The Contrast between Law by Moses vs. Grace by Jesus (Part 2)

Jun. 2, 2019 | By Creflo Dollar

Summary

There are major differences between the law and grace; the quality of our Christian lives depends on correctly analyzing those contrasts. Under the law, the focus was on man’s performance and what the people could do to get something from God. Under grace, the focus is on what Jesus did, and our belief in it. We must not confuse performing to get what Jesus has already done with performing to activate the authority that He has given us. It is actually sinful to rely on our own efforts to earn our righteousness when Jesus has already made us righteous by faith. God has declared us holy and sanctified because we are in Christ; there is therefore no need to earn our holiness and sanctification when we can receive it by faith. Moving from the old dispensation of the law to the new dispensation of grace allows God to transform us from the inside out and change our lives.

  1. Moses gave the law, which was true in its time. Now, we are under the truth of grace.
    1. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17).
      1. This illustrates a contrast; we must understand that what was true under the law may not be true under grace.
    2. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:14).
      1. This tells us what dispensation we are now living under.
      2. We must correctly analyze life under the law compared to life under grace. These two dispensations are not the same; we must not put them in the same category.
      3. Performance-based religion is sin, because Christ’s righteousness is the only true righteousness. Any other perceived righteousness is born out of self-effort.
      4. The only way to get true righteousness is to believe and receive it. We then must surrender our self-effort.
    3. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death (Romans 7:5).
      1. When we are in performance-based Christianity operating by the law, we are in the flesh.
      2. In this context, “the flesh” is to be under the law, trying to do good through our own efforts. We try to be like God, without God.
  1. Whatever we do cannot make us holy or righteous. That comes by faith in Jesus Christ.
    1. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30).
      1. By His doings, not by ours, are we in Christ. We cannot boast about anything good that happens in our lives.
    2. But it is from Him that you have your life in Christ Jesus, Whom God made our Wisdom from God, [revealed to us a knowledge of the divine plan of salvation previously hidden, manifesting itself as] our Righteousness [thus making us upright and putting us in right standing with God], and our Consecration [making us pure and holy], and our Redemption [providing our ransom from eternal penalty for sin] (1 Corinthians 1:30, AMPC).
      1. It is God who makes us holy and sanctifies us; holiness and sanctification do not come from anything we do.
      2. To be holy is to be uncommon and separate from the world. When others are sick, we are healed; when others are sad, we are joyful; when others are broke, God provides for us.
      3. We will not be delivered from hell, sin, poverty, sickness, or anything else until we believe we are delivered.
      4. Religion wants us to work; grace wants us to believe.
    3. What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works (Romans 4:1-6).
      1. Abraham’s righteousness was by faith. This was even before the law was given.
      2. Another example of righteousness by faith is seen when Jesus hung on the cross between two thieves. The thief who believed was saved.
      3. And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:39-43).
  1. Under grace, faith is the only requirement for us. Our self-effort is no longer needed.
    1. Our faith, not our actions, justifies us in God’s eyes. If we believe, we receive good things we do not deserve.
      1. And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith (Philippians 3:9).
      2. Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory (Romans 5:1, 2, NLT).
    2. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard (Romans 3:22, 23, NLT).
      1. Religion contradicts this; it tells us righteousness depends on who we are.
      2. Our belief is what is important; we do not have to keep focusing on sin. If we live by the Ten Commandments, we do have sin. However, under grace, when the Holy Spirit is in us, we will not want to sin.
    3. Performance is not required to do what Jesus has already done. However, when we consider the spiritual authority Jesus gave us to move mountains, lay hands on the sick, and cast out devils, we are required to do something to use our authority.
      1. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? (Galatians 3:1-5).
      2. Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it? I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ (Galatians 3:1-5, NLT).
      3. You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the cross was certainly set before you clearly enough. Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up! Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you? (Galatians 3:1-5, MSG).

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