Grace and Law
Text: John 1:14-17
I. False ideas don’t always die. They end up getting recycled at a later time when the present generation has forgotten the teachings of the past which showed the ideas to be false.
A. I remember from childhood a big debate over the role of grace
1. The core was keeping the law wasn’t that important in view of God’s grace.
2. People are different, so we can’t ever agree on doctrine; therefore, we should have unity with a variety of beliefs because God’s grace covers everything.
3. It also claimed that we can be in fellowship without agreeing on doctrine.
4. Only a bare minimum of things were essential and everything else wasn’t important.
B. In other words, it is the idea of unity in diversity – the ideas expressed to the extreme in groups like the Episcopals and United Churches of Christ.
C. It makes “law” the enemy – the opposite of grace.
II. God talks about grace and law together
A. It was by God’s grace that Adam and Eve were given a garden with food, but they were also given a law - Genesis 2:16-17
B. Notice the interleaving of orders to follow God’s laws with the gracious gifts God had and would bestow upon Israel - Deuteronomy 11
C. The Law is from God. It serves a purpose:
1. To teach us what is wrong - Romans 3:20; 7:7
2. To teach us the consequences of our choices - Romans 2:5-11
3. To be the standard by which we are judged - John 12:48-50
D. Grace is from God as well. It serves a purpose:
1. God cares for us even when we do wrong - Genesis 3:21-24
2. God gave Israel a way to atone for their sins - Leviticus 17:11
3. God gave a solution for sin - Romans 5:9-11
4. A permanent solution - Hebrews 10:17-18
5. These were given, not because anyone deserved them, but because God loved us - I John 4:19
E. How can two concepts which both originate with God be thought to be conflicting?
a. The weightier matters of the law includes justice - Matthew 23:23
b. God’s law is His justice - Isaiah 51:4-5
c. Without law there is no justice - Habakkuk 1:4
d. But our justification is also by God’s grace - Titus 3:7; Romans 3:24-26
2. Law and grace then are interdependent. Jesus brought grace and truth - John 1:14
III. We would not know of God’s grace without God’s law
A. Without law, there is no sin - Romans 4:15; I John 3:4
B. The law teaches us how to obtain God’s grace - Romans 1:16-17
C. Unless we are aware of our sin, we cannot appreciate the gift of salvation from those sins - Romans 3:23
1. Grace does not mean continuing to sin - Romans 6:1-2, 15
2. God wants us not to sin, but offers us a way out of sin - I John 1:8-2:2
IV. Misapplication of “law”
A. Paul said we are not under law but grace - Galatians 5:4
1. It this all law, or a specific law?
2. Later Paul says we are to fulfill the law of Christ - Galatians 6:2
3. The law Paul was talking about in Galatians 5:4 was the Law that commanded circumcision - Galatians 5:1-3
4. This a passage addressing the problem discussed in Acts 15:1-5
B. You cannot be justified by the Law of Moses because it was no longer in effect - Romans 7:4; Ephesians 2:14-16; Colossians 2:13-14
C. Animals sacrifices could not really pay the price of sin - Hebrews 10:1-10
1. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice - John 1:29
D. People did not keep the Law of Moses - Hebrews 8:6-9
V. The reason we have a new law is because of God’s grace!
A. God send His Son to save the world - John 3:16-19
1. But the world can still be condemned because a lack of faith in Jesus
2. But faith’s origin is found in God’s law - Romans 10:17
B. God’s law guides us - Proverbs 6:23
C. Doing the Law of Christ is a blessing - James 1:25
D. We are born by the word of God - I Peter 1:22-25
E. Jesus brought grace and truth - John 1:17
1. Just as God prophesied - Psalms 85
2. Surely grace and truth have met together in our Lord and Savior - II Peter 3:18
3. Think about what that title means: Savior (grace) and Lord (law) are in one personage. There is no contradiction here.
Based on an article by Jonathan Perz