Summary: Ending the 10 Commandment Series we explore the relationship between law and grace.
Law & Grace
CCCAG August 13th, 2017
Scripture- Romans 7:14-24
About 14 years ago, I was driving to work when I got a phone call that they had a critical care transport coming out of a local hospital that they needed me to handle as I was the only ventilator trained medic that was available, and I should “hurry up”.
I was going down a county hwy at the time, and started to exceed the speed limit to hurry up and get to the hospital in question. As I passed a line of trees, I saw a flash of a car parked behind the trees and immediately knew it was a Kenosha County Sherriff deputy with a radar gun.
Sure enough, I saw him pull out and flashing blue lights filled my rearview mirror. I figured, I’m in uniform, and on my way to a critical call so he’ll give me pass. The deputy that came to the window looked like he was about 14 years old, and had the training badge on his chest. I told him the situation and why I was driving faster than normal. He nodded and went back to the cruiser to run my information.
A few minutes later he came back and handed me a speeding ticket. I told him, “I’m a paramedic, responding to a call, and you are giving me a ticket?” The deputy said, “You are in your personal vehicle, with no light or siren, and I checked and it’s not registered as a private emergency vehicle, so you are not allowed to act as an emergency vehicle. That is what the law says. Have a nice day sir”
I looked back to his training officer- Jim, who I had known for years and who was standing behind him and threw my hands up like, “Really?”.
Jim said, “Sorry Johnny, but he is right and I can’t cancel a ticket he wrote. He is very black and white, and so is the law in this circumstance. I’d take it up with the DA and get it reduced to something else.”
Was the training deputy right in what he did according to the law?
Absolutely, I deserved a ticket for speeding.
Did I want the law in this circumstance?
No, I wanted this nebulous idea of “professional courtesy.”
In our context, we would call it grace.
Over the last several weeks we have focused on God’s law as found in the 10 Commandments. Today we are going to balance those scales a bit by talking about the law’s relationship with grace.
During the time of the early church, the greatest authority of Old Testament Law was the Apostle Paul. Paul studied under the greatest bible teacher of his time- a rabbi named Gamaliel. Gamaliel’s Torah school was like wrapping Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Oxford all into one academy. If you graduated from his school, you had your career ticket written and were guaranteed a seat on the ruling council. In fact, history records that Paul was one of the youngest men ever to be appointed to the Sanhedrin- which in his time was the congress and Supreme Court all rolled up into one body.
Paul was a fanatic when it came to the law. Paul, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, wrote to the church at Philippi that when it came to the legalistic following of the law he was faultless.
Imagine that- all 613 regulations broken up into 35 different subjects found in the Mosaic and Levitical law- Paul executed them perfectly.
But you know what he said about his following the law so perfectly?
He counted all of that as refuse, or the literal translation would be,
“None of what I did amounted to a pile of manure”
Because he discovered the better way.
Today we are going to read about the law versus grace, and we will start off in Romans chapter 7, starting in verse 14 (ESV) (Slowly)
Roman 7:(14) For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?