Friday, February 27, 2009

Are Grace and Law in Conflict?

Dear Anonymous_Feb26_10:53PM,

You posted the following comment under my post entitled "New Garment + New Wine = Grace":
"So does it mean that Grace and Law are in conflict ?"

Before I answer your question, let me first request that you at least use a pseudonym, if not your real name, to sign off your comment in future.

With regards to Grace and Law, let me say that they are not in conflict with each other but are two SEPARATE covenants designed for different purposes.

The first covenant, Law is meant to show us what sin is and that we are sinners - Rom 3:20 "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin."

The law shows us that no matter how well intentioned we are and no matter how hard we try, we are not able to meet God's standards. That is why 2 Cor 3:7 calls it the ministry of death, and 2 Cor 3:9 calls it the ministry of condemnation.

The law shows us that we need a Saviour, it will lead us as Paul was, to ask "Who will rescue me from this body of death?" (Rom 7:24) Grace came through Christ (John 1:17) to impart to us righteousness which we cannot attain through the law (Rom 3:21-22).

Grace and Law serve two different purposes and in fact complement each other in that the Law leads us to Grace - "Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith." (Gal 3:24)

Paul says in Gal 2:20-21 "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"

Under Grace, we are in Christ and Christ is in us. Christ in us will be the guide in our daily living. Thus, Grace and Law are not in conflict with each other BUT when you mix Grace and Law in your life, you will create conflict within yourself.

Let me give an analogy:
A few days ago, there was something wrong with my computer. I could access websites to read articles but I just could not log on to my own site or msn or gmail. I could not figure out what was wrong and asked God for wisdom.

Finally, God showed me that the computer was behaving this way because the default firewall in Windows Vista plus the firewall of my anti-virus software were both turned on. I turned off the Windows firewall and everything worked fine from then on.

We should not mix Grace and Law in our lives for Romans 7:4 and 6 say "you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.", "But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code."


eekpil said...

What is balanced preaching? Some of us suggest that it is a mixture of Law and Grace.

Such a conclusion is arrived at because we considered only God's system, i.e. the two covenants, and fail to consider that there is a separate godless system. As a result, this is what we see (erroneously, I believe):

Law vs Grace = Law vs Lawlessness

We fail to realise that importance of differetiating between:
(a) the comparison of God's convenants (Law and Grace) and

(b) the comparison between God's system (Law and Grace) and the godless system (Lawlessness).

The failure to do so has caused much confusion and misunderstanding in the Church, with regard to the preaching of pure grace.

The bigger picture perspective, I believe, is as follows:
- Law vs Grace vs Lawlessness

For believers, it is a no brainer that the godless system of lawlessness is to be rejected outright. We are against sin. We are against lawlessness. Because we know that sin and lawlessness will rob people of the glorious and victorious life God wills and plans for all of us to enjoy.

That leaves us with God's system of Law vs Grace.

We will do well to be clear that God's system of covenants is such that we are either under one or the other.

We cannot mix both. If we mix the two, we nullify both.

We cannot mix new wine with old wine skin. If we do so, you lose both. Jesus wants us to be either hot or cold, not luke warm.

The mixture of Law and Grace is Galatianism (which the apostle was agressively against, as recorded in the book of Galatians in the New Testament).

Therefore, my conclusion is as follows:
The preaching of pure Law is Legalism.
The preaching of lawlessness is Antinonmianism.
Both are extreme and imbalance, and should rightfully be rejected by the Church.

The preacing of a mixture of Law and Grace is Galatianism.
It is unbiblical and confusing.
It robs the believers of the blessing of enjoying the power of God's covenants.
Such preaching should, according to the apostle Paul, be rejected by the Church.

The preaching of pure Grace is preaching of the Gospel of Christ, which is balanced preaching.

Kat said...

I agree with what eekpil said and it is really true that we cannot mix law and grace, you are either under one or the other.

The purpose of the law is to bring us to grace. For that I agree that the law is not in conflict with grace because its purpose is to bring us to is like the tutor (Galatians 3 :24)

However if we choose to live under the law, the law will demand of us...we have to "work"...the law causes us to be works based, it is all about our self effort...THOU shalt not...when we are works based, we fall out of grace. In this aspect, the law is in conflict with grace. Law based living is dependent on the works of our flesh, not dependent on UNEARNED, UNMERITED FAVOUR which is what God's grace is about.

Romans 8:4-6
"that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
For those who live according to the flesh swt their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."


friend said...

Ok. I understand. LAW is a system. Initially, I misunderstood LAW as some kind of discipline, principle or values.

friend said...

Does GRACE imply new testament while LAW imply old testament ?

Jeffrey said...

It is better to call it old and new covenant rather than old and new testament although I think the word testament and covenant are the same meaning.

I call it the old covenant of law and the new covenant of grace.Some preachers get mixed up and confused because they use the sermon on the mount as a foundation or core curriculum for new covenant believers.

The new covenant only began after the death and resurrection of Jesus.Heb 9:16-17

As believers we need to be clear about this,so we will not be toss to and fro by every wind of doctrine but be established in righteousness of faith which is the core of the Gospel(Good News)Rom 1:16-17,Is 54:14