over the Law and Grace.

Some believers think you are saved by keeping the Law.
Some believers think you are saved by faith in Christ alone,
and because of this are no longer under any law.
Some even go farther and teach that you are saved by Christ,
so you can freely sin. Yet the Bible forbids this.

The Saved By Grace Do Not Freely Sin

Jude 1:3-4 (KJV) Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. [4] For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, TURNING THE GRACE OF OUR GOD INTO LASCIVIOUSNESS, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:1-2 (KJV) What shall we say then? SHALL WE CONTINUE IN SIN, THAT GRACE MAY ABOUND? [2] GOD FORBID. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Romans 6:12-14 (KJV) LET NOT SIN THEREFORE REIGN IN YOUR MORTAL BODY, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. [13] Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. [14] For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

The Child of God is saved by faith in the finished work of Christ. When you were saved God entered your life and you entered the Family of God. Those in the Family of God do not lightly sin.

So what is this thing we call “SIN”? The Bible defines SIN as:

1 John 3:4-6 (KJV) Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. [5] And ye know that {Jesus} was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. [6] Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

John tells us three things.

  1. Sin is the transgression or violation or breaking of the Law.
  2. Jesus came to this earth to take away our sins – to keep us from transgressing the Law.
  3. While you abide in Christ you will not sin. It is when we depart from Him that sin comes.

Is The Law And Grace At Odds With One Another?

If you’ve been paying attention it would seem that John and Paul are at odds with one another. Paul said “you are not under the Law but under Grace”. But John said “sin is the transgression of the Law”. It seems as if Paul says “you’re not under LAW” but John says “you ARE under the LAW”. So which is true? Paul wrote:

Romans 7:12 (KJV) Wherefore the LAW IS HOLY, and the commandment HOLY, AND JUST, AND GOOD.)

The Law is not at odds with the Grace of God. We will see that the Law of God has three elements:

  1. The Torah has CIVIL LAWS. The civil laws given by God in Torah applied only to Israel. Let me give you a modern day example. When I was stationed in England with the Air Force I was able to drive a car on British highways. On a British highway you drive on the left side of the road. I went through an approved driving school, and was given a British License good for any place under British Rule. When I came back to the United States and began to drive (after several years of driving in England and Wales) I got in the wrong lane. I quickly corrected myself when I saw an 18 wheeler headed my way. In the United States I hope you know the laws of the road are different. In England I drove on the left side. In the U.S. on the right side. God gave Israel certain civil laws that they were to obey, laws which do not apply to the Church.
  2. The Torah has CEREMONIAL OR PROPHETIC LAWS. These were Laws contained in feasts or celebrations and Laws that related to animal sacrifices and the Temple. The Israelite was expected to – at least once a year – take a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and sacrifice an approved animal that was without spot or blemish. The blood of that animal was collected and sprinkled on the people, making a temporary atonement or covering for the sins of the people. This part of the Law was prophetic, speaking to a time when the Messiah – our Lord Jesus Christ – would come. We are told in:

Hebrews 10:1-4 (KJV) For the LAW HAVING A SHADOW OF GOOD THINGS TO COME, AND NOT THE VERY IMAGE OF THE THINGS, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. [2] For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. [3] But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. [4] For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

The Law was a shadow of something greater that was coming. As the Apostle Paul told us, The Law was good and is good (Romans 7:12). Jesus told the Pharisees and Sadducees that stood against Him:

John 5:46-47 (KJV) For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for HE WROTE OF ME. [47] But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

Moses wrote of Jesus. When did Moses write of Jesus? He wrote of Jesus in Exodus 12 when the LORD gave the Festival of the Passover. The Lord told Moses to tell all Israel:

Exodus 12:3-7 (KJV) Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: [4] And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. [5] Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: [6] And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. [7] And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.

God was going to send death to every home that did not do as He said. The Israelite who believed in God was to take the Passover Lamb and following God’s instructions to kill this lamb without spot or blemish, putting its blood on the doorway of the home. What was this prophetically symbolic of? When John the Baptist first saw Christ he cried out:

Joh 1:29 … Behold THE LAMB OF GOD, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Joh 1:36 … Behold THE LAMB OF GOD!

When Moses wrote of the Passover the lamb without blemish killed and it’s blood shed was prophetic of the first coming of Christ. The Apostle Peter declared:

1 Peter 1:18-19 (KJV) Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; [19] But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

The animal sacrifices, the Temple in Jerusalem, the Tabernacle in the wilderness, the Feasts, the ceremonies, the Priests … all these things were symbolic and prophetic of the first Coming of Christ. When Jesus came to this earth being manifest as the Son of God and Perfect Man He came to “fulfill the Law”. Jesus plainly told us:

Matthew 5:17-18 (KJV) Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to FULFIL. [18] For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till ALL BE FULFILLED.

The word rendered “fulfill” in our text is the Greek πληρόω plēróō, (pronounced play-ro’-o) which means “to complete that which is lacking”. The ceremonial or prophetic portions of the Law were never given as a means of salvation. The “law was a shadow or foretelling of good things that were to come” (Hebrews 10:1). The animal sacrifices and rituals such as circumcision have no power to permanently save anyone. We are told in Hebrews 10 “would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. The ritual sacrifices were not a once and for all covering for sin. The Apostle Paul tells us that this part of the Law:

Galatians 3:23-26 (KJV) But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed [24] Wherefore the LAW WAS OUR SCHOOLMASTER TO BRING US UNTO CHRIST, that we might be justified by faith. [25] But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. [26] For YE ARE ALL THE CHILDREN OF GOD BY FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS.

The ceremonial or prophetic portion of the Law looked forward to a time when God would send forth His Son as the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.

1 Peter 3:18 (KJV) For Christ also hath ONCE suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

Hebrews 10:10-12 (KJV) By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL. [11] And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: [12] But this man, after he had offered ONE SACRIFICE FOR SINS FOR EVER, sat down on the right hand of God; … [14] For by ONE OFFERING HE HATH PERFECTED FOR EVER THEM THAT ARE SANCTIFIED.

Jesus “fulfilled” the ceremonial or prophetic portions of the Law. Because Christ fulfilled these temporary provisions of the Law God was able to do a greater thing for the believer in Christ: God NOW puts His Laws in the hearts and minds of His people. This is according to prophecy. Once Christ came and made the once and for all sacrifice of Himself for sin this covered us so that God could come to us.

The Christ Follower Is Under A New Covenant

Hebrews 10:15-24 (KJV) Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, [16] This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; [17] And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. [18] Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. [19] Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, [20] By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; [21] And having an high priest over the house of God; [22] Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. [23] Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) [24] And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

The “New Covenant” was prophesied by Jeremiah in Jeremiah 31:33-34. It was fulfilled by Christ when at the Lord’s Table He said “this is My blood of the new testament (literally, διαθήκη diathḗkē, [pronounced dee-ath-ay’-kay] covenant or contract) see also Mark 14:24 and Luke 22:20. Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophetic portion of the Law by dying on the Cross of Calvary. Our Lord Jesus …

Hebrews 8:6 … is the Mediator of a better COVENANT (διαθήκη diathḗkē, [pronounced dee-ath-ay’-kay)

Because of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection we have permanent and intimate relationship with God. Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 12:24). Our Messiah the Lord Jesus is the Great Shepherd of the sheep (that is, we who have received Him as Lord and Savior) through the blood of the EVERLASTING COVENANT. No longer do we or anyone have to go to a Temple to make sacrifice for sins. Jesus has paid it all. We sin:

Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain.
He washed it white as snow.

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the Blood of Jesus!

We need no longer be circumcised. Praise Him, for Christ fulfilled that ceremony for us. What does the Bible teach?

Colossians 2:10-11 (KJV) And YE ARE COMPLETE IN {JESUS}, which is the head of all principality and power: [11] In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

At salvation every Christian becomes a Temple unto God. Do you not know that you are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you (1 Corinthians 3:16). Do you not know that you are bought with a price? Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s (1 Corinthians 6:20). You are bought with a price. Serve God, not man (1 Corinthians 7:23). Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial or prophetic parts of the Law.

What Of The Moral Code Of The Law?

  1. To summarize, (1) the Torah has civil laws given by God to the nation of Israel alone. (2) The Torah has ceremonial or prophetic laws that were fulfilled in the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now we turn our attention to the moral codes contained in the Law that apply to everyone. The Law was built on ten pillars or ten commandments first found in Exodus 20. When Jesus came He did not annul the ten commandments nor any of the moral teachings of the Law. In fact, Jesus deepened the commandments. He “put a fence” around the commandments. For instance:

Matthew 5:21-22 (KJV) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: [22] But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

The self righteous can point to the 6th Commandment “thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13) and say “I’ve never murdered anybody, so I’m right with God”. But Jesus extended the commandment to attacking or defaming a brother, to murdering his or her character. To unjustly condemn a brother or a sister is a fence that was erected around the 6th commandment. We also read:

Matthew 5:27-28 (KJV) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: [28] But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Jesus took the 7th Commandment “thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14) and expanded it out to cover the very thought of sexual sin. Thoughts lead to actions. The fence around violating the 7th commandment is to not even think of another person as a piece of equipment used to satisfy your appetite. Jesus NEVER eradicated the commandments – He EXTENDED them.

A man asked Jesus one day “What is the great Commandment”? Jesus told him: Matthew 22:37-40 (KJV) … Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. [38] This is the first and great commandment. [39] And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. [40] On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

The spiritual intent of the moral portion of the Law is LOVE. The first FOUR commandments tell us to love God with all you have. The last SIX of the commandments tell us to love your neighbor the way you want to be loved. In fact, Jesus told one young seeker:

Matthew 19:17-19 (KJV) … IF THOU WILT ENTER INTO LIFE, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS. [18] He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, [19] Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Jesus listed five of the ten commandments, then summarized them as “love your neighbor as yourself”. Jesus did not cast away the moral code of the Law!

When Israel was given the moral code of the Law it was not written on their hearts, but on tablets of stone. But Christ gave us of His Spirit. He promised that if we would believe on Him that He would send:

John 16:13 (KJV) … the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: …

As we are loved of God in our salvation, God plants that love in our hearts. The Law said “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (Matthew 5:38; Exodus 21:22-27). But Jesus put a fence around this:

Matthew 5:39-45 (KJV) But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. [40] And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. [41] And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. [42] Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. [43] Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. [44] But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; [45] That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

God is love (1 John 4:8), and God the Holy Spirit indwells the Church Age believer, guiding us to love as we are loved. The moral codes of the Law are NOT erased, but are ENHANCED.

What Of Our Focal Text?

the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth
came by Jesus Christ

When people read this they see the word BUT. The word BUT used as a conjunction is according to the dictionary

used to introduce a phrase or clause CONTRASTING with what has already been mentioned

The King James translators put a “but” between the Law and Grace and Truth. What most people don’t notice is that the word but in the King James text is italicized. This word was supplied by the translators but was italicized because the Greek word for “but” (conjunction ἀλλά or alla or the connective or adversative particle δέ or de) is NOT in the original text. The translators assumed that adding the “but” here would make the text more readable. It doesn’t. In fact, but” introduces a contrast that is NOT there is the original text. The original text simply states:

the law was given by Moses. (period)
grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (period)

The Law has never had the power to save anyone. The Law told Israel how God wanted them to live. The Law told Israel that Christ was coming. The Law also told everyone what was morally right. The Law TELLS …. but GRACE is what saves. The Law and Grace have never been opposites to one another. Some people think that the opposite of Grace is the Law, and the opposite of Law is Grace. That’s untrue, and cannot be supported Biblically.

The opposite of Law is lawlessness.
The opposite of Grace is disgrace.

Did you know that Moses was saved not by Law, but by GRACE?

Exodus 33:12-13 (KJV) And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also FOUND GRACE in my sight. [13] Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have FOUND GRACE in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may FIND GRACE IN THY SIGHT: and consider that this nation is thy people.

Exodus 33:17 (KJV) And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast FOUND GRACE IN MY SIGHT, and I know thee by name.

God gave Torah through Moses – but Moses was saved by GRACE.
Everyone is saved by Grace.
NOAH was saved by Grace. (Genesis 6:8)
ABRAHAM was saved by Grace (Romans 4)
LOT was saved by Grace (Genesis 19:19)
MOSES was saved by Grace. (Exodus 33:12-13)

The Bible declares from Old Covenant to New Covenant:

Habakkuk 2:4 (KJV) … the just shall live by his faith.

Romans 1:17 (KJV) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Galatians 3:11 (KJV) But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

Hebrews 10:38 (KJV) Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

If you have been saved then you will live within the moral code that God has given. You will live, loving God and loving others. You will affirm what God has affirmed, and reject what God has rejected. You have received a full salvation in Him …

John 1:16 (KJV) And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

Not walking in darkness, but walking in His light and His love. Be imitators of God as dear children (Ephesians 5:1). Walk in love. Walk in holiness. Walk in obedience to the moral code that the Torah and our High Priest Jesus Christ has given us. May God touch your hearts with His Word!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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