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Laws About Grace

August 13, 2007

We know what God’s grace, the only grace, will look like.  We can also know what is an imposter grace.  Jude wrote (1:4):

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Men might turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, that is, into license.  This is a common contemporary practice.  Grace is not a get-out-of-jail-free card.  God’s grace is a cleansing agent, not a garbage can.  As we look especially at portions of Scripture that speak of the grace of the Lord and our liberty in Christ, we will be guided by God in an understanding of God’s grace.  When we do, we see something that is vastly different than what often purports to be grace even in modern evangelicalism.  We find that those who claim the “doctrines of grace” obviously don’t possess the grace of the Bible.

Among even so-called fundamentalists today, there is a deliberate choice to disregard worldly or sinful behavior as having any significance to fellowship or salvation.  This doctrinal and practical neutrality has been accepted in the trojan-horse of a false view of grace.  Grace has been dumbed down and redefined.  They advocate a grace that changes someone’s standing without altering his state.  With all of this, there is no wonder that Christians are confused—the churches mirror the world, leaders follow the culture, and teachers provide their stamp of approval.

Truth about Grace

Grace is dynamic, active and working, not some dormant or abstract quality.  Paul’s epistles frequently contrasted grace with law (Romans 4:16; 5:20; 6:14-15; Galatians 2:21; 5:4).  However, Paul was very careful in expounding that grace does not nullify the moral demands of God’s law. Instead, it fulfills the righteousness of the law (Romans 6:14-15). It does not annul the righteous demands of the law, but confirms and validates them (Romans 3:31).  Grace has its own law, a higher, liberating one:  “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2; see also James 1:25).

Grace is not a one-time event in a Christian’s experience.  He stands in grace (Romans 5:2).  His entire Christian life is driven and empowered by grace.

The LawsÂ

Grace does far more than the following list, but these laws about grace especially help us understand how grace restrains and cleanses.  True grace has ofttimes been replaced today by a cheap, placebo grace that does not manifest any real conversion.  This list should guide you in the grace of God.

  1. Grace forbids sin (Romans 6: 1, 2—“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”).
  2. Grace denies ungodliness (Titus 2:11, 12—“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”).  “Ungodliness” (asebeia) is irreverence, anything that doesn’t smack of a quality or attribute of God.
  3. Grace rejects worldly lusts (Titus 2:11, 12—see above).    “Worldly lusts” are desires for those things characterized by this world, by the spirit of the age.
  4. Grace enables law-keeping (Romans 7:16-25).  The “law…is good” (v. 16) and Paul does not know how to perform the good (the law) because of indwelling sin.  However, the grace of Christ through His inward man delivers Him from the law of sin in his members.
  5. Grace exchanges the allowed for the advantageous (1 Corinthians 6:12a—“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient.”).  Our liberty in Christ transcends what is just lawful for what is most advantageous for pleasing God.
  6. Grace releases from bondage to anything but God (1 Corinthians 6:12b—“All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”).
  7. Grace flees temptation (1 Corinthians 6:18; 10:13, 14).  Grace flees fornication and flees idolatry as the way of escape from temptation that God has provided.
  8. Grace pleases God not self (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20; 10:31).  Grace is about glorifying God in our body and our spirit in whatsoever we do.
  9. Grace makes no occasion for the flesh (Galatians 5:13—“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”  Grace will not form a base of operations for our flesh to satisfy its wants.
  10. Grace avoids causing others to stumble (1 Corinthians 8:7-13; 10:29).  We are not given lilberty to make the Christian life more difficult for other people.
  11. Grace brings self under subjection for the sake of the lost (1 Corinthians 9:16-27).  Grace places the spiritual needs of others above selfish, albeit permissible, desires.  Grace led Paul to make necessary sacrifices to best represent the gospel to unbelievers.
  12. Grace seeks to strengthen fellowship with God (1 Corinthians 10:16-23).  Our ungodly associations could harm the communion of others with God, so that they are not edified.   The wrong communion with people and doctrine harms communion with the church and with the Lord.
  13. Grace works out good works (Ephesians 2:8-10—v. 10—“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”).  The grace that saves will cause good works.  God’s grace looks like good works.
  14. Grace makes a servant (Ephesians 3:7—“Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.”; Galatians 5:13—“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”).  We haven’t been given grace to do what we want to do.
  15. Grace imitates church leadership (1 Corinthians 11:1).  We have grace to follow leadership that follows Christ.  We haven’t been given grace to disobey our pastor on non-Scriptural issues.
  16. Grace unifies the church (local) (1 Corinthians 10:16-21; Ephesians 3:16-4:7).  We have grace for the communion of the body.  Grace brings one accord in the membership around one doctrine and practice.  We haven’t been given grace to cause disunity in the church.
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Categories: Brandenburg, Law & Grace
  1. August 13, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    Brother Kent,

    What a wonderful post! I love the title, “Laws About Grace”. It appeals to my strange, ironic sense of humor. It is practically my only sense.

    With your permission, I will post this to my congregation, giving you credit for the compiling.

    God bless,
    Art Dunham

  2. August 13, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    Hey, we have been thinking on the same wavelength lately. That’s an outline worth stealing!

    I’m going to post a list of reasons for Christian standards over on my site shortly, thinking along similar lines.

    Regards,
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  3. August 16, 2007 at 6:02 am

    I read all three of your posts on law and grace from a link from Milton Stanley. Thanks for those. Well said and thought provoking.

  4. August 16, 2007 at 8:30 am

    Thanks everyone. I’m glad you read this one and the other two.

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