Ephesians 2:8-10 AMP “For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved… 9 Not because of works… 10 For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].”
Jesus came to save man from sin
Matthew 1:21 (KJV) “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”
God’s focus of love offers true grace and is designed to “save his people from their sins.” The Law reveals the sin, and Christ came to save us from rebellion to His law. True freedom or liberty is offered to all narrow road followers of Jesus. Some have mistakenly twisted this promise to believe Christ came to free men from God’s standard of right and wrong, with freedom to chase after sin without consequence. This is madness and living in slavery to sin.
If you were saved from drowning, you would not keep living in the state of drowning, and have the lifeguard swim next to you and pull you up every few hours. No, he would drag you out of the water to safety. Do you think the Almighty God defines “save his people from their sins” as only freeing them from the consequences of eternal hell, but leaving everyone in the misery of perpetual sin? Not even a lifeguard will do that to a drowning swimmer. Why would anyone think God will torment people in this way?
If the plan of God is to “save his people from their sins” what would that mean? It does not say “save his people from hell” the consequences of their sin, but “from their sins.” Sin is the destroyer of mankind. Sin is the water that drowns people for all eternity. Sin is what God hates. Sin is what God wants to save all people from, not leave them drowning under it.
False grace is the idea that God does not save us from sin, but saves us from His moral law. False grace is so destructive to mankind that God warned us in the Bible that this error would plague us until He comes back in judgment. “Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” [Jude 1:3-4 (NLT)]
We only know what is moral from God’s Word. His Law has not changed today. What was immoral in the Old Testament, was immoral in the New Testament times, and is still immoral today. NO CHANGE! Is it time for you to leave false grace behind, along with your disobedience to God’s moral law, and find God’s freedom from sin? Jesus died to save you from your sin.
Living by the Spirit
Revelation 13:8 (WEY) “…the Book of the Lamb who has been offered in sacrifice ever since the creation of the world.”
God had a long standing, carefully crafted plan from the very beginning to save man from his sin. God sticks with His plans. God’s love drives Him to fulfill His promises. But His plan included thousands of years to prepare the way for His son to be presented as the sacrifice for sin. This was God’s mercy to Israel until His son would be offered up for sin.
The religion He established through Moses was an elaborate set of sacrificial rituals to make known the horrors of sin. Israel lived under this ritual law to pound into their minds the evil of sin and the desperate need of forgiveness. From the day Adam and Eve sinned, the curse of sin and death plagued mankind. People drown under their sin. Even today, without Christ, we all were drowning under this terrible living death.
But Jesus came to earth 2000 years ago to be the final sacrifice and replace all rituals. “With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.” Hebrews 9:12 (NLT)
Israel was offered salvation from two things:
1/ Slavery of sin and, 2/ Slavery of Old Testament rituals for sin
But another problem was many Jews decided the sacrifices were not sufficient and turned to legalism, the belief that salvation is gained by good works. The Pharisees were great legalists constantly trying to gain favor with God by a balancing act of doing certain things that they thought were good that earned them heaven and God’s favor, in spite of breaking God’s Law. The temple sacrifices were the only thing God gave them for sin, but they added legalism to try and gain their way to heaven.
The only way the Pharisees could do this was to ignore certain laws that they were breaking, and emphasize the ones they liked and followed. That is why they were hypocrites. The laws they broke were seen by Jesus and their good deeds did not erase their sin. Jesus did not condemn them for obeying all God’s laws, but for breaking His laws. They should have remembered, only a sacrifice of blood could erase their sin.
Today many try to define legalism as the idea that our conduct is judged by the precise law of God. This is false! This is not legalism, this is exactly what God does and will continue to do until all is finalized on Judgment Day. The sad thing is, legalism is practiced by some churches by using rituals to try and bring forgiveness instead of faith in the cross of Jesus. There is no ritual that can do anything for you today!
“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 5:17-19 (NLT)
The narrow road follower of Jesus has God’s grace empowering them, and does not need or trust in any rituals, nor suffers under the slavery of sin. No church needs to practice rituals. Christ died once for all. Now we walk in the Spirit of life. Christ’s sacrifice was more than enough to completely set us free!
Is the law fulfilled?
Matthew 5:18 (NLT) “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.”
“‘Till heaven and earth pass.’ This expression denotes that the law never should be destroyed till it should be all fulfilled. It is the same as saying, everything else may change-the very earth and heaven may pass away-but the law of God shall not be destroyed, till its whole design shall be accomplished.” – Notes on the New Testament Explanatory and Practical.
Under the Old Testament Law, sin and forgiveness, blood sacrifice, and the horrible cost of sin was constantly pounded into the psyche of Israel. They were sinners, God was Holy. They could not come close to God because of their sin, which God hated. But He loved them and offered forgiveness through blood sacrifice.
Their lives were persistently reminded of sin. Sin and it’s burden were always on their minds. They were sick of sin, and killing animals over and over to cover their sin. The Old Testament rituals were a bloody circle of death and spiritual cleansing over and over and over and over. But the cross of Jesus changed everything. He was sacrificed once for everyone so the ritual law was finished.
Now there is no purpose for rituals in the church. All the temple worship rituals are finished, and Christians must not copy any of them. “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.” John 19:28 (KJV) Christ accomplished every detail in the task of paying for all sin, for all men, forever. He completely fulfilled the Bible promises and prophecy that gave us salvation from sin. God offers a New Testament to replace the old temple and rituals. A new temple is given.
“The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.” Romans 8:3-4 (NLT)
Even the smallest detail of ritual law is over. The ritual law was fulfilled in the temple, but was finished in Christ’s body at the cross. Today, God fulfills his moral law through God’s new temples, the bodies of every narrow road follower of Jesus. As real as the old rituals were used for God’s glory, the new temples are made holy for His Word to be fulfilled in us! “Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.” Romans 13:8 (NLT)
Instead of rituals made by men, we live our lives in constant sacrifice, pouring out our lives by actually offering our own body, soul and spirit to serve God all day long. We pour out our lives instead of the blood of lambs and goats. No more blood is needed. This is real spiritual worship. Have you become a true narrow road follower of Jesus? Romans was written for this very reason. “I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1 (AMP)
God’s law is fulfilled in us everyday! “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Galatians 5:14 (KJV) By God’s mighty grace flooding our souls we do fulfill the law.
The purpose of the Law and grace
“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!” Matthew 5:17-20 (NLT)
What is the purpose of God’s law? Simple, to tell us what is right and what is wrong. God has that responsibility and authority to do this for His created world. The Law tells us what to do, and what not to do. What is good, and what is bad. “Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins…” Galatians 3:19 (NLT) Christ did not erase the moral law, neither does grace.
For example, in the Old Testament Law God commanded Israel, “No lies about your neighbor.” Exodus 20:16 (MSG) Grace did not erase the Law and give Christians permission to lie today. “But Peter said, Ananias, ‘why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?’” Acts 5:3 (KJV) There is no change in God’s moral law. “But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Revelation 21:8 (NLT)
A lie is sin in the Old Testament, and a sin in the New Testament. The Law is not abolished, weakened, or changed by grace. A liar will still be judged. At Judgment Day liars will be condemned to eternal death in hell.
This is the same for the immoral, thieves, etc. Just because the United States of America declares sin is okay it does not change God’s mind. Nor does it matter if your uncle, mother or friend decides God is old fashioned and wrong. Sin is determined by the law of God and grace does not oppose or contradict the law.
“Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God.” Romans 3:19 (NLT) Any preacher, teacher, or Christian who teaches that grace allows us to “ignore the least commandment” contradicts the Lord Jesus. When you contradict Him, you deny Him. The very Greek word used means “to contradict, i.e. disavow, reject, abnegate :- deny, refuse.” – Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.
What is the purpose of grace? Grace has nothing to do with God changing His mind and making excuses for Christians to continue sinning, while condemning the world for doing the very same acts. That would make God unjust and a hypocrite. But you see, the religious leaders of Israel in Jesus’ day, were the hypocrites. They did not obey God’s law. They made a big deal about themselves being righteous, when in fact, they disobeyed God constantly. Jesus was clear, “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach.” Matthew 23:2-3 (NLT)
False grace makes excuses for a sinful life, in the name of being a Christian. The purpose of real grace then has everything to do with changing the narrow road follower of Jesus so they can “practice and obey.” Our Lord is clear, “unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!” Righteousness is doing what is right, not just believing in what is right. The Pharisees already tried that, and what did that get them?
How to Be Great in God’s Kingdom
“But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!” Matthew 5:19-20 (NLT)
Two things are clear:
1/ God floods His saints with the Holy Spirit so that they are the truth givers of each generation preserving the earth by proclaiming the Good News and sharing eternal life for all generations until Christ returns. (Matthew 5:13)
2/ God also blesses the generations of mankind with eternal hope by shining the light of His holy life from inside the skin of all His followers as they live out His righteousness. God is clearly seen by the vast numbers of lost humanity drawn to Him by the love they see from the church. (Matthew 5:14,15)
The Lord Jesus offers 6 examples of the superior life of MORE RIGHTEOUSNESS in Matthew 5 that believers live as the normal Christian life. This is in sharp contrast to the fundamental laws that the Pharisees taught but could not live. Later he explains more about the failure of their religious leaders under the law, but not the day of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 23).
The best the teachers of Israel had to offer through the law left everyone ending up in hell. But the righteousness pouring into the souls of the true Christians by the Holy Spirit FAR EXCEEDED the self righteousness the Pharisees could muster in their own strength. The righteousness that floods believers is MORE, MORE, WAY MORE than the Pharisees could ever create.
Paul explained this truth many years later to the followers of Jesus. In Romans 8:3-4 (NKJV) he wrote:
3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
They could not understand all of this on this day, so our wise Savior blew their minds with the truth of the results of this whole new way of living. The contrast is made clear so the disciples would see how miraculous the new life in Christ really was.