[2nd half of Scott’s message in the California prisons.]
“Grace friends at Network 220, Plano, TX”
“FortheLawwas given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.”—John 1:17
The LAW is of the earth and for the earth so man doesn’t destroy himself.
The Old Testament Law was given for a nation, like the Constitution for America. It was never intended to be a Ladder to God, but more of a boundary to clearly mark the edge of deadly behavior. Through the Law we come to know the unnatural thoughts, feelings, and choices that reveal our disconnect from the Creator and Lover of our lives. It is then that we must turn vertical and relate to God by grace through faith.
So what good is the Law then if all it does is point out our faults and doesn’t lift a finger to make things right? Don’t you hate people like that?!
“Therefore the Law has become ourtutorto lead usto Christ.” Gal 3:24
A tutor’s job in Biblical times was to do more than just instruct; he was to completely protect the child from all danger. Suppose the child ran ahead of his tutor on the way to school as a horse galloped toward them. If the tutor grabbed the child by the collar and pulled him back to safety, would he be loving him or hating him? Would he be controlling him or protecting him?
[Inmates answered immediately and correctly at each prison where I preached.]
I remember the day I confronted Carson with his misconduct and after a lengthy discussion, he said, “Thanks. I didn’t know how to stop.” Maybe sin is a foreign invader who captures us and holds us in bondage. An inmate once told me, “I was locked up long before I got in here.” Could the law actually benefit a wrongdoer? During his last few hours in jail, a young man heard a voice of wisdom whisper, “It’s time to stop lying and grow up.” Would he have heard that voice without the law to grab him and hold him still?
God “grabs” us with the Law so we don’t destroy ourselves. If the Law is a wall (guardrail), you are free to jump over it…and you will be free…until you hit the ground. No one really breaks God’s Law; they only break themselves against it.
“The truth is somewhere in the middle,” they say. The LAW is not a Ladder to climb to God, nor a Wal to keep us from having fun…
The LAW is A MIRROR to REVEAL what God wants to HEAL. When you look at yourself in the light of the Law, you discover your flaws, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). The UN-Righteous live below God’s standard, while the SELF-Righteous live above it, but both fall short. There is only one righteousness God accepts—Christ’s.
So let’s look at the cross again. The horizontal relates to the earth and the vertical to God. Don’t get the two confused! The LAW reveals SIN in man, but Jesus Christ reveals GRACE from the Father. Jesus, being both God and man, intersects the two kingdoms at the crossroad. [He’s the “A” in LAw and GrAce.] Having lived under the Law in sinless perfection, He became the perfect sacrifice, breaking the curse of the Law—death—so that we might live in right relationship with God.
Gal 4:4-5—“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
Gal 3:13— “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.’”
2 Cor 5:21— “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
JESUS SEPARATED US FROM ALL THAT SEPARATED US FROM GOD. How did He do that? In the garden of Gethsemane (“Oil Press”), Jesus was pressed between a rock and a hard place, between SIN and SIN. The sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2) were being placed on Him, but if He slipped out from under the weight He would have sinned against His Father’s will and could not have been “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). There was only one way out for Jesus…DEATH! He BECAME sin and paid the wage of sin—death. He fulfilled the requirement of the Law. We earned death by sinning against the Law, but He died in our place; we died with Him (Rm. 6:8; Gal. & Col. 2:20).
Matt 5:17—“Do not think that I came to abolishtheLawortheProphets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.”
Rm 8:2-4—“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
Rm 10:4—“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
Christ did not suffer so His followers should try harder to be good! He did not die to make bad people good, but to make dead people alive. Jesus did the workfor us that we could not do for ourselves.
DON’T TURN THE CROSS ON ITS SIDE,
abusing Grace and promoting the Law. If we are to walk in Christ as we received Him (Col. 2:6), why do Christians revert to a “neo-legalism”—a law-based discipleship as if they were adding to what Christ has already accomplished for us? It’s like they understand salvation comes by grace through faith, but then think sanctification comes by works through self-effort.
Gal 2:21— “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”
Acts 13:39— “and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed throughtheLawof Moses.
The LAW is NOT pro-LIFE! The Law requires that the penalty be paid in full. “Death Row” or a “Life Sentence” is the end of the LAW, but it is NOT the end of LIFE! The best the Law can do is lock you up and make you pay, but GOD gets the final say. Remember where we started this message…
James 2:10—“For whoever keeps the wholelaw and yetstumbles in NO onepoint, he has becomeguilty of all.” MERCY
But that’s not the end of the message…
James 2:13—“…MERCY triumphs over judgment!”
YOU MUST trust Jesus Christ for your life! He is offering grace and mercy in exchange for the unavoidable requirements of the Law. And by-the-way, all that I preached to you today was written by a man while he was in prison. In Christ, your life is far from over; it’s eternal!