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21 November, 2011 10:34

November 21, 2011

DOES GRACE DETOUR GOD’S LAW?

A close friend of mine recently accused me of ‘bible bashing’ them –that’s code for ‘I don’t want anyone telling me that what I’m doing is wrong.’ This friend knows the scriptures well but doesn’t want to submit to them, choosing rather to find a ‘loophole’ that will provide them amnesty from obedience. Reasoning with this person was out of the question. They refused to listen, at least to God’s Word.

Surprisingly they soon found plenty of ‘friends’ that supported their actions insisting that ‘grace’ was far more merciful than the Law. In other words they were looking for a way to circumnavigate the Law that clearly stood in opposition to their plans.

But is that really the function of grace? Is grace more amiable and agreeable to one’s ‘rebellion’ than the Law? The truth is, that grace raises God’s standard higher than the Law, thereby making the Law mild in comparison. Take for example what Jesus said to His disciples on the mountain as He taught them the ways of His Kingdom. ‘You have heard… (Law) YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER…But I say to you (grace) that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty…’ ‘You have heard that it was said (Law) YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTRY’ but I say to you (grace) that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.

These verses clearly reveal that ‘grace’ raises the bar significantly higher than the Law.

For those who insist that they are no longer under the Law but grace, fail to realize the meaning of what they are saying. In their mind they are wrongly assuming that ‘grace’ provides much more ‘wiggle room’ than the Law. In their mind, what the Law denies them, grace provides them. In the case of my friend, this was the right to do their own thing with God’s approval, or so they thought.

Grace today has become the ultimate scapegoat. Grace however is not just a ‘thing’ but a person –the Spirit of grace. The Spirit of grace is also the Holy Spirit who in turn is God. The question then is, is God in conflict with Himself? Is grace in conflict with Law? God forbid!

The Law’s weakness lay in the fact that it was a standard only, but didn’t provide the person with the ability to uphold that standard. That is where grace comes in. Consider the following little rhyme from the pen of John Bunyan.

RUN JOHN RUN THE LAW DEMANS

BUT GIVES US NEITHER FEET NOR HANDS

FAR BETTER NEWS THE GOSPEL BRINGS

IT BIDS US FLY AND GIVES US WINGS

Grace then, does not disarm the *Law,(* the moral requirements of the Law) but rather arms the believer to keep what they were otherwise powerless to perform. Whatever way you look at it, there is no escape from obedience to God’s declared will. According to God’s word the Law is righteous. Grace appeared to teach us to deny ungodliness…and live righteously. Neither Law nor grace are in conflict with each other, but both stand in opposition to lawlessness.

John Nolland’s commentary on Luke, to 16:16ff.:

"Paradoxically the bestowal of the free and generous love of the heavenly Father makes yet more rigorous demands upon those who will respond than had the law and prophets that preceded it." And, "In Luke’s understanding here, the preaching of the good news of the kingdom of God, quite the contrary to offering easy entry into the kingdom, involves an intensification of the demands of the law."

Nolland, J. (2002). Vol. 35B: Word Biblical Commentary : Luke 9:21-18:34. Word Biblical Commentary (820). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 21, 2011 8:04 pm

    Thank you David for such and encouraging word! My wife Julie and were talking this evening, for years we had been listening to Christian television, caught up in the speaking only positive things. When someone brought a word about sin and behavior we rejected it immediately because it was negative and brought condemnation. We were to live by faith, we were not under the law.

    Then we discovered something working in our hearts and we began to open ourselves up a little. Ministers like David Wilkerson, B. H. clendennen, your Dad and yourself among other began to get through. We were discussing this evening how much stronger spiritually we were because we were hearing the power of the word preached, conviction was allowed to work in our lives and we were able to repent and walk in His Grace!

    Thank you so much for the word you bring!

  2. Patrick Robinson permalink
    November 23, 2011 9:13 am

    I love your statement: “Neither Law nor grace are in conflict with each other, but both stand in opposition to lawlessness.”

    This is a much needed message!

  3. max permalink
    December 16, 2011 1:01 am

    Thanks Dave! Just signed up to your blog-great insights! Love Max

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