Grace or Disgrace - Part 6

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, James 2:10-12, Romans 3:31
By what standard will man be judged? Does God have a different standard for people in the Old Testament than for those after Jesus' death on the cross? This talk wraps up a series on the topic of law and grace. The law is not put aside because of faith but upheld.
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Today we come to the sixth and last chapter in our series of studies on law and grace. So far in our broadcast we've found some very wonderful answers to questions. For example, by what standard will men be judged? Will God have a different standard for people in the Old Testament than he does for people in the New? Does He have one standard by which He judges Jews, and another by which He judges Gentiles? There's a lot of confusion, friends, on these very questions and we've found out lots of information so far.

Both the Old and New Testaments agree on what the standard of judgment really is. Ecclesiastes 12:13 and 14 says, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." Now from this, it is very clear that the Old Testament presents the Commandments of God as the standard of judgment. As for the Commandments of God, the prophets knew nothing about anything except the Ten Commandments. Now looking at the New Testament, I'm quoting from James 2:12. "So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty." Now what law do you think James is referring to here? Well, friends, the writer doesn't leave us in question for he quotes some of the precepts and these are taken right out of the Ten Commandments directly. Verses 10 and 11: "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law." So there it is. Both Old and New Testaments are agreed that the one great standard of the judgment is the Ten Commandment Law of God.

So whether we be Jew or Gentile, whether we live before Christ or after Christ, we'll be measured in the judgment by the same standard, the Law of God called the Ten Commandments. Thus, it's clear that the one who willfully violates those Ten Commandments cannot expect to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Now I press this point because the New Testament declares clearly "For whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." James 2:10. This isn't a man's idea at all. Those are the words of the living God and you'll have to face Him in the judgment. So beware how you speak of God's Law, the Ten Commandments, for you'll meet them in the Supreme Court of the Universe when you're called to give an account.

From Revelation 12:17, "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." Here God is serving notice that anybody who fights God's law is going to be an agent of the great Adversary and is doing his bidding no matter what his profession might be. There are even a lot of preachers today who are fighting and warring against the Ten Commandments. They say they are not necessary today, that they are out-of-date. Paul declares of those laws of the Ten Commandments in Romans 7:12. "The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." And then he asks this pointed question, "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." Romans 3:31.

Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Matthew 5:17 and 18. And then in Luke 16:17, he says, "It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail." So Jesus confirmed the law. He honored it. And His cruel death on the Cross shows that it could never be abrogated. Man's death and those demands were met by the death of Jesus. He was our substitute. The demands of the Law for our transgressions were met in the sacrifice He made at Calvary.

Isaiah in the Old Testament declares of Jesus, "He shall magnify the law and make it honorable." Isaiah 42:21. And that's the reason Jesus said that not one jot or tittle could pass from it because He came into this world for the express purpose of enlarging on that law and making it more spiritual and binding upon us. Now if you wish to be recorded as one of the least in His sight and in the sight of the angels, then you break even one of those commandments or teach men to do so and you'll be placed on the list. But if you want to be great in His sight, just keep the Commandments and teach men to do them. You have the choice to make. The lowest depths to which a person can descend is to willfully violate and mutilate God's Law and to teach other men to do it. Furthermore, such a one is an enemy of God and of good society, an agent of the great adversary. To teach men to violate even one of God's holy laws is to drive a sword through the heart of Jesus Christ because He said in Psalms 40:8, "I delight to do thy will, oh my God, yea my law is within my heart."

The keeping of the law is not a means of salvation. Let's get this very straight and clear, friends, It is the fruit of that salvation which we receive as a gift of His grace through faith. But why slay your Saviour by driving a dagger into His heart because you don't want to keep His commandments? When men fight God's law and His commandment-keeping people, they merely expose themselves and show that they are still carnal, that their hearts have never really been touched by the Spirit of God. Because the New Testament declares, "The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Romans 7:7. Here are some more words of counsel from the Apostle Paul. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20.

Now this important phase of the plan of salvation is very often overlooked. Notice these important Bible truths that were taught by Paul. He said that man is not saved by the death of Christ. The sinner is reconciled to God by the death of Jesus Christ; that is, by the death of Christ the sinner's past sins are all forgiven and blotted out and he is brought into harmony with God. Then the apostle adds the very significant fact that whereas we're reconciled by the death of the Son of God, "we are saved by His life." Now I hope we keep this distinction clearly in mind, friends. Just what does he mean by this difference. Simply this: the death of Christ pays the penalty of my sin if I accept it by faith. Then I'm justified by faith. But the life of Christ also plays a part in my daily life afterwards because He abides within me and gives the power and strength to keep His commandments perfectly. For His death to avail anything for man, Christ had to live a sinless life here in the flesh as a son of man, and of course He did that. Then He comes to live in our hearts a life of obedience also. Thus we're kept from sin and saved for all eternity by Jesus Christ living His daily life of perfect obedience. Now I hope you have that clear, friends. Remember this, we are saved by His life, but we are justified by His death.

Now this daily life of obedience through Christ is a very important part of the Plan of Salvation. In fact, it is proof that salvation is real and that God's Plan really does work. To believe that anybody can be saved while he's living in willful transgression of any of God's commandments, with no thought of what the law requires of him, is to live in a fool's paradise. This way, to the superficial thinker, may seem right but the end thereof are the ways of death, the Bible says. For in the plan of God the sinner is pardoned through faith in that vicarious death on the Cross. In the light of that transaction, God accepts man, for by that means he's reconciled to God. But the transaction is not completed with this. The next step is that the sinner by faith receives Christ into his heart and thereafter Christ lives his life of Obedience in the converted man. How thankful we should be for such a gospel as that!

The writer of the Book of Hebrews, in further explaining the life of the Christian and how it's obtained, refers to a new covenant. In this new covenant he says, God writes His law upon the hearts of man. The Good Book also declares, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." Proverbs 23:7. Now how does God write his law on the hearts of man? Remember this. God is not arbitrary. He doesn't write it into an unwilling mind and heart. David, in his prophetic utterance concerning Jesus and what his attitude to the law of God would be, said these words: "Yea, thy law is within my heart." Psalms 40:8. Therefore, if the law of God is within the heart of Christ, when I receive Christ into my heart, that law then is within my heart. Then I'm under the New Covenant. This is what it means to come under the New Covenant of Grace. I receive Christ into my heart and when He is there, my friends, the law is there because He said the law was written into His heart.

Now Isaiah, the gospel prophet, presents Christ in this language. "I will give Him for a light to the Gentiles, for a covenant to the people." Now there it is. Christ is the new covenant and anybody who receives Him into the heart, is under that New Covenant. We can't separate Christ and the Law of God. If the Law of God is in the heart of Jesus, when we receive Him into our hearts, we receive also His law there and by the very nature of this transaction, we become commandment keepers. There's no getting around it. To live in the hope of eternal life and to live in willful disobedience to God's holy law, as I said, is to live in a fool's paradise. The last book in the Bible 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." Revelation 22:14. That's because they've been born again and they are the children of God. Jesus said, "Not everyone who says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Matthew 7:21. Well, what wonderful assurances these are, friends. And so I admonish you today to open up your heart and let Jesus come in because when you receive him, you receive everything. You have everything. You have everything through Christ.

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