You are certainly justified in using the words “Law VERSUS Grace,” for the two are practically “polar opposites.” I trust that will be seen as we explore what Scripture has to say about them. Let’s begin by looking at a familiar passage in John 1:16-17, “For of His fullness we have all received, and GRACE UPON GRACE. For THE LAW was given through Moses; GRACE and truth were realized through Jesus Christ” (NASB). The apostle John is most definitely drawing a contrast between “the Law” (the Ten Commandments which were given to Moses on Mount Sinai) and “Grace” (which was manifested through Jesus Christ) and I hope to highlight FOUR of the main differences between the two.

1) The LAW demanded a perfect life of obedience to God’s commandments in order to be righteous before God and cursed those who were disobedient.  The Apostle Paul wrote, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the 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’” (Galatians 3:10…NKJV). GRACE provided a Savior to take the curse for us and to make men righteous by simple faith in Jesus Christ. “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’)”….But now the righteousness of God APART FROM THE LAW is revealed…even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ” (Galatians 3:13 and Romans 3:21-22).

2) The LAW revealed sin and condemned the sinner to death. “Therefore by the deeds of the LAW no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the LAW is the KNOWLEDGE OF SIN…the wages of SIN is DEATH” (Romans 3:20 and 6:23). GRACE put away sin and gives the believing sinner eternal life. “He (Jesus Christ) has appeared to PUT AWAY SIN by the sacrifice of Himself…the GIFT of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Hebrews 9:26 and Romans 6:23).

3) The LAW can’t free one from the power of sin (the “sinful nature”), but GRACE (through Christ’s death and the indwelling Holy Spirit) gives us freedom from sin.  “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For WHAT THE LAW COULD NOT DO, weak as it was through the flesh, GOD DID: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:2-4…NASB).

4) The LAW stirs up the passions of sin in us, but GRACE teaches us to deny worldly lusts and to live holy lives. “But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, PRODUCED IN ME ALL MANNER OF EVIL DESIRE…For the GRACE of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, TEACHING US that, DENYING UNGODLINESS AND WORLDLY LUSTS, we should LIVE SOBERLY, RIGHTEOUSLY, and GODLY in the present age” (Romans 7:8 and Titus 2:11-12).

These are just 4 examples of the contrast between LAW and GRACE. We can surely praise God for using the LAW to show us our sinful condition and our need for a Savior, and we can praise Him even more for His GRACE which provided a Savior in Jesus Christ, a Savior from the penalty of sin and from the power of sin. GRACE has actually provided more than this, for through GRACE God has also “blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” No wonder it has been said that the letters in the word GRACE stand for: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense!  (410.1)  (DO)