Monthly Archives: April 2018
THE PLACE OF LAW AND GRACE
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
Oil and water do not mix. But, they would mix before law and grace would do so. A question was posed about Exodus 23:3, 6, “Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause,” and “Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause.” Does this mean that poor people should be exempt from any law based on their socio-economic status? Following is my reply.
It is my studied opinion that Israel is here commanded to be “straight shooters” under the terms of the Mosaic Law. That is, the poor man was not to be excused simply because he was poor, and the judgment against him was definitely not to be skewed in his disfavor. Now consider contextual meaning as well.
These verses are the initiation of Law to Israel, the covenant people of God. It was vitally important that they learn (and we as well from them) the difference between sin and righteousness, and just how completely righteous God is and how completely sinful man is. This law then became our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, and to His grace, Paul argues in Galatians 3:24-25.
However, the law and the prophets were until John (the Baptist) Luke 16:16. Jesus said they must be fulfilled, Luke 24:44, and He did so according to Matthew 5:18; Col. 2:14-17. The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came to us by Christ Jesus, John 1:17. Grace does not mean that the law was not righteous, quite the contrary. Covenants may change, but principles do not.
Law is Law! It is commandment plus penalty. If either is absent, the law is not in play. It cannot be injected with anything else and still be law. But, it is recognized that some cases tried by the medium of courts of law may either merit or demand mercy. But, when mercy is injected, it negates law and creates grace. Grace is what Jesus is all about. He as The God-man met each and every demand of Law. He fulfilled it to the very jot and tittle, and offers to us not the punishment of law which we deserve, (and by which God’s standard will always remain) but, His own righteousness by grace through faith.
Moreover, just as the law cannot be injected with anything else and remain law, so it is with grace. It is ludicrous to seek to maintain grace through law. This is the trouble the churches of Galatia got into, and which Paul addressed in his epistle by their name. After all, the law was not given to righteous people, but for sinners. By it, they could understand their lost condition, and their inability to do anything about it except through grace.
That mercy and grace should rule whenever possible among the affairs of men is underscored repeatedly in Jesus’ teachings, especially in Matthew 18:21-3
APRIL 16 – Who Do You Listen To?
2Chronicles 18:7 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil: the same is Micaiah the son of Imla. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.
8 And the king of Israel called for one of his officers, and said, Fetch quickly Micaiah the son of Imla.
It is very important who we listen to. Not all people are scrupulously honest. This is the case here with Ahab and Jehoshaphat. The first verse reveals that Jehoshaphat joined Ahab with affinity. Affinity means with a feeling of kinship. The question comes to mind, what kinship did they share? The previous chapter says “And the Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim:” We know that the Lord was not with Ahab. Therefore their kinship could only be that both were Kings. Jehoshaphat was king of Judah and Ahab King of Israel.
Here is a certainty, kinship should lie in a heavenly manner. We are not to make leagues based on worldly similarities. We are called a peculiar people based on the God we worship. There are times that a prominent religious person or a personable religious person comes into contact with us and seems to be very right and very religious. Some are religious and do not have all the truth. They will say what a person wants to hear to curry favor with people.
Ahab had this problem. Ahab assembled 400 prophets and asked the question, “shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle. The prophets desired to tell the King what the King wanted to hear. Sure, go, God will deliver it into your hands. Jehoshaphat asked about a prophet of the Lord. Ahab said, “I hate him, he never prophesies good unto me.” Ahab did not want to hear the truth. Tell me good and tell me to go.
This is what we need to be very careful about today. Tell me to pray the sinners’ prayer and I will be okay. This sometimes is done without the conviction of the Holy Spirit. There is no call to confession and repentance. I have seen seminary students walk up to children after Sunday School and ask the question, “Do you love Jesus.” Every child will answer yes. Then the seminary student declares that child was saved.
There are those that choose a Church by what type of message is preached. For some, it is a health and wealth message. For others it is a message on how to get along in this world and sin is never mentioned. Then there are those that tell you how good you are. We are missing the message that condemns sin because there are those that do not want their hobbies and other activities preached about. They don’t want to hear of a separated live. They are against the commitment to serve the Lord and Him only. Some have been transformed but have decided not to conform. How sad that the Lord is not honored by our life. The only honor the Lord receives from some is the honor of lips that are living far away from the life of honor.
Should we dishonor God by our lives and pursuits? Let us do more than give Him lip honor.
APRIL 15 – Weakened Hands
Ezra 4:4 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building,
5 And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
How often do we allow the world to weaken our hands when it comes to the work of the Lord. There are so many things that can be used to slow the work of the Lord and delay what we should be doing. Friends, family, and even enemies can weaken the will of man. The work is then slowed or stopped completely.
This plan has never changed. Satan will use what is at hand to deter the work of the Lord. He will use conflict. This conflict can be a Church member that stands in the way. There are some phrases that are used. “We have never done it that way before.” Maybe the term, “that is too expensive.” How about, “that way has never produced results.” Most pastors have run up against these excuses and some Church members have heard them and a few have used these excuses to weaken the hands that are involved in the Lord’s work.
Satan will use family and friends to disrupt the work of the Lord. If family and friends are not as committed to the Lord’s work as you are, they can seriously weaken the hands. There are emergencies that come up that can keep you away from the service of the Lord. A chore that can be used to keep you away from a worship service or dealing with the lost. Loved ones can easily divert us from the work for the Lord by different demands made on our time.
The enemy, the stranger, and those that have worldly pursuits can weaken the hands. They can stand against the work of the Lord. There is a constant attempt to limit and eliminate the possibility to share the gospel in public areas. The ridicule of the world is often intimidating to God’s people. The World will attack any effort. The world will give every reason for not serving the Lord. They will never give up.
Some of our churches are not growing because they have given up. They have been discouraged. Some have been charter members that have worked for years and are now tired. We must never give up. We need to encourage each other. Let us trust in the process and the method the Lord has given us. We must never give up. The Lord will strengthen us.
APRIL 14 – Pastors of the World
2Chronicles 13:10 But as for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken him; and the priests, which minister unto the LORD, are the sons of Aaron, and the Levites wait upon their business:
Here is a conflict between Judah and Israel. This conflict is between the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom. This conflict is between paganism and the true worship of God. This conflict is between worshiping God in the way He desires or worshiping God the way we desire. This represents our present-day conflict. Continually there are true Churches that wander off into will worship and keep moving farther and farther away from the true worship of God.
Notice how this verse lays everything out. “The Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken Him.” Numbers 26:61 – “And Nadab and Abihu died when they offered strange fire before the Lord.” They only changed one little item. With all the laws and commandments that were given, who would have thought that the source of the fire would make any difference? What difference does it make that the Ark was carried on a cart? Yet a man died because of it. Messing with the worship of God is serious business. Here are three men that made a life and death decision. Sadly, their life was required of them because of their decision.
We talk about ways, means, and methods. Nadab and Abihu had a different method. Carrying the Ark in a cart was a different method. What harm could come with this new method? I personally believe that God’s knows how he wants to be worshiped. I also believe that God knows how He wants to go to the lost. I also God blesses His way and Satan blesses his way.
We are not to be pastors of the world nor are we called to pastor the world. We are called to pastor the flock that has been called out of the world. We are called to win them and not woo them. We are called to baptize them and teach them. I believe in driving them deep into the Rock. There have been times that I have called a Church that a missionary had just left. I wanted to talk to them about the empty pulpit. As I questioned them, I asked the group of men on the other end if they could describe to me what a Biblical Church was. They did not know what I was talking about. Teach, teach, teach all things. It is so needed. Win the lost and TEACH.
APRIL 12 – Whom Shall I Send
Isaiah 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
The Lord calls men to serve him to speak to a wicked and adulterous people. Isaiah heard the voice of God. God apparently was speaking to himself. Notice “I” is singular and then “us” which is more than one. Isaiah said that he heard. How many hear the call of God to service and never answer the call? There are many excuses for not serving. None are acceptable to God.
We see that Isaiah knew exactly what he was in the eyes of a righteous and holy God. His declaration, “Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips.” He recognized his wickedness and unworthiness to serve. There are none that are worthy to serve God. We find that God will equip those that He calls. The Seraphim with the coal cleansed and prepared Isaiah for service. God cleanses and prepares those that He calls to step out in faith to the service that He has prepared that man to do.
Notice the terms,”go for us.” The idea is to go. Sounds like the Great Commission. “God to all the world and preach the gospel.” Those that are called are not called to settle in a place and do nothing. They are called to go. Some have ensconced themselves so firmly in their community that their response is, “I will go anywhere within fifty miles of my home. Isaiah’s response was,”Here am I; send me. Notice the wording here. “Send me.” No limitations are put upon God. The implication is, I will go where you send me. We are not called to sit with folded hands Sunday after Sunday listening to the message of the pastor. We are called to go and “tell this people, Hear ye indeed but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.”
We are called to set aside family, occupation, and familiar things and go.
How about you? Will you go where the Lord sends you?
APRIL 11 – Man’s Inventions
Ecclesiastes 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.
Man was created. He was not birthed in the beginning and he did not evolve. Man was created in innocence. He had not committed sin and did not know sin. He was upright in stature and practice of living. It is mans own invention that brought sin into this world. Man is responsible for his own failings because he trusted himself when confronted with the sin of disobeying God. We are the same today. We are a rebellious and disobedient people ready to turn away from the path God has given us and chose a path of sure destruction.
What are our inventions? A way of salvation that is not God’s way. It is the way of mans own thoughts and imaginations. Never forget that salvation is by grace through faith plus nothing that man can do. Baptism is a pictorial ordinance that shows the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and identifies us with Christ. It has no part of salvation but does show obedience. Man has devised a preferred baptism that is convenient and does not show anything related to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Man has invented a Lord’s Supper that knows not the design nor the purpose of this ordinance. There are some “so-called churches” today that have so marred the Bible doctrines that they can no longer be recognized as Bible doctrine.
Man’s inventions have led us so far away from the Word of God that only lip-service is rendered. Man has even invented new ways of “persuading converts” through entertainment and persuasion. They now are making converts that are condemned to the abyss of hell because it is lip service to salvation because of persuasion. The Holy Spirit is not involved but the salesmanship and entertainment that is bringing into contact with religion, yet they have never been convicted and repented.
God’s way has always been better.