by Pastor Bill Snell
Merriam – Webster Dictionary
1. One who holds that under the gospel dispensation of grace the moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation
2. One who rejects a socially established morality
American Heritage Dictionary
1. The doctrine or belief that the Gospel frees Christians from required obedience to any law, whether scriptural, civil, or moral, and that salvation is attained solely through faith and the gift of divine grace.
2. The belief that moral laws are relative in meaning and application as opposed to fixed or universal.
One need not embrace for long the solidly biblical doctrines of grace before encountering opposition from those who accuse that “grace teaching” automatically implies a careless attitude toward conduct and morality. I am amazed how bragging on God and the finished work of Christ is so often considered the equivalent to a license to behave badly.
The legalistic mindset has a difficult time embracing the implications of the prized Protestant doctrine known as “justification by faith” (Rom. 3:24, 26; 5:1). Think about it for a moment, if salvation is a result of God’s grace working through faith, and not by any works of our own (Rom. 11:6), then it must be true that obedience to the Ten Commandments, or even our best efforts to do so cannot save us (Gal. 3:10). Only Jesus’ fulfillment of the law, coupled with His sinless perfection which He offered as a sacrifice for our sin can provide the believer forgiveness and redemption (Matt. 5:17).
That being said, one will ask, does “grace” free the believer from God’s commandments? Well, grace certainly does free us from our failure of not meeting the requirements of the commandments and the law, so in that sense there is some truth to this (Rom. 10:4; 11:6; Gal. 2:16). But, if “law keeping” is still God’s standard of acceptance today, then we are still in our sins and the sacrificial system must of necessity still be practiced. This would also necessitate a belief that the New Covenant of Jesus’ sacrifice isn’t sufficient to cleanse us from our sin (Gal. 2:21; James 2:10).
Yet the Bible teaches clearly that Jesus’ sacrifice was indeed sufficient, such that He fulfilled the law for two primary reasons; one, because He was “the Word made flesh”, holy and without blame as the only begotten Son of God, expressing His love for the Father through perfect, sinless obedience. Secondly, Jesus fulfilled the law because we could not.
For this reason He offered His life as a perfect, and forever-sacrifice for our sin (Gal. 3:24; Phil. 3:9). This glorious, finished work of Jesus, removes the believer from the curse of the law and its condemning effect (Gal. 3:13).
That, dear friends, is the Good news of the Kingdom!
Believers are definitely not under the law but under grace. The law no longer has mastery over us, grace does! (Rom. 6:14) Our relationship with God through Jesus is not based upon anything but faith (Eph. 2:8-9). Only faith pleases God (Heb. 11:6).
Does this mean that the believer should dismiss, discount, and reject the commandments of God as if they have no value or impact on our daily lives? Of course not! They are applicable for our benefit and success in life and witness.
The purpose of grace teaching therefore is not to promote lawlessness for a Christian as the legalists claim, but Christ-likeness. Godly behavior isn’t the result of imitation, but comes through an understanding of and living from our union in Christ where He has made us righteous (2 Cor. 5:21), holy (Col. 1:22; Eph. 1:4), partakers of His divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4), and secure in our sonship (Romans 8:14-16).