Law says, “I have to.”
Grace says, “I want to.”
I’m convinced back before Jesus came to bring grace and truth, people didn’t know right from wrong. There was the law of Moses, then there came the Law of the Spirit – grace and truth through Jesus (John 1:17).
Hebrews 10:16-17 says “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
This means that before Jesus established a new covenant, the law wasn’t written on the hearts and minds of man, but on tablets. They didn’t know right from wrong. When Jesus came to fulfill the law and to establish a new and better covenant, people knew in their hearts the difference between right from wrong. Where there is no law, there is no transgression (Rom. 4:15). Where there is law, there is transgression. Sin was aroused by the law (Rom. 7:5). These two seem to work together. And that’s why Jesus nailed both to the cross –
Colossians 2:11-14 – “In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements (the Law) that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He nailed it to the cross.”
And this is why Paul says directly after this verse “Let no one judge you in food or in drink…” and “If you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations – ‘Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,’ which all concern things which perish with the using – according to the commandments and doctrines of men?”
Paul is explaining that we died from the basic principles of the world, and so there’s no need to subject ourselves to regulations like, “Don’t do this,” or “Don’t do that,” because we might think we’re doing the right thing by telling others what to do, but according to Paul, it is the commandments and doctrines of men, not God. We already have the law written on our hearts, we don’t need someone to tell us that what we are doing is wrong, or even what is right. Paul even said in verse 22 that those things which are considered “bad”, they perish anyway with the using. People already know right from wrong because the Law was written on our hearts.
By grace, we don’t have to perform or be measured by how good we are through our actions. Law says, “If you do good, you’ll be rewarded, if you do bad, you’ll get what you deserve.” But the Law was cancelled because no one could perform as best as Jesus, He came to fulfill the law and He was the only one that could. And He presented to us a new and better covenant – Grace and Truth.
The Law is focused on performance and actions. Grace is focused on identity and who we are. Law is religion. Grace is relationship. God has chosen to live by the new and better covenant because we are no longer separated from Him. He has reconciled us to Himself.
But why is it that all people want good? Why is it that all know that murder, theft, sex trafficking, drugs, are bad? No one has to tell them, they already know it. Believer or nonbeliever. More on this to come…