The Law and the Gospel
The gospel of grace does not nullify Gods Law; it
fulfills it. In fact, it is the only way the Law of God could possibly be fulfilled.
What shall we
say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? . . . .
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm
and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. . . . For you were
called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an
opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another (Romans 6:1; Galatians
motivation for living the Christian life is the result of Gods
sacrificial love for us. If we
love Him we will keep His commandments (Jn. 14:15). We want to please Him because He reached down in
His grace and mercy to save us while we were sinners condemned by Gods just Law.
Therefore, we want to love and please Him wholeheartedly.
since we have
been spiritually regenerated or born again by the Holy Spirit, we are
now a changed people.
You cannot be justified without out this spiritual birth taking place at the same time.
The person who is saved by the grace of God will demonstrate it by a determination to
pursue personal righteousness in his daily life. We will do good works
because that is what we are destined to do (Eph. 1:4; 2:10). The failure to strive to live a morally
upright life according to Gods holy Law only proves that the individual has never
been justified by faith and born again (1 Jn. 2:15-17). The evidence for justification and spiritual birth
are the good works that follow in a persons life. You cannot separate the
regenerating work of the Holy Spirit and the justifying work of Jesus Christ.
The apostle Paul makes it very clear in both Romans and
Galatians that justification by grace through faith fulfills and upholds the Law of God.
Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law in His life of perfect obedience to the Father.
He accomplished for us what we could not do. By His
death Jesus established the Law by enforcing the demands of the Law upon all who sin.
The Law of God is Gods perfect standard for humanity.
"But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so
that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who
believe" (Gal. 3:22). It is so high that no one can fulfill it in his own strength and personal resolve.
"But before faith came, we were kept in custody under
the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed" (v.
fact, the Law points its finger and declares that we are all guilty of sin. We have failed
to be what God demands that we be. We have all broken Gods Law and the punishment is
death (Rom. 3:23; 6:23).
The exactness of the Law demands that the punishment of death
be paid in full (Gen. 2:17). The soul who
sins will die (Ezek. 18:4). Gods Law demands the death penalty for
sinning. Therefore, the Law can be established only by carrying out the death penalty.
We must pay the penalty or find someone acceptable to God who will pay
it for us.
Jesus Christ died as our substitute on the cross fulfilling
the just demands of Gods Law (2 Cor. 5:21). The Law demanded death for everyone who sinned. Jesus
met the demands of the Law by His perfect life. He never experienced personal sin.
However, as our sinless substitute He met the demands by suffering the Laws penalty
in our place. Through the death of Jesus Christ God established the Law while providing a
means by which lost sinners could be saved. God made His own Son sustain the curse of the
Law in our stead, and therefore fulfilled all its holy demands. God maintained His just
standards. He established the Law by allowing Jesus to bear the full penalty of the Law
for all who are saved. By the death of Christ Jesus God demonstrated His
righteousness and faithfulness to the Law so that He might be just and
the justifier of the one who has faith in Christ (Rom. 3:25-26).
Therefore, a holy and just God can remain righteous by
providing His own righteousness for the believing sinner (Rom. 3:26-30). This true
righteousness is the gift of God, and is a perfect righteousness that alone can fulfill
the exact requirements of the Law of God. This is a real righteousness possessed by Jesus
Christ and given to the believer.
We are justified by faith in Christ Jesus
(Gal. 2:16). Because Jesus died
in our place bearing the punishment for our sins, God is free to declare us acquitted
based upon that death.
God saves us by imputing to us this actual righteousness of
Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). It is not something we accumulate, merit or gain by our virtue
because we are sinners. However, Jesus did not fall short. He fulfilled the Law perfectly
and His righteousness is by the grace of God credited to the sinner who believes on Him
By faith in Christ the sinner receives this perfect
righteousness which fulfills all the demands of the Law. It is a righteousness God
provides in His grace because as sinners we deserve the very opposite.
He gives us what we do not deserve. This grace is
provided by God based on the redeeming work of Christ in dying for the sinner. When God
justifies the sinner who believes in Christ He does so by declaring us to have met the
demands of the Law on the basis of Gods saving work in Christ on the cross.
We receive this right standing with God by faith in Christ
(Rom 1:16-17). We are saved by receiving Gods free gift of righteousness by faith
God imputes the righteousness of Christ to our account. God provides His own righteousness
for us. God reckons or credits the righteousness of Christ to be ours. Therefore, we
maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law (Rom. 3:28).
Have you put your trust in Him for a right relationship with God?
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Click for printer friendly page
CLICK to E-mail SELAH! to a friend.