Example #1 The President lives in the White House. I lived in a white house. Therefore, I was the President.
Example #2 The Law of Moses required obedience. Christ did away with The Law. Therefore, Christ did away with obedience.
There is a big difference in The White House and my white house. Likewise, just because we no longer are expected to obey The Law does not mean that we no longer obey God’s laws.
The Law of Moses is referred to properly as “The Law”. The Law included civil laws for the function of Israel’s government. It included ceremonial laws such as religious holidays that were fulfilled in Christ. It also included God’s moral laws. These moral laws, God’s laws for all of man kind, were in effect before the Law of Moses, were included in the Law Moses, and are still in effect today.
B. God’s law
Romans 2:12-15 (NLT)
When the Gentiles sin, they will be destroyed, even though they never had God’s written law. And the Jews, who do have God’s law, will be judged by that law when they fail to obey it. For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight. Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.
We have been set free from The Law of Moses. We no longer have to offer sacrifices for sin. We no longer have to keep dietary laws. We aren’t expected to observe particular holy days. However, violating God’s moral laws is sin. Sin leads to death.
Romans 6:15-18 (NLT)
Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.
Please notice that grace set us free from The Law to lead us to righteous living by obeying God and rejecting sin.
C. Righteous Living
No one is made righteous by The Law because we have all sinned. Therefore, it can not justify us. This is why we must receive God’s grace. God extends His grace to set us free from the penalty of sin and the practice of sin. He teaches us to live Godly and serve righteousness instead of sin.
Titus 2:11-12 (NIV)
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,
We choose whether we accept the example of Christ and the teachings of grace. Grace turns our hearts away from sins and towards God. If we love Him, we will keep His commandments.
John 14:15 (NKJV)
“If you love Me, keep My commandments.
1 John 2:3-6 (NLT)
And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.
How did Christ live? He submitted His will. He did the will of the Father. He committed. He was tempted yet did not sin. While we are not perfectly like Christ, we must give an honest and sincere effort to please God in every area of our lives. We can not make a habit of continuing in sin.
1 John 3:4-10 (NLT)
Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is. Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.
E. Rejecting Grace
We must seek holiness. If we don’t, we will fall short of God’s grace.
Hebrews 12:14-15 (NKJV)
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God
How can you fall short of the grace of God? Grace is available to those that are sincerely pursuing to live a holy life. Those that chose to willfully sin are rejecting grace. Instead of salvation, they will receive damnation.
Hebrews 10:26-31 (NLT)
Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us. For we know the one who said, “I will take revenge. I will pay them back.” He also said, “The Lord will judge his own people.” It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
F. What did Paul actually preach?
The writings of Paul are often quoted without context or understanding. It shouldn’t be a surprise. Peter warned us that many would misunderstand and twist what Paul preached.
2 Peter 3:11, 14-17 (NLT)
What holy and godly lives you should live…make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight…This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him— speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction… be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing.
It is important to remember that many of the converts during Paul’s day had previous experience with Judaism. In fact, Paul established Christian churches by teaching in the synagogues. They already had the writings of Moses and the Prophets. Paul’s task was convincing them that they were not saved and needed Christ. This is why he wrote so extensively about the limitations of The Law, the need for grace, and the essential nature of faith in Christ.
The Jews prided themselves on being Abraham’s children. Paul used this patriarch’s life and blessings from God as the primary illustration that salvation did not come from obedience to The Law of Moses. Abraham had faith before The Law was ever given. Does Abraham’s salvation by faith prove that obedience to God is not necessary?
James 2:14-26 (NLT)
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?... So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless…Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone…Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.
The life of Abraham actually proves to us that obedience is essential. His faith was only living, saving faith when he believed enough to obey God’s command. Conversely, those that claim to have faith, but will not obey God’s commands are not truly saved.
Using Paul’s teaching concerning Christ fulfilling The Law to justify living sinfully requires extremely twisting and distorting his doctrine. Every epistle Paul wrote warned against sin. Every epistle explained Godly living. Every epistle was full of commandments. Every epistle called for a life of holiness.
As evidenced in the following passages, Paul's teachings regarding the New Covenant were not an invitation to cast off all restraint.
Romans 6:19-22 (NLT)
Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.
Romans 8:5-8 (NLT)
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
Galatians 5:13-23 (NLT)
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature…When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Colossians 3:5-10 (NLT)
So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.
Philippians 3:18-19 (NLT)
For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NLT)
Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality,or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.
G. False teachers today
We must be careful that we don’t use grace as an excuse to continue in sin. Christ fulfilling The Law does not justify us living lawlessly. This distortion of grace is the message of much of the modern church, but it was not the message of the Apostolic church. In many ways it is the opposite of the true message.
The Spirit of Christ teaches us obedience and holiness. The spirit of anti-christ teaches lawlessness. In fact, Paul referred to the Anti-Christ as the Lawless One.
2 Thessalonians 2:7-12 (NLT)
For this lawlessness is already at work…the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming. This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.
God will allow those that enjoy evil and lack love for the truth to be greatly deceived. Never forget that there are counterfeit powers, signs, and miracles. If the demonstration of the Spirit doesn’t convict, if it doesn’t lead to holiness, it might not be the Holy Spirit. Sadly, many people are following false preachers and false doctrines. They think they believe in Christ, the Truth, yet they believe a lie.
The doctrine of anti-christ is prevalent in the church today. Jude warned that false preachers would use grace as an excuse to sin. Serving sin instead of Jesus, denies the Lordship of Christ.
Jude 1:3-4 (NLT)
Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Peter also warned against these false Christians. He said that it would be better to have never known the Lord than to return to the wickedness that He delivered us from. These deceptive doctrines promise freedom but lead back to the slavery of sin.
2 Peter 2:19-21 (NLT)
They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you. And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life.
Don’t be misled. With the revelation of righteousness comes the expectation of living an obedient life. We must be holy in everything that we do.
1 Peter 1:14-19 (NLT)
So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.” For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.
H. The Law of Moses has passed away, but the Law of God still stands.
1 Corinthians 9:21 (NLT)
When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God…
Matthew 7:21-23 (NLT)
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’