God's grace and the law


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Does God's grace blot out the law of God? Are the ten commandments still relevant today?

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God's grace and the law

  1. 1. Copyright © 2004 byLu Ann CrewsAll rights reserved.Printed in the USA.Published by:Amazing Facts, Inc.P.O. Box 1058Roseville, CA 95678-8058800-538-7275Layout by Greg Solie - Altamont GraphicsCover design by Haley Trimmer
  2. 2. 1. The Authority of God’s Law …………… 2 2. Condemned to Die …………………… 5 3. The Law Still Binding ………………… 8 4. God’s Law—A Mirror ………………… 10 5. The “New” Law of God ………………… 13 6. Not Under the Law …………………… 15 7. Obedience—The Test of Love ………… 20 8. Is It Possible to Obey the Law? …………… 23 9. Judged by the Law …………………… 2610. Ransomed for What? ………………… 28
  3. 3. 2 DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW? CHAPTER ONE THE AUTHORITY OF GOD’S LAWT he devil, through sin, has just about wrecked this world of ours. We live inan age of rebellion against all restraint andlaw. Our nation stands aghast at the big-citygang defiance of social order and propertyrights, including the right to live. Murder,robbery, and personal assaults have becomethe trademark of both urban and suburban20th-century life. Each day as we read the newspaper itseems that the quality of life has edgeddownward a little bit further. At times weare tempted to believe that things can getno worse, and that conditions have hit rockbottom. Yet, the next day, even more violent,bizarre crimes are reported, and we simplyshake our heads in disbelief. It is difficultto comprehend how a nation like Americawith its rich Christian heritage could everdepart so far from its founding principles.Even the non-Christian countries are not
  4. 4. DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW? 3plagued with as much crime and overallviolence as this so-called Christian nation.More crime is reported in Washington,D.C., in 24 hours than Moscow reports in afull year. No doubt the reporting methodsare not the same, but it still presents analarming picture. The problem becomes more seriouswhen we realize that lawlessness alsoreaches into the area of religion andaffects millions who would never thinkof killing or raping. It is probable thatthe great majority of church membersin America today carry few convictionsagainst breaking at least one of the TenCommandments. A very insidious doctrinehas been developed in both Catholic andProtestant theology, which has tended tominimize the authority of God’s greatmoral law. It has led many to look lightlyupon transgression and has made sin toappear unobjectionable. In fact, sin has lostits horror for multitudes and has becomean acceptable mode of life for both youthand adults. Witness the current trends inlifestyle that support this view.
  5. 5. 4 DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW? How many young men and womenare living together without benefit ofmarriage! Yet they do not believe suchliving arrangements should be designatedas sin. A large portion of shoplifters areprofessing Christians, and most of thosewho belong to churches believe that thereis no sin whatsoever involved in violatingthe seventh-day Sabbath of the fourthcommandment. How can we explain this paradoxicalsituation among those who professsuch high regard for the Bible, and suchlove for Christ? This question becomesmore significant when we consider thehistorical position of Christianity towardthe Ten-Commandment law. Almost allof the great denominations have officiallyplaced themselves on record as supportingthe authority of that law. Yet very subtleerrors of interpretation have crept intothe modern church, leading to the presentstate of confused loyalty toward the TenCommandments. How earnestly we needto look at that law and study its relationto God’s grace and to salvation itself. It
  6. 6. DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW? 5is so easy to accept the popular clichésconcerning law and grace without searchingout the biblical facts by which we will finallybe judged. We must find authoritativescriptural answers to questions like these:In what sense are Christians free fromthe law? What does it mean to be underthe law? Does God’s grace nullify the TenCommandments? Is a Christian justified inbreaking any of the Ten Commandmentsbecause he is under grace? These are thequestions we shall address ourselves to inthis important study. CHAPTER TWO CONDEMNED TO DIEL et us push aside the rubbish of confusion that has obscured the truth about howmen are saved. Multitudes have heardemotional discourses on sin and salvation,but they still do not understand the logicand reason that require a blood sacrifice. Can you imagine the horror of standingbefore a judge and hearing the sentence of
  7. 7. 6 DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW?death pronounced against you? Probablynot. But you have felt the driving guiltand fear when God’s Word stabs you withthis sentence: “The wages of sin is death”(Romans 6:23). Why fear and guilt? Because“all have sinned, and come short of theglory of God” (Romans 3:23). The words are there and the meaningcannot be mistaken. The word “all” mightjust as well be spelled John Smith or MaryJones or whatever your name happens to be.The shocking fact is that you are under thesentence of death! You have been found guiltybefore the law, and there is no court of appealin the world that can reverse the sentenceand find you not guilty. The fact is that youare guilty, just as guilty as sin. According to1 John 3:4, “sin is the transgression of the law,”and you must plead guilty to breaking thelaw. Whose law did you break? Paul answersquickly, “I had not known sin, but by the law:for I had not known lust, except the law hadsaid, Thou shalt not covet” (Romans 7:7).There it is! The great Ten-Commandment lawis the one that was broken, and it demandsdeath for the transgressor.
  8. 8. DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW? 7 In desperation the sinner searches fora way to be justified in the sight of thatbroken law. How can the sentence of deathbe turned aside? Can man atone for his sinsby obeying the commandments of God forthe rest of his life? Back comes the answerin language that no one can misinterpret:“Therefore by the deeds of the law thereshall no flesh be justified in his sight”(Romans 3:20). Listen; there is a reason why works willnot justify a soul. If a man is found guiltyof stealing and is sentenced to ten yearsin jail, he may indeed justify himself byworks. By serving the time of his sentence,the man may satisfy the claims of the law.He is considered perfectly justified andinnocent because he has worked out hisdeliverance by fulfilling the sentence. In thesame manner, a murderer may be justifiedby works if he serves the fifty years of hissentence. But suppose the sentence is deathinstead of fifty years? Can the prisonerthen justify himself by works? Never! Evenif he should work for one hundred yearsat hard labor, the law would still demand
  9. 9. 8 DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW?death. The truth is that “without sheddingof blood is no remission. … So Christ wasonce offered to bear the sins of many”(Hebrews 9:22–28). This is why works can never save thesinner. The penalty for sin is not ten yearsin prison or fifty years at hard labor. Thesentence is death, and the law cannot besatisfied except by the shedding of blood.That unchangeable law with its unrelentingdeath sentence could no more be removedthan the throne of God could be toppled.The guilt of the past cannot be erased byresolutions of good behavior in the future.The sinner finally is forced to confess thathe owes something that he cannot pay. Thelaw demands death and he cannot satisfy itwithout forfeiting his own life for eternity. CHAPTER THREE THE LAW STILL BINDINGN ow we are brought to the question that has created confusion for multitudesof Christians: If the works of the law cannot
  10. 10. DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW? 9save a person, is it therefore necessary tokeep the law? Apparently this was a burningissue in the early church, because Paul askedthe same question in Romans 6:1. “Shall wecontinue in sin, that grace may abound?” Inother words, does grace give us a license todisobey the law of God? His answer is: “Godforbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin,live any longer therein?” (verse 2). How interesting it is that Christiansin this age of relativism can invent theirown definitions that condone lawbreaking.The Bible says sin is violating the TenCommandments—the law which has beendescribed as irrelevant and old-fashionedby many modern theologians. Don’t bedeceived. Every one of those great moralprecepts is just as timely and needful todayas they were when God wrote them on theimperishable tables of stone. And nothinghas ever happened to make them less bindingthan they were when God gave them. In fact,we are going to discover that Jesus came tomagnify the law and to open up its spiritualapplication, making it more comprehensivethan the legalistic Pharisees ever imagined.
  11. 11. 10 DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW?Under the distilling influence of Christ’sperfect life of obedience, we can see thespiritual details of law-keeping which areneither recognized nor made possible apartfrom Him. CHAPTER FOUR GOD’S LAW—A MIRRORA t this point we must be very careful to designate also what the law cannotdo. Even though it points out sin, it hasno power to save from sin. There is nojustifying, cleansing grace in it. All theworks of all the laws would not be sufficientto save a single soul. Why? For the simplereason that we are saved by grace throughfaith, as a free gift. “Therefore by the deedsof the law there shall no flesh be justified inhis sight: for by the law is the knowledge ofsin” (Romans 3:20). Do not stumble over this crucial point.We cannot earn forgiveness by workinghard to obey. No sinner can gain favor andacceptance with God because he keeps the
  12. 12. DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW? 11law. The law was not made for the purposeof saving or justifying. It was made to showus our need of cleansing and to point us tothe great source of cleansing, Jesus Christ,our Lord. The Bible speaks of the law asa mirror to show us what kind of personswe really are. “For if any be a hearer of theword, and not a doer, he is like unto a manbeholding his natural face in a glass: For hebeholdeth himself, and goeth his way, andstraightway forgetteth what manner of manhe was. But whoso looketh into the perfectlaw of liberty, and continueth therein, hebeing not a forgetful hearer, but a doer ofthe work, this man shall be blessed in hisdeed” (James 1:23–25). It is obvious to all that a mirror cannotremove a spot from the face. Looking intothe mirror all day, and even rubbing it overthe face, will not provide any cleansing. Itswork is to reveal the spot and to point thedirty one to the sink for actual cleansing.The law, in like manner, can only condemnthe sinner by giving him knowledge ofhis condition and then pointing him tothe cross for true cleansing. “For by grace
  13. 13. 12 DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW?are ye saved through faith; and that notof yourselves: it is the gift of God: Notof works, lest any man should boast”(Ephesians 2:8, 9). Paul further emphasizesthis point in Galatians 2:16: “Knowing thata man is not justified by the works of thelaw, but by the faith of Jesus Christ … forby the works of the law shall no flesh bejustified.” Right here we must consider one ofthe most fallacious propositions everset forth relating to the law. Countlesssincere Christians have accepted the ideathat the Old Testament encompasses thedispensation of works and that the NewTestament provides for a dispensation ofgrace. Under this garbled plan people weresaved by works in the Old Testament and bygrace in the New Testament. This is simplynot true. The Bible holds forth only onebeautiful, perfect plan for anybody to besaved, and that is by grace through faith.Heaven will not be divided between thosewho got there by works and those who gotthere by faith. Every single soul among theredeemed will be a sinner saved by grace.
  14. 14. DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW? 13 Those who entered into salvation in theOld Testament were those who trusted themerits of the blood of Jesus Christ, and theydemonstrated their faith by bringing a lamband slaying it. They looked forward in faithto the atoning death of Jesus. We look backin faith to the same death and are saved inexactly the same way. Be very certainthat the entire redeemed host throughouteternity will be singing the same song ofdeliverance, exalting the Lamb slain fromthe foundations of the world. CHAPTER FIVE THE “NEW” LAW OF CHRISTS ome tr y to dispose of the Ten Commandments on the basis of the“new” commandments of love that Christintroduced. It is certainly true that Jesus laiddown two great laws of love as a summaryof all the law, but did He give the idea thatthese were new in point of time? The factis that He was quoting directly from theOld Testament when He gave those new
  15. 15. 14 DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW?commandments. “And thou shalt love theLORD thy God with all thine heart, andwith all thy soul, and with all thy might”(Deuteronomy 6:5). “Thou shalt love thyneighbour as thyself ” (Leviticus 19:18).Certainly, those penetrating spiritualprinciples had been forgotten by the legalistsof Christ’s day, and they were new to themin relation to their life and practice. Butthey were not intended by Jesus to take theplace of the Ten Commandments. When the lawyer asked Jesus which wasthe greatest commandment in the law, hereceived the answer: “Thou shalt love theLord thy God with all thy heart, and withall thy soul, and with all thy mind. Thisis the first and great commandment. Andthe second is like unto it, Thou shalt lovethy neighbour as thyself. On these twocommandments hang all the law and theprophets” (Matthew 22:37–40). Notice that these two love command-ments simply summed up “all the law andthe prophets.” They all hang upon thesetwo principles of love. Christ was sayingthat love is the fulfilling of the law just
  16. 16. DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW? 15as Paul repeated it later in Romans 13:10.If one loves Christ supremely with heart,soul, and mind, he will obey the first fourcommandments that have to do with ourduty to God. He will not take God’s namein vain, worship other gods, etc. If oneloves his neighbor as himself, he will obeythe last six commandments that relateto our duty to our fellow men. He willnot be able to steal from his neighbor, lieabout him, etc. Love will lead to obeying orfulfilling all the law. CHAPTER SIX NOT UNDER THE LAWO ften we hear this argument in an effort to belittle the law of God: “Well,since we are not under the law but undergrace, we do not need to keep the TenCommandments any longer.” Is this a validpoint? The Bible certainly does say that weare not under the law, but does that implythat we are free from the obligation to obeyit? The text is found in Romans 6:14, 15.
  17. 17. 16 DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW?“For sin shall not have dominion over you:for ye are not under the law, but undergrace. What then? shall we sin, because weare not under the law, but under grace?God forbid.” How easily we could prevent confusionif we accepted exactly what the Bible says.Paul gives his own explanation of hisstatement. After stating that we are notunder the law but under grace, he asks,“What then?” This simply means, “Howare we to understand this?” Then noticehis answer. In anticipation that somewill construe his words to mean that youcan break the law because you are undergrace, he says, “Shall we sin (break thelaw) because we are not under the law butunder grace? God forbid.” In the strongestpossible language Paul states that beingunder grace does not give a license to breakthe law. Yet this is exactly what millionsbelieve today, and they totally ignore Paul’sspecific warning. If being under grace does not exemptus from keeping the law, then what doesPaul mean by saying that Christians are
  18. 18. DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW? 17not under the law? He gives that answerin Romans 3:19. “Now we know that whatthings soever the law saith, it saith to themwho are under the law: that every mouth maybe stopped, and all the world may becomeguilty before God.” Here Paul equates beingunder the law with “being guilty beforeGod.” In other words, those who are underthe law are guilty of breaking it and areunder the condemnation of it. This is whyChristians are not under it. They are notbreaking it—not guilty and condemnedby it. Therefore, they are not under it, butare under the power of grace instead. Laterin his argument, Paul points out that thepower of grace is greater than the power ofsin. This is why he states so emphatically,“For sin shall not have dominion over you:for ye are not under the law, but undergrace.” Grace overrules the authority of sin,giving power to obey God’s law. This is theeffective reason that we are not under thelaw’s guilt and condemnation and also whyPaul states that we will not continue to sin. Suppose a murderer has been sentencedto death in the electric chair. Waiting for the
  19. 19. 18 DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW?execution the man would truly be underthe law in every sense of the word—underthe guilt, under the condemnation, underthe sentence of death, etc. Just before theexecution date the governor reviews thecondemned man’s case and decides topardon him. In the light of extenuatingcircumstances the governor exercises hisprerogative and sends a full pardon to theprisoner. Now he is no longer under the lawbut under grace. The law no longer condemnshim. He is considered totally justified as faras the charges of the law are concerned.He is free to walk out of the prison and nopoliceman can lay hands upon him. But nowthat he is under grace and no longer underthe law, can we say that he is free to breakthe law? Indeed not! In fact, that pardonedman will be doubly obligated to obey the lawbecause he has found grace from the governor.In gratitude and love he will be very carefulto honor the law of that state which grantedhim grace. Is that what the Bible says aboutpardoned sinners? “Do we then make voidthe law through faith? God forbid: yea,we establish the law” (Romans 3:31). Here
  20. 20. DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW? 19is the most explicit answer to the entireproblem. Paul asks if the law is nullified forus just because we have had faith in Christ’ssaving grace. His answer is that the law isestablished and reinforced in the life of agrace-saved Christian. The truth of this is so simple and obviousthat it should require no repetition, but thedevious reasoning of those who try to avoidobedience makes it necessary to press thispoint a bit further. Have you ever beenstopped by a policeman for exceeding thespeed limit? It is an embarrassing experience,especially if you know you are guilty. Butsuppose you really were hurrying to meeta valid emergency, and you pour out yourconvincing explanation to the policemanas he writes your ticket. Slowly he folds theticket and tears it up. Then he says, “All right,I’m going to pardon you this time, but …”Now what do you think he means by thatword “but”? Surely he means, “but I don’twant to ever catch you speeding again.” Doesthis pardon (grace) open the way for youto disobey the law? On the contrary, it addscompelling urgency to your decision not to
  21. 21. 20 DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW?disobey the law again. Why, then, shouldany true Christian try to rationalize his wayout of obeying the law of God? “If ye loveme,” Jesus said, “keep my commandments”(John 14:15). CHAPTER SEVEN OBEDIENCE—THE TEST OF LOVES omeone may bring up the objection that after the law has accomplished itspurpose of pointing the sinner to Christ forcleansing, it will no longer be needed in theexperience of the believer. Is that true? No,indeed. The Christian will always need thewatchdog of the law to reveal any deviationfrom the true path and to point him back tothe cleansing cross of Jesus. There will neverbe a time when that mirror of correctionwill not be needed in the progressive growthexperience of the Christian. Law and grace do not work incompetition with each other but in perfectcooperation. The law points out sin, andgrace saves from sin. The law is the will of
  22. 22. DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW? 21God, and grace is the power to do the will ofGod. We do not obey the law in order to besaved but because we are saved. A beautifultext which combines the two in their truerelationship is Revelation 14:12. “Here isthe patience of the saints: here are they thatkeep the commandments of God, and thefaith of Jesus.” What a perfect descriptionof faith and works! And the combination isfound in those who are “saints.” The works of obedience are the real testof love. This is why they are so necessaryin the experience of a true believer. “Faithwithout works is dead” (James 2:20). Noman ever won a fair maiden’s heart bywords alone. Had there been no flowers, noacts of devotion, no gifts of love, most menwould still be searching for a companion.Jesus said, “Not every one that saith untome, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdomof heaven; but he that doeth the will of myFather which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Words and profession are not enough.The true evidence is obedience. Today’sbumper stickers reflect a shallow conceptof love. They say, “Smile if you love Jesus,”
  23. 23. 22 DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW?“Honk if you love Jesus”; but what did theMaster Himself say? He said, “If ye love me,keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Andthat is exactly what most people don’t wantto do. If love makes no demands beyond asmile or wave, then it is welcome; but if thelifestyle must be disturbed, the majority willreject it. Unfortunately, most people todayare not looking for truth. They are lookingfor a smooth, easy, comfortable religion thatwill allow them to live the way they pleaseand still give assurance of salvation. Thereis indeed no true religion that can do thatfor them. One of the strongest texts in the Bibleon this subject is found in 1 John 2:4. “Hethat saith, I know him, and keepeth nothis commandments, is a liar, and the truthis not in him.” John could write that withsuch assurance because it is one of the mostdeeply established truths in the Bible. Jesusspoke of those who said, “Lord, Lord,” butdid not do the will of the Father. Then Hedescribed many who would seek entranceto the kingdom claiming to be workersof miracles in the name of Christ. But He
  24. 24. DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW? 23would sorrowfully have to say, “I never knewyou: depart from me” (Matthew 7:21–23).You see, to know Christ is to love Him,and to love Him is to obey Him. The validassumption of the Bible writers is very clearand simple: If one is not obeying Christ, hedoes not love Christ. And if he doesn’t lovethe Master, then he doesn’t know Him. Johnassured us, “And this is life eternal, thatthey might know thee the only true God,and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent”(John 17:3). Thus, we can see how knowingand loving and obeying are all tied closelytogether and are absolutely inseparablein the life of God’s faithful people. Thebeloved John summed it up in these words:“For this is the love of God, that we keep hiscommandments: and his commandmentsare not grievous” (1 John 5:3). CHAPTER EIGHT IS IT POSSIBLE TO OBEY THE LAW?C ountless Christians have been taught that since the law is spiritual and we
  25. 25. 24 DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW?are carnal, no human being will ever be ablein this life to meet the requirements of theperfect law. Is this true? Has it been givenby God as a great idealistic, impossiblegoal toward which converted souls shouldstruggle but never expect to attain? Is theresome hidden reservation or secret meaningin the many commands to obey the ten greatrules God wrote on stone? Did God meanwhat He said and say what He meant? Many believe that only Christ couldhave obeyed that law and only because Hehad special powers that have not been madeavailable to us. Certainly it is true that Jesus isthe only One who lived without committinga single act of disobedience. His reason forliving that perfect, victorious life is laid outin Romans 8:3, 4: “For what the law couldnot do, in that it was weak through the flesh,God sending his own Son in the likeness ofsinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin inthe flesh: That the righteousness of the lawmight be fulfilled in us, who walk not afterthe flesh but after the Spirit.” Do not miss the point that Jesus cameto condemn sin by His perfect life in the
  26. 26. DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW? 25flesh in order that “the righteousness of thelaw” might be fulfilled in us. What is thatrighteousness? The Greek word dikaima isused here, which means, literally, “the justrequirement” of the law. This can only meanthat Christ won His perfect victory in orderto make the same victory available to us.Having conquered the devil, showing that inthe flesh the law can be obeyed, Christ nowoffers to come into our hearts and sharethe victory with us. Only by His strengthand indwelling power can the requirementsof the law be fulfilled by anyone. Paul said,“I can do all things through Christ whichstrengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). Not one soul can ever keep one of thoseTen Commandments in human power alone,but all of them may be kept through theenabling strength of Jesus. He imputes Hisrighteousness for cleansing and imparts Hisrighteousness for victorious living. Christcame in a body of flesh like our own anddepended wholly upon His Father in livingHis life to demonstrate the kind of victorywhich is possible for every soul who willlikewise draw upon the Father’s grace.
  27. 27. 26 DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW? CHAPTER NINE JUDGED BY THE LAWN ow, a final question about the subject of the law: How many of the TenCommandments does one have to break inorder to be guilty of sin? James says, “Forwhosoever shall keep the whole law, and yetoffend in one point, he is guilty of all. Forhe that said, Do not commit adultery, saidalso, Do not kill. Now if thou commit noadultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become atransgressor of the law. So speak ye, and sodo, as they that shall be judged by the law ofliberty” (James 2:10–12). Every individual will be judged at lastby the mighty moral code of God’s law. Tobreak one is to be guilty of sin. The Bibleindicates that the Ten Commandments arelike a chain with ten links. When one linkis broken, the chain is broken. So it is withthe law. Those who stand in the judgmentwill have to meet the acid test of theTen Commandments. If a practicing thief
  28. 28. DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW? 27should seek entrance into the kingdom, hewould be rejected. This is why Paul saysthieves will not inherit the heavenly city.Furthermore, the Bible specifically declaresthat liars, adulterers, idolaters, and covetousmen will not be in the kingdom. Why?Because the Ten Commandments forbidthose things, and men will be judged finallyby that law. Not one person will be admittedinto heaven who is willfully violating anyone of the Ten Commandments, becausebreaking one is breaking all. Someone might object that this ismaking works the basis of entering thekingdom. No. It is really making lovethe qualifying factor. Jesus said that thegreatest commandment of all is to loveGod supremely. He also said, “If ye love me,keep my commandments” (John 14:15).Those who practice any known sin arereally confessing that they do not love Godwith all their heart, soul, and mind. So it isthe lack of love that shuts them out—notthe act of disobedience that exposes thatlack. Only when love is motivating theobedience does it become acceptable to
  29. 29. 28 DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW?God. Any other work is man’s vain attemptto earn salvation and to deny the efficacy ofChrist’s atoning sacrifice. CHAPTER TEN RANSOMED FOR WHAT?A dramatic illustration of the law-grace doctrine is seen in the story of the slaveauctions in old New Orleans long ago. Twoplanters were bidding for an old Negro slavewho kept shouting his rebellion from theauction block. Finally, one of the planterswon the bid and took the slave in his wagonback to the farm. Throughout the journeythe defiant black man declared that hewould not work for the new owner. Whenthey arrived at the plantation, the planterdropped the shackles from the newly boughtslave and said, “You are free to go. You areno longer a slave. I bought you in order togive you your liberty.” According to the story, the old man fellat the feet of the planter and said, “Master,I’ll serve you forever.”
  30. 30. DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW? 29 In like manner, we were all held inthe bondage of sin, condemnation, anddeath. Christ then paid the price to secureour freedom from that hopeless slavery.Lovingly He tells us that the reason Hemade the sacrifice was to set us free. Whatshould our response be? Every ransomedchild of God should fall at His feet and say,“Master, I love you for what you did for me.I’ll serve you the rest of my life.” Think it through for a moment. Jesushad to die because the law had beenbroken. Sin demanded death. If the lawcould have been abrogated, the penalty ofsin would have been set aside also. “Forwhere no law is, there is no transgression”(Romans 4:15). So strong was the authorityof that unchangeable law that God Himselfcould not abolish it—not even to save Hisown Son from death. The old, old story of the two brothers isalmost a perfect illustration of both law andgrace in operation. The older brother was ajudge. His younger brother was broughtbefore him as a transgressor of the law.From all the evidence it was clear to all that
  31. 31. 30 DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW?he was guilty. The court was tense. Wouldthe judge mete out justice in such a case?The judge looked at his brother and sternlydeclared him guilty. Then he stunned thecourt by imposing the maximum fine. Butimmediately he left the bench and threwhis arms around his brother and said, “Ihad to do it because you are guilty. I knowyou cannot pay the fine, but I will pay itfor you.” The point of the story is dramatic inits impact. The brother was forgiven, butthe penalty was not. It had to be paid. Butby paying the maximum penalty, the judgenot only did not abolish the law, but hegreatly magnified it. He demonstrated thatits binding claims could never be voided. Inthe same sense, God would not and couldnot abolish the law to save His beloved Son.It cost something to uphold the law andpay the maximum penalty. No one will everknow how much it cost the Son of God. Buthow thankful we should be that His lovewas as perfect as His justice. In His ownbody He bore the penalty, satisfied the law,and justified the transgressor.
  32. 32. DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW? 31 Can’t you see that no greater demon-stration could have been made to prove thepermanence of the Ten Commandments?In the entire universe God could not havedisplayed a more convincing and irrefutableargument in favor of His law. Yet, in theface of this tremendous exhibition,misguided millions of poor, feeble menbelittle the government of God by belittlingHis law. They seem not to understand thatthe law is only a reflection of His holinessand righteousness. To speak of its abolitionis to border on treason against the divinegovernment of heaven. Look into that holy law right now for adivine revelation of what God wants yourlife to be. Confess that you have no strengthto live up to that perfect standard. Thenturn your eyes to the only One who has keptthat law perfectly and who desires this verymoment to enter your life with enablingpower. He will fulfill the righteousnessof the law—the just requirements of thelaw—in you, so that you can say with Paul,“Christ liveth in me: and the life which Inow live in the flesh I live by the faith of
  33. 33. 32 DOES GOD’S GRACE BLOT OUT THE LAW?the Son of God, who loved me, and gavehimself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
  34. 34. Library of Sermons 1. Armageddon 2. Can a Saved Man Choose to Be Lost? 3. Does God’s Grace Blot Out the Law? 4. Hidden Eyes and Closed Ears 5. How Evolution Flunked the Science Test 6. Is It Easier to Be Saved or to Be Lost? 7. Man’s Flicker or God’s Flame 8. Satan in Chains 9. Satan’s Confusing Counterfeits10. Spirits From Other Worlds11. Thieves in the Church12. Why God Said Remember13. Why the Old Covenant Failed14. The High Cost of the Cross15. Hell-Fire16. Is It Possible to Live Without Sinning?17. Blood Behind the Veil18. Spirits of the Dead19. The Brook Dried Up20. Death in the Kitchen21. The Search for the True Church22. Is It a Sin to Be Tempted?23. Is Sunday Really Sacred?24. Heaven ... Is It for Real?25. Rendezvous in Space26. Christ’s Human Nature27. Point of No Return28. The Rich Man and Lazarus For more great resources, visit us at www.amazingfacts.org
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