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LAW VS. GRACE

BY

Ginny Larsen, Jan. 20, 2005

Joh 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

"As to man, the law and the ordinances were only bondage. They aimed at bridling the will without its being changed."--J.N. Darby

Counting All But Dung And Gaining Christ

Is the Christian under the law? Can we be under grace and under the law also? Are we free from the ceremonial law but still under the 10 commandments? How do we live a holy life?

Mat 5:17 Do not think that I came to annul the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to annul, but to fulfill. (If we say as Christians we are "under" part of the law - the 10 commandments - but not "under" the ceremonial law, then we are annulling part of the law. Jesus did not come to annul any part of it. He came to fulfill it. Either He fulfilled part of it and we fulfill the rest by being under it and keeping it perfectly, or He fulfilled all of it. Paul showed us how Christ fulfilled the whole law by paying its penalty in full, satisfying its righteous requirements, setting us free from it, and doing in our hearts what it could not do - Rom. 8 1- 4. Please read on.)

To be "under" any rule of life is to be obligated to fulfill it in its entirety...both in its demands and its penalty. So what is the believer's rule of life? Does grace mean we can sin freely? God forbid! We are under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Yet many still live under the O. T. principal of the law of sin and death. They live under the same error as the Galatians, grace plus law.

A quote from John Bunyan's writing, "The Doctrine of the Law and Grace Unfolded":

"To be under the law as it is a Covenant of Works, is to be bound, upon pain of eternal damnation, to fulfill, and that completely and continually, every particular point of the Ten Commandments, by doing them—Do this, and then thou shalt live; otherwise, "cursed is every one that continueth not in all," in every particular thing or "things which are written in the book for the law to do them" (Gal 3:10). That man that is under the first covenant stands thus, and only thus, as he is under that covenant, or law. Poor souls, through ignorance of the nature of that Covenant of Works, the law that they are under, they do not think their state to be half so bad as it is; when, alas! there is none in the world in such a sad condition again besides themselves; for, indeed, they do not understand these things. He that is under the law, as it is a Covenant of Works, is like the man that is bound by the law of his king, upon pain of banishment, or of being hanged, drawn, and quartered, not to transgress any of the commandments of the king; so here, they that are under the Covenant of Works, they are bound, upon pain of eternal banishment and condemnation, to keep within the compass of the law of the God of Heaven."

Mat 22:37 And Jesus said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." Deut. 6:5
Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39 And the second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Lev. 19:18
Mat 22:40 On these two commandments all the Law and the Prophets hang.

Act 13:38 Then let it be known to you, men, brothers, that through this One remission of sin is announced to you.
Act 13:39 And everyone believing in this One is justified from all things which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses.

Act 15:5 But some of those rose up from the sect of the Pharisees who had believed, saying, It is necessary to circumcise them and to command them to keep the Law of Moses.
Act 15:6 And the apostles and the elders were assembled to see about this matter.
Act 15:7 And much disputation having occurred, rising up Peter said to them: Men, brothers, you recognize that from ancient days, God chose among us that through my mouth the nations should hear the Word of the gospel, and to believe.
Act 15:8 And the heart-knowing God testified to them, giving them the Holy Spirit, even as also to us.
Act 15:9 And He made distinction in nothing between both us and them, having purified their hearts by faith.
Act 15:10 Now, then, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we had strength to bear?
Act 15:11 But through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we believe to be saved, according to which manner they also believed. (The question here was now that they are saved...should the gentiles be under the law of Moses? Many argue that we are saved by grace but must still be under the law of Moses. This was the question here, and it was answered that they do not have to keep the law of Moses.)

Rom 3:20 Because by works of Law not one of all flesh will be justified before Him, for through Law is full knowledge of sin.

Rom 3:21 But now a righteousness of God has been revealed apart from Law, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, (If this rightousness of God is apart from the law, can we do better by being under the law?)

Rom 3:27 Then where is the boasting? It was excluded. Through what Law? Of works? No, but through a Law of faith.

Rom 3:28 Then we conclude a man to be justified by faith without works of Law. (See LAW VS GRACE NOTES 1)

Rom 3:31 Then is the Law annulled through faith? Let it not be! But we establish Law. (SEE LAW VS. GRACE NOTES 2)

(Scofield: The sinner establishes the law in its right use and honour by confessing his guilt, and acknowledging that by it he is justly condemned. Christ, on the sinner's behalf, establishes the law by enduring its penalty, death.)

Rom 4:13 For the promise was not through law to Abraham, or to his seed, for him to be the heir of the world, but through a righteousness of faith.
Rom 4:14 For if those of law are heirs, faith has been made of no effect, and the promise has been annulled.
Rom 4:15 For the Law works out wrath; for where no law is, neither is transgression.
Rom 4:16 On account of this, it is of faith, that it be according to grace, for the promise to be certain to all the seed, not to that of the Law only, but also to that of the faith of Abraham, who is father of us all,

Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under Law, but under grace. -- Read this again carefully...no way to twist these words around to mean anything but what they clearly say..."NOT...under LAW....but...under GRACE". Note...does not say under law AND grace. Does not say under grace to keep the law...does not say anything but NOT UNDER LAW....BUT (distinct difference here)UNDER GRACE.

Romans 7 is obviously speaking of more than the ceremonial law: Read all of Romans 7 and 8:

Rom 7:1 Or are you ignorant, brothers; for I speak to those who know the Law; that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?
Rom 7:2 For the married woman was bound by law to the living husband. But if the husband is dead, she is set free from the law of her husband.
Rom 7:3 So then if, while her husband lives, she is married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress. But if the husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress by becoming another man's wife.
(If one claims to still be married to the law and Christ, are they not an adulterer?--Something to consider. We are married to one or the other. We have relationship with one or the other)
Rom 7:4 So, my brothers, you also have become dead to the law by the body of Christ so that you should be married to Another, even to Him raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit to God.
Rom 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sin worked in our members through the law to bring forth fruit to death.
Rom 7:6 But now we having been set free from the Law, having died to that in which we were held, so that we serve in newness of spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

Most Christians are still looking for some set of rules to live by, even using the New Testament as a set of rules or laws again to live by, never coming out of the bondage to the "law of sin and death" and learning to live in the "newness of the Spirit", that is, by the indwelling power and nature of the Spirit, which is by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. They suppose that without a "written code" of some sort, or living by the letter of the law, even their own Christian law, they cannot attain holiness. In fact, all their own fleshly efforts to live up to any law is nothing but filthy rags and never accepted by God. Only what is of faith will please Him. What's to restrain them from sin then? Or what is to define sin? Read on...

Rom 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Let it not be said! But I did not know sin except through the law. For also I did not know lust except the law said, You shall not lust. The purpose of the law was to expose sin. Again spoken of in Galatians 3 and 4.

Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (ESV)
This would not be possible if we were still under the law. If we were "under" the law we would be under all the law and its penalties, so that everytime we broke the law we would be condemned again...Jesus would have to continually die for us and be sacrificed just as the animal sacrifices were given in the Old Testament. Jesus was a one time for all sacrifice for our sin and made us dead to the law "in Him" so that we are free from its condemnation and its power. We now live according the the "law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus"...not the law of sin and death.

Rom 8:2 But the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
Rom 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; ("condemned it to lose its power over men" - J, F, & B - "that is, condemned to let go his hold of men, who, through the Cross, shall be emancipated into the liberty and power to be holy.") In other words Jesus deprived sin of it's power in us through the cross. If this is so we no longer need the law as our "rule of life" but we live by the Spirit indwelling us whereby His righteousness is fulfilled in us. Impossible to hold to both rules of life. One will defeat the other. God's true righteousness, which is far surperior to that of the scribes and pharisees, is now fulfilled in us because His Spirit lives in us and has made us in Him, alive unto God. We are a new creation with a new heart.

Rom 8:4 so that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (All who have His Spirit are according to the Spirit and not the flesh.)

This goes along with what Paul says in Galatians that if we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. It is no longer our trying to keep the law with the help of the Spirit, but it is a whole new rule of life...Christ Himself is our life. We are a new creation in Him. 2 Cor. 5:17 You cannot say we are "under the Law of Moses" but not under the ceremonial laws. We are either under the law and its penalties or not. If you are under a part of it but not another part then you have "annulled" part of the law...Jesus said that not one part of the law would be annulled, but that He would fulfill it. The law is not dead but in Christ we are dead to it. And through faith it is fulfilled in us by the indwelling Spirit of Life!

Gal 2:16 knowing that a man is not justified by works of the Law, but through faith in Jesus Christ; even we believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith in Christ, and not by works of the Law. For all flesh will not be justified by works of law. --By any works of law period! But by faith in Christ Himself to be our life and our righteousness.

Gal 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified in Christ, we also were found to be sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Let it not be said!

(Vincent Word Studies: Peter, by his Christian profession, had asserted that justification was by faith alone; and by his eating with Gentiles had declared that the Mosaic law was no longer binding upon him. He had thus, figuratively, destroyed or pulled down the Jewish law as a standard of Christian faith and conduct. By his subsequent refusal to eat with Gentiles he had retracted this declaration, had asserted that the Jewish law was still binding upon Christians, and had thus built again what he had pulled down. Building)

Gal 2:18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I confirm myself as a transgressor.

(Vincent Word Studies: In reasserting the validity of the law for justification, which he had denied by seeking justification by faith in Christ, he proves himself a transgressor in that denial, that pulling down.)

Ironside:
"If," says Paul, "while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners"--if we who have trusted in Jesus are still sinners seeking a way of salvation--"is therefore Christ the minister of sin?" Moses was the mediator of the law, and it was to be used by God to make sin become exceeding sinful. Is that all Christ is for? Is it simply that His glorious example is to show me how deep is my sin, how lost my condition, and then am I to save myself by my own efforts? Surely not. That would be but to make Christ a minister of sin, but Christ is a minister of righteousness to all who believe. I think verse 17, and possibly verse 18, concludes what Paul says to Peter. "If I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor." We do not have quotation marks in the ancient Greek text, so have no way of knowing exactly where Paul's words to Peter end, but probably he concluded his admonition to Peter with this word.

"For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God." What does he mean by that? He means that the law condemned me to death, but Christ took my place and became my Substitute. I died in Him. "I through the law died to the law, that I might live unto God." Now I belong to a new creation altogether. And oh, the wonder of that new creation! The old creation fell in its head, Adam, and the new one stands eternally in its Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. We are not trying to work for our salvation, we are saved through the work that He Himself accomplished We can look back to that cross upon which He hung, the bleeding Victim, in our stead, and we can say in faith, "I am crucified with Christ." It is as though my life had been taken, He took my place; "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live." As I was identified with Him in His death on the cross now I am linked with Him in resurrection life, for He has given me to be a partaker of His own glorious eternal life. "Nevertheless I live; yet not I." It is not the old I come back to life again, "but Christ liveth in me." He, the glorious One, is my real life, and that "life which I now live in the flesh," my experience down here as a Christian man in the body, "I live"--not by putting myself under rules and regulations and trying to keep the law of the Ten Commandments but--"by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." As I am occupied with Him, my life will be the kind of life which He approves...

... And so Paul concludes this section, "I do not set aside the grace of God" (or, I will not set it aside), "for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." But because righteousness could not be found through legality, through self-effort, Christ gave Himself in grace for needy sinners, and He is Himself the righteousness of all who put their trust in Him. -- H. A. Ironside

How many Christians today do this by trying to declare themselves under the law? It cannot be both. We are either "under" law or we are not. We are in Christ or under law.... not both. Christ died to the law, and we died with Him - Rom. 6.

Gal 2:19 For through the Law I died to the law, that I might live to God.

(Vincent Word Studies: For (γὰρ) Justifying the previous thought that the reerection of the law as a standard of Christian life and a means of justification is a condemnation of the faith which relies on Christ alone for righteousness. I, through the law, am dead to the law (ἐγὼ διὰ νόμου νόμῳ ἀπέθανον)

For am dead, render died. Faith in Christ created a complete and irreparable break with the law which is described as death to the law. Comp. Rom_7:4, Rom_7:6. The law itself was the instrument of this break, see next verse Ἑγὼ is emphatic. Paul appeals to his personal experience, his decided break with the law in contrast with Peter's vacillation.

Might live unto God (θεῷ ζήσω)

With death to the law a new principle of life entered. For the phrase, see Rom_6:10, Rom_6:11.)

Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ, and I live; yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me. And that life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith toward the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself on my behalf.

(Vincent Word Studies: I am crucified with Christ (Χριστῷ συνεσταύρωμαι) This compound verb is used by Paul only here and Rom_6:6. In the gospels, Mat_27:44; Mar_15:32; Joh_19:32. The statement explains how a believer dies to the law by means of the law itself. In the crucifixion of Christ as one accursed, the demand of the law was met (see Gal_3:13). Ethically, a believer is crucified with Christ (Rom_6:3-11; Phi_3:10; 1Co_15:31; 2Co_4:10), and thus the demand of the law is fulfilled in him likewise. Paul means that, “owing to his connection with the crucified, he was like him, legally impure, and was thus an outcast from the Jewish church.” He became dead to the law by the law's own act. Of course a Jew would have answered that Christ was justly crucified. He would have said: “If you broke with the law because of your fellowship with Christ, it proved that both he and you were transgressors.” But Paul is addressing Peter, who, in common with himself, believed on Christ (Gal_2:16).

I live; yet not I (ζῶ δὲ οὐκέτι ἐγώ)

The semicolon after live in A.V. and Rev. should be removed. Rend: and it is no longer I that live, but Christ, etc. The new life of Christ followed his crucifixion, Rom_6:9-11. He who is crucified with Christ repeats this experience. He rises with Christ and shares his resurrection-life. The old man is crucified with Christ, and Christ is in him as the principle of his new life, Romans 4-11.

I now live

Emphasis on νῦν now, since the beginning of my Christian life, with an implied contrast with the life in the flesh before he was crucified with Christ. Then, the I was the center and impulse of life. Now, it is no longer I, but Christ in me.( Our NEW RULE OF LIFE!!!!! AND OH SO LITTLE UNDERSTOOD!)

By the faith of the Son of God (ἐν πίστει τῇ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ)

Better, as Rev., in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God. Thus the defining and explicative force of the article τῆ after πίστει is brought out. In faith is better than by faith, although ἐν is sometimes used instrumentally. In corresponds better with ἐν σαρκὶ in the flesh. It exhibits faith as the element in which the new life is lived.)

Gal 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness is through law, then Christ died without cause. (Me: some say, yes, we are saved by grace but must walk according to the law...so then, they are trying to work out righteousness by law rather than by grace, yet Col. 2 says just as we received Christ, so we are to walk in Him... by faith. Hebrews says... The just shall live by faith. If we are trying to live by law we are depending again on our righteousness rather than His.)

(Vincent Word Studies: In vain (δωρεὰν) Groundlessly, without cause. See on 2Th_3:8.

... Paul says: “I do not invalidate the grace of God in the offering of Christ, as one does who seeks to reestablish the law as a means of justification; for if righteousness comes through the law, there was no occasion for Christ to die.”)

Gal 3:1 O foolish Galatians, who bewitched you not to obey the truth, to whom before your eyes Jesus Christ was written among you crucified?
Gal 3:2 This only I would learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law, or by hearing of faith?
Gal 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, do you now perfect yourself in the flesh? (me: so those who say, as the Galatians were, grace plus law, are denying the sufficiency of Christ and His cross and saying they must add to it).

Gal 3:5 Then He supplying the Spirit to you and working powerful works in you, is it by works of the law, or by hearing of faith?
Gal 3:6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.

Gal 3:10 For as many as are out of works of the Law, these are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the Book of the Law, to do them." (We cannot say we are under part of the law but not the whole law)
Gal 3:11 But that no one is justified by the Law in the sight of God is clear, for, "The just shall live by faith."
Gal 3:12 But the Law is not of faith; but, "The man who does these things shall live in them."
Gal 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone having been hanged on a tree");
Gal 3:14 so that the blessing of Abraham might be to the nations in Jesus Christ, and that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Rom. 8)

Purpose of the Law:

Gal 3:15 Brothers, I speak according to man, a covenant having been ratified, even among mankind, no one sets aside or adds to it.
Gal 3:16 And to Abraham and to his Seed the promises were spoken. It does not say, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, "And to your Seed," which is Christ.
Gal 3:17 And I say this, A covenant having been ratified by God in Christ, the Law (coming into being four hundred and thirty years after) does not annul the promise, so as to abolish it.
Gal 3:18 For if the inheritance is of Law, it is no more of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by way of promise.
Gal 3:19 Why then the Law? It was added because of transgressions, until the Seed should come to those to whom it had been promised, being ordained through angels in the Mediator's hand.
Gal 3:20 But the Mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
Gal 3:21 Is the Law then against the promises of God? Let it not be said! For if a law had been given which could have given life, indeed righteousness would have been out of Law.
Gal 3:22 But the Scripture shut up all under sin, so that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
Gal 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under Law, having been shut up to the faith about to be revealed.
Gal 3:24 So that the Law has become a trainer of us until Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Gal 3:25 But faith coming, we are no longer under a trainer.
Gal 3:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:27 For as many as were baptized into Christ, you put on Christ.
Gal 3:28 There cannot be Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is no male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Gal 4:1 But I say, Over so long a time the heir is an infant, he does not differ from a slave, though being lord of all;
Gal 4:2 but he is under guardians and housemasters until the term appointed before by the father.
Gal 4:3 Even so we, when we were infants, were in bondage under the elements of the world.
Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, coming into being out of a woman, having come under Law,
Gal 4:5 that He might redeem those under Law, so that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Gal 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Gal 4:7 So that you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, also an heir of God through Christ.
Gal 4:8 But then, indeed, not knowing God, you served as slaves to those not by nature being gods.
Gal 4:9 But now, knowing God, but rather are known by God, how do you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements to which you again desire to slave anew?

Gal 4:21 Tell me, those desiring to be under Law, do you not hear the Law?
Gal 4:22 For it is written: Abraham had two sons, the one out of the slave-woman, and one out of the free woman.
Gal 4:23 But, indeed, he out of the slave-woman has been born according to flesh, and he out of the free woman through the promise;
Gal 4:24 which things are being allegorized; for these are the two covenants, one indeed from Mount Sinai bringing forth to slavery, which is Hagar.
Gal 4:25 For Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to Jerusalem which now is, and is in slavery with her children.
Gal 4:26 But the Jerusalem from above is free, who is the mother of us all.
Gal 4:27 For it is written, "Rejoice, barren one not bearing; break forth and shout, you not travailing; for more are the children of the desolate than she having the husband."
Gal 4:28 But brothers, we, like Isaac, are children of promise.
Gal 4:29 But then even as he born according to flesh persecuted him born according to the Spirit, so it is also now.
Gal 4:30 But what does the Scripture say? "Cast out the slave-woman and her son; for in no way shall the son of the slave-woman inherit with the son of the free woman."
Gal 4:31 Then, brothers, we are not children of a slave-woman, but of the free woman.

What then is to keep us from sinning? How are we to live the Christian life? Does, not being "under law", mean that we live in sin? Why is it many still feel they need the "tutor"--the law to keep them from sinning--the fear of condemnation--rather than the power of the indwelling Christ Himself as our life and our righteousness? Why is it that we feel without law, we will sin? Because we know ourselves all too well! We know our sinful nature! Ah! Yes, but we must now know Christ, and the power of His salvation living in our hearts and being our righteousness. It is no longer "I", but "Christ in me".

From J, F, & B commentary:

Rom 6:14 - For Sin shall not have dominion over you — as the slaves of a tyrant lord.
for ye are not under the law, but under grace — The force of this glorious assurance can only be felt by observing the grounds on which it rests. To be “under the law” is, first, to be under its claim to entire obedience; and so, next under its curse for the breach of these. And as all power to obey can reach the sinner only through Grace, of which the law knows nothing, it follows that to be “under the law” is, finally, to be shut up under an inability to keep it, and consequently to be the helpless slave of sin. On the other hand, to be “under grace,” is to be under the glorious canopy and saving effects of that “grace which reigns through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (see on Rom_5:20, Rom_5:21). The curse of the law has been completely lifted from off them; they are made “the righteousness of God in Him”; and they are “alive unto God through Jesus Christ.” So that, as when they were “under the law,” Sin could not but have dominion over them, so now that they are “under grace,” Sin cannot but be subdued under them. If before, Sin resistlessly triumphed, Grace will now be more than conqueror.

John says those who belong to Christ "keep His commands". Note he does not say are "under the law". 1Jo 2:5 But whoever keeps His Word, truly in this one the love of God is perfected. By this we know that we are in Him. (His Word reveals the Gospel of the righteousness of faith...this we are to keep)

John describes the fruit of love, being what proves the life of faith, which Paul preached.

1Jo 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone who loves has been born of God, and knows God.
1Jo 4:8 The one who does not love has not known God. For God is love.

And here is the love of God that is now living in us described in 1 Cor. 13. Can anyone who walks in this love be living in sin of any kind?

1Co 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
1Co 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
1Co 13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. (all outward performance, but void of God's love)
1Co 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
1Co 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
1Co 13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 1Co 13:7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
1Co 13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

And what are the commandments John talks about?

1Jo 3:23 And this is His commandment, that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
1Jo 3:24 And he who keeps His commandment dwells in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He gave to us.

This is not given as the "rule of life" but the evidence of those who abide in Him and He in them. This will be the fruit of it and the way we can know who is truly His. Because only by faith can we receive God's righteousness and love - by believing in Him and His finished work on the cross and receiving His Spirit of love.

1Jo 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome.
1Jo 5:4 For everything that has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith.
1Jo 5:5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
1Jo 5:11 And this is the record, that God has given to us everlasting life, and this life is in His Son. 1Jo 5:12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
1Jo 5:13 I have written these things to you who believe on the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have everlasting life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.

Romans 6 describes living in sin as impossible if our union is with Christ in his death to the world and to sin. We "died with Him and rose with Him to newness of life". We are not to continually strive to "die to self"...but to "reckon, or count ourselves dead to sin"... Done deal! We walk in it "by faith" in the power of the Spirit in us to be our righteousness. This is the stumbling block... it is of faith not of ourselves. This is letting go of all self-righteousness and clinging to His by faith and counting on Him to perform it in us and conquer sin. This is why it is so difficult, because it means we give up control and trust God. Oh so simple...yet so difficult! It means trusting Him rather than our flesh. All error in the church stems from the straying from complete trust in the finished work of Christ and in some way puts man in control by his own works.

Rom 6:8 But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
Rom 6:9 knowing that when Christ was raised from the dead, He dies no more; death no longer has dominion over Him.
Rom 6:10 For in that He died, He died to sin once; but in that He lives, He lives to God.
Rom 6:11 Likewise count yourselves also to be truly dead to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (For many Christians their rule of life is trying to die to self, asking the Lord's help to keep the law, falling, being under condemnation, asking forgiveness, and the cycle goes on and on and there is no true victory over the flesh, even though they may give an outward performance of it...this much the pharisees could do, but Jesus showed them their hearts. We will continually see our flesh for what it is and that it can not be changed. That is when we come to the end of it - our Romans 7 experience - and see our deliverance in Rom. 8, that it is through the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus!)

Gal 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty with which Christ has made us free, and do not again be held with the yoke of bondage. (the yoke of the law....Christ said His yoke is easy...His burden light)
Gal 5:2 Behold, I, Paul, say to you that if you are circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. (that is the same for any other way we put ourselves back under the law as a rule of life rather than Christ)
Gal 5:3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do all the Law, (cannot pick and choose what part of the law we are to keep and what to do away with. We are under law or under grace.)
Gal 5:4 you who are justified by Law are deprived of all effect from Christ; you fell from grace. (Pretty serious! Once again either law or grace...never both!)
Gal 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness out of faith. (This is so different than so many Chrstians who believe by faith they keep the law... By faith we live in Christ and His righteousness reigns in us and keeps us. He is now our surety...the surety of a new covenant.)
Gal 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any strength, but faith working through love. (Another big thing that is missing in those who are self-righteous through living under a bondage of law keeping and legalism...there is no love. They are not capable of it. Love is of God and only works through us by faith. They are known by their looking down on everyone else, not by their love of others. Remember, love is the mark of those living by the Spirit through faith. Self-righteousness produces judgmentalism and lack of love.)

Gal 5:7 You were running well. Who hindered you that you do not obey the truth?
Gal 5:8 This persuasion is not from Him who calls you.
Gal 5:9 A little leaven leavens all the lump. (Even a little leaven of law mentality will destroy grace in our lives and it's power in our lives.)
Gal 5:10 I have confidence in you in the Lord, that you will think nothing else, but that he troubling you shall bear the judgment, whoever he may be.
Gal 5:11 And I, brothers, if I yet proclaim circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the offense of the Cross has ceased.
Gal 5:12 I wish that those causing you to doubt will cut themselves off.
Gal 5:13 For, brothers, you were called to liberty. Only do not use the liberty for an opening to the flesh, but by love serve one another. (Again...love is the fulfillment of the law...the love of God 1 Cor. 13... only of God...only fulfilled by faith in that God of love indwelling us and filling us and being the rule of our life.)
Gal 5:14 For all the Law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (I would ask those who think they keep the law have they fulfilled this command?)
Gal 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another.
Gal 5:16 I say, then, Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. (OUR RULE OF LIFE!!!!!)
Gal 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. And these are contrary to one another; lest whatever you may will, these things you do.
Gal 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. (I don't know how much more clear it can get!!)
Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are clearly revealed, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lustfulness,
Gal 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, fightings, jealousies, angers, rivalries, divisions, heresies,
Gal 5:21 envyings, murders, drunkennesses, revelings, and things like these; of which I tell you before, as I also said before, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (This is describing one who is unregenerated by the Holy Spirit. No Christian that is born again of the Spirit will live like this because as John says, he has the seed of the Holy One in him...he cannot sin. We are new creations in Christ. If one is living in these fleshly sins he needs to be born again, not told to keep the law! The flesh can never be reformed. That's why Jesus crucified it!)
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 meekness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Let me repeat...AGAINST SUCH THERE IS NO LAW. If we live by the Spirit...having the Holy Spirit indwelling us, then this is the new nature that He has given us. We do not try to produce the fruit of the Spirit...that would be trying again to live under a rule of law or by our flesh...but we live by faith in the Spirit and His fruit fills our life. Only by faith...not by our works can the fruit of the Spirit be present in our lives. If it is by works only our fruit will show...not that of the Holy Spirit.)

Gal 5:24 But those belonging to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. (Notice past tense - we live by faith in our position that Christ has put us in by faith - Rom. 6 and Eph. 1 and 2 describe well this position, that we are crucified with Christ and risen with Him.)
Gal 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Let us walk in the Spirit... not in the law. He does not say, "If we live in the Spirit let us also walk under the law. This does not mean lawlessness... as is described above...but law fulfilled in us by faith in His righteousness and our position in Him. So many are afraid if they give up the law as a rule of life they will have nothing to restrain them from lawlessness. (Law of sin and death, Rom. 7...old taskmaster) Those who have the Spirit however will have His righteousness indwelling them. It is not a matter of trying to keep the law or being under it's penalties anymore or curse. It is a matter of living in the Spirit by faith. This, then, is what the church needs to learn - to live in the Spirit by faith in the finished work of Christ - in Christ Himself to be our life. As we trust in the working of His cross in our life we surrender ourselves to it in faith to have its way in our flesh, and yield ourselves to His righteousness. Until we are completely free from law, we really are not free to truly live in His love and by His love, and unto Him in love.

Gal 6:14 But may it never be for me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.
Gal 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision has any strength, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

A thorough study of Hebrews would show also that Jesus supercedes the law and the prophets. He is the fulfillment and our life is by faith. Warnings were given to those who would go back under the law that Christ's sacrifice would no longer do them any good if they did. Also that His once and for all sacrifice satisfied the righteous requirement of the law once and for all. We live by faith in Him. He is the fulfillment of the Sabbath and we rest in Him from our own works... Heb. 4. It is from that rest of faith alone that we are able to do any true work of obedience for God. Our own works are wood, hay, and stubble. 1 Cor. 3:12,13. We do not do our works, no matter how righteous, by asking the Holy Spirit to help us, since we are dead to our works. We depend on His finished work and walk in His Spirit, trusting Him to work through us. We see in Hebrews that many were unable to enter in because of unbelief. We are also in danger of not entering into the rest of faith because of unbelief in the finished work of Christ and trusting in our own righteousness which was the reason the Jews were not able to enter in.

All of the epistles of Paul should be studied carefully as they contain the rule of our Christian life. Paul was the apostle of grace to the church. He taught us in every epistle what our life of faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ is all about. He continually emphasized that we are no longer under the law, but under grace and what that grace produced in our life. He also warned that anything else was another gospel.

Phi 3:4 though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other thinks that he has reason to trust in the flesh, I more.
Phi 3:5 I was circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews. As regards the Law, I was a Pharisee;
Phi 3:6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; regarding the righteousness in the Law, blameless.
Phi 3:7 But whatever things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Phi 3:8 But no, rather, I also count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them to be dung, so that I may win Christ
Phi 3:9 and be found in Him; not having my own righteousness, which is of the Law, but through the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God by faith,
Phi 3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death;
Phi 3:11 if by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead.

In summary then, those who try to keep the law, and live by law, actually degrade the law and its perfect standard of righteousness, lowering it to their best performance, thinking God overlooks their sin. Jesus said your righteousness must surpass that of the best law-keepers of the day--the pharisees.

Mat 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.(are you fulfilling it? Have you kept every jot or tittle?)
Mat 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

That righteousness is by faith in Christ Himself, and His completed fulfillment at the cross, nothing else. May the Lord convict of the truth of His Word which gives life to our hearts and give us genuine faith in His finished work on the cross! God bless!

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Some excellent audios on The Old and New Covenant living, and grace and what it means to live by grace by Bob Hoekstra -- You'll need to scroll down to get to them-- Also an excellent daily devotional by Bob Hoekstra:

January 8

Hearing the Law

Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? (Gal_4:21)

When people do not really hear what the law of God is saying, they may still desire to be under the law. Those who are lost and dying in the world often underestimate the message of the law. They may imagine that it is only calling them to attend religious services or to join a religious organization. Thus, in missing the message of the law, they choose to remain under it, trusting in their own best behavior to somehow enable them to pass any final judgment concerning heaven or hell. This is a matter of "not hearing the law."

Many who are redeemed, having found new life through faith in Christ, also want to remain under the law concerning spiritual growth and service. This is another case of "not hearing the law." Any believer who expects to make progress in a life pleasing to the Lord on the basis of one's own best efforts does not really hear what the law reveals as God's will for lives.

The law of God is not suggesting that we "be better;" it is demanding that we "be holy," as holy as God. The law is not implying that we "be nicer;" it is requiring that we "be loving," as loving as Christ. The law is not proposing that we "try harder;" it is insisting that we "be perfect," as perfect as our Father in heaven. The law of God is not asking us to improve ourselves or to be better than the next person. Many times this inaccurate statement is heard: "Just do the best that you can; what more could God require?" Well, God is demanding far beyond our human best. His law is demanding that lives "be holy," "be loving," and "be perfect." Moreover, He Himself is the standard of this holiness, love, and perfection.

Dear Lord God, You are holy and loving and perfect. In and of myself, I am none of these. I stand before You without any human assets that could measure up to these heavenly realities that You alone possess. I thank You for Your mercy. I praise You for Your grace. I humbly bow beforeYou, asking that You work more and more of Your holiness in and through my life.With no other hope than You, I ask that more and more of Your love might fill my life. Admitting my complete inadequacy, I look to You to be transforming me more and more into Your perfect image, through Christ I pray, Amen.