These two words are talked about a lot these days: grace and legalism. Many churches are one extreme of the other. Many people are. Where do we draw the line between the two? The Bible is clear we are saved by grace and not by works. It is also clear that we are to obey God’s commands. We show that we love God by how we live. Our lives reflect our salvation and that Christ is in us. To me, that is the difference. Some people treat grace as a “get out of jail free” card. But if you really are saved and Christ is in you, would you not want to live for Him? On the other hand, salvation is not about rules and regulations, it is about the heart.What is the purpose of the law? In the Old testament, the law of God was introduced to reveal the sin of man and our need of a savior. None of us are good enough to be righteous before God. Everything in the Old Testament points to Christ. He alone can save us from our sins. He is sinless and through His sacrifice we can be declared righteous before God and be made pure by trusting and believing in Him.
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
2 Corinthians 3:4-6
And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
We are saved by God’s grace; it is a gift of God. How we live is an outward expression of that. It is not by how hard we try or that we do everything right. It is by faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus did it all. He paid for our sins. It is because of what He did, coming to this earth as a man and giving His life to die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins…all of them. Now that our sins are washed away, we are free from sin. Our life is renewed. We no longer need to turn back to our old life. Our desire should be that of God and to do His will, not our own.
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
As believers, let us allow the Holy Spirit to work in us, not for our own desires, but that of God. We are ambassadors. We need to show the love of God to others and show God’s love in us and our love for Him. Grace is so much more than a get out of jail free card. We are born again. We have obtained eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Let us celebrate that, praise God and let our joy spill out to those around us so that they can see the wonderful gift that was given to us.