Christian Theology, Biblical Theology

"You are no longer under law but grace; therefore, sin shall not have dominion over you" "The grace of God has appeared teaching men to say no to sin"

Saved By Grace Not Works | What Are These Works

We all have been taught that we are saved apart from the works of the law; but what are these works of the law? Unfortunately most Evangelicals are taught today, as myself was that these works of the law include God's Moral law as well as the Ceremonial, Sacrificial, and Dietary laws. This is troubling for several reasons.

First consider God as the governor of the universe, and like our earthly governors also rules by moral law. If we are no longer under His moral law, then He is no longer ruling His creation by moral law...we would have chaos. A law without consequences is no law at all. If there are no consequences to disobeying God's moral law, then this universe would be "helter skelter". Now some will say the consequences of breaking His moral law in the new covenant or dispensation is "loss of fellowship", but this is not biblical; for the New Testament clearly states that the wages of sin are death (not loss of fellowship), and this is spiritual death. Secondly, during Paul's day, the Jews and heathen alike were still sacrificing and keeping the holy days and Dietary law.

These are the works of the law or works of righteousness that Paul is speaking of. When Jesus approached John for His baptism he said "Let it be done to fulfill all righteousness" So Jesus was equating the ceremony of baptism with righteousness. In Psalm 4:5 says "Offer the sacrifice of righteousness"; here again we see the ceremonial law being equated with works of righteousness. So I think that Paul was not speaking of God's moral law; can you imagine God sending His Son to die for the sins of mankind so that they may disobey His moral law? Similar to this mistake, we often we see the misquoted verse from Isaiah 64:6 "your righteousness is filthy rags..." as applying to the universal sinfulness of mankind, when Isaiah was merely talking about a horribly apostate people bringing their sacrifices to the temple on the Sabbath and living like the devil Sunday through Friday. So this "righteousness" that Isaiah speaks of is not the ontology of man but rather "works of righteousness" that God would no longer accept from a corrupt people. Not on board yet? 

When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered (Long after the Reformation), there was a book titled The Works of Righteousness. This book was written by a sect of Jews about how to properly keep the ceremonial & dietary laws. Could Paul have been referring to these "works" when he contrasted them with grace through faith?

Consider what true grace is: Paul speaking in Romans 6:11-14: We are to consider ourselves dead to sin because we are no longer under law but grace; therefore, sin shall not have dominion over us. Paul is telling us that true grace is not a "get out of jail free card" but the power to live above sin. Titus 2:12 tells us the same. Now do you think for one moment that Paul was telling us that we are not under God's moral law? Of course not, he was referring to the other laws that had no power to save - he was also telling us that the law could do nothing but show us our transgressions; but today we have the moral law to guide us and the Spirit to empower us. Secondly Romans 4 talks about Abraham being justified apart from the works of the law. Does Paul use as an example the moral law or ceremonial law viz. circumcision? What do you think these works of the law were that he was referring to? Do you think God has thrown overboard His moral law? Obviously Paul was saying that Abraham was justified apart from the ceremonial law--not the moral law! Consider Job who was call a righteous man or a preacher of righteousness, does God not commend those for keeping His moral law?

I contend that as Christians we are bound to the moral law of God for our salvation. With the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives, there is no excuse to live a life of sin. If this is troubling to you, consider Job and his trials; yet God said "through all this Job sinned not" and this was without the indwelling Holy Spirit. How much more does God expect from us today with the indwelling of the Spirit? If you are walking according to God's moral law, and have been born-again in Christ; you have security and assurance of your salvation. What I usually find are those who argue for eternal security are usually trying to defend a life of sloth, lethargy and sinfulness. Paul rebukes the Hebrew Christians for they had not fought sin to the point of shedding blood, how about you? Are you 100% faithful to your spouse or significant other, but find it hard to be faithful to God? If so remember Jesus's words "whoever loves father, mother, daughter, son more than Me is not worthy of My kingdom"?

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