17 For the LAW WAS GIVEN through Moses, but GRACE AND TRUTH CAME through Jesus Christ.
In connection with the covenant God made with the people of Israel, He gave them the revelation of the Law through Moses. The Law covered every aspect of their lives. And the blessing, victory, prosperity, success, elevation and all the promised benefits of the Jews, were tied to the Law. Truth is, Moses’ personality and work were not involved in the Law. He only served as a mediator between God and His people.
The second part of the verse says, “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Christ’s personality and finished redemptive work were involved in the grace that is available to the Church. The fullness of God’s grace thus came into being through Jesus Christ.
In His redemptive work, Christ created in Himself one new man from both Jews and Gentiles and placed the new man, the Church under grace — Ephesians 2:11-14. Therefore, the Church is not under the Law or under a mixture of Law and grace.
The revealing truth is, Christ who was full of grace and truth and dwelt among men, now has taken residence in us by His Spirit. And out of His fullness, we have received gifts, favor, blessings, and grace for every phase of our lives–John 1:14-16.
But for us to appreciate what God has accomplished for us through Christ, we need to know the demands of the Law with regard to the promises made to the Jews as against the blessings and benefits already made available to us in Christ by grace.
Know that for the people of Israel to be righteous in the sight of God, they had TO OBEY ALL THE STATUES.
24 And the Lord commanded us to OBSERVE ALL THESE STATUTES, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day. 25 THEN IT WILL BE RIGHTEOUSNESS FOR US if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us.’
Understand that the Jews had 613 laws in all to obey for them to earn righteousness. But under the New Covenant, this is what is graciously provided for us in Christ:
21 But now the righteousness of God APART FROM THE LAW is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 BEING JUSTIFIED FREELY BY HIS GRACE THROUGH THE REDEMPTION THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS.
The righteousness of God is available to all. So, the believing sinner is freely justified, made righteous in Christ by grace. He becomes the righteousness of God in Christ, and not just righteous in God’s sight which the Law offers.
Again, under the Law, the Jews had to observe all the statues for them to become their wisdom.
5 “Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. 6 THEREFORE BE CAREFUL TO OBSERVE THEM; FOR THIS IS YOUR WISDOM AND YOUR UNDERSTANDING in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’
Under grace, Christ Himself in whom are hidden the treasures of wisdom and knowledge has become our wisdom.
30 But of Him, you are in Christ Jesus, WHO BECAME FOR US WISDOM FROM GOD—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.
Moreover, the people of Israel had to obey all the commandments for them to walk in the blessings stated in Deuteronomy 28. The sad truth is, they came under a divine curse if they failed to obey even the least part of the law.
28 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, TO OBSERVE AND TO DO ALL HIS COMMANDMENTS which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God . . . 15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, TO OBSERVE TO DO ALL HIS COMMANDMENTS AND HIS STATUTES which I command thee this day; THAT ALL THESE CURSES SHALL COME UPON THEE, AND OVERTAKE THEE:
The good news is, under the covenant of grace, Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the broken law.
13 Christ has 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”), 14 THAT THE BLESSING OF ABRAHAM MIGHT COME UPON THE GENTILES IN CHRIST JESUS, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Notice, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law so that the blessing of Abraham might come upon us.
Grace has provided more than enough for us in Christ. Our redemption, remission of sins, adoption as sons, acceptance in His Beloved, inheritance, salvation — all the blessings and benefits in Christ — are provided to us, according to the riches of His grace –Ephesians 1:3-8.
As we meditate on these realities that we have in Christ, it will create in us the desire to know more about God’s wonderful grace.
Then we would be grateful to the Father, and glorify Him for all that He has accomplished for us by His grace in Christ.
Authored by Peter Collins Obeng