Jesus took the Law seriously. In the famous “Sermon on the Mount” Jesus said: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 7:17-18).
The important part of this verse is that Jesus fulfilled the Law, not that the Law would never pass away. In all of history, Jesus is the only man who completely kept both the detail (the outward behavioral requirements) and the spirit (the inward requirements regarding our intentions and motivations) of the Law. And because Jesus fulfilled the Law, the Law is not needed anymore. Look at what the Apostle Paul says: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about therighteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them” (Romans 10:4-5). Christ is the end of the Law. The Law continues to exist, but those who have put their trust in Christ are dead to it.
Jesus fulfilled the Law, and grace is the new reality for those who put their trust in Him. The Law gets thrown out. This is not always easy to grasp. One pastor told me, “We need to have one foot in the Old Testament and one foot in the New Testament. We need to keep a balance between Law and grace.” Many say you have to balance grace by teaching people to keep the Law. But Paul calls this “a different Gospel” (Galatians 1:6).
In 2 Kings 4:38-40, Elisha the prophet asked his protégés to cook a pot of stew. One young man accidentally put a poisonous wild gourd in the pot. Because there was “death” in the pot, the prophets were not able to eat. A little bit of poison made all the good food inedible. Many preachers do the same thing today by trying to mix the Gospel of Grace with the poison of legalism.
Grace and works are like oil and water, they do not mix. “And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work” (Romans 11:6). If even a little bit of human goodness is required for salvation, then salvation ceases to be the work of God alone. Andy Stanley says, “Grace plus anything is anything but grace.” Paul reveals that salvation comes only by grace, from the beginning to the end, or salvation is not by grace at all.
If righteousness comes through my works, then Jesus died for nothing. If righteousness comes through my obedience, then Jesus only paid part of the price.
Once you accept the concept of grace, you can’t fit your life into the old paradigm of trying to keep the Law. As Jesus said, “You can’t put new wine in old wineskins” (Matthew 9:17). As soon as you try to balance grace and the Law, you render grace null and void. If even a little bit of religious work is required for salvation, then salvation stops being the work of God and His grace. If you are counting on even one Law to make you righteous, then you are not trusting the work of Christ at all, but the Law.
My grandfather did not file a tax return with the IRS this year. Normally, the IRS would launch an investigation and prosecute him for failing to pay his taxes, but they did nothing to my grandfather. Why? For one simple reason: my grandfather is dead. The law no longer applies to him.
The Law no longer applies to you. It is time for you to start walking in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. As a friend posted on Facebook, “The Law is rigid. It demands brick but denies me straw. But the gospel of grace is liberating. It bids me to fly and gives me wings.”
If you want to know more about God’s Grace and why Grace Wins, order a copy of Daniel King’s book about the Grace of God today!