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Are you under the law or under grace?


Are you under the law or under grace? Before you answer, allow me to raise the stakes. Paul writes in Romans 6:14 “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace”. In Galatians 3:23 he wrote, “Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed”. And later in Gal 4:4-5, he says, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons”. Therefore, depending on our answer, we are either under the dominion of sin or we are not, we are either imprisoned or free, we are either strangers to God or His beloved children. It is to our benefit then to answer briefly what the phrases “under the law” and “under grace” mean.

            Both of these phrases indicate the basis upon which a person will be judged on the final day. As all have been born in Adam, all are born under the covenant God made with Adam. A covenant of works. What does this mean for you and me? It means we owe to God perfect obedience. The law reveals that perfect standard, and you and I must keep that law if we are to live under this covenant. This is a problem for us. You see, the law is no friend to sinners. The law searches out our inner being and reveals what lies beneath. Namely, sin, idolatry, and a wayward heart. On the day of judgment, the law will not be gracious to you. It will accurately put forth to God exactly who you are. “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words, you will be condemned (Matthew 12:36-37). It may not seem so, but this is a good thing, for the law presents the perfect holiness of God. It is God’s ideal standard of living. If the law was not a perfect standard of righteousness, then God himself would not truly be holy. The problem then is not with the law, but with us.

            What then can we do? We can flee to the Son of God. He was sent as one under the law to redeem us from that law. Christ offers us a new way to relate to God on the day of judgment. Rather than be judged directly by the law, we can be judged according to the merits of Christ himself. Rather than appealing to our own righteousness, we can appeal to the righteousness of God’s perfect Son. How is this possible? It is possible because Christ fulfilled that law for his people. He has stepped into our place and taken on the covenant of works. You can think of it like this, instead of the law judging you, the law judges Christ, and you by faith receive his reward. Through the person of Christ, God himself has become our shelter and our secure tower! I ask the question again, are you under the law, or are you under the grace of Christ?


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