Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Nuts and bolts of the matter

I've been studying, but need some clarification. You wrote, “But Paul says that we living today are under grace and not law!”  What does 'not under the law' versus 'but under grace' mean? What is the nuts-and-bolts, practical application of that statement?  Please give some examples.

What Paul is referring to when he sums up the Christian life today in the present dispensation of grace, by saying that we "are not under the law, but under grace" [Romans 6:14], is that the operating principle that God uses to deal with his people is one that does not rely on our own works in order to stand righteous before him! Rather, God deals with us graciously because of the finished work of the Cross, and therefore he does not deal with us today based upon our performance, but based upon what Christ himself has done on our behalf!

Ephesians 1:6
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

In short, God's Grace message is the message given to our Apostle Paul! Up until the salvation of our Apostle Paul in Acts 9, the way that God dealt with his people (the Nation of Israel) was by the Law, or in other words, a performance-based acceptance system! The entire dispensation in which God's people, the Nation of Israel, lived under was the Law! Both Israel and the Lord Jesus Christ lived under God's Law of Moses; it was the operating principle that God had Israel to function under in order to get his acceptance.

Galatians 4:4
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

This performance-based acceptance system would not be done away with “for Israel” until Christ sets up his earthly kingdom in the future.

Luke 16:16
The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

Again, that Law would be in effect for Israel until the kingdom....

Matthew 5:17
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

God chose John the Baptist's parents because they kept the law...

Luke 1:5-6
There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.  And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

It will not be until the kingdom that God takes away the performance-based acceptance system for that nation and he, himself, makes them keep his law...

Jeremiah 31:31-34
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

But until then, God's people Israel must perform in order to get his blessing, and if they did not perform they got his cursing! Please read Leviticus chapter 26 and Deuteronomy chapter 28 today as well, to see this principle. God also says it in Ezekiel--even if that Jew started out right but did not keep it up, and died in his sins, God would send him to hell!

Ezekiel 18:24-26
But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die. Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal? When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.

It is this performance-based acceptance system of the Law of Moses that God dealt with his people on, and based on their performance, God would either accept or reject them. It was the motivating factor for them to walk pleasing to God!

Here is a practical example of it...one passage from our Lord to Israel during His earthly ministry, and another from our Lord Jesus Christ through his Apostle to us, the Apostle Paul. In this example the subject is ‘forgiveness’ by God. How God forgives us! Look at the difference...

Matthew 6:14-15
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Notice in his sermon on the mount, our Lord tells those Jews plainly (only a so-called scholar can mess this up) that if they forgive others their sins against them, then God will also forgive that person their sins against him. But our Lord goes on to say that if they did not forgive those who sinned against them, neither will God forgive them.

This verse is ‘cut and dry!’ If you forgive others, God will forgive you! But if you don't forgive others, God won't forgive you!

But this is not how God deals with us today. This is the law, a performance based acceptance system. And you even see it in Israel's so-called "Lord's Prayer." In fact, it comes right after the Lord showing them how to pray!

Matthew 6:9-13
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Another example is how God ‘justifies’ a man.  In the past with Israel, it was by works!

James 2:24
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

But this is not how God deals with us, his people in the church the body of Christ today. That is why we must rightly divide God's word! Although God justified (declared righteous) the Jew by works, he declares us righteous [justifies us] by faith alone!  That's grace!

Romans 4:4-5
Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.  But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Romans 5:1
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

When we divide God's word right we see that with the salvation and commissioning of Paul to us gentiles, those of us who trust the shed blood of Christ for our sins, we are justified eternally the very moment we believe! God does not use the fear of the law to motivate us to serve him, he uses his grace, or the free gift program; or, in other words, faith that is motivated by his love! Today, it is God's grace, not his law that teaches us!

Our sins have already been forgiven eternally by God, and we forgive others because we have already been forgiven. But even if we don't forgive others, unlike Israel, God has forgiven us!

Colossians 1:14
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Colossians 2:13
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

All of our sins are paid for by the blood of Christ.  So whether we forgive others or not—although we should, God will always accept us [Romans 11:29].  That’s grace!  And that is how grace works to teach us to show the same kindness towards others that God shows towards us. But even if/when we don't, God still is kind to us and accepts us!

Titus 2:11-12
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

The book of Galatians clearly and thoroughly explains the difference between God's law program (Prophecy) with Israel and his grace program (Mystery) with us today.  I would beseech you to read the book of Galatians about 10 times straight because God's word can teach you this issue of grace better than I can! So read Galatians over and over tonight and God will show you more light.

Being under grace is being under the sound doctrine that God gave us in Paul's 13 books Romans through Philemon. Grace is G.R.A.C.E., or God's Riches At Christ's Expense! It the freedom that we have in Christ and the rest (peace of mind) that God will never cast us away based on our performance! It is a life motivated—not by fear under the Law, but one—motivated by the love of Christ!

Galatians 5:1-6
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.  Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

Hopefully this helps!


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