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God's Free Grace

One of the marvels of the scientific world is the amazing precision which exists in the realm of nature. Every one of the billions of created worlds in space moves more accurately than the finest timepiece of man. In the beginning when God spoke the heavenly bodies into existence He did not fling them into disorderly, haphazard orbits, to flounder around in the emptiness of space. God created


to guide them in their orbital flight. These natural laws, energized by the power of God Himself, sustains and guides the myriads of planets in their perfect precision as they follow their divinely appointed paths in the universe. If we were to take God's power away from the universe, these natural laws would cease and cosmic disorder and catastrophe would result.

Then God created man. He did not do it indiscriminately, throwing him into the earth to flounder around the best he could, to discover the best ways in which to live that would bring him the most happiness and joy in life. He created laws to govern man in his relationship to his God and to his fellow man. These divine laws were inscribed in the heart of man in the very beginning before sin entered the world. It was God's divine power in man that enabled him to keep these laws. It was his nature to follow these prescribed laws for his conduct. It is well to notice that there is one major difference between the laws that govern the universe and the laws that govern man. The natural laws of the universe must function. With nature there is no choice. On the other hand man is given a choice: he can accept or reject God's laws for the guiding system in his life.

What are these laws that God established in man? They are the divine principles of conduct laid down in the Ten


recorded in Exodus 20. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me...."

It has been Satan's avowed purpose to destroy the importance of the

law of God

in the lives of human beings. In the very beginning he endeavored to destroy in Adam and Eve confidence and faith in the law of God as a law which is for the benefit of man. (Genesis 3:1-5.) He insinuated to Eve that God had no right to prescribe the conduct of her life. He said: "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" This insinuative question of the devil was designed to raise another one in the mind of Eve as to

God's authority

over her. Then Satan contradicted the Word of God as to the wages of sin when he said: "Ye shall not surely die." Verse 4. He proceeded to try to show Eve that if she were to

break the law of God

her life would be more full and more complete.

Now listen friends, Satan has changed his tactics down through the ages of time in his endeavor to destroy man's opportunity for salvation. During the time of ancient Israel he again endeavored to distort the relationship of the law between man and God. "But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone." Romans 9:31, 32. Here the devil's emphasis was on law, all law and no grace. He suggested to the children of Israel through this new doctrine that they might earn their salvation by their own efforts, knowing full well that human strength would not enable them to attain to God's standard of righteousness and thus they would be lost. "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." Romans 10:3. So we discover that the ignorance of the children of Israel regarding the indwelling power of the righteousness of God in them as the only means of attaining to the standard of God's law of righteousness caused them to fall far short of that standard.

Today the pendulum has swung in the other direction. A new device of Satan has come into being. We might call it the doctrine of man's dis


versus God's grace. It is the doctrine of all grace and no law, suggesting that the ten divine precepts of God's government have been done away and man is no longer under obligation to obey the Ten Commandments. What is the relationship of law to grace? That is what we want to study into today. But first let me say that I believe implicitly in the plan of salvation by faith. As the Apostle Paul testified in Ephesians 2:8.9: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast."

The truth of salvation by faith constituted the very foundation of the Protestant Reformation. It was Martin Luther who, while climbing the stairs of the church of Sancta Scala or the church of the holy stairs, in Rome on his hands and knees suddenly received a vision from heaven. The Scriptural words "The just shall live by faith" burned like letters of fire into his soul. However, it is important to note that Martin Luther's belief that salvation comes by faith alone did not destroy his belief in the obligation of man toward his God to keep His Ten Commandments, for he said: "He who pulls down the law, pulls down at the same time the whole framework of human polity and society. If the law be thrust out of the church, there will be no longer anything recognized as sin in the world since the gospel defines and punishes sin only by referring to the law."

lt would be well for us to seek the Bible answer to the question of how old the Ten Commandments are. They are eternal being a transcript of the character of God, constituting the foundation of His government. "Sin is the transgression of the law." 1 John 3:4. If the law did not exist at the time of Adam and Eve, then what they did could not have been sin or disobedience to God's commands. "Where no law is, there is no transgression." Romans 4:15

There are some who believe that the law of God, the Ten Commandments, began at the time of Moses when it was given in written form on the tables of stone by God Himself. It is well to remember, however, that God's divine precepts existed before they were put into written form, just as the law of gravity existed before Sir Isaac Newton put it into written form. It was God's purpose that man should observe the Ten Commandments which were inscribed upon his heart and that His divine Spirit would be the motivating power behind the keeping of His law.

Jesus makes it plain that His coming into the world to pay the supreme sacrifice for the sins of men did not in any way cancel their obligation to His law. "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 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. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:17-19. Surely, as Jesus says, He did not come to destroy His law for it is a transcript of His own divine character.

However, in Colossians 2:14 we read: "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross." Some become confused thinking that it is suggested here that the law of God has been nailed to the cross of Jesus. Note that it does not mention the Ten Commandments or the moral precepts of God. It mentions the law contained in the ordinances. This was the ceremonial law that governed the ritual of the sanctuary services of the Jewish nation. This law centered around the sacrificial system, the offering of animal sacrifices, designed by God to help the children of Israel to see that one day the Lamb of God would come and sacrifice His life on the cross for the sins of mankind. These ceremonies prefigured Christ's first advent into the world, and when He did come and met them these laws were nailed to His cross. The Christian is under no obligation whatever to fulfill the requirements of the law contained in ordinances. "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days which are a shadow of things to come." We are not to be judged by the law that dealt with meat offerings, drink offerings, and special holydays and new moon and yearly sabbath days. The Apostle James states that we shall be "judged by the law of liberty." James 2:12. In verse 11 he quotes two of the Ten Commandments, indicating which law we shall be judged by.

Thus we see in the Bible two sets of laws. Actually there are more. There is the ceremonial law given to the Jewish people which was temporary in nature. But the ceremonial and civil laws are to be distinguished from the moral law of God, the ten divine precepts as outlined in the Ten Commandments.

Now we might ask the question, What is the function of the law of God? We read the answer in James 1:22-25: "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the word, this man shall be blessed in his deed." The law of God is like a mirror into which we look to see a reflected image of ourselves as we appear before God. It is important to recognize that the law, like the mirror, points out our defects but cannot wash away those defects. The function of the law then is to show us what sin is, but we must turn to the soap and water of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ to cleanse the stain of sin from our hearts.

The Apostle Paul points out this function of the Ten Commandments when he says: "I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." Romans 7:7.

The question arises, Does grace do away with our obligation to keep the law? "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? . . . For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" Romans 6:1,2,14-16. One who is under grace, who has accepted the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, receives the strength from heaven that keeps him from sin that "the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled" in him (Romans 8:4).

When one is saved by grace Christ enters into the heart and His law is enshrined within the human soul. Thus the character of Christ becomes the character of man. He is not keeping the law of God as a means to salvation, but rather as the result of salvation that has been effected by the grace of Jesus in his life. Obedience to the law is demonstrated because Jesus is in the heart. As Paul testified, "I delight in the law of God after the inward man." Romans 7:22. As he says in verse 6 we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter." It is therefore not human effort, but the indwelling of divine strength that enables man to attain to the standard of righteousness as revealed in the Ten Commandments.

The doctrine that once we are saved by grace we are no longer under obligation to the law of God proves to be a doctrine of disgrace, that is, man's disgrace, which controverts the doctrine of God's grace. "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." Romans 3:31. "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." I John 2:4.

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