Hebrew Roots/Restoration/Grace & Law/Life
THE CHOICE FACTOR
"But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned unto death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Yeshua the Messiah our Lord" (Romans 5:20b-21)
Whereas we were under the dominion of sin which brought the penalty of the Law upon us, we are now under the dominion, or rather, the jurisdiction of grace through righteousness leading to, or resulting in, eternal life. His grace rules our life through righteousness where sin ruled our life leading to and resulting in eternal death. Righteousness is the key factor to inheriting eternal life, just as sin was what led to reaping eternal death.
Grace is measured out in a super-abundance in comparison to the judgment merited by the law and cancels out the penalty of sin, but not without some qualification. We were slaves to sin as our master. We did not have the equity to redeem ourselves as free men from that slavery, we have been bought by the hand of a Redeemer and so we are not our own. We have been bought with a price, even that of the precious blood of our Saviour, who is now our Master, and whom we serve by submitting to the power of His life in righteousness. His grace is an enabling power to righteous living and not a winking at, overlooking, passing over or condoning of our sins.
"What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? (Romans 6:15-16)
"For sin shall not have dominion over you for you are not under law but under grace" (Rom.6:14)
Because we still have free-will, we still have a choice as to what we will obey, the life of Christ or the self-life. Delivered from the power of the law through sin, we come under what we yield to, the old nature or the new.
"But now having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness" (Romans 6:18) Being "under grace" is being a "slave" to righteousness!
"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes" (Romans 10:4)
"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. (Romans 6:6-7)
"For sin shall not have dominion over you for you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:14)
The action of the Law was put out of operation through the crucifixion of Christ and our identification with Him in His death, so that we should not longer serve sin as our master. We are now under the power of His grace which has its outworking in the fruit of righteous, holy living (Romans 6:21-22)
UNDER LAW OR UNDER GRACE
What is the qualifying factors to distinguish those living "under law" to those living "under grace"?
If the fruit of being "under grace" is righteousness (as identified in Romans 6:21-22), then someone walking in His grace will be walking in His righteousness. And how do we identify what is righteousness?
That is one of the purposes for which the Law was given, to set a standard of righteousness for mankind.
"For all the Law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: 'you shall love your neighbour as yourself'" (Galatians 5:14)
"I say then, walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16)
It is the lusts of the fallen sinful nature which cause us to sin (James 4:1-5), which are outlined in Galatians 5:19-21 which take us out from under the jurisdiction of His grace and cause us to forfeit our inheritance.
But if we fall back again into the works of the old nature then the Law will become operative in our life.
"But if you are led of the Spirit, you are not under the law" (Galatians 5:18) - because when you live out of the new nature you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh which brings you under the law's penalty for sin. But if you do go back into sin, walking carnally or living unrighteously, then you come back "under the law".
A person is NOT under the law while he is walking in the Spirit of Christ. "Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, [etc.]" (I Timothy 1:9)
To use a worldly example: If we disobey the law of the land, we shall come under the penalty of the law, whereas if we obey the laws, there is no law enforcement needed upon us. While we live within its boundaries, we cannot be judged by the law and there will be no charges against us. If we have no desire to break the law, then the fact that we are keeping the law may not even come to mind, because we do those things in the law out of our own natural inclination to do so.
So, it is if we walk in the Spirit of Christ. His grace will dominate our lives and we will abide in Him and manifest the fruit of His Spirit as branches of the Vine by nature bear the same fruit as the parent vine. The branch can only bear the fruit of the Vine while the sap of the Vine is flowing through it (John 15:4).
"As the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love." (John 15:9-10)
LAW ESTABLISHED THROUGH GRACE
The Law itself has not been done away with, or put out of action, by the introduction of grace to overrule the penalty of the Law against us. The Law still fulfills its purpose of setting the standard of righteousness and convicting of sin. Also, through His grace, by faith, the Law is established in our lives (Romans 3:31).
Yeshua Himself made very positive statements against the idea of the Law being done away with by His Coming to fulfill the law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17-18). Also He said, "Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does and teaches them, shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:19)
These commandments are the ones which He Himself kept and which He has taken to a new depth of application in the new covenant. The Father's commandments are now His commandments delivered to us for the new covenant man (John 15:9-10). The quality of love to which He now calls us, in our love for Him and the Father, as well as in our love for our neighbour, has been taken to the level of divine love (John 13:34-35).
The apostles and teachers recognised the need of the Law to teach and instruct, to exhort and encourage and to correct error (2 Timothy 3:16). The Law given at Sinai was the basis upon which they established the new covenant community, both in its structure and in its teachings through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
James likens the Law to a mirror, into which when one peers into it, they will see their own image reflected back to them, so they can determine what manner of 'man' they are - natural or spiritual (James 1:22-25). For, by the Law is the knowledge of sin and the revelation of Yeshua (Romans 3:20; 2 Corinthians 3:18)
There are some instances in Pauls' letters where he is addressing legalism which came in as a result of Jewish brethren desiring to bring the believers under the letter of the Law in their observance of the traditions which he had delivered to them. One of the main issues was the so-called need to be circumcised in order to be saved. This occasioned a strong defense against legalistic observances.
However, it is not legalism to live in the Law of God. There is a difference between living under legalism and living in the Law of our heavenly Father. One is motivated by fleshly commandments, the other originates from an obedient heart's response to His commands.
Legalism is born out of slavish fear but obedience to His Law, is born out of love.
"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments." (John 5:3)