There is a BIG DIFFERENCE between the Law of Moses and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Law of Moses commanded men to obey the Ten Commandments and then condemned them for NOT obeying them. In the gospel of Jesus Christ God offers men the gift of eternal life unconditionally and the sinner who receives this gift is NOT condemned, but justified freely by God’s grace.

In Romans 3:19-20 we read, “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are UNDER THE LAW, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (NKJV). The nation of Israel had been “under the law” for 1500 years and in all that time not one soul was able to meet the Law’s demands. In other words, everyone failed to keep the Law. We also learn in this passage that their failure to keep the Law meant the world was “guilty before God,” for in testing Israel, God was actually proving that the whole world is made up of guilty sinners. Thus the Law was never given to make men righteous, but to expose to them their sin.

Now let’s read verses 21-22, “But now the righteousness of God APART FROM THE LAW is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.” We had just read in verse 20, “therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight.” Now we read of “the righteousness of God apart from the law,” for in the gospel of Jesus Christ, God is able to justify guilty sinners based on the work that His Son did on the cross of Calvary. On the cross God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2nd Corinthians 5:21). Again, the law demanded perfect obedience from sinful men and then condemned them for their disobedience. In the gospel we see that God judged His Son for our sins so that we could be made righteous by simply believing in Jesus Christ. I trust you can now see how BIG the difference is between the Law of Moses and the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

After one is saved there is still a tendency to try to “follow the Law of Moses,” not to be justified before God, but as a rule of life. The Apostle Paul himself was of this mind, for after his conversion he truly thought that he could please God and bear fruit for Him by keeping the Law. Paul writes of his experience in Romans chapter 7 and we see that he continually failed to keep the Law and was brought into bondage to sin. At one point he confessed, “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, SOLD UNDER SIN” (verse 14). The rest of the chapter is quite depressing and ends on this note, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” As long as Paul tried to “follow the law of Moses” he ended up serving “the law of sin.”

In Romans 8:2 Paul made a grand discovery, “For THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Paul learned that instead of being focused on “the law of Moses,” he should be focused on “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” The “law of Moses” drags one into sin, because we are trying to live a holy life in our own strength. But the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” sets the believer free from sin because the Holy Spirit gives us the power for holy living. How does He do this? By setting our heart’s affections on Christ Jesus! As He occupies our mind and heart with the love and grace of the Lord Jesus, we experience true joy, peace and victory over sin. It is then that we will prove the truth of Romans 6:14, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Are you “under law” or “under grace?” (262.5) (DO)