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Monday, March 7, 2022

Under Grace and Not Law


Have you struggled to be the perfect person God expects you to be and find you can’t do it? Maybe, you are living under the Law instead of living under Grace. 


“For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law” (Romans 5:13, NKJV).


Until the Law was given to man, God did not hold sin against man because there was no standard for accountability. When the Law came it revealed sin (Galatians 3:19) and gave sin its power (1 Corinthians 5:56). The Law of the Old Testament was absolutely unable to change hearts. Living by the Law can change behavior for a while, but it cannot change what is in the heart. Only Jesus, who was the perfect one-time payment for our sins met the requirements of the law (Hebrews 9:12). Only His Grace sets us free from the struggle to live by the Law which only condemns us (Galatians 2:19). The Law was meant to last only until Christ came to redeem us and make the payment for our sins (Galatians 3:19)


“No one can please God by obeying the Law. The Scriptures also say, ‘The people God accepts because of their faith will live.’ The Law isn’t based on faith. It promises life only to people who obey its commands” (Galatians 3:11-12, CEV).


Faith is not necessary to follow the Law. A heart change requires faith. When you live by the Law, you do not live by faith. You follow what is dictated and required. And you are judged and held accountable by it.


“By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil” (Proverbs 16:6, NKJV).


The Law changes our behavior through the fear of God. Only the truth of Christ’s punishment for our sins pays the penalty the Law demands. Only His Grace purges our hearts and changes us from the inside out.


“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14, NKJV).


Our Savior—full of grace and truth—has come. The penalty for our sin has been paid. When we receive Jesus, we are reborn to new life in Christ. Our hearts are changed by His Grace and not by the requirements of the Law. Trying to keep the Law does not make us right with God. The Law condemns bad behavior. Only Grace makes us right with God. Only His Grace and Truth give life (Galatians 3).


 Keeping the Law is not acting on faith. And “whatever is not from faith is sin [whatever is done with doubt is sinful]” (Romans 14:23b, AMP). 


You cannot sustain a relationship with God by keeping the Law. That is why Paul writes in Romans 6:14 that we are no longer under the Law but under Grace. Keeping the Law—doing things right so God will accept you—is the direct opposite of what Christ has done for you. Christ has made things right for you with God. God accepts you because of His Son’s sacrifice for your sins. Keeping the rules does not create the need to live by faith. Keeping the rules only creates the need for more rule-keeping. 


Paul said that “the law is not of faith” (Galatians 3:12). Trying to be perfect by keeping the law places you under the judgment of the Law instead of the redeeming love of the Grace of Christ. Romans 14:23 in the NKJV says, “Whatever is not from faith is sin.” When we accepted Jesus in our hearts that was a work of faith. We did not receive Christ by keeping the requirements of the Law. If we are trying to keep the rules instead of living by faith in the Grace of Jesus, we are missing the whole point of the love of God. We are trying to please God by living under the Law—and that is not of faith but is essentially a sin according to Galatians 3:12 and Romans 14:23.


The Mosaic Law is more than the Ten Commandments. There are hundreds of ceremonial rites and ordinances also in it. If you live under the Law, you must live by the whole law. You must keep it all perfectly. And that is impossible and self-defeating. If we live under the Grace of Jesus, we are free to live the righteousness He bought for us with His precious blood. The Law is the standard for those who do not know Jesus. It brings them to repentance. For those who know Christ, we are convicted by the righteousness that Jesus has given us (John 16:8-9).


Being under Grace is not a license to sin. It is knowing who you are in Christ and being convicted by Truth. Believers who are trying to keep both the Law and live in the freedom of God’s Grace experience condemnation—they feel what they try to do for God does not always please Him. You cannot live under both Law and Grace. It creates conflict and confusion. The Law gives power to sin (1 Corinthians 15:56). Grace is the freedom to live His righteousness. 


Trying to live under the Law and trying to live under Grace at the same time will strangle our faith. It will create doubt in the choices we make. It will make us question our worthiness in Christ. When we are double-minded, we do not receive because we are not living by faith (James 1:5-8). 


When we doubt the new person Christ has made us, we are living under two different Covenants—the first Covenant condemns sin and the second Covenant forgives it. Are we trying to live by condemnation or by allowing the Holy Spirit to convict us with righteousness? Jesus did not come into the world to condemn us (John 3:17).


Can you see the struggle? Yes, the Law is needed to convict the world of sin and the need for a Savior. But you are not of the world. You are saved. You are under Grace.


For sin shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law [as slaves], but under grace [as subjects of God’s favor and mercy]. (Romans 6:14, AMPC).



© 2022 Lynn Lacher


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