Bought by the Blood

October 6, 2009

Law and Grace

One of the best books I have read on the topic of grace is “Transforming Grace,” by Jerry Bridges.  Here is an excellent quote from that book on the relationship between works and grace.

Some people believe that, under grace, God’s law no longer has the meaning of requirement but is an expression of His desire.  They would readily say God desires that we be holy, but God does not require that we be holy.  They maintain that we have been freed, not only from the curse and condmenation resulting from breaking the law, but also from the requirements of the law as a rule of life.  They believe that to insist on obedience as a requirement for a Christian is to teach legalism instead of grace.  In other words, to assign the concept of requirement to the will of God is legalism, but to assign the concept of desire to it is grace.

I believe such a view is a misunderstanding of grace.  God’s grace does not change the fundamental character of God’s moral law.  Rather, the grace of God provides forgiveness and acceptance of those who have broken the law.  The good news of the gospel is that God has removed the guilt we incur by breaking His law and has bestowed on us the righteousness of Christ, who perfectly kept His law. Legalism does not consist in yielding obedience to the law.  Rather, it is to seek justification and good standing with God through the merit of works done in obedience to the law  instead of by faith in Christ.

We need to always keep in mind that God is not only our Savior and heavenly Father through Christ, but He is also still God, the supreme Ruler and moral Governor of His creation.  The sons and daughters of a king are still under obligation to obey the laws their father has decreed for his realm, even though they are his children.  They are no more exempt for the laws than any other citizen…

Under a sense of legalism, obedience is done with a view to meriting salvation or God’s blessing on our lives.  Under grace, obedience is a loving response to salvation already provided in Christ, and the assurance that, having provided salvation, God will also through Christ provide all else that we need…
We obey God’s law, not to be loved, but because we are already loved in Christ.

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