No Room For The Law In The House Of Grace

Romans 11:5-6

            That person who knows the proper place of the law and the glory of God’s free grace, who can rest in Christ alone for all that the law requires and all that justice demands, knows the gospel. But that person who mixes law and grace, in any measure whatsoever, as a matter of acceptance before God, has not yet learned the gospel.

            There are no two things in the world more completely opposed to one another than law and grace. They are as opposite as light and darkness. They can no more agree than fire and water. Like oil and water, law and grace simply will not mix. The Scriptures are explicitly clear (Rom. 11:5-6). There is no room for the bondwoman in the house of the free. There is no room for the law in the house of grace. One or the other must be cast out, “for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman” (Gal. 4:22-31).

            Yet, there is an amazingly well-established opinion in the distorted minds of men that law and grace will mix! Though law and grace are diametrically opposed to one another, the depraved human mind is so void of spiritual understanding, and so thoroughly turned away from God, that the most difficult thing in this world for man to do is to discriminate between law and grace. Man insists on mixing that which God has positively put asunder. Because of his foolish ignorance, man wants to find some legal standing before God. This is the thing which Paul opposes throughout all of his epistles. He expends every effort to destroy every remnant of legalism among God’s people.

There is absolutely no sense in which believers are under the law. The word “law” is used 160 times in the epistles of the New Testament (Romans - 1 John). Not once, not even once in those 160 references is there a single hint that the believer is in some way, to some degree, for some reason motivated by, ruled by, under the dominion of, or obligated to the law. The believer’s freedom from the law in Christ is not an ambiguous thing about which confusion is excusable. It is stated in the plainest language possible (Rom. 6:14, 15; 7:4; 8:1-4; 10:4; Gal. 3:24-25; 1 Tim. 1:8-10).

            Was Paul opposed to the law? Did he think the law was an evil thing? Certainly not. In Romans 7, he shows us his own and every true believer’s attitude toward God’s holy law. “The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good…We know that the law is spiritual…I delight in the law of God after the inward man.”

The true believer recognizes the purpose of the law; and he highly reverences the law. It is his desire to live in perfect compliance with everything revealed in the law. Recognizing the law’s perfection, he refuses to seek acceptance with God on the basis of legal obedience. It is our reverence for the law that keeps us from trying to live by the law. It is the perfect holiness and strict, unbending demands of God’s law and justice which drive us to Christ. This is not licentious doctrine, but holy doctrine!

Don Fortner