The “law system” is fair, just, and right. The “grace system” is unfair, justifies, and declares righteous. Which one are you choosing? Do you really want God to be “fair” with you on judgment day? Once you understand what that means, I’ll bet you choose grace.
The Law System
For 64 verses (Romans 1:18-3:20) Paul has described our wickedness before God under the law system. The summary statement of this passage is basically found in 3:20: “…by works of law no flesh will be justified in [God’s] sight….” Why spend so much time telling us about it? Because we each one need to be convinced…and then re-convinced…again and again.
We are stubborn. All of us makes excuses. We try to find loopholes that will somehow “set us free” from the guilt imposed by the law of God. But there are no excuses. There aren’t any loopholes. Under the law we all stand guilty before a holy God. We are under condemnation and without hope of mercy. Why? God’s holiness demands that sin be dealt with through wrath and punishment. Truth is, we don’t really understand just how bad our situation is.
The Grace System
The law condemns us and leaves us doomed. But the law is good. How? By showing us just how badly we need an alternative solution. The law reveals our predicament and forces us to seek another way. That way is the way of grace.
Through Jesus Christ and His fulfillment of the requirements of the law, God offers grace. Grace is not fair. The law says: Keep the commandments, and therefore escape the penalty. Break the commandments, and therefore suffer the penalty. That’s fair. It’s just. And it is accurate.
The grace system is not fair. It says: Keep the commandments, but suffer the penalty. Break the commandments, but escape the penalty. That hardly sounds right and certainly not fair. In truth, the first half of the grace formula applies only to Jesus. He is the only one to have ever kept the commandments perfectly. It’s the rest of us that get to take advantage of the second half. That is, to be guilty of breaking the commandments but yet escape the penalty.
This episode reviews the first three and a half chapters of Romans while giving a brief preview of the next main section. We discuss the grace system in anticipation of Paul delivering the gospel – the good news – in Romans 3:21-5:21. It’s starting to get exciting!