Bible Study

Grace and Law – Opposites or Complements?

I saw a post on Facebook last night that caught my eye.  It was a quote that basically pitted law and grace against each other, showing just how awful law is and how wonderful grace is.  It broke my heart.  God wrote those words of “law” for His people whom He loves with an everlasting love, and who He chose to have a relationship with.  This is the reply I wrote to that thread.  I hope that it helps people to think about God’s beautiful word through a slightly different lens.
First of all, the word “law” here is a poor translation of the Hebrew word “Torah” which means teaching or instruction. God gave the Israelites His divine instruction on how they should live as His covenant people. It is their “marriage ketubah” of sorts – a written contract for the covenant that He made with them. You say that the law was put into place for the unsaved, but that’s not really the case.
Second, grace and law are not opposites, as is evident when we understand what the “law” really is. (No one would try to argue that grace and instruction are opposites.) Grace and legalism are opposites. Grace and Torah are a beautiful complement to each other.
As soon as people start pitting grace and “law” or NT and OT against each other, they lose the ability to understand either fully. This gives way for us to depend solely on our “conscience” and what “feels right” instead of going to God’s word for the answer. I know that most people may not think of it that way, but it happens every day – just look at how many churches are ordaining homosexual ministers. As soon as you bypass God’s Torah in favor of grace, you begin seeing it as a license to interpret Scripture however you want.
Jesus said “If you love me, obey my commandments.” He’s speaking of the Torah. He said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” He’s speaking of the Torah. Then He says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations… teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
Grace and Torah serve two different purposes, both of which equally important. Grace keeps us in right standing before God. Torah shows us how to live out our love for God. Because we have grace, we keep His commandments.

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