Why Grace!

Have you ever wondered why grace was necessary for God's plan for mankind? Why was a new covenant needed which had different requirements to the old?

First we should define what we mean by this grace that we live under.

Grace is often defined as 'unmerited favour' or 'unmerited pardon' given to someone by God, and while seemingly useful if one is dealing with forgiveness of sin it's not a good definition.

For instance, it's grace we are told in Tit 2:11-12, that teaches us to say 'No' to all ungodliness, and to live righteous and holy lives.

Tit 2:11-12 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,

This grace is obviously going way beyond 'unmerited pardon'. This grace is giving us training. And remember that we are IN Christ Jesus so God sees us as having His righteousness. How can He see His children as undeserving?

A better definition of grace overall is - 'Jesus Christ living in us through the Holy Spirit and the result and benefit of that in our lives'. This takes in God's wider meanings in His use of the word grace in the scriptures. "Jesus" is our Grace!

Now getting back to our discussion of living under grace and why it's needed. What's wrong with living by a body of law like every other nation? Let's look at what Paul says in Gal 3:11-12 and then draw out an example or two...

Gal 3:11-12 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith:.

God here inspires Paul to let us realise that we cannot be justified; made to have a right standing with God; through keeping laws. We can only be justified by faith. This is faith in Jesus Christ who died for us and now wants to live his life in us and transfer his righteousness to us.

Grace; Jesus In Us; empowers us to do the will of the Father. Actually, Jesus does it through us, both to will and to do [Phil 2:13].

Phil 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

This tells us it's grace that saves us through faith, the faith of Jesus. In other words we are not saved by keeping the law. We are to rest in Jesus' saving power (put faith in Jesus) , because only He can empower us to live righteous lives. The man of law does not believe God can pull off Phil 2:13 though!

But what does the scripture say...

In Romans chapter 6 verse 14 we read...
- Rom 6:14 Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under Law but under grace.

This is one of the necessary benefits of living under grace. Otherwise, sin "will" have dominion over us. If we are attempting to live holy lives through being controlled by law, Sin will hold us captive - in bondage - under it's dominion.

In fact the law give strength to sin so that it dominates you more!

1Co 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

Rom 7:7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet."

One obvious illustration of this is the journeying of the children of Israel. From Egypt to their arrival at Mount Sinai they were constantly griping and complaining and murmuring and rebelling but they never thought of going after another God to worship. Then God says he'll make a covenant with them and they boast that, 'Anything God says, we will do'! So based on their boast God gives them the law and stops dealing with them by grace.

Now, notice what happens to them when they have laws to focus their minds on what sin is and opportunity comes along to rebel.

Moses goes up the mountain to receive the law in writing and the people decide he's gone too long and they don't know what's become of him. So with this new gripe they need a solution and what do they come up with? "Let's make ourselves another God to worship"!

The first law says - "You shall have no other Gods before me" and that's the first thing that they think of doing when they see a problem ahead. Having the law made sin abound. Now sin had a focus and the law gave it power. And with sin under law there was a sting. Three thousand people died here. Yet nobody had died before Sinai!

This is part of why God had to go back to his original system of teaching his people by grace. Under law we lay condemned. Our just deserts would be death. We can only be saved by grace. The grace of our Lord Jesus.

Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Now while the man living under grace is not under law, it's nevertheless true that the law still applies. The right question though is, to whom?

Let's look at 1 Tim 1:8-11...

1Tim 1:8-11 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

The man who lives by grace; who actually is led by the Holy Spirit; knows not to do these things.

The law speaks to the unrighteous man; the lawless and disobedient. This is the man that the law is for; who is under the law! If you live under law and God opens your eyes to know what that means, then the law will show you that your lot is with those above. That is provided you actually listen to what the law says.

For those whose righteousness depends on the law and who are under the law it is written (in Psa 14:3 & Rom 3:10), "None is righteous, no, not one". You see, if you break even the smallest law you break them all!

Jas 2:10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he has become guilty of all.

And the thing is that no-one can keep it perfectly so, since we are guilty of sin, the punishment is eternal death.

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The law is for the unrighteous; to show them that their end is in the lake of fire and that they need a saviour and grace to live to God. You cannot trust in law to save you because it's all about YOU; it's not about faith in God. It's about self-righteousness because it's all about YOUR effort. The Law is not of faith.

See what is said in the word in Phil 3:8-9...

Php 3:8 More than that I also consider all things to be loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have sustained the loss of all things, and I consider them to be rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, the righteousness of the law, but the righteousness by faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;

Notice that any righteousness we have through living under law is our own righteousness. And what does Isaiah say of our righteousness?

Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;

Once you 'see' that under law, living in your own strength, you have no hope, the Holy Spirit (though not yet IN you) will lead you to repentence. Now you turn to God and accept Jesus as your saviour and put faith in him, you receive a new spirit and the Holy Spirit comes to live IN you and Jesus and the Father take up their abode IN you also!

And thus we are granted the righteousness of Christ by faith. Then the Love of God and the Peace of God, active within us, show us what is right and empower us to do it through our faith in Jesus and God's grace. We learn of God and from God and we renew our minds in line with the mind of God. We put new righteous tracks and habits in place of our old wrong habits and we learn to say NO to the wrong pulls of the flesh.

Rom 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but continually be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God's will is - what is proper, pleasing, and perfect.

It's only through grace (in the wider sense; Christ in us, the hope of glory) that we can be holy. Have we turned to God and been converted, and accepted Jesus Christ as our living saviour? Now we have to trust and allow the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ in us to guide, teach, train and empower us to live righteous lives. Through that sequence of 'guide, teach, train and empower' we see how God is able to teach us to renounce ungodliness and live righteously by his grace.

Phil 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.



Grace and Law in Ancient Israel. Click Here.
Living By Grace. Click Here.
The Heart Of God. Click Here.
God's Love. Click Here.

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