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The Moment of Truth - Lesson 31

Under Law or Under Grace?

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We invite you to join us as we ask the assistance of the Lord:

Our Father in heaven,

In our previous three lessons, we have studied Your law, and we are now wondering what is the role of this law in the life of the Christian.

Since we are saved by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, do we still have to keep Your law?

Please open our minds and hearts, by Your Spirit, as we seek the answer to our questions in Your Holy Word.

In Jesus Christ we pray.


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Psalm 19:7

The law of the Lord is perfect.


Romans 7:12

Why the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.


Psalm 119:165

Great peace have they which love Your law: and nothing shall offend them.


In our previous three lessons (which we invite you to review before going on), we have seen that from the Creation, God gave Adam and Eve a perfect law.

If they had obeyed this perfect law, they would have been happy forever.

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Genesis 2:17

[The Lord God said,]

«But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.»


1 John 3:4

Sin is the transgression of the law.


Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death.


Unfortunately, man transgressed the law of God, and then became a sinner.

He lost the right to eternal life, and became mortal, subject to death.

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Romans 5:12

By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed on all men, for that all have sinned.


Romans 3:23

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.


Separated from God by his sins, the condition of man was hopeless.

Having transgressed the law, he was a sinner; and being a sinner, he was sentenced to death.

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Romans 7:14-16

For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

If then I do that which I would not, I consent to the law that it is good.


Romans 8:7

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.


Moreover, being separated from God, the sinner no longer had the power necessary to obey God’s law...

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1 Corinthians 15:56

The strength of sin is the law.


Romans 7:10

And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be to death.


Since the sinner cannot obey the law by himself, his spiritual state declines day after day.

The Ten Commandments show him the way to happiness, but he is unable to keep them on his own.

His constant disobedience therefore puts him under the condemnation of the law.

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Galatians 2:16

A man is not justified by the works of the law.


Romans 3:20

By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in [God’s] sight.


Isaiah 64:6

All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.


Since our sinful nature makes us unable of perfectly keeping God’s law, it is therefore completely impossible to be saved by our obedience to the law.

Then, what can we do to be saved?

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Galatians 3:24

The law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.


By looking into the law of God, we soon discover our sinful and desperate situation.

The law reveals our spiritual misery, pointing out our many transgressions, and clearly showing us our need of a Savior.

In this way, the law leads us to Jesus, the only One who can justify us and save us from our sins.

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Ephesians 2:8,9

For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves.

It is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.


Romans 3:23,24

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.


No one merits salvation: it is God’s free gift to each one of us, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

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Romans 4:2,3

If Abraham were justified by works, he has whereof to glory; but not before God.

For what said the Scripture?

«Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.»


What happened to those who lived before the coming of Christ? Were they saved by obeying God’s law? No.

Just like us, they had to believe that the grace of God would save them, not their own works.

They put their confidence in the Messiah who was to come, as we put our confidence in the Messiah who has come, Jesus Christ.

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Matthew 5:17

[Jesus said,]

«Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.»


Luke 16:17

[Jesus said,]

«It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one pronunciation mark of the law to fail.»


Some people claim that Jesus has abolished the law of God. However, Jesus’ own words clearly state that God’s law has not been abolished.

The death of Jesus has abolished the ceremonial law, but not the moral law, as we have seen in our previous lesson, «The Two Laws».

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Romans 6:14

You are not under the law, but under grace.


If the Ten Commandments have not been abolished, then what does this declaration from the apostle Paul mean?

What does he want to express by the words «not under the law, but under grace»?

Does he mean that the Christian, being under grace, is not required to obey the law of God?

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Galatians 4:4,5

God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law.


Galatians 3:13

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law.


Romans 8:1

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.


First, what does it mean to be «under the law»?

According to these verses, to be under the law simply means to be under the condemnation of the law.

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Romans 6:14,15

You are not under the law, but under grace.

What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.


We often stop reading after the words «You are not under the law, but under grace.»

Yet, the next verse clearly shows that the expression «not under the law, but under grace» does not allow the Christian to live as if the law was no longer in existence!

Indeed, sin is the transgression of the law, and the apostle Paul declares that we should not sin, even if we are under grace... and especially since we are under grace!

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Galatians 5:13

Brothers, you have been called to liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh.


If a policeman arrests you for speeding, warns you and lets you go without a fine, you are then «under the grace» of this policeman.

Does this grant you the right to transgress the highway code? Of course not! If you reoffend, the policeman will stop you again, and this time for good!

Likewise, the grace of God forgives us, but that certainly doesn’t give us permission to transgress His law.

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Romans 3:31

Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid.

Yes, we establish the law.


Let’s take again the example of the policeman: what would be the best way to show him your gratitude, when he let you go without giving you a fine?

It would be to do your best from now on to keep the highway code, wouldn’t it?

Likewise, if we are truly grateful toward God for His grace, we will seek to better keep His commandments, day after day, through His power working within us.

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Hebrews 5:9

[Christ] became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him.


Acts 5:32

We are [God’s] witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God has given to them that obey Him.


God expects us to obey Him.

Through His power in our hearts, we will be able to keep His law, not to be saved, but rather to show the sincerity of our repentance and our conversion.

We repeat this important point: we keep God’s law, not to be saved, but because we are saved.

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God asks us to do His will, which is expressed in His law:

«I delight to do Your will, O my God: yes, Your law is within my heart.» (Psalm 40:8)

«Not every one that said to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven.» (Matthew 7:21)

«You have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise.» (Hebrews 10:36)

«He that does the will of God stays for ever.» (1 John 2:17)

«Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.» (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

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By keeping His commandments, we prove our love for God:

«If you love Me, keep My commandments.» (John 14:15)

«For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not grievous.» (1 John 5:3)

«And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that said, “I know Him,” and keeps not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.» (1 John 2:3,4)

«O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keeps covenant and mercy for them that love Him and observe His commandments.» (Nehemiah 1:5)

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God disapproves of those who forget His law, but not those who keep it:

«Whoever robs his father or his mother, and said, “It is no transgression;” the same is the companion of a destroyer.» (Proverbs 28:24)

«“In vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men.» (Mark 7:7,8)

«The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting (...) to those that remember His commandments to do them.» (Psalm 103:17,18)

«Blessed is the man that fears the Lord, that delights greatly in His commandments.» (Psalm 112:1)

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More explicit excerpts from Psalm 119, about God’s commandments:

«Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.» (Psalm 119:1)

«Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; yes, I shall observe it with my whole heart.» (Psalm 119:34)

«I will delight myself in Your commandments, which I have loved.» (Psalm 119:47)

«Therefore I love Your commandments above gold; yes, above fine gold.» (Psalm 119:127)

«Lord, I have hoped for Your salvation, and done Your commandments.» (Psalm 119:166)

«I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant; for I do not forget Your commandments.» (Psalm 119:176)

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Galatians 2:20

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me.


We cannot keep God’s commandments on our own.

But by accepting Jesus as our personal Savior, we obtain not only the forgiveness of our past sins, but also the power to do, from that time onward, the will of God, by the presence of Christ living within us through the Holy Spirit.

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John 15:5

[Jesus said,] «He that stays in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without Me you can do nothing.»


Galatians 5:22,23

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.

Against such there is no law.


If Jesus dwells within us, we will spontaneously bear good fruit, as a tree bears fruit without effort.

Let’s note that the law is not against this fruit.

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Ezekiel 36:27

I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My judgments, and do them.


Hebrews 8:10

I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people.


God can accomplish these wonderful promises within us, if we sincerely ask Him.

Indeed, God greatly desires to give us His Holy Spirit, so that we may keep His commandments which show us the way to happiness!

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Psalm 119:47

I will delight myself in Your commandments, which I have loved.


Romans 7:22

For I delight in the law of God after the inward man.


1 Corinthians 7:19 (NKJV)

Keeping the commandments of God is what matters.


The man who is truly converted will not try to lessen the importance of the commandments of God.

On the contrary, he will take great delight in keeping them, knowing that God has given him the power he needs to do it.

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Dear friends, let’s pray together:

Our Lord,

What a great message You have given us today! Now we know that You expect us to do Your will, which is clearly expressed in Your Ten Commandments.

But alone, we can do nothing: this is why we turn to You to ask, according to Your promise, that You grant us Your Holy Spirit, in order that we may learn to better keep Your law day after day.

We thank You, in Jesus Christ.


The test of Lesson 31 is waiting for you!

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