Pod prep: 11-3-17
A Deeper Look Into Grace
GRACE IS A NEW TESTAMENT CONCEPT, RIGHT ?
The generally accepted premise of most Protestants is that the Old Testament was based on salvation by Laws and that the New Testament was based on grace supplied by Jesus Christ. The Old and New Testaments worked somewhat in opposite directions. The Old was done away. We will take a closer look into the issue and find that both Testaments work in unison. God does not change, He is the same in the past as in the present. Christ is the God of the Old Testament. Note John the first chapter. He works directly for God the Father.
Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
The story of Jonah is very revealing about the God of the Old Testament. Jonah did not want to help Israel's rival and enemy and ran from God's calling. He did not want tell Nineveh that God was going to destroy them in forty days. He wanted Nineveh destroyed. Therefore he ran away from this prophetic mission. Why? One would think he would be eager to pronounce destruction on a hated rival of Israel.
Jonah 1:1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
2 "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me."
Understanding Jonah's thinking reveals something very significant about the God of the Old Testament.
Jon 3:10 Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.
4:1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry.
2 So he prayed to the LORD, and said, "Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.
Note what the prophet knew about God. He knew God well. He knew that God was GRACIOUS MERCIFUL and FULL OF LOVINGNESS. The prophet Jonah knew how gracious and kind God was in the Old testament era. Nineveh was saved by grace. The God of the Old Testament was very gracious. Why is this important? Some say grace was only for the New Testament and the Law for the Old. Therefore we can cancel the Law or at least, it is not vital to us. Most churches are not against lying or stealing that would look ridiculous. But many nominal Christians do not believe in the laws regarding images, statues and primarily the seventh day Sabbath. They do not wish to admit that Sunday was inherited from the Universal Church. God has allowed them to be deceived. They do not really understand how true grace fits into God's loving plans for mankind. Most people look at verses like Eph. 2:8-9 and misunderstand it.
Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast
We agree that no one can be saved by just keeping the Law or earn his own salvation. However does this verse mean we have permission to sin? Remember sin is the breaking of God's Law. See I John 3:4. Grace is forgiveness and a pardon for having broken God's Laws. Many assume that grace means that God's Law can be changed altered or ignored. They would say grace trumps the law. But what did Paul, the person who wrote most of the New Testament say ? He is the one being quoted.
Ro 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
Paul's response is certainly not ' God forbid '! A person is under the Law when he has broken it and is under the penalty of the law. A person is under grace when that penalty is paid by Jesus.
Ro 6:15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
If our governor gave us a pardon for robbing the bank last week would that mean a license to rob the bank again today? Grace and the law work together. If there is no law you would not have a need for grace. If no grace, because we have human nature, we would all be lost. Did those who understood the Old Testament realize that God then was also a God of grace? Paul answers this question for us.
Ga 2:15 "We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
16 "knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
What did the Jews know? One is saved by grace. They knew grace was in the Old Testament. Paul explains in Gal 3:6-8 that Abraham also was saved by faith and grace. Paul then emphasized faith and grace in his struggles against the Judaizing Party. However, he realized that some might somehow misunderstand him since he wrote of grace and faith so much that he saw the need to qualify his statements.
Ga 3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.
DOES THE NEW COVENANT FUNDAMENTALLY CONTRADICT THEOLD?
Does the new covenant put an end to the laws of God? We know that the new covenant puts God's Laws into our hearts. This is supportive of the value of the law but is it a departure or contradiction of the Old Testament? Paul describes the core element of the new covenant in the the Book of Hebrews. But would you believe he was just quoting the Old Testament?
Jer 31:31 "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah-
32 "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD.
33 "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Paul was explaining that this verse applied to the called members of the new covenant Church of God. It will eventually apply to all Israel and all mankind upon the Messiah's return. We see that the Old and New Testaments work together. Grace is not a license to alter the Sabbath. The Law will be written in our hearts. Paul seems to be critical of The Law when he is actually being critical of the self righteous picky administration of the Pharisees whose rules around The Law were sometime in violation of the Law.
Mr 7:7 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.
8 "For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men--the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do."
9 He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
People read Paul's efforts to keep this Judaizing spirit out of the church and assume that the Laws in the Old Testament are done away. This is a huge misunderstanding of Paul. The Bible has a unified message both Old and New. The Judaizing faction wanted to limit gentiles coming into the church by using circumcision as a barrier although the church had agreed to make an exception of gentiles. They were to just circumcise their hearts. Paul was trying to unify the church while the Judaizing Party, by stealth, was trying to separate the gentiles from the Jews.
They knew that only a few gentiles would be circumcised, and become by their Jewish rules, a real Jew and real believer in God.
Ga 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Paul was trying to use this letter to the Galatians to totally unite the church by putting people on an equal level that had never been asserted in those days. God inspired Paul to be a visionary of love, equality and unity. This equality statement is many centuries ahead of it's time.