Law and grace
October 24, 2011
by Pastor Jonathan Woetzel, Rivers of Grace Church, Dassel

In the year 34 AD, the number of Jewish people coming to Christ as new believers was growing rapidly. Many were selling possessions they had and giving all the proceeds to the Apostles, who then distributed as needed to fellow believers, and great grace was upon them all.

But a certain couple, named Ananias and Sapphira, sold a possession and kept part of the proceeds for themselves, while portraying that they were giving the entire amount. As a result of their misrepresentation, they instantly died.

They were doing a good deed. Yet, they were judged guilty. Why? Are Christians under the law of sin and death?

The Apostle Paul said believers in Christ are under grace, not the law. The law he was referring to is the Word of God, found in the first five books of the Bible.

He also declared we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Yet Paul warned the church that if they practiced sin, they would not see the kingdom of heaven.

If we try to keep God’s commands in order to get to heaven, we put ourselves under the requirements of the law, which are that you must keep God’s commands in order to be righteous. If we purpose to keep the commandments by our own self-will, then we will fail and be wretched like the Apostle Paul was, since we cannot, in our own willpower, always keep God’s commands.

Remember, Paul said he purposed to do good and not do evil, but found himself doing evil, not good. It was by his own strength that Paul at first purposed to always do good, and the results were not good (Romans 7:19-24). It was the failure of his self efforts that brought Paul to a point of wretchedness. But Paul discovered the answer is in Jesus living in and through him. Jesus kept the commandments without fail and made a way for us to turn from sin.

What is the way Jesus made for us to turn from sin? Living by the Spirit of Jesus. We must be led by the Spirit, for then we are not under the law, but under grace and empowered to overcome sin. Paul said walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out sin, and if you are led by the Spirit ,you are not under the law. He also said sin will no longer be master over believers, for believers are not under the law, but under grace.

How is sin no longer master over believers? It is not by self-effort, but by the power of the indwelling Christ released through us. It’s by the Spirit of Jesus leading us, and His power overcoming the power of sin.

Jesus lives in the spirit of every believer, and believers can ask the Lord Jesus to live through them in every circumstance and daily routine.

Pray that the power of Christ be released out of you.  If I tune into the truth that Christ lives in me and release Him, I can truly love others and overcome sin.  Through love for the Lord and our neighbors, and the power of the indwelling Christ, sin shall not be master over us.

The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus can set you free from the law of sin and death. That’s grace.