WHICH IS STRONGER:
LAW OR GRACE?
The Galatians desired to be under Law as a means of approach to God (Galatians 4:21); Paul wanted them to approach God on Grace ground (Galatians 5:4). Who was right? Is Law a better system for God to use to govern the believer, or is Grace? Which system do you think exerts the most effective control over the life of the saint?
Law is a system of conditional blessing; Grace is a system of unconditional blessing. It is important to note that Law is also a system of conditional cursing. Every act of disobedience calls for an appropriate punishment under Law (Hebrews 2:2). Blessings are earned by obedience and lost by disobedience (see Leviticus chapter 26, Deuteronomy chapter 28). Under Grace, God not only blesses the Believer in advance, He loads the Believer with blessing in advance...all possible blessing (Ephesians 1:3). Amazingly, this is done without any expectation of return and without any regard for the Believer's merit or demerit (Romans 11:6). But won't this encourage the Believer to sin? This is the age-old objection to the teaching of Grace. It was the objection raised by the Judaizers in Galatia and, for that matter, everywhere else that Paul and his colleagues proclaimed the good news of Grace (Romans 6:1,15).
The Believer in the present Dispensation of Grace is said, by God, to be a new creature in a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). While we didnít lose our fallen Adamic natures when we were created anew in Christ (we will retain them until we join the Lord through death or Rapture), we were given a new nature...a nature that responds only to God and therefore cannot sin (John 3:6). When you and I respond to life in our fleshly nature, we are totally untrustworthy; even Godís powerful Law cannot change that (Romans 8:3). When you and I respond in our spiritual nature, we are completely trustworthy; this is the reason that Grace works as a divine system of government for the Believer where Law must always fail (Hebrews 7:19; 9:9; 10:1,14).
God and Paul restate this great truth repeatedly in Scripture, and yet, it is a truth virtually unknown by Godís people today. This is a great tragedy because the knowledge of this is essential to the Grace Believerís life and ministry (Galatians 2:19; Romans 7:4). In Romans 7, we are reminded that a married woman cannot take a second husband without becoming an adulteress. God and Paul use the case of the married woman to show us that we cannot mix Law and Grace without committing spiritual adultery. Just as the hypothetical woman must have one relationship completely terminated before she can begin another, so the Believer must be out of a relationship governed by Law before he can begin another one governed by Grace. God uses strong language in this passage; He says that you and I, as Believers, have been slain to the Law in order that we might be married to Him Who was raised from the dead. Here, our fruit-bearing is said to depend on the former relationship, governed by Law, being terminated, and a new and perfectly legitimate relationship being entered into. Just as the woman could not have two relationships coexisting without committing adultery, so we Believers cannot have a relationship governed by Law and at the same time enter another relationship governed by Grace; this would be spiritually adulterous.
The Galatians were being courted by the Law Party. They had begun in the spirit, and were now being seduced into returning to the flesh as their base for life and ministry. When we recognize that the Galatian Epistle is not only Paulís letter to the Galatians, but Godís letter to the Body of Christ, we must realize the seriousness of our sin in trying to live the Christian life on Jewish ground. When any member of the Body of Christ seeks to approach God on the basis of human merit rather than Godís Grace, he is rejecting Godís plan in favor of Satanís!
It is vital to note that Paul does not enjoin Timothy to be strong in the Law of Moses, but in the Grace of Christ (2 Timothy 2:1). Also, he tells Titus that it is the "salvation-bringing" (literal translation) Grace of God that teaches (Greek, "child-trains") us that, "having denied impiety and worldly passions, we should live discreetly, uprightly, and reverently in this present age (Titus 2:11-12)."
Sinai, with all of its smoke, fire, and earthquake, and with its terrifying voice from Heaven, could not put an end to our ruin in Adam; it took Calvary to do that! Nor could Sinai grant to us resurrection power for resurrection living; it took the empty tomb to do that.
The temporary glory of the Law has given way to the permanent glory of the Spirit Who indwells us (2 Corinthians 3:7-11)! The Law-life had to end before the Grace-life could begin (Galatians 2:19; Romans 7:4). The barren ground of Law has been replaced by the fertile ground of Grace (Romans 7:4).
Godís grace is the greatest possible motivation in the entire universe...in all of eternity!!! If it isnít proving to be enough for todayís Believers, will something less do better???
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