Wednesday 27 June 2018


A Facebook friend shared: Jesus shows us a new way—GRACE—and therefore believers are no longer under the LAW. What she meant is that believers are now living in a period of grace ever since Jesus’ coming AND we are no longer required to obey the law. Is this true?

Let me try to show you why her argument does not hold water.

How did Jesus deal with the lady caught in the act of adultery?

Most of us are familiar with the account of the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:3-11). The crowd gathered around her and wanted to stone her. But Jesus showed her grace by saying, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” While He forgave her out of grace, He also required that she forsake her sinful lifestyle. She must not continue breaking the law, Thou shall not commit adultery. So she still had to obey the law though she had experienced God’s grace.

Is Jesus merely the personification of grace or grace and truth?

The fact Jesus is the personification of grace and truth—not grace alone—has practical implications in the life of believers. We need to be reminded that Jesus is a reflection of both grace and truth (John 1: 14, 17).

Now, truth requires that we live according to His laws, the Ten Commandments. We will not be living for the truth if we merely accept God’s forgiveness (now who doesn’t want His grace?) but refuse to follow His laws. We would be hypocrites if we only want to enjoy the benefits of grace but refuse to live by demands imposed by the truth in our lives (obey His laws). 

I can almost picture Jesus looking at the adulterous woman in the eye: Can you truthfully say that you will forsake your adulterous lifestyle after you have been forgiven?

What did Jesus say to those who think that He had come to abolish the Law?

Believers saved by grace need not arduously keep the law in order to earn our ticket to heaven. As Scripture says, "You are not under law, but under grace" (Romans 6:14).

However, that doesn’t mean we can do whatever we like. We are still held accountable under moral law as revealed in the Ten Commandments. Jesus puts it succinctly: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them” (Matthew 5:17).

Is lawlessness a state that is encouraged and championed in the Bible? No.

We are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law. “For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law” (Romans 3:28). The paradox is this: “Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law (Romans 3:31).”

Shall we continue to sin (break the law) that grace may abound? No. So, despite being saved by grace, we have to abide by the law.  “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” (Romans 6:1-2)?

Being saved by grace does not mean we are to continue living in lawlessness

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”
(Titus 2: 11-14)

Jesus condemns those who are lawless

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
(Matthew 7:21-23)

Will God give grace-obsessed believers a pat on your back on judgment day and say, Well done, my lawless friend, you have been living by grace and have rejected God’s law? Will He say, Enter into eternal bliss with all its rewards?

On the contrary, believers saved by grace who fail to obey (abide by) God’s laws will face judgment. 

To conclude, Christ came to fulfil the Law and we are advised to follow His words for the Law is good. For the Law is a plumb line that enables us to know what is righteous and what is not. So the Law stays; the Law is eternal and relevant for believers saved by grace.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
(Matthew 5:17-20)


Do we downplay obedience and works once we have been saved by grace?

Has Jesus ever said “it’s all by God’s grace” and that the Law has been abolished for believers?

Why is it important to differentiate between God's ceremonial laws and moral laws? Are they equally relevant to believers today?

Jesus is the personification of grace and truth. What are the implications of these two diverse facets of His character in the life of the believer?

Are believers free from the law?
Answer: It's a 'YES' and a 'NO'.
Why ‘Yes’ and ‘No’?

Is obedience to the law a requirement for believers saved by grace?

Tuesday 19 June 2018



If we do our part (obey God’s laws and do His will), God will do His part. No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly. How far is this true?

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favour and honour. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).

“Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey” (Deuteronomy 8:6-8).

“He sends peace across your nation and satisfies your hunger with the finest wheat” (Psalm 147:14).

“The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honour and life” (Proverbs 22:4).

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” Matthew 6:33).

“What man among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:9-11).

In fact, these good things (God’s blessings) might well be a fulfillment of our sanctified desires. “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires” (Psalm 37:4).

Notice that we must first delight ourselves in God and His agenda (Matthew 6:33). As we do that, our desires become shaped and sanctified by heavenly goals (Colossians 3:1-3). When our desires are aligned with God’s kingdom purposes, won’t He grant us our wishes?

Think about how Nehemiah, burdened by the sight of the city walls in ruins, prayed fervently; as a result, he gained the king’s favour and got all the timber and protection he needed for the reconstruction of the city.

Now, that does not mean that He will grant us every delight to make us happy. He knows what is best for us—not to give us too many good things if they would draw us away from him. That won’t be good. Would it be good if we are blessed so abundantly that we become proud, complacent and think we don’t need God? “Beware lest you say in your heart, My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:17).

Between happiness and holiness, God is more interested in nurturing the latter in us.

Many start out well in their faith journey but when they have been blessed spiritually and materially, their spiritual fervour diminishes. As they focus on wealth, power and fame, they lose their first love. Few believers can be like Joseph or Job, who remained upright and humble after having received spiritual and temporal blessings.

Warning against losing our first love
“But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent” (Revelation 2:4-5).

Warning not to love the world
“Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For everything that belongs to the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever” (1 John 2:15-17).

So, in view of the above references, what may seem good in our eyes may not be good from God’s perspective. God might withhold certain good things in our life if we are immature or not ready to receive them. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3).

We need to be thankful and grateful to God for what we already have and not complain that we have not been blessed according to His promise, “No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).

If it is meant for us, according to His will, He will grant us these good things.

Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land” (Psalm 37:34).

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday” (Psalm 37:5-6).

Sometimes we think God is a taskmaster who whips us into submission. Or we think He is a genie who grants our every wish or desire. The truth is that He is far from these contrasting images we conjure in our minds.

He is the gracious, loving heavenly Father who blesses us AND also the One who has to be feared, revered and obeyed in response to what Christ accomplished for us at the cross. 

God is good all the time, all the time God is good. We chant it, we sing it.
Is a worldview that ‘God is good all the time’ compatible with whatever happens in our journey of faith?