For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness, which is based on law, shall live by that righteousness.
The unreachable standard of God’s Law was to be set aside for a new life in Christ. A man seeking to live by any Law must be prepared to keep every part of that law. But works of the law are unacceptable to God for all man’s righteousness is dross to God. But a believer with a new life in Christ is to live his life by grace and not by works of the Law.
A man who seeks to live by any Law must be prepared to keep every part of that law, but the one who died to the Law with Christ has been given a new Christlike nature. A Christian with a new life in Christ must die to self so that Christ lives in him.
This was a tough concept for religious Jews to accept, who were steeped in tradition. But increasingly in John’s gospel we find the suffocating regulations of the perfect Law, starkly contrasted with willing, gentile acceptance, of Christ’s grace and truth. Jesus came as the Jewish Messiah and the Saviour of the world, but during His earthly ministry we are reminded that He only came to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Yet in Him was life and in Him was light to all men – and in Him was grace and truth. And throughout the gospel of John we see beautiful glimpses of His heart for everyone. The loose-living woman at the well in Samaria warranted death by stoning under the Law, yet was offered living water by the Messiah,rather than words of condemnation.. and by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ she was given eternal life.
Nicodemus, a pious Jewish leader, struggled with the idea of grace rather than human merit to gain God’s acceptance. Self-righteous pride may be the most difficult obstacle to overcome when free grace is offered, for one relies on the merits of man while the other rests on the grace of God. The constant strivings of the religious man to become acceptable to God by works is a far cry from the submitted heart of a broken sinner, who is thirsting for salvation.
Faith is overshadowed by legalism.. so that the glory of God’s grace is hid from view. But the heart reaching out to God’s grace by faith is rewarded with joys from above. It was the Lord Jesus Himself Who said: to the man, or woman, who has.. even more will be given, but from the one who has not.. even what he has will be taken away. Matthew 13:12
When writing of God’s gracious gift of living water, Strombeck wrote these words.. The Law is an external force that restrains and suppresses the natural desires of the flesh. It restricts the expression of the sinful nature of man - inherited from Adam. The Law says thou shalt and thou shalt not. The life under law is bondage. But the life of the one who drinks the water of life is not one subject to outward restraint but a life that is like a well-spring of living water, that springs up from within. This is one of the most fundamental grace truths and when this is seen and fully understood there will be no desire to hold on to the Law as a means to Christian conduct.
Works of the law are unacceptable to God and unreachable to man, but the logic of legalism persists in trying to obscure God’s gift of grace. But trusting in God is not a matter of the intellect but a matter of the heart.. for with the heart man believesth unto righteousness. Romans 10:10
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