Exo. 20:1-2, Rom. 12:1-2, 6:1-2, 9:32, Jas. 2, 1Jn. 5:2-3
Highlight: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.(v2)
“Is Christ your sanctification, as well as your outward righteousness? For the word righteousness, in the text, not only implies Christ’s personal righteousness imputed to us, but also holiness wrought in us… If you are justified by the blood, you are also sanctified by the Spirit of our Lord.”– George Whitefield
It is a common view among the majority of Christians that in the O.T. the Israelites’ salvation was dependent upon their obedience & compliance with the Laws prescribed by God. It has also been a common view that since Christ has fulfilled the law on our behalf, we are under no obligation to obey the law because we are living under the dispensation of grace & The (NT) Church Age.
I would like to address both claims first by saying that “It has ALWAYS been by faith”. The O.T. Saints were saved BY Faith as they looked forward to the coming Messiah, same as the NT believers are saved THROUGH Faith as they look back to the Christ who has come. (Rom. 3:30)
Why do we need to understand this? For us to be careful not to fall for the lie of Antinomianism. and this is what the apostle Paul was addressing in Rom. 6:1-2 when he said.
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”
Professing Christians put their confidence in the phrase “once saved, always saved”. Do I believe in it? absolutely. But not in the same way that the majority defines it. If I were to reword it, I will put it this way; “once saved, always sanctified”. But we must understand that this also gave the professing Christian a false assurance that “since they have been saved by God by grace through faith, and that salvation is not by works of the law, I can live my life the way I want with no regard for God’s law.”
to which The Apostle Paul rightly objects; “by no means!”
We need to understand & take to heart that “YES we are saved/justified by faith alone, BUT not by a faith that IS ALONE”
I. The Foundation
/ Exo. 20:1-2
I would like to reinforce the initial statement that The Israelites were saved not by the works of the law, but solely by God’s grace alone. we need to understand that God saved the Israelites from their bondage & slavery PRIOR TO Him giving them the 10 commandments.
God emphasized in His words.
“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”
the “bringing out” is an act of saving on God’s part *Though we are to be mindful that the deliverance from Egypt did not lead to the spiritual salvation of the Israelites. and after God has made emphasis on what He has done for Israel, He then lays down how He wants His chosen people to live through His moral law.
*“If we are going to apply this truth to true believers in Christ, what these words would basically mean is this
“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.”
/1 Peter 1:15
to suggest that we are no longer under obligation to abide by the 10 commandments would be to assert that we want to live our lives as IMMORAL creatures because the 10 commandments are God’s Moral Law. it is the expression of who He is.
II. The Conclusion
/ Rom. 12:1-2, Jas 2:17-26, 1Jn. 3:3, 5:2-3,
We start by going through Paul’s concluding statement “Therefore” in Rom. 12:1. Paul exhorts the Christians in Rome to live holy lives after a series of exposing how a man is justified by faith alone.
God’s saving grace PRECEDES our moral obligation towards God & in abiding by the law of God. (All creatures even before God’s saving grace are morally obligated toward God. But NOT ALL are morally ABLE, except the LORD’s grace dawn on them.
We need to be mindful that the fuel to the fire that will enable us to live lives that are holy & acceptable to God is “His mercies”. (“BY the mercies of God”). not our capability/capacity to comply. because the moment we rely on the arm of the flesh, we will become proud & we will tend to lean towards Legalism.
The grace that Justified us will be the same grace that will Sanctify us.
We abide by the law because God enables us to abide in the law. (Phil. 1:6, 2:13, 1Thes. 5:23-24)
James 2 is the go-to passage of those who suggest that “works is essential to one’s salvation/justification”. what it means is that “true saving faith will inevitably lead/result to good works”. In the word of the great Protestant Reformer
– Martin Luther
“God does not need your good works, but your neighbor does”
Finally, God’s laws are not burdensome. (Mt. 11:29-30, 1Jn. 5:2-3)
To our brothers and sisters in Christ, I will always acknowledge the fact that in our sinful state in the flesh, we will not be able to perfectly comply with God’s moral laws. in fact, Paul clearly stated that the purpose of the law was to expose the exceeding sinfulness of sin (Rom. 7:13). and as we see, and recognize our helpless state in this sinful flesh, we look to Christ (Heb. 12:2) and remind ourselves that His grace will ALWAYS be sufficient for us (2Cor. 12:9). “His power is made perfect in our weakness”.
- Do you always rely on God’s grace?
- Is your pursuit of holiness and sanctification grounded in God’s saving work?
His Grace Saves, His Grace Sanctifies, and His Grace is Sufficient.
To the unbelieving. Those who are yet under the grace of our Lord, and even to those who identify themselves as “Christians”, could it be that the reason for your blatant disregard for God’s Laws is simply because you have yet to experience the goodness of God’s saving grace in your life. Examine yourselves. If this God’s Word speaks to you tonight, come to Christ. Repent and turn away from your sins. Humble yourselves before our Holy God and put your faith in what Christ has done.
In His active obedience, he lived a life that satisfied all that the Law requires, procuring righteousness with which He will clothe those who will turn from their sins and look to Him in faith; and in His death, paid the penalty of our sins that was due unto us, satisfying the justice that the law demands our transgressions. Being the propitiation for our sins, He appeased the wrath of God. And in His Resurrection, He sealed his redemptive work as accomplished. Complete. Finished. And it is because of His Resurrection that those who look to Him in faith can hope for His promise of eternal life. (1Cor. 15: 20, 21, 23)