#3 “What about God?”

Now God will relate with man only through His grace based on the sacrifice of Jesus in our place –

There is nothing left for us to do except to live by faith/trusting in the power of the grace provided by God and to rest in Christ’s finished work

Rom 5:18-21     NASU

18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. 20 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:20    (From the UBS New Testament Handbook Series.)

“The Law increases wrongdoing both by indicating [defining] what wrongdoing is and by stirring up within persons the desire to rebel against the commands given in the Law. The Law did fulfill its function-it did increase wrongdoing-but God’s grace increased much more.”

 Rom 5:1-2    ESV    5  Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

 

Rom 11:6   ESV   6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

   

Gal 2:19-21   ESV  19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

Gal 5:1-6    ESV   1 For freedom Christ hasset us free;stand firm therefore, and do not submit again toa yoke ofslavery. 2 Look: I, Paul, say to you thatif you accept circumcision,Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that the is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ,you who would be justified by the law;you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

Eph 2:4-10   ESV   4 But God, beingrich in mercy,because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 evenwhen we were dead in our trespasses,made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace inkindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been savedthrough faith. And this is not your own doing;it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works,so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship,created in Christ Jesus for good works,which God prepared beforehand,that we should walk in them.

Titus 3:4-8    ESV  4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us,not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, bythe washing of regeneration andrenewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works.

2 Cor 5:14-21   NASU

14 For the love of Christ controls [compels out of love and gratitude for what He has done for us] us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer alive for themselves [self is dead – we no longer live for self centered purposes; we are now new Kingdom of God children of God – we live to and for His pleasure and purposes], but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. 16 Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh [we are now a new person – we endeavor to see people as Christ sees them; with love, compassion, grace, understanding and mercy] ; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things [old moral life and spiritual condition] passed away; behold, new things have come [we are now new morally and spiritually] . 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word [message/gospel of grace]  of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us [this is His desire and plan – if we will cooperate] ; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

To summarize then;

  1. God created people to love and to reproduce Himself in them.
  2. He planned that we would love and worship/honor Him by our way of life in this dark world, in return.
  3. He planned to have a family that would be like Him – created in His image.
  4. Because sin entered the heart of man, God had to prepare a way for us to be reconnected to Him as His Children
  5. Because of His love and Grace He redeemed man by the sacrifice of blood from a spotless innocent lamb/ Jesus Christ/ God’s way of salvation.
  6. Because sin increased more and more and man denied his sinfulness, God gave the 10 commandments as a revelation of His standard of moral righteousness… in this way people could see their unrighteousness and seek God for help.
  7. Through the sacrificial law people could show their repentance from sin and by the blood of the animal sacrifice be restored to right relationship to God… until the next sin…
  8. Because God is love and by His grace He provided total salvation through Jesus Christ the perfect Lamb of God to take away peoples sins fully.
  9. In Christ we ARE the righteousness of God – He has declared us so…

Purpose of the LAW – (From Dictionary of Biblical Imagery)

Gal 3:19  NLT  Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins.”

The law expresses God’s expectations for the moral and spiritual conduct of Israel, the guidelines God has given to Israel to enable them to live life as he created it to be lived. God gives the law in such a form that people can order their lives by it. The Law presents an explanation of God’s Covenant with Israel. It is not an abstract moral code or a mere collection of general ethical or social principles. Instead Moses presents the law as an aspect of the covenantal relationship between God and Israel as his special FAVORED servant nation.

The emphasis of the Law is illustrated through four pictures:

(1) it comes from God

(2) it is intended for human benefit

(3) it is a reliable guide to living

(4) it illuminates one’s mind or understanding of the Covenant

The imagery of God’s law in Scripture is thus part of a larger conceptual framework that explains the full features of it.

First, just as ancient treaties formalized a preexisting relationship, the giving of law presumes that mutual love and loyalty have been established between Israel and her God. [Remember He is the One who offers this covenant so the people could experience His goodness and love]

Second, the law is designed to bring good benefits to God’s servants. Just as ancient emperors promised to care for their people, God demonstrates His benevolence by giving His law. Rather than a burden or curse, God gives the law for Israel’s well-being.

Third, the stipulations and sanctions of the law also test the loyalties of Israel to her divine Master or King. Blessings are promised to those who prove their love for God by obedience to the law (Deut 11:13). Flagrant violations of the law reveal hearts of rebellion and eventually bring severe covenant curses on the nation (Deut 27:14-26). [Remember Israel agreed to keep the covenant with God or pay the consequences]

 Throughout the Scriptures this basic covenantal framework shapes the imagery of law. The law never stands on its own; it always functions as an aspect of God’s covenant with his people.

The law is a major motif/theme of the Bible, where it is both positive and negative. Bearing the imprint of God’s moral character, the law is God’s blueprint for how God intends human life to be lived. At this level the law is “holy and just and good” (Rom 7:12 RSV). But because the human race cannot meet the covenant obligations of the law, it ultimately brings bondage, from which Christ’s atonement alone can free a person.

In the covenantal framework the law is never intended to be a way of earning good standing before God. It is a response to God’s grace, not a prerequisite to it. The proper motivation for obedience to the law is to show loyal love for God (Deut 6; Matt 22:37-40), not to earn the love of God.

Although the covenant itself has a positive meaning, the sinfulness of the human heart leads to a dominant theme of the inability of the human race to keep the covenant, giving the law a negative cast. Moses himself, after rehearsing the law before his death, gives a decidedly negative verdict on how the law will fare with God’s covenant people: “I know how rebellious and stubborn you are; behold, while I am yet alive with you, today you have been rebellious against the  Lord ; how much more after my death! … For I know that after my death you will surely act corruptly, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you” (Deut 31:27,29 RSV).

Gal 2:16-21   NLT

16 Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.” 17 But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not! 18 Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. 19 For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. 20 My old self has been crucified with Christ.It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.

Gal 3:1-4    NLT

3 Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. 2 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the Law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. 3 How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? 4 Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?

Gal 3:10-14   NLT

10 But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.” 11 So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” 12 This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.”

13 But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse [literally ‘became a curse for us’] for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14 Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.

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