Bibles Truth

Learn about the Bible


leave a comment »


There is a  definite statement that touches directly on this: “And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be by works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work”.
The title above is from II Corinthians 3:6. Here I will quote the entire verse: “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new covenant; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life”. In this verse There seems to be a good deal of confusion on the subject of law versus grace. In Romans 11:6 there is a very we have the doctrine or the teaching. In II Corinthians 6:4 we have the application: “In all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God—“. Another verse just as specific is Romans 11:6 is John 1:17: “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”.
We see in these passages that the law was specifically for Israel and only for them. The argument is that we obey the law even today. We do not think it right to kill, steal, etc. I think we must understand that there are universal laws, which are always applicable. The law of the death penalty for murder was given to Noah, over 800 years before the ten commandments were given to Israel. There are road signs in many countries but I only obey those in my own country. Perhaps we under stand it better if we see there really is a third party besides Israel and the New Testament Church. There are the Gentiles who are neither; Romans 2:15 and 16. While Israel has been given the law; the church, free from the law is under grace, the Gentiles are guided by conscience. This does not mean that each Gentile lives by his own rules but by the laws of his particular society. The youth are raised to obey their particular laws. As they grow their conscience is developed. The guiding principle for each group of people is conscience. Now, if God gave the law and also gave a conscience, it would not be too surprising that there were many similarities. As an example, in the western world our code is based on the Judeo Christian ethic; surely the best of all. Therefore when the Bible is put out of the schools we are of all societies the worst. Our youth are raised without moral guidance and with an undeveloped conscience.
We have then the three steps: the first step is that of the gentiles who live by conscience. That, according to Galatians 3:19 was insufficient, We read: “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions”. Conscience did not go far enough. It would tell a man that he must not steal from his neighbor but the law told him to have the same care for his neighbor’s goods as for his own, even if he did not like the man. See Exodus 2:4 and 5. The new covenant goes even further. In Galatians 5:23 we read “against such there is no law”.
We can look at this same picture in another way. While the Gentiles were given a conscience,  Israel was given the law, the church lives by faith. Or we could say the old covenant was the covenant of works, the new covenant is the covenant of grace or based on faith.
The question then is, as all three obey some of the same basic laws, what does it mean that we live by faith? Where does works enter in?
As far as our eternal destiny or our salvation is concerned there is only one action I must take. I must, by faith, receive God’s free offer of salvation. I can no more save myself than can a drowning man. He can only cry for help or grasp the hand that reaches out to him. He does not afterward boast of his part in his salvation. Left to himself he would have drowned. Simply put this is how I am saved and enter the kingdom of heaven. Remember, there is one thing the man in the water can do. He can drown. In theological terms, it is the same but the man is lost and that is far more tragic, Just one text for this is Ephesians 1:13: “In Whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth “ I think the ark would be one of the best illustrations of this There is only one thing the man can do to be saved from drowning and that is to walk through the door of the ark. It is the ark that saves him from a watery grave. He comes into the ark because he cannot save himself. The ark is his only hope. Once he is in the ark there is nothing more he needs to do or can do to save himself. A verse that fits this perfectly is I Peter 1:5: “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time”.
We could mention two things here:
1-The only act of faith was to walk into the ark=Ephesians 1: 13a
2-Inside the ark he lived the life of faith. God Himself had laid out the blueprint. It would not sink. Also, God himself had shut the door. He could not get out. God Himself would bring him safely to journeys end. Again see I Peter 1:5 for the NT doctrine.
Ephesians 1:13b tells the believers of Ephesus that “after that” they had believed they were sealed with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives to me the Mind of Christ=I Corinthians 2:16. Compare Romans 7:18 and 23 with Ephesians 2:3. For the unbeliever there is no conflict. The Bible is given to me so I know the will of God. My goal is to come to Galatians 5:22 and 23 in full experience.
One more passage: James 2:17 and 26: Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.—so faith without works is dead also”.
There are two examples in this passage. There is the example of Rahab. She was told by the two spies that if she would hang a scarlet thread where they could see it, they would guarantee her safety. When the Israelites came into Jericho destroying everything and everyone in their path, there was nothing Rahab or her family could do to save themselves. Their only hope was in the word of the two men. Her faith was well placed and she was saved. But her part was to hang out the scarlet cord believing that the men would protect her.
Abraham’s example is a bit different. Where Rahab’s act of faith saved her, in Abraham’s case it came afterwards (the original example in Abraham’s case is found in Genesis 15:6 and Romans 4:1-3). In James the reference is to the sacrifice of Isaac, going back to the story in Genesis 23 which happened many years later. Abraham, in Genesis was told by God to sacrifice Isaac. Where did faith come in? What did he believe? We see the answer in Hebrews 11:17-19. God had promised that the blessing of Abraham would be through Isaac. Therefore he believed that God could and would raise Isaac from the dead. How was Abraham’s faith made perfect=James 2:22? Simply by trusting and obeying God. This was something he perhaps could not have done 40 or so years before. This act proved that not only had he grown in faith (Romans 1:17=from faith to faith), But also it gave proof of his original faith as in James 2:22: “by works was faith made perfect”.


Written by biblestruth

October 20, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Posted in scripture

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: