Grace or Disgrace - Part 5

Grace or Disgrace - Part 5

Scripture: John 14:15, James 2:10, Hebrews 8:10
Some people believe that because of the grace of God we are freed from keeping God's commandments. But if we break even one law, we are guilty of breaking them all. Is it sufficient to discount God's commandments by 10 percent? What does God say in the Bible?
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For several days now we have been dealing with the Law of God in its relationship to the grace of God. We considered the strange idea that some Christians have that the Ten Commandments do not apply to "born again" believers. I would like to continue this subject today. I have heard some people say that the Ten Commandments were for the Jews, surely not for us. Well, friends, if they do apply only to the Jews and not to Christians, then will it be all right for us to break those Commandments? To lie, steal, etc.? Is that possible?

Let us examine the records of the New Testament. In John 14:15 Jesus says, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." Obviously, it must be love that inspires us to do it, because only through love will it mean anything. For it says in James 2:10, now please get this, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." Did you know that was in the Bible? There it is, "he is guilty of all." Then it goes on to quote directly from the Ten Commandments about adultery, killing, and so on. It is no use to keep nine of them and leave one of them undone, friends.

Then it says the condemnation of death comes upon us if we break His commandments. There are many individuals who will break one of the Ten and say, "Well, I think this one is different, God won't expect so much of me under my particular circumstances." Let me repeat that breaking one breaks the law, and makes us transgressors in the eyes of heaven. Moody illustrated it well when he said, "The commandments are just like a chain with ten links."

Imagine now that I am working out over a precipice carving on some project such as the great stone faces in the Black Hills of the Dakotas. I am working in a very dangerous position on a platform hanging out over a cliff, suspended from a chain of ten links. I am chiseling away when all of a sudden I hear a sound at the top. I look up and see my friend sawing away on the chain. I call out, "What are you doing?" He calls back down, "Oh, go ahead with your work. Never mind me." "But what are you doing?" I insist. "Go ahead with your work, keep on chiseling," he answers. "But," I say, "my platform is hanging on this chain. What are you doing to it?" "Oh, go on with your work. I'm just cutting out one of the links, not all of them."

Listen, my friends, if he cuts out one of those links, it's fatal! My platform is suspended from that chain and if he cuts one of the links, where will I go? Down, of course. When an individual breaks one of the Ten Commandments, where will he go? Down, of course. Well, Moody says God's law is like ten links in a chain, if we break one we are guilty of all. It is the same as if we have broken them all. That point is very vital to understand. They are all God's concept of a perfect man written out on tables of stone.

Have you noticed what God promises to do under the New Covenant? I have heard a good many individuals talking about this New Covenant. It is a wonderful arrangement, but it seems they don't quite grasp all that is involved in it. For in Hebrews 8:10 we read, "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people." Did you ever notice what the apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:3? "Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God: not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart."

Now, friends, who wrote the tables of stone? Yes, God did, of course. We found that out in a previous study here on our broadcast. Who wants to write the law in your heart? God does. Through whom? Through His Holy Spirit. That is what He says He will do under the new covenant. So it is the same law, once on tables of stone, but now transferred and transcribed on the fleshly tables of the heart. How many of the commandments does He want to write on your heart? All ten, of course, and yet many people say, "Lord, you can just write nine, or eight, but not all ten of them, please." Have you noticed that people these days are always looking for special discounts? Everybody is looking for a bargain. Some churches even advertise, "Come to us and we will give you a bargain, l0% off on the Ten Commandments."

I ask you, my friend, will that stand in the day of judgment? Suppose some churches, even great churches, make it easy by saying that you don't need to keep all ten. If you keep nine you will pass in the judgment day. I ask you, is that sufficient? Has any church the right to discount the commandments of God 10%? How dare we imagine or presume that we are on the high road to heaven when we knowingly break one of God's commandments. It is not a matter of whether I feel saved or not, or whether the church says I am all right; it is a matter of what God says.

Revelation 22:14 says, "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." I would be afraid to come up to those gates and say, "Lord, I want to enter in." And God says, "Have you been keeping my commandments?" I would be afraid, dear friends, unless I had been keeping all of them here in this life.

Somebody else says, "The Lord has heard my prayers, I have had wonderful experiences of prayer." Just remember Proverbs 28:9. It is a fearful text; in fact, I don't even like to quote it. I want to read it so that you will not say that Brother Crews said anything like this. It is what God said. "He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination." And I think of another text in I John 3:22, which stresses the positive side. "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."

So you see, the blessings of heaven are conditional upon obedience. Paul says some very good things about the law of God. In Romans 7:12, "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." Isn't that marvelous? And he says in the 7th verse, "I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." You see, if there were no law you couldn't sin, for where no law is there is no transgression (Romans 4:15). So when people tell you that the law was abolished at the cross, that's the same as saying that since the cross there has been no sin. I have seen one or two sinners, haven't you, friends? There has been sin since the cross. Sin is the transgression of the law. There is the test, the commandments. And the commandments are holy, just, and good. Ah, I think we ought to keep the law of God if it is holy, just, and good!

Let's examine those Ten Commandments for a moment. How many of you at some time in your life learned the Ten Commandments by heart? But now how many people are doing that? How many children have learned those commandments? You don't even see them hanging up in front of churches anymore. At one time, even Sunday School children had to memorize them, but you don't see that any more.

The first four commandments tell about our obligation to God, have no other gods, no idols, don't take His name in vain, and keep His Sabbath holy. The last six have to do with my neighbor, honor father and mother, don't steal, kill, lie, or commit adultery, and don't covet. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God . . . and thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

I want to ask you a question now. Is it not just as wrong to break one part of that law as the other part? You know, there are people in this world who don't mind a bit breaking God's holy Sabbath (that has to do with duty to God), but they think it is awful to steal chickens from their neighbor. Let me give you another illustration, for this is very, very vital. What about the individual that does steal chickens? We have had people in the listening audience, I'm sure, who have stolen or have even killed someone. But suppose an individual makes his living by stealing chickens, he tells us that he supports his family that way. Then one day he hears a sermon on the Ten Commandments. I go to visit that man and say to him, "Brother, have you thought of keeping the commandments of God?"

He says, "Well, I'm really giving thought to it."

"Are you keeping God's commandments now?" I ask.

"Oh, yes," he states, "all except just one."

"Which one?"

"Well," he admits, "Thou shalt not steal."

"You steal?"

"Yes, I support my family by stealing chickens."

"Well, don't you think you ought to give this up?" I suggest.

He replies, "I have thought about it, and if I get a better job, I am going to do that very thing. I will give that up if the Lord will help me get another job somewhere. Of course, I'll have to keep up my chicken stealing until then, because a man who doesn't support his family is worse than a heathen."

So that man keeps on stealing chickens until the Lord helps him get a better job. What do you think of a man like that? Well, I say this: God isn't going to bless a man very much who deliberately keeps on disobeying and transgressing the law after he knows it is wrong to do that.

Somebody says, "But I have been breaking God's commandments for forty years.That's all the more reason that an individual ought to change quickly and make up as much as he can for all that disobedience of the past. Don't forget what it says in Hebrews 10:26,27. "For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries." This is a solemn text indeed. If we sin willfully, after we have received the knowledge of the truth, when we keep on breaking God's commandments after the light comes to us, then Jesus' blood will no longer atone for our sins. There is no sacrifice in all God's universe to cover known, deliberate transgression. There's only one way for us to be saved, and that is to come back to the fount of blood, to Jesus Christ, climb up Calvary's hill, bow before the cross and have past sins washed away.

Well, friends, that's a wonderful story for us to close with today, having our sins forgiven by the grace of Jesus. Of course, we don't earn it by all these works of the law we have been talking about. Forgiveness comes to us freely as a gift of God's love and through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. But after we are saved by grace we should keep the commandments of God to show how much we love Him.

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