In concluding this series on the goodness and grace of God, ultimately we must come to the most important conclusion on this subject: that God is not a God of law, but of grace. Now, I am aware that many believers come up against, or have even probably been raised in a permanent atmospehere of law, to the extent that they have been systemized to nothing but law. There are believers who cannot understand grace at all. In fact, there are entire denominations where nothing but law is taught.
But God is not a God of law. He is a God of grace. In John 1:17 the Bible says just that: “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
The word “but” in this scripture is so important. In other words, once upon a time there was law (with Moses), but now, today, in Christ, there is something else. There is only grace – and truth. There is no more law.
But verse 18 is also so very important: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
In other words, Christ has come to reveal the true nature of God. We cannot therefore seek to know a God of law. We must seek to know a God of grace, for that is whom Jesus has revealed.
In the Old Testament God allowed the Israelites to fight and kill, and to take revenge. An eye for an eye, and a life for a life.
But in the New Testament, Jesus comes and says that if a man strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the left also. And if a man takes your coat by force, remove your shirt also and give it to him. And if a person forces you to go one mile, go two. All with a good, humble, forgiving and loving heart.
That is who God is and that is what God does.
That is why we can enjoy incomprehensible grace under the New Covenant. God gives us so much rope. Not to sin, of course, but to walk the road of the cross.
But as much as sin is inadmissible under the New Covenant, so is law. In fact, sin and law go together. There are many examples that we could give in this regard, but none is as important as Moses. The “flag carrier” of the law was himself unable to enter the promised land! And, much as we would not like to admit it, yet the reason Moses failed to enter the promised land was because he sinned against God.
Notice what Paul says in Romans 5:1-2: “1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
The words used here are important and telling: “faith”, “peace”, “grace”, “joy”, “hope” and, ultimately, “glory”. There is not a word of law here, not a word of “Thou shalt not!” The only things that you can find in Christ, the things that God “through our Lord Jesus Christ” has given to us, are those mentioned above, and many other things of like nature.
God would not allow Moses to see His glory. He allowed him only to see the tail-end of His coat as He disappeared in the distance.
But in Christ there is so much freedom we can behold God as He is. Indeed, this is the delightful challenge that God Himself has put before us. He urges us to run the race to get to know Him as He is. It is open field for everyone. The vilest sinner can enter the race and win. The faltering believer can strengthen himself and finish in victory. Everyone is welcome, and God has given to us His Holy Spirit to enable us.
[In Tanzania, modernity struggles to edge age-old tradition off the road]