A Message from the NCIAAI Chaplain
LAW & GRACE
Some people would have you believe that law and grace don't mix. That if one tries to keep the commandments they are trying to earn their salvation. Nothing could be further from the truth.
We have only to look at a simple analogy to understand how law and grace work hand and hand to bring us closer to God. Suppose you are a parent. You have a young child whom you love dearly. As a parent you want to give your child every good gift. Yet, as a parent, you realize that you don't always give your offspring everything they ask for. Some of the things desired just wouldn't benefit them. Others could be downright harmful.
Our son wants a car. When will he be given one? Not until he has studied the laws of the road, received his permit, and learned how to put those laws into actual practice. To allow an untrained youngster free access to a car before they have learned how to operate one would be an act of irresponsibility on the parents part that could end in disaster for the child as well as others.
One needs to know and apply the laws of the road in order to drive in a safe and sane fashion. In the same manner, one needs to know God's law in order to live in a responsible fashion. Knowing and applying the laws of safe driving will not EARN our son a car. Nor does knowing and applying God's laws EARN us salvation. Both are GIFTS from loving parents. Just as we will sit in the seat next to our son and give him directions as he learns how to maneuver in traffic, so God, through His laws, sits besides us and directs us in how to live as we work our way through this physical existence. And just as our son will make mistakes in his driving, so will we make mistakes in the way we live our lives.
Suppose our son slips through a stop sign without stopping? He sees his mistake and promises he will never do such a stupid thing again. We take him at his word and he will receive the gift of a new car later on. Now suppose he constantly goes through stop signs? He shows no remorse for his actions and can't see what all the fuss is about. Would we be showing love to allow him to sit behind the wheel of a car? Hardly! He would be placing his life and the lives of others in jeopardy. In the same manner God will forgive us when we make mistakes. That is God's grace in action. And we certainly all need it, because we all make mistakes! But if we harden our hearts and refuse to live by His rules, refuse to admit our wrong doing, He certainly isn't going to give us the gift of eternal life. To do so wouldn't be showing love for either us or the rest of His creation.
What must we do to receive eternal life? The Bible tells us to, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. But what does that mean? What kind of belief are we talking about?
We have seen that precept must be upon precept; line upon line; here a little and there a little. To understand what sort of belief is required we must look into all the scriptures on a subject. For no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. We need to let the Bible interpret the Bible and not look at just one or two verses out of context. Romans 3:20 tells us, Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight. yet in Romans 2:13 we find, Not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. Eph. 2:8-9 tells us, By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. Yet James 2:14-20 asks, What does it profit, my brethren though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? Even so faith, if it hath not works is dead, being alone . . . I will show thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead.
What is the answer? Is it faith or works? Grace or the Law? What is James talking about when he claims, that faith without works is dead? The Bible speaks of two kinds of faith. The first is faith without works. A dead faith. The second is a living faith. A faith that Abraham displayed when he offered up his son Isaac. Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works and by works was faith made perfect? You see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only? James 2:21-24 Living faith is a faith that walks hand in hand with works. Because we believe God we trust that His laws are holy and His commandments are holy and just and good. (Rom 7:12) We put them to work in our lives.
We all need grace because we have all sinned. Yet some will say that we are under grace and don't need to obey God's law. It is true that Christ's sacrifice paid the death penalty for us. Yet Paul asks, What then, shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? God forbid! (Rom 6:15) Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid! How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
It is the sinner that is under the law. Those who have repented and are striving to obey God in faith are the ones under grace. We are not justified by the law. Why? Because the law only gives knowledge of sin. The purpose of the law is not to forgive or justify or wash away our sins. Only the blood of Jesus Christ is able to do that. Sin is the transgression of the law, or lawlessness. That is what sin is. The purpose of the law is to define sin. To reveal it to us so that we can repent of transgressing it. By the law comes knowledge of sin. It is the spiritual mirror that allows us to see our faults and shortcomings, But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the Perfect Law of Liberty and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. James 1:22-25
Paul asked, Do we then make void the law through faith? his answer, God forbid; yea we establish the law. Remember Jesus said, If you will enter into life, keep the commandments. We know that humanly it is impossible for man to keep the commandments perfectly. How then will be be saved? Jesus tells us, Who then can be saved? With men this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. God looks on the heart. When He sees that we are striving to obey He extends His mercy.
Through His Spirit He grants us His faith which, coupled with our efforts, gives us a way of life that centers around His law, a law of love toward God and our fellowman. This way of living produces a living faith. When we make mistakes, and we will because we are still human and weak in the flesh, we repent and God extends His mercy. God's law if perfect. It is a spiritual law. Holy, just and good. All His commandments are sure and stand fast forever and ever. (Ps. 19:7; Rom. 7:14; Rom. 7:12; Ps.. 111:7-8) God's law is a law of love. Given to protect and guide. Love is the fulfilling of that law. Whose love? the love of God, shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. John tells us, He that saith I know him and keepeth not His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (I John 2:4)
It is a common practice to use the verse, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved to mean that the mere belief in the fact of Christ's existence, His sacrifice and His saving works, is enough to gain us salvation. Just accept these facts without obedience to His laws, and you shall be saved! Yet the bible tells us that the devils (demons) believe there is one God and they tremble!
People today want to believe in the messenger without believing the message that He brought. Yet Jesus said, If you will enter into life, keep the commandments. Peter said, Repent and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Who does God give the Holy Spirit to? To those who obey Him. Acts 5:32
Christ came to save us from our sins, not in them! Not everyone that saith unto me, 'Lord!' 'Lord!' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. But he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
We need to be sure that we don't fall into the category of those who worship God in vain, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Laying aside the commandments of God, and holding the tradition of men! Mark 7:7-8 We are not saved by our commandment keeping. It is the blood of Christ that saves us. Yet without repentance and obedience to God's law God will not give us the gift of eternal life.
It is not a question of law OR grace. It is a question of law AND grace! As we strive to live a life of overcoming, exercising the law of love toward God and neighbor in our lives, God extends us His grace.
If we strive to be faithful servants in the not to distant future God will say to us, "Well done thou good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord."
An Invitation to Join the Presidential Prayer Team
Click Here to Join the Presidential Prayer Team
Renowned sculptor, William Hunter, founded The Presidential Prayer Team. Hunter specializes in patriotic art. His designs and their patriotic themes were quickly recognized for their value to our national heritage. Bill Hunter's works have been displayed in museums, the Pentagon, the Arizona State Capitol, in two presidential libraries and in the Oval Office.
On his own, Hunter engraved and minted a special coin to serve as a reminder to himself and others to uphold our President in prayer. He gave the coin freely to his friends and associates. As they carried it in their pockets or purses, more and more of them began requesting additional reminder coins to pass on to others, while testifying of the concept's effectiveness. He then began to envision a nationwide prayer effort for the President, built on the same principle of not only asking people to pray, but giving them simple items that would be a reminder. That's when concept for The Presidential Prayer Team was formed.
The Presidential Prayer Team is a unique effort to mobilize 1% of the population-2.8 million people-to pray daily for the President. This effort is non-partisan and invites participation by anyone who prays to the God of the Bible. The Presidential Prayer Team is an independent, nonprofit organization with a single purpose and goal. The goal is simply to incite daily prayer for the Office of the President. It will also provide information on the daily prayer needs of the President and our country's leadership, both for this administration and future administrations.
Franklin Graham, Bill McCartney, Jack Hayford, Joni Eareckson Tada, Henry Blackaby, Paul Cedar, Ted Haggard, Cornell Haan, Len Munsil, and Ed Silvoso are among those endorsing the Presidential Prayer Team's goal to encourage millions to pray daily for the President, the Cabinet and the nation.
Free Gift for Joining
Join the Presidential Prayer Team (there is no fee) and you'll receive the official blue and gold foil decal (shown below) to proudly display in your window or on your car. It will be a constant reminder to yourself and others to pray for the President. Every member also receives weekly email prayer updates. There is never any obligation and all member information will forever remain confidential.