Grace or Disgrace - Part 4

Scripture: Romans 6:23, Acts 4:12, Romans 6:1
Jesus died for all, both before the cross and after the cross. We may be saved by faith in the righteousness of Christ. This results in desiring to keep the law, not avoiding the law. Grace changes our hearts and we love God's law, not seek to ignore it.
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We ended our last broadcast by describing that wonderful scene right outside the Garden of Eden. Of course, it was terrible in some respects. Adam had been driven out of his beautiful garden home, but God came down to tell him a way of escape had been made from the sentence of death now upon him. "The wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23. But God had provided through Christ a means by which he could have his life and beautiful home back again. When God slayed a lamb, Adam saw death for the first time. And in the death of that lamb, he realized the way of escape was symbolized. That lamb represented his Saviour who would come. And the coat of skin taken by God and given to Adam as a covering for his own nakedness, showed that he could be spared and saved by sacrificing the life of that lamb, which represented a coming Saviour. Yes, it is just outside that beautiful Eden home that we find the altar of sacrifice set up. The lamb and the altar stand in the shadow of the cross of Jesus. Every one of those sacrifices in Old Testament times, every one of those meat and drink offerings, the yearly sabbath days, each ritual pointed forward unerringly to Jesus Christ. Even the incense offerings pointed to Christ our Passover, sacrificed for us. Every part of the Old Testament services was a symbol of the coming Redeemer. Though living in the shadow of the cross, those people were saved by the cross, don't forget that, friends. Every time they brought a lamb or a turtledove (even flour if they couldn't afford anything else, God provided a way for the very poorest of them to bring an offering) they accepted the merits of a Saviour, a Redeemer who would come and die in their stead.

Four thousand years after that first animal sacrifice in Eden, Jesus gave His life upon Calvary. When He cried out, "It is finished!," He meant He had paid the price. He had cancelled the debt of all those of Old Testament times. He consumated the sacrifice and paid the price of redemption for all time, for the cross points both directions. Those in the past looked forward, and those in the future would live by faith, believing, and look back to the cross. They looked forward and we look backward, that's the only difference. All are saved by the grace of Jesus, for "There is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:12.

I think of the way the apostle Paul puts it in Romans 4. He says, You think that Abraham had something in which to glory, being saved by works. No, no, he says, he was saved by faith. David also. Can he glory that he was saved by his works? No, he also was saved by faith in the righteousness of Christ. Every soul ever saved has been saved through the grace of Jesus. In Revelation 5 the redeemed are pictured standing before the throne of God. Those from Old Testament times and those from New Testament times, all singing glory to Jesus Christ the Lamb, "for by thy blood thou hast redeemed us from every language, from every kindred, from every tongue, and every people." There's another thought, too, in Revelation 15. The redeemed are pictured in that great coronation ceremony of Jesus at the throne of God. They are the redeemed from all ages, Old and New Testament, gathered before the throne singing, first of all, the Song of Moses, and the second half, the Song of the Lamb.

Justice and mercy meet in the cross of Christ. The law and the gospel, obedience and grace. They meet in one in the person of Jesus and His sacrifice. How often I've heard Christians boast that they don't care about the law of God. You see, they are hiding behind Romans 6:14. "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." A great many Christians say that since they are saved by grace, they don't have to keep God's commandments at all. Though I mentioned it yesterday and the day before, I want to say it again, friends, so we'll never forget it. Does grace annul the law of God? Does our faith in the saving blood of Jesus cancel out the claims of God's Ten Commandment Law. What does Paul say? Romans 6:1, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?" The next verse answers, "God forbid." Verse 14 explains, "For sin shall not have dominion over you. . . ." Sin is not our ruler. We are not to be under sin. We are not under the condemnation of the law when we obey God because we have been saved by grace.

Friends, when an individual is saved by grace, he is under greater obligation than ever before to keep the Ten Commandment law of God. As it says in Romans 3:31, "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." We are not licensed to break it just because we've been saved through faith in His grace. The law is firmer than ever in our lives when that has happened. Right here I'd like to stop a moment to find the New Testament definition of sin. We read it the other day in I John 3:4. "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." Now that's very clear. Every sinner has broken the law. Every sinner is under the law. When we sin we are transgressing God's Ten Commandment Law. So there has to be a law, and where there is a law there is bound to be transgression. So Paul asks, Should we sin, or break the law of God, just because we have been saved by grace? Then he answers, Absolutely not. We have no license to do that.

The governor of a state has great power, even the power of life or death. Think of a prisoner sentenced to die. His friends intervene, presenting evidence to the governor. Special factors seem to be involved, contributing factors as to why this man was involved in this particular crime. As the governor reinvestigates the evidence, he feels the man deserves clemency. So he uses his official prerogative as head of the state. Taking his pen, he dips it in the ink and writes, "Pardoned" across those papers that would condemn the man to the electric chair. Then he signs his name, "Governor Smith," or whatever it might be. Now, friends, that condemned man has been saved by grace, not by works or his own goodness. He was doomed to die; and being good, ever so good, in that death cell would never in the world save him. Only in the words and by the grace of that governor was he granted full pardon to be free, no longer under condemnation of the law.

We have all sinned and come short. We are all under the sentence of death. And there is only one way of salvation, that is through Christ. Now, let's get back to the man who was pardoned. He can hardly believe his eyes as he sees the kindness, the stroke of generosity of that governor. Rescued, pardoned, he goes out a free man. You meet him a little later and talk with him. "Well, I understand the governor pardoned you." "He certainly did," comes the answer. "How do you feel about life now that you are pardoned?" "Wonderful, this new freedom of mine! I can break the laws of America all I like. The governor set me free from the law and sentence of death. I am saved by grace." Is that what the governor set him free to do, friends? Did the governor pardon him so that he could go out and become a greater lawbreaker? Paul declares, "God forbid." Shall we that are saved by grace continue lawbreaking? No, indeed, on the contrary, Paul says, "We establish the law." The individual saved by grace, pardoned by the governor, is under greater obligation to keep the law than anyone else because of the special work of grace done for him. Just so, you and I come under greater obligation to keep the law of God because we are saved by grace.

Many individuals seem to picture heaven as divided into two camps, the Old Testament crowd in one place, and the New Testament group in another. I cannot think of heaven as being two different camps, can you, friends? You'd see some over there and query, "I wonder how you folk got here. Would you mind telling me how you got to heaven?" They answer, "We got here by our works. We did this and we did that; we obeyed this commandment and that commandment; we kept all the Ten Commandments on stone and kept them perfectly, so we were saved by our works. Tell us, how did you get here?" "Oh, ours was an entirely different setup. We were saved by love, saved by grace and faith." "You mean you didn't have to keep any of the commandments?" "Oh, no, I should say not. We didn't stoop to keep those old commandments, we were just saved by grace, that's all."

Of course, that's an imaginary conversation, friends, which will never, never take place in heaven. Believe me, everyone there will have been saved by the same formula. They will have entered into life by the same wonderful process. First, Jesus said, Keep the commandments, and then follow Me in every way. Both are necessary and imperative to follow through faithfully until the very end. As we read in James 2:26, "Faith without works is dead." So for an individual to just claim love and love alone without any obedience, is to talk about something that's absolutely useless. Faith without works is dead. That's pretty strong language, isn't it?

In Romans 8:7 we read this. "The carnal mind is at enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." The carnal mind, the sinful mind, finds fault with the commandments of God! It quarrels with the law of God, is at enmity and not subject to obedience at all. So, when you find people who claim to be Christians, yet do not like God's law or His commandments, perhaps it's because they still have a carnal mind, a carnal nature. At least that's what the Bible says. And here's another important point. The law of ordinances, the commandments contained in ordinances, who wrote those? Moses did. Where did he write them? In a book, the Bible says. Never fail to keep that difference in mind, the difference between the Mosaic Law and the Law of the Ten Commandments.

Also, there's another use of the word, "law." It not only applies to the Ten Commandments on tables of stone, but can also apply to the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch. Paul tells us clearly that the commandments of ceremonies, ordinances, and rituals were nailed to the cross and came to an end when Jesus died. But not so the Ten Commandment Law of God. You remember John the Baptist preaching by the River Jordan. He kept talking about a coming King and appealing to the people to turn from their sins. That's not a very popular thing to do, incidentally. By and by there came a day when he stopped short in his preaching, pointed, and said, There He is. He is the very one I have been talking about. "Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." The eyes of the world were turned on that Man. The true Lamb of God had come, and all the Old Testament prophecies about lambs and deliverance and salvation had come to pass in the life of this one Person, the Son of God, even Jesus Christ.

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