Thinking with grace rather than justice, part 7; John 15:18; Luke 18:9-14

Class Outline:

Title: Thinking with grace rather than justice, part 7; John 15:18; Luke 18:9-14



For the Christian to abandon faith and grace for Law and works is to lose everything exciting that the Christian can experience in his daily fellowship with the Lord.


The Law cannot:

justify the sinner (GAL 2:16);

give him righteousness (GAL 2:21);

give the gift of the Spirit (GAL 3:2);

guarantee the inheritance of God's children (GAL 3:18);

give life (GAL 3:21);

give liberty (GAL 4:8-10).

Why, then, go back into the Law?


Verses 13 and 14 beautifully summarize what Paul has been teaching in this section.


GAL 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us —  for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree" — 


 “redeemed” - evxagora,zw[exagorazo] = to purchase out from the slave market of sin and unto the greatest Master and Lord.



Deut 21:23

his [sin worthy of death] corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance.


The Jews executed by stoning, but for particularly shameful violations of the Law the body was hung on a tree for all to see, but it was not to stay overnight.


Therefore, Christ becomes the substitute for the worst violations of the Law. This was the ultimate penalty and He paid it.


GAL 3:14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.


COL 2:14

having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.


So why the appeal to legalism? Again, I want all of us to see why man is so drawn to justice systems. The Galatians had already experienced grace and they still went back to legalism. Legalism appeals to the flesh. The flesh loves to promote itself … I gave this much, I fasted this long, I’ve been good all day, etc.


Legalism also appeals to the five senses. Legalists walk by sight and not by faith. The judge according to what they hear and see and smell and touch and taste. The gossip, judge, forbid eating and drinking, forbid touching (proper). The Pharisees would walk with their heads down and walk into walls. They were proud of the bumps on their heads. They wore Phylacteries, prayed in public, put on a sour face when they fasted, and proclaimed their tithes; when they gave they sounded a bell just in case anyone failed to witness it.


These things are alive and well today. The clothes are different and the names are different but the justice systems of legalism, favoritism and ungrace still exist.


Luke 18:9 And He also told this parable to certain ones who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:


Luke 18:10 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-gatherer.


Luke 18:11 "The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, 'God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax-gatherer.


Luke 18:12 'I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.'


Luke 18:13 "But the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!'


This word for merciful [hilaskomai] is more in line with propitiation. The tax-gatherer is asking God to be satisfied with him, in other words he is appealing to God for salvation and the Lord said that he left justified, meaning his appeal was one of faith alone.


Luke 18:14 "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted."


I want to add a note about mercy as it is very close to the word grace.


mercy - God’s attitude towards those that are in distress, an outward manifestation of justified pity, using adequate resources to fulfill a need in another.


Luke 10:29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"


Luke 10:30 Jesus replied and said, "A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho; and he fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went off leaving him half dead.


Luke 10:31 "And by chance a certain priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.


Luke 10:32 "And likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.


Luke 10:33 "But a certain Samaritan [hated by Jews], who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,


Luke 10:34 and came to him, and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.


Luke 10:35 "And on the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return, I will repay you.'


Luke 10:36 "Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands?" 


Luke 10:37 And he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same."


Grace comes before mercy. Grace is a mental attitude while mercy is grace in action.


HEB 4:16

Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive [to take to oneself, to collect] mercy and may find [find after a search] grace to help in time of need.


The difference stated here is between receiving something in contrast to searching out something. I receive mercy and I search out grace. This means that the believer is constantly searching and probing the depths of grace and the more he understands it the more mercy he can receive and the more mercy he can give to others.


This is not to mean that God is stingy with mercy, quite to the contrary He is abundant in mercy, it’s just that the believer who doesn’t understand grace misses God’s mercy because his eyes are on justice and not grace.


EPH 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,


God so loved the world that He gave. He gave mercy by seeing the need of fallen man for a Savior. He didn’t ask us if we wanted this. He went ahead and did it of His own self determination.


EPH 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),


EPH 2:6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus,


EPH 2:7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.


God is rich in mercy and rich in grace.


EPH 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;


EPH 2:9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.