" ....Fifteen Differences Between Law and Grace
Let us look at a few of these differences. I have fifteen of them, believe it or not. But I dont plan to spend a long time on them, because Id like you to get the principle of operating under law, and operating under grace. I want you to see the difference between the two.
1. The spirit of the law demands. It allows no excuse, it must be this way, and no other! You'll do this, and you have no choice, no excuse! This is the way it must be, this is the way you must do it. The spirit of grace encourages. It comes alongside and encourages you in the direction of holiness and righteousness. Go this way! That's right! Thats good! Keep on going! Keep your heart open! Just keep going! This is the way to go. One is the spirit of law; the other is the spirit of grace. They have a tremendous effect on how we relate to people, dont they?
2. The law condemns. Condemnation is judgment. Condemnation is heavy. It brings the heart down low. Grace convicts, enlightens the heart. It is that still small voice, that sweet prompting of the Spirit of God inside of the heart of God's people. The gentle Spirit comes along side, and enlightens the heart: You know, you shouldnt have done that.
Think of it, think of how the grace of God works in your life. You make a mistake, you say something out of sort, and it might be five minutes and all of a sudden you have that little quiet moment there by the kitchen sink or at your workbench and the grace of God says: You shouldn't have done that. But the spirit of law condemns: That was wrong! You are wicked! and all of those kind of things that go along with it.
If we are moving in the spirit of law, thats going to have a very different effect than if we're moving in the spirit of grace. I believe that when we work with people, God would have us work like the Holy Spirit, not like the law. Rather than condemn, judge, and give feelings of failure and judgment, come along side and give a gentle encouragement as the gentle wooing of the Spirit of God.
3. The law brings bondage. The word bondage means just what is says: Bound. The spirit of law brings bondage, it binds, it hinders. If you're moving under the principals of law, you're probably failing in your Christian life. You probably try, but fail, and try, but fail, and try, but fail. But the spirit of grace brings liberty. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. That is, power to do God's will. Liberty: Emancipation Proclamation. You are free! You can do what you want to do now, you can do the will of God, you can serve the Lord, and you can have victory over your sin in your life! The spirit of grace gives liberty, freedom, or emancipation to do the will of God. The other brings bondage.
4. The spirit of law is never good enough. Did you ever feel that way? Its never good enough. Well, thats the spirit of the law. You always fail under the spirit of law. The principal of law is always never good enough. You always fell short of it. You maybe got it here, but you lost it here. You gained a little here, but you lost down here. But the spirit of grace is always excited by each step that is taken. The spirit of grace is acceptance, encouragement, praise. Often heard: If you want to raise your children right, give them about 9 doses of praise, to every 1 dose of correction; then another 9 doses of praise, and then 1 dose of correction. Why? Because the spirit of grace is an encourager, its always excited by each step that is gained. When you take even a baby step in your Christian life, the grace of God is right there to say, That's good! That's right! You're going the right way! Keep on going! Don't quit now! Keep on going! But the spirit of law, when you take one step in the right direction is right there to say, That's not good enough. You could've done better than that. Why didn't you do it this way? What about your motives? The spirit of law and the spirit of grace are very different one from another.
5. The spirit of law: Curses. Youve failed. Judgment is coming! There's a payment due for that which you did wrong! You failed! But the spirit of grace blesses, and shows the way to victory, even in total failure. The spirit of grace comes along and says, There's a way out! Get up! God will help you! Keep on going! Ah, but the spirit of the law comes along side of one who fell and curses, and brings judgment, and tries to make the load heavier on top of them. Big difference between the two.
6. The spirit of law is critical, always finding something wrong. Its a little bit like never good enough, but I think its worthy of a point in itself. The spirit of law is critical. Its always finding something wrong. But the spirit of grace gives the benefit of the doubt. The benefit of the doubt? I thought of these verses over in 1 Corinthians 13 where its giving a definition of love, and it says of love (among other things): Love hopeth all things, and believeth all things. Love gives the benefit of the doubt. Love believes in the other. Love hopes the best of the other. The spirit of grace gives the benefit of the doubt, rather than looking for something wrong, trying to find something to put a finger on it, and being critical. If the grace of God is stirring in the heart of an individual, the first response will be, Oh, there must be some other explanation, or Surely, there must have been a reason for that. Wouldn't you like to have the benefit of the doubt? So would your brother, so would your sister, so would your children, so would your wife or husband! Wouldn't you like to have the benefit of the doubt? The spirit of law is critical, always finding something wrong.
7. The spirit of law remembers sin again, and again, and again. Just like in the Old Testament, under the law, they would offer their sacrifice on the Day of Atonement, but a year later they'd have to come back again, and offer it again, and a year later they came back, and offered it again. The spirit of law remembers sin. But the spirit of grace forgets it. What was that? I don't even remember! What was it you did? I didnt even remember it. The spirit of grace forgets! The spirit of law remembers it, reminds you, reminds you again, reminds you again, and again, and again, and again, and again. The grace of God just forgets it, buried in the deepest sea. Separated as far as the east is from the west, so are my sins separated from me.
8. The spirit of law exposes sin, and then leaves you there. That's all the law could ever do. But the spirit of grace comes along side, and forgives and covers, where we're willing to deal with it. The grace of God will come along side and encourage you to repent, to be forgiven, and to cover it, so that it is gone, so nobody else finds out about it.
9. The spirit of law is rejection. And the spirit of grace is acceptance. Law drives you away. It will drive you away from God, it will drive you away from people, and it will make people want to run away from you. They won't want to be around you. The spirit of law is rejection. But the spirit of grace is acceptance. It says: Come! Come to God! Come the way you are! Come and be forgiven! Come and be cleansed!
Probably the greatest motivation of the growth in our Christian life comes from the acceptance that we have of the Heavenly Father, is it not so? I don't know of anything that motivates me more to go on in my Christian life than to know that God accepts me right where I am. I don't mean God accepts sin! But God accepts me right where I am. If I'm clear in my heart, God accepts me. Sure, maybe 6 months from now, He'll begin to show me something else I need to deal with, and I'll see it. But all those 6 months, God was loving me! He was accepting me! He was blessing me! He was encouraging me! That very acceptance caused me to have my heart open, so God could minister to me about another need in my life. The spirit of law makes you want to run away from God, but the spirit of grace makes you want to run to God.
10. The spirit of the law tends to be exclusivist. The spirit of grace is free to all! Hallelujah. Red, brown, yellow, black and white, they're all precious in His sight! But not so with law. The principals of law, and those who live after the principals of law, they tend toward being a sect, or they tend toward being an individualist. This is how I see it, this is the way its going to be, and I dont care if I have to be by myself, this is the way were going to do it. Its not that way with the spirit of grace. Rather it says: Others, Lord, yes others. Let this my motto be. Quite a difference between the two of those isnt it?
11. The spirit of law has no mercy. When you have failed under the spirit of law, there is no mercy. But under the spirit of grace: theres complete mercy. Release! Forgiveness! Encouragement! Acceptance! Total mercy through the blood of Jesus Christ. Total mercy compared to no mercy, no forgiveness. The spirit of law and the spirit of grace are very different.
12. Under the spirit of law the highest goal is performance. Under the spirit of grace the highest goal is a relationship. The one: performance. The other: relationship. There is a big difference between the two of those! If we are living our lives to perform, and were basing our acceptance on performance, when we dont measure up we dont feel Gods acceptance. Or if we base others acceptance on performance, when they dont measure up, we dont accept them. Because the highest goal is how you perform. Not so with the spirit of grace. With the spirit of grace the highest goal is relationship. O Lord, help us to see that one.
As I pondered this message, I had to think of many of the plain churches, and how they are so much on the performance side. If you come among them and you dont look quite right, or you say kids instead of children, or a few things like that, there is this silent, mysterious wall that comes up. It comes up because of the theology of performance, and you didnt perform right so things dont go right. But let the grace of God come over our hearts as individuals, and as a church with relationship as the highest goal. Relationship with the God of Heaven, relationship with Gods people, and relationship with a lost and dying world out there!
There is a big difference between the spirit of law and the spirit of grace if you come and visit a church like that! The one youll go away wondering what happened, not feeling accepted. But the other youll go away saying, They loved me! They accepted me just the way I am! I want to go back again! Theres something magnetic about those people! I tell you what it is: its magnetic because its like God. Thats exactly the way God is with every one of us. God wants a relationship with us! Thats number one! Hell walk with us when we have long hair! And Hell walk with us before we get rid of our cigarettes! Hell walk with us when were failing in this area. Hell walk with us when were not as meek and quiet as we ought to be! And Hell walk with us when were not as modest as we ought to be! Because number one on Gods list is a relationship!
We have to be the same way, because its godliness to be like God. Amen? So its godly to accept somebody right where they are. Its godly to come up and put your arm around some fellow who has long hair whos born again for only 2 weeks. Its godly to come up and put your arm around him and bless him, and encourage him, and accept him, and love him. Its God-like to do that. In the law, the highest goal is performance. We all come up with our own levels of performance, You had better measure up with my level of performance...
I had to think this one comes pretty close to home when you begin to ponder our children. I think we need to have some performance in our minds, I am not against that. But let number one be relationship. I dont know anything that motivates a child to do what Mama and Papa say more than a sweet relationship with Mama and Papa! Nothing! But oh, the burden of a little child whose father and mother move under the principals of law, and sets up the rules of performance, and withdraw their acceptance, and their blessing, and their encouragement when the performance isnt what it ought to be. Poor child. That childs view of God will be very mixed up.
13. The spirit of law tends to details. The spirit of grace tends to flexibility. What do I mean by that? Well, I guess a good way to put it is: The Letter of the Law vs. The Spirit of the Law. You know letter of the law. We can follow the Pharisees, and study Jewish history, and it doesnt take us long to find out what the spirit of law does if you leave it by its self. It will make up 5,000 Sabbath rules over the course of about 200-300 years, of things you should do and shouldnt do. Itll make a thick book to read so you can learn how to behave on the Sabbath! But in the spirit of grace is the principal, and in principal is flexibility. There is a big difference between the two of those. Law tends to details. Youll do it this way, down to the detail. Youll wear these, youll part your hair here, youll wear this kind of covering, youll wear black shoes and only black shoes. The principals of law tend toward details, but the spirit of grace, or the principals of grace, tends toward flexibility. There is flexibility on how its lived out.
14. The spirit of law tends to be negative. The spirit of grace tends to be positive. If youre one who struggles with being negative I would encourage you to take a study of the Gospels and study the Pharisees. Do a study on the Pharisees in light of this whole matter of negative, doubtful, unbelief. Youll find an answer to your need. Because the principal of law tends toward the negative, thats just the way it is. Because you can never measure up, and theres no faith where theres law. They cant dwell together! Where theres a spirit of grace, theres this positive, faith-filled, encouraged, up-lifted look toward the God of Heaven, trusting Him in the circumstances of life.
15. And last of all, we said it already but I think its worth making it a point. The spirit of law is like a Pharisee. The spirit of grace is like Jesus. Consider this: the Law creates rebellion, stirs up the flesh, and drains spiritual life. I dont know how many times a brother or a sister who has been born againI mean one of those fresh new births, when theyre about a month old in the faithgo back to their old church, sit in the service, listen to the message, and when they get out they feel like they need to go to church because all the life has been drained out of them. That is what law does. Read it there in Romans 7. Its supposed to! God gave it so that it would create rebellion, so it would stir up the flesh, so that sin would be revived, so we could see our evil condition. But brothers and sisters, if were in the grace of God, if were washed in the Blood of Jesus, if were no longer walking after the flesh but after the Spirit, we should have no part with any of that which the law does, but rather the spirit of grace working in our heart to produce a holy life. I know that wed all have to agree, that the end result of grace is always higher than the end result of lawalways! It will always be higher; it will always reach higher than law.
Which Spirit are You Living In?
read more at :
or listen at :