In our article this week, we look at two major themes in the holy books around the universe, and the two major themes of Law and grace form the foundation that guide the teachings in all of them. In the bible for example, these two themes come out as the foundation in the old and new testaments respectively.
These two themes both point and guide on the only two ways man can attain righteousness with God, by Law or by grace, these two are both extremely important. These books further reveal very clearly that they are mutually exclusive, if you seek to achieve righteousness by law you cannot achieve righteousness by grace and on the other hand, if you choose to achieve righteousness by grace then you can’t keep it by keeping law, this is most important because as religious people, we try to mix law and grace, partly by law and partly by grace, partly by the old testament, partly by the new testament the truth of the matter is we fail to understand either, we all basically know what law is, a set of rules we have to keep and if you keep all the rules all the time, then you are made righteous, grace on the other hand is something that we cannot earn and cannot achieve by working for it, if you are working for anything or seeking to earn it that will not be grace for it cannot be earned, grace is received from God only by one way, as a gift.
For by his grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
And if you want to come to the maturity of God you got to decide, are you going to do it by law or by grace and if you follow the advice of the bible you will never try to do it by law for the bible says, no one will ever achieve righteousness with God by keeping law.
Let us look at the requirement of law. The basic principle we have to understand is this, to be righteous by keeping law, we have to keep all law all the time and it’s not enough to keep all of the laws only some of the time or keep some of the laws all of the time, you have to keep law all of the time or else, you are not righteous by keeping the law.
This is the last verse of the chapter and it’s the end of the list of the 12 curses which the Israelite’s silently pronounced to themselves after they came into the land of the promised if they failed to keep the whole law all the time.
And this particular curse says, cursed is the one that confirmeth not to all the words of this law to do them, and all the people shall say Amen. Deuteronomy 27. 26
In other words, if you start to keep the law then deviate from it, you come short and stay under a curse.
Paul resumes this theme in the New Testament and says, “for as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse, for it is written, cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things written in the book of law. Galatians 3:10
So if you want to receive the blessings and avoid the curse, you have to continue in all things, all the time, otherwise the law is of no benefit to your point of view of righteousness.
No one is righteous, No, not even one. Psalms 14:3
James speaking about the same question. “For whoever shall keep the whole law, yet stumbles at one point is guilty of breaking law: James 2:10
For whoever made the law that said do not murder also said do not lie, for if you do not murder but lie, you have broken the law and become a transgressor of the law, you cannot single out some commandments and say, I choose to keep these ones but these others I wouldn’t.
It has to be all the law, all the time otherwise the law is of no benefit to you as a means of attaining righteousness, we most times tend to think it will be alright if we keep most of the law most of the time, the natural mind of man can only think of one way to achieve righteousness, which is by keeping the law all the time, it’s fine if you can do it, praise God, but then the bible goes further to say in actual fact, nobody ever succeeds, this clearly stated in several passages but I’ll only mention two.
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh justified in his sight, for by knowledge of the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20
“Know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified” Galatians 2:16. Very clear, no one shall ever become righteous by keeping the law, you have to believe in God so you are made righteous by faith and not by keeping the works of the law.
When Paul says no flesh, he means no living human being will ever achieve righteousness, the question that then comes to mind is, “Why did God give the law to Moses”? Paul says “the reason for the law is to show and get us to realize that we are sinners, it doesn’t make us righteous but shows us the need for it, the law was never given to make anybody righteous, but rather to maintain order as well as show us how we can’t save ourselves and totally have no control of life, the other purpose was to show us who would be able to save us, through the message of God that came through Jesus, Mohamed, Buddha, Shiva all delivering the message of God to his people that who so ever understands it, may bear the fruits of the living God, bearing the message of peace, love, kindness, faith, belief as well as the gift of the Holy spirit.
The righteous will live by faith. “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident; the just shall live by faith. Galatians 3:11.
However, the law is not based on faith. If you can live following the law all the time, you live that way, and you will be righteous in the sight of God but the alternative is by faith. Galatians 3:12
The rest of the books following the same theme to guide ways of achieving righteousness which entails doing something or abiding by set rules for the Christian, Muslims, Judaism, Taoism, Hinduism, atheist, Buddhist, Shinto, Sikhism, agnosticism all alike. Each religion with a set of different rules to follow but in essence, all of them along this line, “I will be righteous if I do this, or do that, and this, and that other one and not do that, and that and the other.
Picture courtesy of Clarence Larkin
“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking
You can’t earn your way into heaven through abiding by the rules, only as a gift.
Do you not know brethren, for I speak to them that know the law, how that the law has dominion over man as long as he lives. Romans 7:1
Once you come under the law, there is no escape from it except by death, the law continues to rule over you but once pass on to the next life or in our common term “die”, it has no more dominion over you, and have escaped from the dominion of the law.
Imagine yourself standing on a display box, a slave waiting to be sold, only half covered with tattered clothes, shivering with fear, bound in shackles, a set to your limbs and another set binding you to the others standing next to you, people walking to see your skin, if it’s dry and scabies ridden, or trying to tell how young you are or just check general health condition and then this wonderful prince walks in and says “I’ll buy this one”, after he pays for your price, gives you your liberty to freedom.
We don’t really see what God has done for us until we try to fit our feet in a sinner’s shoe.
The war within
What shall we say then, is the law bad, certainly not, I had not known sin but by the law; for I had not known lust, except when the law had said, thou shall not covet. Roman 7:7
We would never know covetousness if not through the law, for it says “though shall not covet” so this commandment make us aware of covetousness, before that, I was not aware of it, but since taking opportunity to become aware of the commandment produce and show in us all manner of evil desires, for as long as we weren’t aware sin never came, but once we become aware.
The people who don’t know how bad they, are the once that never try to be good, until you try to be good, you don’t know what you are struggling with.
But the new world has the new testament that redefines alternative ways to attain righteousness because Jesus already paid the price, because he died for our transgressions and arose in us that we may be free of the law as a way to obtain God’s righteousness, if it is still engraved in you that righteousness comes by the law then it is in vain that Christ died
The flesh having been put to death we are in union with the Holy spirit, united to the resurrected Christ, not bound in flesh under the law. Death has released us from the law and set us free for a different kind of union, a union through the spirit of the resurrected Christ.
But now we are delivered from the law that being dead herein we were held by; so that we serve in newness of spirit and not in oldness of the letter. Romans 7:6
In the past, the law held us like prisoners in the flesh but our old selves died, and we were made free from the law, so now we serve God in a new way with the spirit and not in the old way with written rules.
The passions of sin were aroused by the law, which didn’t stop us sinning, it stirred up sin in us, made us aware of how sinful we are, all alike including those who judge others because they cannot see their mirror self in the other person.
We have been delivered from keeping the law as a means of achieving righteousness because the thing that the law dominates is our fleshly nature which has been put to death and united with Christ and the spirit, for when you are married in the flesh, you give fruits of the flesh, and when you are united with Christ and the spirit, you give fruit of the spirit.
It’s not what we try to do, but rather the spirit we are united with that determines the way we live, this is the main essence of the Christian message, as long as you are just trying to do good and the right within the books, you haven’t grasped the message, the message is get united to the right person and it will work out naturally.
It was for freedom that Christ set us free, therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yolk of slavery. Galatians 5:1
In the past, we were ruled by our sinful self. The law made us want to do sinful things that controlled our bodies, so the things we did were bringing us death. Romans 7:5
Grace is great, it’s greater than whatever you’ve done, been done to you or even for you, greater than the secrets you kept away from others or those others keep away from you, greater than what you are going through or even the addictions you battle, both those you are aware of and those that you aren’t
It may not heal your loved ones but it will hold you up, might not take away your pain but it will carry you through, it may not get you out of your current circumstance but will redeem you from it, no matter how far you’ve fallen, no matter how many times you have failed or relapsed or even collapsed, grace is greater, not because of anything you’ll do but because of what grace does.
When we see the law we say that’s right or that’s not right, that’s what I need to do, that’s how I need to live, that’s when we discover what is really inside of us. So we can say in our spiritual walk that the primary purpose of the law is to bring sin to light because otherwise we can be deceived all through our life not knowing how we are really like inside.
Paul says the commandment which was to bring life I found to bring death for sin taking occasion with the commandment deceives and kills, sin is an assassin, almost personalized waiting for an opportunity to get at you, Paul goes further and says the law is holly, just and good, the problem is not in the law but in our ability to keep it, which resides in you and me.
Cover your sin, God will expose it, expose your sin, God will cover it,
Spiritual law shows us how powerless we are to dealing with it.
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin Romans 7:14
Take note, It is Not to be confused that the grace replaces the Law, this dictates only on spiritual laws and not Judiciary law that governs how we live and interact among each other, the laws of the land have to be respected and followed and can never be used to attain God’s righteousness.
Mind grid perspectives