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Grace Over Law

 

 

Act 15: 1- 29

This is one of the key scriptures in the New Testament. Why? All that Christ had done on the cross could have been defeated if the ‘men from Judea’ had their way! I believe it was the grace and the providence of God that raised men like Paul who stood for the truth of the Gospel, despite being a staunch Jew, before conversion.

Acts 15:1 says ‘Certain men which came down from Judea’ taught the bretheren….

These men and their group were called Judaizers by the early church. They added to the doctrine taught by the original disciples and Paul.

What was their doctrine?

Luke here says that they taught that Act 15:1 … Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved”

Now this was a broad deviation from the Gospel that Paul and Barnabas taught. The Judaizers taught that to be truly saved, you needed to be circumcised. What was the significance of circumcision (at that time)? Well circumcision was very symbolic to the Jews. It was a gateway into the Law of Moses. To be circumcised meant that they would be getting into a covenant that would cause them to keep the Law of Moses.

What was different about the Law of Moses?

Everything! Everything was different!

John the beloved wrote in his Gospel:

      John 1:16 – 17   And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

 

The word ‘law’ is translated from the Greek word nomos.

Nomos means: law, regulation.

So that scripture can be re-written as: For the regulation was given by Moses …

Regulation was given by Moses, but acceptance came through Jesus Christ!!! That means, you would have to keep the whole law to be accepted under the law. But under Christ, you are accepted just because you believe in Christ (John 3:16).

Paul’s stand against Law

The scripture records that Paul and Barnabas had great disputation and dissention about the Law. It was so great that the church there at Antioch decided that they needed to go to Jerusalem and decide to determine if the Law was still necessary to be kept. And that they did!

Why was this revelation so dear to Paul?

Paul was a Pharisee. All his life, he had strived to ‘earn’ righteousness by following the law and the code of the Pharisees, even going to the extend of persecuting the followers of Christ. Now he had a personal encounter with this Jesus, and with that came the revelation that he couldn’t earn righteousness with God based on works. Which was contrary to what he had learned and practiced all his life. On the face of this revelation, why would he go back to his old ways!

It didn’t stop there! All his life he had struggled with sin. In Romans chapter 7 he records his struggle with sin. He had suffered condemnation and helplessness against sin. He says:

 

Rom 7:14  For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead….

 

Paul records here that he was not able to overcome the sin that dwelled in him. The Law had no power because it was spiritual and it did not empower him to live a righteous life.

 

Then came Jesus Christ !

Rom 8:1  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit

 

All of a sudden, Paul records, everything changed! He is no longer under condemnation! A new law, the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus set him (and all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ) free from sin and its consequence ‘death’!

If you are in Jesus Christ, you are not condemned. Nobody dare condemn you! Yes, there is a law that condemns. Paul suffered under it all his life, till he became a follower of Christ. But the day that be believed in the Christ, he was set free from that condemnation! In Christ, just as Paul was set free from that condemnation, you are set free from the law of death.

You have been set free from that law of death to a new law, that puts life into you, the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus!

 

It just keeps getting better!

It does not end there! Christ even went forward and put the Spirit of Sonship in you! So that you can now call God almighty ”Abba Father” , and you are called ‘Sons of God’ , because you believe in Him and you are led by His Spirit!

Why would Paul or anyone want to go back into the law ? Why would Paul or anyone want to live like a slave again ?

Live in HIM, Live FREE!

 

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