Law and Grace…. Mortal Enemies

This is another writing in the book by Dan Stone. Some people justamaze you with their understanding of relationship.

Law and Grace: Mortal Enemies
By: Dan Stone

Law and grace are mortal enemies. Religion asserts, “No, they aren’t mortal enemies. They can flow together, like the Missouri and Ohio rivers flow into the Mississippi, and they become the Mississippi.” Every place I’ve ever been in organized religion, I’ve found that belief. But Paul was saying, “NO? They never flow together. They’ve always been mortal enemies. They will always be mortal enemies. You can never marry the two. And you have to make a choice, Galatians. Are you going to live under 1aw, or under grace?”

Paul wasn’t saying that if they stepped back into the law, they wouldn’t be saved anymore. But he was telling them, “If you go back to the law, you’re giving up the way of grace. Now, let me tell you something about the way of the law, Galatians: you have to keep it all.”

They couldn’t just pick out the law they wanted to keep. That’s what I used to do. I’d pick out those parts of Mosaic Law, Sermon on the Mount law, Baptist law, my personal law, and whatever other law I thought I could keep at least some of the time. I didn’t see that law and grace are mortal enemies. I didn’t see that you can’t live under both.

It made sense to me to be religious. It made sense to be an external Christian, trying to keep an external set of rules. I couldn’t do anything else, because I had always been an external person. So were you. We all grew up as external people, defining ourselves in relation to other persons, things, and events that told us who we were. That’s why as new Christians we were so prone to asking external questions: “What should I do?”

There’s no life in the law. The only thing the law tells you is what you ought to do, but can’t do. It will never relinquish its demand that you ought to do it, because it’s a divine ought-to; God gave it to Moses. We’ll keep ourselves under that divine ought-to, and the condemnation and death ministers (2 Corinthians 3), until we learn to live from the Person who dwells within us. Because there’s nothing in our flesh that wants to say, “I can’t do it. I can’t keep the law through my own effort.” Everything in our flesh says, “I want to try to do it, and with God’s help maybe I can do it.”

Like my friend Burt Rosenburg says, everything in that program is designed for futility, frustration, and failure. But they don’t tell you that up front, do they? When you sign up, no one makes this announcement:

WE’VE GOT A WONDERFUL PROGRAM HERE, THE END RESULT OF WHICH WILL BE FUTILITY, FRUSTRATION, AND FAILURE! WHEN YOU HAVE COMPLETED THE COURSE, WE WILL GIVE YOU A DIPLOMA, SAYING:

“CONGRATULATIONS, YOU HAVE FAILED!”

I remember talking to a group and proclaiming, “We have succeeded! In what? In failing!” And everyone smiled. For we finally recognized that we had succeeded in what we were supposed to do, which was to fail. “Everyone is telling us that we failed in what we were supposed to succeed in. But the truth is we have succeeded in what we were supposed to fail in. Now, we can get on with it. We can get on with what is true life.”

We usually quote Galatians 2:20 apart from its context. It immediately follows Paul’s admonition to Peter concerning the law. When Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ,” he was referring to his death to the law. Paul was saying, “The old me died on the cross with Christ, and when I died, I died to trying to keep the law. Trying to keep the law is living according to the flesh, with me and my efforts as my point of reference. I died to myself as my point of reference. Now, Christ in me is my point of reference. He is living His life through me.”

As believers, we no longer live under the law, looking to it to tell us what to do and not do, then trying our best to do it. Instead, we live on the faith principle, the inner life principle, of who really is our life-Christ. We trust that He directs us, opens or closes doors for us, and speaks directly to us, giving us a message or whatever is needed for the occasion. We trust that He is living through us. We may not feel it at any given moment, but we live by faith that He is our life.

From: Stone, Dan, The Rest of the Gospel: When the partial Gospel has worn you out. Dallas: One Press. 2000. pgs 143-145.

What do YOU think?

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Comments

  1. Hans-Rudolf Nareseb says:

    is the law still valid today for christians and non christians? the answer is yes and no. why do i say yes, God has not changed his requirement to have eternal life. matt.5.17-20. the problem is that man will never be able to keep the the whole law all the time as it is required to get eternal live. this is were total surrender comes in. you die and jesus lives through you and keeps the whole law all the time and on account of that you get eternal life. this is called grace, or undeserve favour. you get or benefit something that you did not work for. the law still has to kept but not by you, but by christ himself through you.

  2. David J. Conklin says:

    “But the word says that Law is dead to Christians.”

    The function of the Law is multi-faceted. One is to point out to you exactly where and how you sin. Once it has done that it you now realize your need of a Saviour. So, the second thing it does is to point you to the only One who has fulfilled all of the requirements of the Law: our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

    Thrid, we need to always remember that the Law is a moral law: love God with all your heart, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. If someone isn’t obeying the mere letter of the law you can be sure that they are not loving God or their neighbor.

    Finally, we need to remember that God promised that in His new covenant (testament) He would write His Law in our hearts:

    Jeremiah 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

  3. warrior daughter says:

    Tropical Guy….In your posts you contend that others are in error…If you think they are in error then why do you post here if you think your way of thinking is correct????Why are you so contentious and hostile????I do not know where you came up with SDA teaches that Jesus is an angel named Michael….I have friends who are SDA and never once have they said Jesus is an angel named Michael but they call Him Lord and Savior… One doctrine I disagree with SDA is their soul sleep…..As far as sin goes, unrepented sin will destroy a person and that means Christian and non-Christian alike…Open your Bible and read for yourself and stop listening to others who are teaching you heresies and deceptions…..

  4. Tropical_Guy says:

    Right and wrong are what is written on our hearts. Jewish Lawkeeping is what the Jews were judged by. The law was never given to the gentiles to begin with. I think you have overlooked that one too.

    The sad part about law keepers is that they presume when their safety net is exposed that a person who knows that we are not under law is lawless. Have you ever been drunk? I havent. Have you cheated on your wife? I havent.

    But whether you want to be a “lawkeeper or not”…anyone is capable of anything.

    Hebrews 8:13 law is dead…same as Col 2:13

    as Dan so well stated:

    As believers, we no longer live under the law, looking to it to tell us what to do and not do, then trying our best to do it. Instead, we live on the faith principle, the inner life principle, of who really is our life-Christ. We trust that He directs us, opens or closes doors for us, and speaks directly to us, giving us a message or whatever is needed for the occasion. We trust that He is living through us. We may not feel it at any given moment, but we live by faith that He is our life.

    • Please go and read the whole Bible, check where ever it is written Law and Grace. I too will give my answers to the misconceptions that you have. First in simple english understand what it is meant by Law? And check if in your country or your own home or you yourself have set any law, which means rule. If you are under any law either of the government or others I think all your current ideas are wrong. Secondly differentiate the Law given after the Ten commandments in the Book of Exodus chapter 20, and the law written in the book of Leviticus?

  5. I need your help in understanding this “What rules in the Grace coveant? Abiding in Christ. Allowing him to live through you. That is what Jesus did. he abode in the Father.” What does abiding in Christ means? How do we abide in Christ? How do I differntiate Grace from Law? What about people of other religions who are neither Jews nor Christians? Are the commandments of God in Old Testament under the term Law? If it is then why do we follow it as we are under living under Grace Covenant? How should we live by the Grace of God? What are the characteristics of Grace?

  6. God is the author of both law and grace, so how can they be mortal enemies? Each of them has a purpose, and the problem arises with the law when people try to use it in the wrong way.

    To use law as way to achieve righteousness is the wrong use for the law. By the law is the knowledge of sin, but not the deliverance from it.

    The real opposition is between self-dependence and God-dependence. Self-dependence when it takes on a religious aspect likes to arm itself with the law and prove it can do it, and achieve the standard. This will always be futile.

    A big part of what God is trying to achieve with us all is “to have no confidence in the flesh”, but to have confidence in God. This means, we don’t trust what we think we know, what we have in this world, what we feel, how we can reason, our willpower or even our techniques, but we trust the Spirit of God to lead us moment by moment as we aggressively pursue Him.

    God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6) and without this, its not really faith, its just a con job. If someone wants to say, “the life of Jesus is flowing out of me all the time”, I’d like to know if anyone not part of their group has any reason to say the same thing about that person.

    • Tropical_Guy says:

      But the word says that Law is dead to Christians. The Law was such an imperfect Covenant that the Prophecy of the new Covenant says that it will be replaced. Jer 31:31-34 deals with this. In the Old Covenant Law, unless you were Jewish it was not even given to you as a Gentile in the first place. It says right and wrong are to be written on people’s hearts that are believers(Christians)

      Paul and Peter went round and round on that one. Col 2:13 says the law was nailed to the cross. hebrew 8:13 says that the Old Covenant of Law is waxed away and dead. Hebrews 7 speaks similarily. 1 Tim 1:9 says the law was only given to the unrighteous in the first place. Peter said the Law was never given to the Gentiles to begin with.

      They are mortal enemies because you are not justified as a law keeper. Paul spoke to the Galatians that why did they strt their walk by faith and in Grace and then try to follow the Law?

      The Law is good for the unbeliever because they are still judged by the Old Covenant should they never recieve Christ. Once they recieve him and are born again, they are then under the New Covenant of Christ. The Grace Covenant.

      What rules in the Grace coveant? Abiding in Christ. Allowing him to live through you. That is what Jesus did. he abode in the Father. In John he said his words were not his but the fathers. The miracles were the fathers through him.

      Then he states he is the Vine and we are branches. Paul understood that and he stated that it is not him that lives, but Christ living through us.

      So yes, easily they are enemies. Life was never given through the Law, but all life is given to mankind through the Covenant of Grace through Christ. It is about what Jesus did and never about what we can do or try to do.

      • Romans 3:20 says:

        The Bible does not say the ‘Law is dead to Christians’. That is what YOU say!

        In fact, this is what the Bible says in three different translations:

        Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.(Romans 3:31 NKJV)

        Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.(Romans 3:31 NLT)

        Do we then cancel the law through faith? Absolutely not! On the contrary, we uphold the law.(Romans 3:31 HCSB)

        Furthermore, The Bible also says:

        But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:33 KJV)

        Now, if the law is dead to Christians, then how can it be written in the heart?

        Advice: keep things in context when reading the Bible and don’t add meaning to the Scriptures that isn’t there.

        P.S. What Colossians is referring to is the ‘record of sin’. That is what was nailed to the cross. In other words, it was your guilt that was nailed to the cross. Not the law. Read it in the original language and you will see!

        • Diana starr says:

          The Law was not given until Moses. Before the Law there was counted no sin unto man. Check it out. Before Sinai and the law the people did not die, after the law they did. The law brings death. Romans 7:5
          For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.
          But Jesus bore our sins at the cross and when he did there was a spirtual exchange, my sin for his righteousness. Romans 8:2
          because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. Corinthians 15:56
          The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. You see the power of sin is the law. So Christ nailed are old nature with it ability and desire to sin to the cross. But only as we yield to him can his power work in us. 1 Peter 2:24
          He personally bore our sins in His [own] body on the tree [as on an altar and offered Himself on it], that we might die (cease to exist) to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. So now we live without condemnation for our sins, yesterdays sins, todays sins and tomorrow’s sins. Has God gone soft on sin then? No of course not, Sin was judged and condemned in Jesus, all the wrath of God towards Sin was poured out on to Jesus, Isaiah 54 tells us he will never be angry with us again. If you want to live under the law, you must remember that if you sin in one law then you have broken all laws, James 2:10
          For whosoever keeps the Law [as a] whole but stumbles and offends in one [single instance] has become guilty of [breaking] all of it. The Law that is written in our hearts is Love. The law of Love. Ezekiel 36:26
          A new heart will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
          Romans 5:5
          Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.

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