We have established that law and grace are not in opposition; they work together–both are needed. But just how do they work together? This is the topic we address this week. What does all this talk about the law have to do with the gospel? This study will help clarify how law, combined with grace, gives us a complete picture of the gospel.

Key Text: “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17 NKJV

It’s been said that the entire history of salvation is captured in this verse. As this verse depicts, there were really two important events in the salvation story:

  • the giving of the law to Moses (the most comprehensive and descriptive evidence of God’s justice)
  • the life and death of Jesus (the most comprehensive and descriptive evidence of God’s mercy)

Moses, and even Adam and Eve, looked forward through faith to the coming of Jesus. Through faith we look back on what Jesus did on the cross for us. But we also look forward to His Second Coming.

Therefore the law was, is, and always will be an important guide for how God wants us to live. It takes grace, however, to help us obey and to forgive us when we don’t.  As you can see, we’ve always needed both law and grace. The law obviously can’t save us, but it is a tool that God uses to point us to Christ and His grace which does. Both are powerful manifestations of how God passionately cares for us.

Sunday: Sin and the Law

In the middle of Paul’s discourse about the law and sin, he asks his readers a rhetorical question: “Is the law sin?” Romans 7:7 Of course not, or “God forbid,” he answers for them.

One must stop and think why he would even ask such a question. Perhaps he was associating the law with sin so profoundly that he didn’t want anyone to think the law was evil too. Don’t we do that in our human relationships? None of us want to be related to someone who has a bad reputation.

That’s why Paul is careful to guard the law’s reputation. He pronounces it very emphatically as “holy, and just, and good”. v. 12

Discussion Questions: We’ve all known of man-made laws that are anything but necessary, or even morally right. What makes a law good? [the maker of the law]

What is it about God’s law that makes it totally “holy, just, and good”?

Read the second part of Romans 7:7–“…for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” KJV Why did Paul use this commandment to illustrate the purpose of the law? [possible answers: coveting isn’t as obvious as the sins of murder and stealing, etc.–also coveting is easy for ALL of us to do]

Monday: The Law and Israel

Why did God choose Israel to be the recipient of His law and His special covenant partner? The Bible tells us that it wasn’t because of its superior standing among the nations:

“The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:” Deuteronomy 7:7 KJV

And yet, they were designed to be a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation”, Exodus 19:6 NKJV. God wanted them to be a showcase to those around them–that not just the world but the whole universe would see what God’s grace looked like by their exemplary lifestyles and the blessings it brought them.

Israel was to serve as priests in several ways:

  • they were mediators among the nations
  • they were teachers of the law
  • they were examples of God’s chosen lifestyle

Keeping a balance with all these roles proved to be quite a challenge. If you’ve ever worked in the field of education, you can readily agree that the expectations placed on you as a teacher are extensive. They go beyond the walls of the classroom. You are expected to be a paragon of virtue wherever you go. Others see you in a different way–you are singled out, and some are not cut out for this intense scrutiny.

Discussion Questions: Read Deuteronomy 30:15-20. Israel’s obedience and faith seemed like such a life and death matter. Is it still the same for us today? In what way?

How are obedience and faith related? Did God expect one without the other? What does a lack of obedience indicate? What does a lack of faith indicate? Why do we need both?

Tuesday: The Law and the Nations

God did not place all His eggs in one basket though. Israel, back then and even spiritual Israel now, is not the only manifestation of God’s love and character.

God places an emptiness in the heart of man that nothing in this world can fill. The book of Ecclesiastes brought us the message that this dissatisfaction with what life has to offer is often what draws us to God.

But there are also our God-given consciences that tell us right from wrong. Everyone is given a measure of this handy tool of the Holy Spirit.

And if that weren’t enough, we have the whole, wide, beautiful world of nature to entice us to love its Creator. We can actually develop our consciences by learning to appreciate God through nature.


So, man has always been able to hear God’s voice through:

  • a world of natural wonder to attract us to the Creator of it all (from Jesus)
  • a conscience to guide us in choosing right from wrong (from the Holy Spirit)
  • an emptiness in our heart for desiring something more in life (from the Father)

Even the angels in heaven are sent at God’s bidding to intervene in human affairs. As you can see, all of heaven is working for our salvation!

Discussion Question: If God has ways to reach people who don’t have access to His written laws and revelations, then why does He use missionaries and evangelists to reach people?

Wednesday: Grace and Truth

As our key text revealed that “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”. (John 1:17) A few verses before, we find how this was so:

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”John 1:14 KJV

Let’s examine the life of Jesus and look for traits that reveal His grace and truth:

  1. Philippians 2:8 “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” KJV
  2. John 15:10 “…even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” KJV
  3. Matthew 26:39 “…O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” KJV

These verses shout to us of Jesus’ humility, loving obedience, and submissive, sacrificing character. They encapsulate what grace is all about.

The truth that Jesus brought was obviously a more comprehensive understanding of grace. We needed to see what grace was meant to be.

And the most marvelous truth about it is that it is ours for the asking:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8, 9 KJV

God’s grace can become ours through the gift of His Son.

Discussion Question: Read Romans 8:4 (“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” KJV) How does the grace of Christ work together with the law to save us?

Is the law still needed for our salvation?

Thursday: The Law and the Gospel

Our world abounds in the evidence that sin and death are still with us on this planet. There are reminders of it everywhere–sickness, crime, tragedies, and disasters of every description fill the news media waves every day. Besides that, on a personal level, many of us experience a lack of spiritual security–the memories of past sins or even the urge to sin each day are overwhelming enough to lead to drug abuse and even suicide by thousands across the globe.

But are we trapped in this world of sin and death? Only in the gospel can we find relief and deliverance. As a matter of fact, it is our guarantee of escape:

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1 KJV

Discussion Question: Some claim that life is meaningless and does nothing but lead to pain and death. Therefore, nothing we do in this life matters; it will all be forgotten after we’re gone. How do you convince such a person that life is indeed worth living? Read Ephesians 2:4, 5 to offer hope.


Since justice and mercy are at the heart of God’s character, the law and grace give us a full picture of the gospel. God manifested His love for us at two important events (see Key Text–John 1:17):

  1. the giving of the Law to Moses at Mt. Sinai
  2. the giving of grace through His Son at Mt. Calvary

Just as keeping the law perfectly does not merit our salvation, believing Jesus without a conversion of our life and attitudes will not get us to heaven either. We must “walk the talk”.

God’s Law and His Grace together help us to fully understand and share the good news of the Gospel.


Take a look at your own:

  • mediator role (intercessory prayer),
  • teaching (witnessing),and
  • example (lifestyle).

If one area is weaker than the others, make an effort to improve it.

With a fuller understanding of the law and grace, find someone to share the gospel with this week.

Next Week: Christ, the Law and the Covenants