From Law to Grace
During the Dispensation of Law, God spoke to Moses and handed the Commandments for the people of Abraham. Exodus 19–40. Laws of Moses can be found in Leviticus and Deuteronomy where it mentioned the handing of the Ten Commandments of God. Law of Moses includes the moral law where many scholars agreed that the Ten Commandments are included in this law, ceremonial law and civil or judicial laws. The priest is directly involved in temple worship, sacrificial offerings and sin offerings. Due to the people’s disobedience to the covenant many did not see the Promise Land after 40 years of wandering in the desert because of failure to obey God. Moses was only given a chance to see it on top of the mountain and died without stepping to the ground of the Promise Land.
When God promises something, He will keep it. He will not violate His own word. His promise turns into His own law that He will never violate. When we promise something and we break it, it turns into a sin. When we make a promise, we made a law to ourselves. That is why when we make a promise and did not keep it, we are a violator of our own law and our conscience will convict us. We might not be aware of that law, but we are no longer ignorant; we already know what is right and what is wrong and it is wrong to go against the law of responsibility.
When law was given to Moses at Mt. Sinai, (Mt. Horeb- Deuteronomy), the commandment was written by God Himself on the stone; it means it cannot be broken except if it is deliberate which is against the rule of God. And the law was directly made for Abraham’s people, the Israelites, who many times go their wicked ways. Laws of Moses revealed to them how to obey and please God. How to worship God and the atonement for sin through sacrificial offering. The food to eat and clothing to wear are part of those rules. However, for non Jews, it is believed that Jesus fulfilled all these requirements of the Old Testament law, thereby placed Christian believers under the law of Christ which is to love God and love our neighbors. Jesus surpasses that Law of Moses.
There are more than 600 commandments given by Moses to the nation of Israel that non Jews are not under that law. As we all know how people would feel to be relieved that they are not obligated to follow a certain rule. As human, we tend to prefer an easy living, easy lifestyle and do not want to be bound by any restrictions. “The best things in life are Free- Freedom as many protesters would chant.” Christians many of them embrace the notion quoted without hesitation this familiar quote from the Scriptures in Romans 6 that “we are not under the law but under grace.” Some still are confused and some don’t care. The battle of the mind continues within us. God is always in the midst of us and when we submit to God and surrender everything to Him, the Holy Spirit will take over. The Law of Moses is given to Israelites and non Israelites have no part in it. The New Testament believers are under the Law of Christ.
The Law of Moses which includes the moral law, ceremonial law, and judicial law are not binding to New Testament believers. The Ten Commandments as Jesus asserted himself, that these laws given by God will remain binding until the earth will come to pass. Matthew 5:18, it is very clear the laws given by God remain to be followed and the laws of Moses are for people of Abraham. The Christian believer is bound to follow the Law of Christ which is in Matthew 22:36-40. We have to understand the distinction between the chosen people of God and the children of God. Jesus who is a chosen, fulfilled the requirements of the law. “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind.’ ‘This is the first and greatest commandment.’ And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘All the Law and the Prophets hang on to these two commandments.’” We have to remember how many times God said that there is no other God besides Me. “I am the LORD, and there is no one else; there is no God besides me.” Neighbors in terms are very broad in meaning and interpretations and not specific to a community, people or countries, but it covers all of mankind. Jesus erased the sin and not the law. Being under the law doesn’t give power and authority to sin. Death remains to be the penalty of sin, while if we remain obedient to the law which is the will of God, the Kingdom is the reward for obedient people.
Majority of practicing Christians believe in the Ten Commandments of God and still many are arguing that these commandments are not for them for they are no longer under the law but under grace. Excuses are made like laziness for one reason, like going to church, refusal to give the 10 percent of tithes and offerings, eating more than enough and many more. In this situation we do not want to judge these believers. Let them carry their own burden, though as Christian it is our responsibility to make a way for them to realize without offending them or interfering with their lives. The law was made not to be a burdensome but to serve the purpose and the will of God... They heard the Word and the Word will change them in God’s time.
You should not have a habit of pre-texting the Scripture or you will be misled by your own interpretation or pre-text that you hear from others. You can be like a Berean, that when they go home after hearing the Word of God they open their Bible, pray, study the Word and meditate on it. However, it is important to ask for guidance of the Holy Spirit. Human laws are as imperfect as the person who authored it. There are laws which are distasteful and unfair that only favor the rich and the influential people and disadvantage the less fortunate. Good examples are lawmakers, that when it comes to minimum wages they are adamant to pass the bill but when it comes to their pay increases they are all present to vote. Inside trading are allowed by law for lawmakers but not the traders.
Paul in Romans 6 wants us to pursue our righteous living and ignore the desire of our lust. We should not pick and choose what will fit us but rather understand the Scripture as a whole. Paul did not say not to follow the law but to be in compliance with the standard rules or laws of Christ- Galatians 6:2; which is to love God and to love your neighbors as yourself. Paul was concerned about our faithfulness, our dedication in serving God. We should serve as ministers of the gospel and sin shall depart from us and cannot be a master over us. We do not have a master but a Father that is in heaven. “We are not under law but under grace” pretext Scriptures could give us a false messages. It erases the main idea of the passage and can lead the listener to a wrong understanding. Contextualizing the Scripture may give us a clear and true understanding of what was written; to whom it was addressed; why was it written; the method how it was spoken. Is it literal or a figurative language? Is it relevant to our present time? What was the situation at that time? The first thing that we have to consider is the manifestation of the word to our lives. Paul in Romans 6:12-14-‘“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. ‘Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourself to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. ‘For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.’”
Many people still believe we are not bound to follow the Old Testament law, that Christ put an end to the Old and set up a New Testament law. What is wrong with honoring your father and mother? Are we not oblige by our conscience to do that? How about do not steal, kill and lie and covet the neighbors property, are those not good rules? I believe God will be pleased with us doing good deeds. For other believers, I do not think you will find one that will disagree to that notion. What has more value, the seal of salvation or the value of gold and silver? Does material more valuable than spiritual? It’s our choice. The Scripture told us that wisdom and good judgment is better- Proverbs 16:16 (NLT)
Those who work hard to please men are approved by men. Those who show sincerity and uprightness of their hard work are servants of Christ and it pleases God. A good worker does not divide the word of truth and are worthy of honor in the sight of God and no one can boast, for it is the gift of God. Work hard so we can present ourselves to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth- 2Timothy 2:15 (NLT)
Through God's wisdom we gain knowledge of the needs why He is speaking to us. What is the content of what He said? What methods does He used and how does He speaks to us now and what does He expects from us in response. After understanding the purpose of the spoken words why He wrote, to whom He addressed it, we may gain a profitable understanding of His Will. With the gift of knowledge we discern good judgment. “Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.” We gain understanding by not only listening and do it but by keeping it or storing the understanding not in our mind but in our hearts ‘“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,’ ‘turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding”’ Proverbs20:15; Proverbs 2:1-2.
The Spirit of Wisdom comes with knowledge and understanding. When King Solomon prayed to God, he only asked to give him wisdom, at that time he was the wisest man living and God gives wisdom to the wise. When his prayer was granted, King Solomon received not only the spirit of wisdom but of knowledge and understanding. We do not need to be the wisest like King Solomon to be blessed with God’s wisdom. We have to be wise in using properly the spoken words, wisely sharing the words with care. We have to listen to the needs of the hearer and take good care of their growth by not talking and quarreling about the Scriptures in-front of them.
Before the law of God was handed to Moses, promises that were not kept were not considered as sins. Without Law in place there is no violation, no law, there is no transgression. The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break; no law no sin: In Romans 5:12-14 apostle Paul states, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.”
Sin is not imputed when there is no law, for the law brings wrath. Sin is present even before we were born but the mercy of God did not charge any infant for their father’s sins. “The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.” Ezekiel 18:20
For all those words which were written long ago are meant to teach us today, that when we read in the scriptures of the endurance of men and of all the help that God gave them in those days, we may be encouraged to go on hoping in our own time. Romans 15:4
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right— 2Timothy3:16. The Bible is clear that no one can die for the sake of other’s sins. In other words, the punishment committed by a person cannot be substituted by other person. One person cannot die for the sins of another. Jesus died for our sin according to his will. He laid down his life willingly and He became the substitute sin bearer for our sins. He has the authority to do that and authority to take it up again. John 10:18, In order to accept the fault of others, you have to be like Jesus and be approved from above. Jesus sacrifices cannot be duplicated as it is a done deal; our sins had already been paid off.
One person’s sin cannot be wiped out by the punishment given to another person. The Bible is consistent, precise, accurate and incapable of making mistakes. The person who sinned is the one to receive punishment. Moses offered himself as substitute for the sins of the people of Abraham but the LORD did not accept and replied to Moses “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book”, but the people continued their sins against God worshiping a calf made of gold, then the LORD struck the people with a plague-Exodus 32:30-35. Punishment belongs to those who sinned and it is very clear in Deuteronomy 24:16-
“Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin.”
The book of the Prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel in 18:4-20 is consistent on this word “the child will not share the guilt of the parent.” in Jeremiah 31:30, “everyone will die for their own sin. It is very clear that Jesus Christ is the only one allowed to sacrifice his own life for the sin of another and no one else could duplicate that life sacrifice. The first man Adam was from the dust of the earth and the Lord Jesus is the last Adam and the Second Man from heaven. 1Corinthians 15:45-48
The Word of God that is written on the stone cannot be rewritten or changed by men. Many centuries had passed and produced interpretations and opinions accepted by men but the Word stands and will never be shaken. God allowed us to have many opinions but the truth can only be settled with Him through the Holy Spirit. He is the one who wrote it with His fingers and he is the only one that has the authority to share the truth. That is why we have His word to seek and you will find. How blessed are we to have a merciful and loving God to enjoy His grace to this time, but the certainty that we are on the edge of total collapse is soon. The chance to repent is still open to every people; believers or not. Just need one to believe and the whole household will be saved.
However, the Law cannot change our behavior and attitude due to our sinful nature. We keep on walking away from the truth. Sometimes the customs and traditions become the reasons for us not to change course; brain washed since childhood is also hard to reset the mind hardened for many years of practice. The Spirit of God made our hearts remain to be soft and still have a chance to change heart. We need the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. People are not well equip when Jesus said that He did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. It means that He did not erase or abolish the law. For Christians to claim that they are no longer under the law but under grace is a little bit off without a clear explanations. Christians are better of saying, I am no longer slave to sin because of the grace given to me through the work of Jesus Christ. Christ justifies our faith through the work of His blood on the cross. Faith without work must not be boasted because we nullify his sacrifices. Justification by faith alone is the first step towards the notion of accepting Jesus as personal savior and redeemer and work towards the personal growth of building a true relationship with Him, who created us and the Son who did all the work on earth and soon to be a King ruling this earth with His kings.
The believers in Christ became the new creation, born from above, justified by faith and made us pass through the first stage of sanctification and put us closer to receiving the key to enter the gate of the kingdom of heaven. Though Christians are trying hard to resist committing sins and failed, God knows our hearts. Our conscience who will testify before God will confirm that. It is better to try and failed than not to try and be condemned already. The good news is that that we are no longer slaves to sin and we are empowered to reject the wrong doings. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13; Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. Matthew 5:37.
Many believe that Christians are not under the law due to Jesus Christ work abolishing the law. This is an inadequate understanding of what was said by Paul in Colossians 2:14- that our legal indebtedness has been taken out of the way and having nailed to the cross. It is our debt to sin that was paid off by Jesus Christ by having nailed it to the cross that was wiped out. We are no longer buried to sin but through Him we have a new life-- a new beginning. We can raise an argument but Paul reminds us that it is not fruitful to quarrel about the Scriptures for it may only bring damage to the hearer.
The law of God brings blessings and not burdensome to us. The law is not to be treated against those people who obey but for those disobedient people. Even the law of men; Laws are made to protect and serve the law abiding citizen against law breakers “God’s law is holy, righteous and good”-Romans 7:12.
The record of the faith heroes that was written in Hebrew epistle, old and new testaments were kept. what Christ blotted out or wiped out wre our transgressions. “Having wiped out” or “blot out” or “having canceled” in Colossians 2:14. It means “to wash, or to smear completely … to wipe away, wipe off, obliterate” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, “blot out”).
The Scriptures always refer to wiping away sin and not law. Peter urged the same thing to wipe away the sin, not the law. Peter was telling his listeners “to repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” Acts 3:19. Peter did not say repent and turn to God to wipe out the law. Without the law on hand it will be a chaos. If there is a record for us written in the book of life, there should also be record for our sin. As written “He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:14 (NLT). During the ministry of Jesus, he talked about obedience to God’s will, what is the will of God? And what if we obey it? And what happen if we didn’t? The will of the Father is to obey his rule/law, and when we obey it, we are part of God’s family. God is our Father and Jesus is our brother and when we disobey the rule/law we will be chastised as foreigner. God could scold or severely reprimand His children for wrong doing.
Jesus went to the cross and blotted out the sin on record. The law of God given to the Jews were for them and for non Jews was the law of love which was given to us by Jesus Christ. If we summarize the Ten Commandments of God, it leads to commandment of Love. Likewise, Jesus Himself said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished" (Matthew 5:17–18).
The Law of Christ cannot be different in nature from the Law of Moses, but rather an enlightenment of what the Law of Moses really means to all men. The law of Christ supersedes the Law of Moses, but it does not change it. It boils down that Christians should follow the Law of Moses--about loving God and love others. Jesus freed us from hundreds of rules from the Law of Moses. 600+ laws; the ceremonial, moral, Judicial or Civil Law (Exodus 21:12-36) and the dietary law from (Leviticus 11:3 and 11:7-8). . But loving God with our entire being and loving others as ourselves is the most difficult part of keeping the Law of Moses. In fact, it is impossible without God doing it through us.
Many Christians claimed that we are not under the Law of Moses which only makes sense if we understand it fully what it meant. Furthermore, being not under the Law of Moses doesn’t give us freedom to sin, the wages of sin is still death and it doesn’t change a bit. If it is Paul would have said so. Paul in Romans 6:15, says, "Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace?" He goes on to answer, "By no means!" Since, as Jesus said, the whole Law of Moses depends on the commands to love, and we are commanded to love as Jesus loved us-John 13:34–35.
The freedom we received through the work of Jesus Christ from the Law of Moses gave us a freedom to love and because of that love, we want to avoid sin, and share goodness to others and those others may also share it to another. A good tree will bear a good fruit and a good harvest. God expected us to be like His obedient Son Jesus. What is hard to love one another compared to having a yoke put in our neck pulling us down till we cannot move and tied up with their legalistic rules. God is love and He wants us to be like Him.
By faith we are saved from the Law of Moses and Jesus Christ made it simple for us to obey the commandment of Love and become sons of God. “Before the coming of faith we were all imprisoned under the power of the Law, with our only hope of deliverance the faith that was to be shown to us. Or, to change the metaphor, the Law was like a strict governess in charge of us until we went to the school of Christ and learned to be justified by faith in Him. Once we had that faith we were completely free from the governess’s authority.” Galatians 3:23-25 J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
Christ Came to Fulfill the Law: Matthew 7:12-“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. And in Matthew 5:17–20 ‘“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.’ ‘For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. ’ ‘Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.’ ‘For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’”
We can speak to God through prayers as simple as we could and it doesn’t need to be long, flowery and repetitive and God responds in many ways. Through the written Word, through our Mind or through Signs. God will listen to our heart. Whatever is in our heart the mouth speaks.
Requirement to go to heaven according to the Bible is through repentance of our sins and faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Through Jesus Christ, we are justified by faith and not the work of our own. The 1st phase of sanctification has been achieved by our faith with the work of Jesus Christ. The 2nd phase of sanctification is through our work of righteousness and ongoing while the 3rd and final sanctification is when we face the LORD, who will sanctify and glorify us.
"Let us work toward complete wholeness to reach the requirement of His riches glory." We don't want to rush to learn obedience overnight. After we are justified by faith through faith in Jesus Christ, we are sanctified, separated from sin, cleared and washed out by the sacrificial body of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now we are in the 2nd phase of sanctification process which will set us apart for particular work for special purpose toward sacredness to full holiness... a lifelong process that we have to pursue by making it a daily task until such time with the help of the Holy Spirit we may win the battle of the mind towards the victory of righteousness and be proclaimed eligible to full sanctification.
As Christians believers we must bear in mind that the law of God is not a burdensome that we have to walk away. Jesus already came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it. The Ten Commandments as it is written in the New Testament is written in our hearts. Our heart has been softened when we were blessed by being a new creation, born from above, baptized by the Holy Spirit with fire. From the law written on the stone for hard hearted people of Abraham to a law written to a softer heart reconciled by Jesus Christ to Almighty Father and become the children of God.
When we accept and obey the Ten Commandment of God which is His will, shared to us by the Son, who made this commandment simpler to follow, we may find it easier for us to obey. For the burden is not in us but for the principalities who wants to totally maintain control of this world of lust. We can ask ourselves why we have to follow. How to follow? When to follow? Where to follow? Being children of God we have to follow the will of the Father, to be obedient not from time to time but every time. Whatever the Holy Spirit tells you, the Spirit will lead you to a fruitful, undistracted place where you can enjoy His presence.
We may find discrepancies of the Ten Commandments and as a learned Christian it has been known to us that the Old Testament was given to the Israelites to follow. However, there are different scriptures in the New Testament that say otherwise, and will be found in the latter page of this message. We should not argue about this, but instead pray and express love to one another and together live in peaceful and humble life. If we follow Jesus Christ as He said “‘The Lord our God is the only Lord. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” The second command is this: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” There are no commands more important than these.’”—Mark 12:29-31
Let us think about things with care not to offend someone with their belief that we are right and they are wrong and will only lead to a serious offensive act. Most likely they already heard what you are going to say and we cannot change their heart especially when they are rooted since childhood. If we cannot change their hearts in a simple way, don’t argue change the topic and you already made your point. We are instructed to make love and love is all that matters.
We are advised in Philippians 4 verse 7 to 9—‘“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ ‘Finally, brothers, whatever is true , whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable— if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think on these things.’ ‘Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you”’…
The Ten Commandments (Old Testament— Israelites) \t Exodus 20:3-17 New King James Version (KJV)
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:4-6
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lordwill not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Exodus 20:7
4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Exodus 20:8-11
5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Exodus 20:12
6. Thou shalt not kill. Exodus 20:13
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Exodus 20:14
8. Thou shalt not steal. Exodus 20:15
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Exodus 20:16
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's. Exodus 20:17
Ten Commandments (New Testament — Reformed Church)
1. You shall worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Matthew 4:10.
2. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry 1 Corinthians 10:14.
3. That the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.” 1Timothy 6:1
4. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.” Hebrews 4:4 NIV. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Hebrews 4:9-10 NIV
5. Honor your father and your mother.” Matthew 19:19
6. You shall not kill.” Romans 13:9
7. You shall not commit adultery.” Matthew 19:18
8. You shall not steal.” Romans 13:9
9. You shall not bear false witness.” Romans 13:9
10. You shall not covet.” Romans 7:7
Ten Commandments (New Testament –Catholic Church)
1. I am the Lord your God: You shall not have strange Gods before me.
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
3. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.
4. Honor your father and mother.
5. You shall not kill.
6. You shall not commit adultery.
7. You shall not steal.
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
Romans 10:4, which says: "Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes."