Law & Grace


Some are crying “legalism” where there isn’t any legalism. They would accuse me of being a legalist because I emphasize the need for doing God’s will. But Jesus taught that “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Was Jesus a legalist?

A person who is truly legalist believes that man is saved solely by law keeping. He believes that by doing points 1-10 we will be saved on that basis, and on that basis alone. If that is being done we need to fight it.

In accusing us of legalism, some have gone to the other extreme: “Salvation is by grace alone.” I have in my possession an article entitled: “100% Grace!” A preacher who was allowed to speak in a nearby congregation taught that in the churches of Christ we need to “emphasize grace, love, and mercy - when it comes to the law we need to play it down a little.” He believes that salvation is 100% by grace.

Salvation is not by law OR grace. Salvation is by law AND grace. In our preaching, and in our minds, we need a proper blending of the two. On the one hand, we must not swing to the “salvation is 100% by the grace of God” idea. On the other hand, we should not become afraid to talk and preach about grace (due to the abuses of it) - we need to offer assurance for people who sin. There are several Old Testament passages which show that blessings come from God due to a mixing of His grace and man’s obedience (Joshua 6:1-5; 2 Kings 5:10-14; etc.). The New Testament points to the need for a blending of the two as well (Galatians 6:1-2; James 1:21-25; Ephesians 2:8-10).

Let grace and the law of Christ have their rightful place in your life.