Law vs. Grace

So which is it you ask? Law…or grace… So here is my opinion, take it or leave it. I believe the debate/argument about law and grace is the most useless, unprofitable, and worthless debate going on in “Christian” circles today. So there it is, and here is why I believe what I believe.

But…before I proceed, I just want to unequivocally state that I firmly believe no one can be saved by works of the Law. That was never the purpose of the Law…ever. We are saved by grace through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Messiah Yeshua alone. (Ephesians 2:8-9).  If we try to obtain salvation through works of the Law, we become legalistic which is strongly cautioned against by the church today, and rightfully so. However, many have become so caught up in anti-legalism, anti-Law, that the “church” has swung on the pendulum way too far in the opposite direction.

So, now here it is…why I believe what I believe. The Holy scriptures themselves tell us in several places that the Law of God is eternal: Ecclesiastes 3:14, “I know that all God does will last forever; there is no adding to it or taking from it. God works so that people will be in awe of Him.” Isaiah 40:8, “The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God remains forever.” Matthew 5:18, “For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished.” Luke 16:17, “But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter in the law to drop out.”

The Word of God also tells us that when the Messiah came there was a change in the priesthood.  And Hebrews 7:12 says, “For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must be a change of law as well.” Hebrews 9:11-14 then tells us, “But the Messiah has appeared, high priest of the good things that have come in the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands (that is, not of this creation), He entered the most holy place once for all, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow, sprinkling those who are defiled, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of the Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to serve the living God?” This was a change in how the Law was manifested, not an exchange of one set of laws for another or to abolish the Law. Messiah’s words in Matthew 5:17 reiterate this point, “Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”

Here is an example. The Law of sacrifice is still in effect today. The death of Yeshua on the cross did not cancel the sacrificial law. It is true that because of Him we do not need to sacrifice animals to atone for our sin. Yeshua took care of that once for all. However, there is still a definite need for the Law of sacrifice to be in effect today. Romans 12:1 commands us to, “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship.” The manifestation of the Law changed…i.e. animals to humans…dead to living…but did not cancel the Law. God’s Laws are eternal.

What about the “Law” of celebrations…Feasts of Yahweh? Some say they are for the Jews only. Some say they were done away with when Yeshua fulfilled them. Well, both of the arguments are not scriptural. When the feasts are commanded by Yahweh he states very clearly they are eternal, permanent statutes throughout the generations. He gave those eternal statutes to the Israelites, the people, that if we claim to be believers in Yeshua, have been grafted into (Romans 11:17).  Not only that, He did not say they were for the Jews, the Christians, etc. They were His feasts, His appointed times (Leviticus 23:1-2). Divine. Godly. The New Testament even shows us that the feasts were kept after the death, burial, and resurrection of Messiah Yeshua. 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 tells us, “Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch. You are indeed unleavened, for Christ our Passover has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us observe the feast, not with old yeast or with the yeast of malice and evil but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” Yeshua is our Passover. So much more depth and spiritual meaning are added to Yahweh’s appointed times in light of Yeshua. Again, our observance of these biblically appointed times are not a matter of salvation. They are a matter of worship; a time of remembrance and reverence for what He has done for us and is continuing to do. (For more on Yahweh’s feasts see Holy Days vs. Holidays.)

What about the dietary laws? Following them does not lead to salvation, however they are proven to be healthy guidelines to follow…the proper way to treat our “temples of the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The bottom line is science can confirm the health benefits of following them. God gives us His Law for our health and benefit.

One of the purposes for Yeshua’s sacrificial death was to change the heart of man, not abolish the Law of God. Ezekiel 11:19-20: And I will give them one heart and put a new spirit within them; I will remove their heart of stone from their bodies and give them a heart of flesh, so they may follow My statutes, keep My ordinances, and practice them. Then they will be My people, and I will be their God.” Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”

James 2:12 tells us, “Speak and act as those who will be judged by the law of freedom.” I have heard this verse used to “prove” that we are free from the Law of God. The reality is that this verse is speaking entirely to our freedom from sin by the mercy and grace of Yahweh. “Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” (Romans 8:1-2).To develop a theology that is based solely on grace and nullifies the Law of Yahweh is to commit a gross misunderstanding of the scriptures. To develop a theology that is based solely on the Law nullifies the sacrifice of Yeshua. The conclusion of the matter is this: There is no such thing as law versus grace. You must have both. You can’t have one without the other. It is law and grace.

All the Lord’s ways show faithful love and truth to those who keep His covenant and decrees. – Psalm 25:10

11 Comments

  1. Pingback: How to Spot a Goat | Psalm 19:14

  2. Jesus Like Melchizedek

    11 If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood—and indeed the law given to the people established that priesthood—why was there still need for another priest to come, one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? 12 For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also. 13 He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15 And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is declared:

    “You are a priest forever,
    in the order of Melchizedek.”[a]

    18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

    • Yes, and then notice the verb tense in Hebrews 8:13, “By saying, a new covenant, He has declared that the first is old. And what is old and aging is about to disappear.” And then read Yeshua’s own words in Matthew 5:17-18, “Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished.” This should make it abundantly clear that even though it is disappearing, the old covenant is still in effect. Yeshua came to fulfill…bring deeper meaning to the old covenant. Under Moses, you actually had to murder someone in order to commit murder…Yeshua says, yes…but if you hate your brother you have committed murder. Under Moses, you had to commit the act of adultery…Yeshua says if you lust after another you have committed adultery. The Law has not been done away with…it has been brought deeper meaning by the Substance, Yeshua. And of course Yeshua’s priesthood in heaven is superior to the Levitical priesthood. Again, he is the Substance, of which the Levitical priesthood was the shadow. And this change in the law was prophesied…Psalm 110. As I’ve read through Yahweh’s Word, I have noticed that anything that Yahweh changes is prophesied first.

      • I wonder how many years of theology training Moses, Jeremiah, Yeshua, and Peter had? I don’t know if Rabbis are considered theologians, but for 2,000 years they have denied that Yeshua is the Messiah…does 2,000 years of denial make them right? Likewise, does 2,000 years (aprox) of theologians, disprove the Word of God? How many scientists claim that we evolved and that we weren’t created? How many scientists ‘back in the day’ claimed that the earth was flat, when in fact….it was round?

        What if, today, for such a time as this, God in His Master Plan, is revealing a truth to His people that has been veiled for many many centuries? What if we are witnessing what is written in Acts 3:21…the restoration of all things…from Genesis to Revelation?

        I’m choosing to stick with the Word of God on this one as well, Psalm 19:14 🙂

        • In reality, I can see it in black and white in the Word of God…It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or theologian in this case, to understand Matthew 5:17-18 or the fact that “is becoming obsolete” is much different than “has become obsolete”. It is amazing to me how much clearer the Word of God has become to me once I began reading the whole thing for myself and not just taking what people told me as “gospel truth”. The “new testament” is inextricably tied to the “old testament”. It brings fuller meaning to the old, which is the foundation of Christianity today. Building anything without a firm foundation is fruitless. Without the old testament, we wouldn’t have the new…as a matter of fact, the old testament is quoted and/or referenced over 1,000 times in the new testament. How can it be done away with? “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, because he wrote about Me. But if you don’t believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”—John 5:46-47

        • Connie,
          Maybe it appears that way to some, but I’ve been where you are…”the law is dead, those Sabbath keepers are nuts!” However, you have never been where I am. But when the Holy Spirit of God opened my eyes to the Truth found in His word, I submitted and obeyed instead of resisting and trying to re-interpret Scripture to suit my agenda.

          The Word of God is not hard too understand, unless you come with your own preconceived ideas, which sadly, many do. It is very clearly stated in Deut. 30:11-14…

          “For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.”

          I’m not sure what the ‘theologians’ would say about this verse, but it seems pretty plain what God is telling His people. After all, if we can’t understand the Bible for ourselves, and we need to base it on another man (theologians), then isn’t that like the Catholic church which says that it’s priests are the only qualified ones to understand Scripture? No thanks!

          As for my being the only one (besides one other), and our interpretation of Scripture, yes, the Holy Spirit has been opening my eyes to deeper insight in the Word. Although I’m sure you didn’t mean the Holy Spirit :), the verse from 1 Kings 19:18 comes to mind. Elijah thought he was the only one left who was on the side of Yahveh, and he was crying out to God, who replied, “Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

          It may seem like a small group in our area, but there are thousands and thousands of believers who seem to read Scripture without the aid of theologians today and can see what the Word plainly teaches. Man is not perfect and while these theologians may have good insight and understanding in some areas, they certainly were human, and not right about everything. After all, they even disagree with each other. Read some Bonhoeffer, and compare it with F.F. Bruce for starters….

          Shalom

    • Yes and if you keep reading through verse 34, I think part of this may not be fulfilled yet…I mean we are still teaching our neighbor and not everyone knows the Lord yet.

      “Look, the days are coming”—this is the LORD’s declaration—“when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. This one will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant they broke even though I had married them”—the LORD’s declaration. “Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days”—the LORD’s declaration. “I will put My teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. No longer will one teach his neighbor or his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least to the greatest of them”—this is the LORD’s declaration. “For I will forgive their wrongdoing and never again remember their sin.”

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