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The Dawn of Grace

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
June 23, 2021 8:00 am

The Dawn of Grace

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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June 23, 2021 8:00 am

Does grace coexist with the law? Clearly, the Old Testament is not graceless, and the New Testament is not lawless. Dr. Boice lays out the characteristics of the reign of the law versus the reign of grace, which came by Jesus Christ.


Does grace coexist with the law. Clearly the Old Testament is not graceless in the New Testament is not lawless coming up on the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce lays out the characteristics of the reign of the law versus the reign of grace in Jesus Christ to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. The Old Testament law was burdensome and onerous to the first Christians. Grace must've brought tremendous freedom.

We think you'll find that as Dr. Boyce teaches now. The same is true for us today is a general tendency among dispensational us to emphasize differences regarding the Old Testament and the new test about the letters are corresponding tendency among reformed theologians to minimize the differences between the Old Testament and the New Testament for even to my one area. However, in which even the most rigorous reformed theologians have to admit there is a difference in the tween the emphasis on the Old Testament upon law and the emphasis of the New Testament upon grace. Why do they acknowledge it. They have to know I'm enough of a reformed theologian, not overemphasize the differences whenever were talking about the Old Testament and its emphasis upon law, we never want to find ourselves saying that somehow grace is absent from the Old Testament. Quite the contrary.

Grace is the only hope of salvation on the Old Testament as well as the new and therefore when we look into the teaching of the Old Testament clearly.

Grace is always to be found where we began, we began the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden. Even though the word race wasn't used in that context is quite evident God show grace of this so most surprising manner instead of immediately condemning Adam and Eve – still less eternal death. He promised to renumeration, and they were saved because they believe God's word and look forward to that Redeemer. Now that's the hope of the Old Testament saints. Salvation by the grace of God. When Paul comes to write about the faith of the Old Testament believers in Romans. He points out that they were saved exactly the way we are. That is by faith in the Redeemer was to come in their case they were looking to the future. One would not yet come, but would, in our case we look back the essence of that belief is exactly the same in both cases of the Old Testament certainly does grace and in the same way when we come to the New Testament. The New Testament certainly does not abandon law, I just mentioned, the apostle Paul and the six chapter that same book of Romans. After he's teaching about salvation by grace through faith, he says, do we not apply the law by this faith. Many answers saying that such a thing is unthinkable course we can't do that he says no. Rather, we upload the law little later on in his book he says that the law is apparently an commandment is holy and righteous in doing so we mustn't overstate the differences yet there is a difference Bible teaches that explicitly our text is an example. John 117. The law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ our text says there is one and that is important also to understanding grace.

One way of looking at that is to contrast the lexical data concerning rights of the Old Testament and the new, here's an interesting fact for you.

There are only eight uses the word grace in the Old Testament, Ann Arbor international version, but there are 128 uses of the word in the New Testament, and much more. They occur in key passages and multiple usage. The fifth chapter of Romans.

For example, the word is used seven times just about one chapter of the chapters like that. Ephesians 2 emphasizes grace and John Wotton are chapter this study doesn't as well striking of all, perhaps, of the doxologies know that many of the New Testament books have doxologies in the and sometimes interspersed along the way or 30 of them all use the word grace right doxologies like this. Grace and peace to you from God our father and from the Lord Jesus Christ is one 700 grace, mercy and peace from God the father in Christ Jesus our Lord.

First Timothy one to the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Romans 1620, or grace be with you. Second Timothy 422 may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Second Corinthians 1313 or the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, amen.

Philippians 4 verse 23. Grace again and again. Obviously it's a strong emphasis on that's not the whole picture. Of course there are other words that are used for the idea of grace in the Old Testament the word gracious. For example, I found more often than the word grace. Grace is found eight times word gracious is found 39×1 key versus Exodus 34, six the Lord, the Lord, the compassionate, gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin, those words repeated again and again in the Old Testament find the same words more or less repeated in Nehemiah 917 Psalms 80 651-038-1458 Joel 213 and Jonah 42, but even these texts seems to me don't quite add up with a strong emphasis upon grace we find in the New Testament as the result bursting forth of rice in the coming of Jesus Christ are going to have the word favor in the Old Testament, the favoring of our God be upon us.

That's a way of talking about grace that occurs more often 98 times, but sometimes its use only of human favor in the linkage of the same word for the favoring of man. The favor of God somewhat limits the force of the word was used of God so John was not just making something up. He really was picking up on something significant when he sent the grace and truth came with Jesus Christ. Now that's only one verse passage reads this way, we have seen his glory is talking about Jesus, the glory of the one and only son came from the father full of grace and truth in the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. What John is teaching is a grace came filling with Jesus Christ is known before came in a new way in him, particularly in that he established gracious means of God dealing with us by means of his death for seven by his resurrection.

Now that's the context we want to look at the 15th chapter of acts and said interesting comment that indicates something of how forceful this idea must've been for the early Christians. Almost all of whom were Jews. You know, the book of action of the 15th chapter of acts is the account of the Council in Jerusalem that first great Council of the Christian church and issuing the Council was whether the Gentiles were becoming Christians had to adopt all of the particulars of the law of Moses in order to be saved. Law of Moses prescribed circumcision for Jewish people prescribe certain rites and ceremonies and feast days.

The apostle Paul and the other missionaries to the Gentiles and on about the Greco-Roman world, establishing largely Gentile churches as they preach many Gentiles were believing churches springing up everywhere and Paul and Barnabas and the others had not been requiring these Gentiles to submit to the yoke of the Jewish law were a group called legalists who thought that wasn't right.

They thought the law was given by God and had to be obeyed in all its particulars. And so they wanted to impose the law on Gentile Christian and that was a great debate you can understand how that would be serious.

On the one hand, there were people becoming Christians obviously blessed by God.

Holy Spirit even did miracles among them. Paul tells us that was true, particularly about the church in Galatia, but on the other hand, here's a law given by God is necessary to obey the law and who are we to distinguish between different parts of the law, saying keep this marketer can keep that part was the issue was a major problem. And as you know regarding the account in acts 15. It was eventually decided on the side of Gentile liberty, not an laughter. Spoken, Peter told how God had given him a revelation. In this respect how he was to go to the house of Cornelius, a Roman centurion, a Gentile, and how it was to preach to them and how they believe the Holy Spirit came upon them, and how that is apart from any kind of Jewish ceremonial observance. So we had these words. Now that he said why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear. We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that we are saved just as they are less the revealing statement to say, he said. Neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear the laws yoke.

Remember that Peter and those people who would gather together for that counsel were not pagans. They were devout Jews and even Jews who were indifferent to the law. The Jews that work for people who were uninstructed and the lawn didn't seem to care about called them Yamaha RX the people of the land kind of people that didn't wash that was the idea behind that kind of work they didn't observe the ceremonial purification Peter and the others of the Council work like that. They were devout you obeyed the law. They were serious about the confession that Peter makes it that counsel is that it is been a great burden to them and I hadn't been able to keep it dry, they fail so he said, why should we impose this is a system of religious activity upon Gentiles.

Paul may very well have said probably had said then certainly did say later in Romans that the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good from from where Peter was coming from. It didn't seem that way. Peter seem like a burden and it was a very onerous one at that. You can understand why. With that kind of experience. The early Christians regarding the coming of Jesus Christ and grace is a listing of the bargain and the freeing of the spirit and the most wonderful thing that they could possibly have imagined in terms of their relationship to God I were going to see as we go along.

In our studies.

That doesn't mean that we can be lawless. Grace coexists with law, but there was a real liberation on a real change. How do we study what that meant place to begin is with Jesus Christ himself uses himself as gracious cities versus early in John's Gospel in the prologue are talking about the incarnation are telling us that God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. He was the God man and when he came.

What they found about him is that he was very gracious. His personality is character was marked by grace.

Now we live in a very boorish world and we know all kinds of people that are anything but gracious. You probably had experience with people like that. This week I hope not. This morning when you were in church going to the store to buy things and people are boorish there to help us find what we want with their to spend our money to support the business but they really want to talk to as I could I please see that they say it's over there. Go look so they walk away to do something else. That's not gracious or again you're driving along in the car and having a little bit of trouble finding the address it's dark you can't quite see the numbers of the houses are driving slowly someone beat Heidi was blowing the horn because I want to get where they're going. Five seconds faster. They're going to arrive and sometimes even curse at you out the window or walking along the streets and somebody's coming the other way you move aside, they just gonna push their way through many, many experiences like that, but if you think about that.

You can probably also think about people who have been gracious to you. Hopefully your parents were that way acting toward you as you would like to be treated even when you didn't deserve it.

If you have a friend like that to thank God for that. Friends of this boorish world is only somebody who is gracious to you or again and maybe a marriage partner or someone else like that.

Now Jesus Christ was like that only he was all about wrapped up in the want and he exceeded even that Jesus Christ was never cross was never selfish. He was never impatient with people who had problems. He was never superior, never judge mental nurse at the people surgery right or I hope you get what's coming to your that your problem or don't bother me about it is damp. The magic words like that on the lips of Jesus Christ.

He never dissociated himself from anyone.

As if some classes of people were below him. He moved easily among the high and the law is a matter of fact, he moved so easily among the lower classes.

The Pharisees and the scribes and the leaders of the people use that to try discreditable, he said he was a drunkard and he associated with sinners, which of course is something they wouldn't do people like Jesus, they found gracious description what Jesus was like here it is. Love is patient, love is kind does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trust always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. I was Jesus. Or, again, here's another way of talking about it. All of the fruit of the spirit was seen in Jesus Christ, and the fruit of the spirit described in Galatians 5 verses 22 and 23. What is it the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that was Jesus. Jesus with the perfection of all those virtues is more the meaning of Jesus being gracious and mild and it comes out of this first chapter of John. See what John is talking about here in the prologue is the incarnation of Jesus Christ. I've already pointed that out.

Jesus Christ was God come in the flesh.

So if God come in the flesh was gracious. This means that God himself is gracious because God is exactly like Jesus, I support you see, if we didn't have that goal on it. All we had to go on was the Old Testament law we could be excused. Perhaps, at least in some major if we thought of God as being rather harsh and demanding, and judge mental and unyielding, because after all, that's the way the law is and there's some truth to that God is a God of law. God's law is unyielding or over the law prescribes penalties law says of itself. Do this and you shall live the way it's described in Luke 1028 but if we don't do what the law also says the soul that sins shall die, and it tells us the wages of sin is death law prescribes death, it was all we know about God. We can facet foreign God of all the universe must be right. He has to do righties like to do right, we could very easily find ourselves saying, but he is rather insensitive. Where I come from, because I'm not able to keep the law and is rather indifferent to my sin.

We can think that way because of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ show that God is more than that God is a God of love. He is given the law. The law is right. God is nevertheless very gracious God went over his purpose in sending Jesus Christ was to teach us what is like, and to provide a way that we can be saved in spite of our violation of his law is why John says what introduces the theme. The law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. In this case, the truth is understanding that God is a gracious God. Now we talked about the character of Christ. What we have to say.

In addition, is that Jesus not only was gracious in and of himself.

He also acted graciously with other people reacted in grace toward sinners later on in John's Gospel is a marvelous story, but is old illustrative of that occurs in the eighth chapter you know it's the story of a woman who was caught in adultery. The people of the day the leaders had been trying to attract geniuses and they been trying to do it in a variety of ways before this site sent their soldiers to arrest if they been unsuccessful at that now they were trying to attract them in a way that would discredit them with the people they had caught this woman and adulteration as you read the story you find what they did. They brought her and made her stand there before everybody insensitive kind of action, and then I suppose with the tone almost gloating in their voices. They said to Jesus, teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women now use. I was despicable course, but only that it was probably dishonest and hypocritical because when you begin to think about it, at least if you know anything about the law of the day. You know that it must almost a been a trap to the limit in order for them to get the kind of evidence that would be possible to plan secure capital conviction. Jewish law was very strict about respects you couldn't convict somebody of a capital crime merely on the basis of what we call circumstantial evidence you had seen the crime. Not only did you have to see it there had to be several witnesses two or more who sought and they had to see it at the same spot under the same circumstances of the testimony would be absolutely identical. There wasn't even a question of catching a couple in a compromising situation say the couple lying on the bed together. You had to have seen with your own eyes, in the presence of someone else. Physical motions that would allow no other explanation. How could you possibly do that you have to set an update would've had to put witnesses there stationed them behind the drapes in the realms of a conciliator or the keyhole looking something like that so they had deliberately tried to trap the woman now under Jewish law that was intentional. Of course that's the way the Jews live with the rigorous requirements of the water about 30 crimes in the Old Testament that require the death penalty in the way they live by that is by making it almost impossible to convict anybody. One of those crime Mishna has a statement in it about the Sanhedrin, which is the legal body. The high court that would pronounce the death penalty for something like this in the Mishnah says the Sanhedrin, which so one says in seven years condemns a man to death is a slaughterhouse. I meant this really shouldn't be execution any more often than that. While that's part of it, beside you answer question.

Where was the man in the relationship. If they had actually seen the very act of adultery, which is what the text says that they would've had seen the man and yet here on this occasion they bring the woman without commandments that case of the old double standard only. This was worse the woman's life was at stake. This was a very terrible thing and yet here was a problem which was the problem. Law problems like all the demonic and wicked all of that but it was also very shrewd because you see, was the problem of problems in terms of the relationship of the sinful human being to Almighty God and God's law. The earlier attempts to trap Jesus work like that. They try to get on a number of other things you know some of them they came with a question about taxes they said, should we pay taxes to the Roman government. Well, that was a problem with not much of one, and only had to do with the hatred of the Jews for the Roman occupying forces Jesus simply told them that they should give Caesar what he deserved, but make sure they also gave God what he deserved and elaborate instantly, and then the Sadducees came and they had a question about the resurrection they wanted to know how they were making fun of the resurrection because they didn't believe in it whose life a person would be in heaven if I women here on earth and had seven husbands going to be married to you gets to heaven. Jesus disposal that insulates that this is not going to be married in heaven was an easy way to handle Latin for the amortization of the power of God because the word of a God can certainly work it out how ignorant they were. Those are easy things to handle, but this wasn't like that was a serious question in this task you see three things were at stake was the life of the woman was precious pleased to Jesus was his teaching about the compassionate nature of his kingdom was teaching people to love one another.

And then there was a law of Moses was given by God, the way they sought it wouldn't be possible for Jesus to survive that task without denying one and possibly more of those three elements that were stake.

He was known for being compassionate.

Suppose the approach the matter that way and say well we ought to love sinners got them. After all, were all sinful. Well we did that we can understand that we say very nice man doesn't want to condemn that poor woman back to see he would've had to turn his back on the law of Moses the law Moses said you should stone a person how could he do that I could eat pretend to be a prophet, a spokesman for God and turn his back on God's law going around the people and said you can't listen to him.

He doesn't believe the law of Moses illiberal believe the law of God. Suppose on the other hand, it upheld the law of Moses. Suppose he upset about the situation, but the law must stand do what is right with anyone or forfeited the life of the woman and would have undergone his teaching about being loving and compassionate. All they had great fun with that they would've gone around and said to the below story actually God's love and that we should love one another. That's what he says but what is he doing the chips are really down chips are really down the terms I said you want to be killed or sent look what he did to that poor woman they hadn't one way or the other.

Now we understand this is really the problem sinners before God set problem of the Bible from beginning to end with Adam and Eve sinned in the garden didn't they deserve to die. God said the day which is sin, break the law and eat the fruit of the tree will die deserved it, and yet God spared him somehow. The problem, Paul states in theological language in Romans when he says, how can God be both Jost and the justifier of the center sand that God might want to save the center every single passionate God and how can he do that and uphold his law at the same time while the people of the day thought it was an insolvable problem. I said Jesus will never get out of this one, they were right to see from a human point of view. It was an insolvable problem. What they were forgetting is that with Jesus. They were dealing with a mere human being they were dealing with God and God all things are possible and I was the very reason why he'd come to solve the problem.

Nobody did. The story doesn't explain much of the theology of it, but the story itself is interesting. First of all, he did nothing.

He bent down and began to write on the ground.

I have to admit I don't know what he wrote on the ground because the story doesn't tell us, and I learned long ago that Bible lesson telling. Don't pretend you know there been a lot of speculations. Of course, some commentators suggest that he wrote on the ground in order to gain time why the eternal son of God had to game time to figure out what to do.

I have never been able to figure out others suggest that the road out the men's accusations against the woman order to impress them of the gravity of the situation wrote it out in the legal language so they realize what was at stake was the life of the woman at the problem without explanation is that he knew perfectly well. This was at stake.

That's why they regraded the problem, suggested he wrote out their sentencing to their hearts what they themselves a dog that's probably the best explanation of all. But even there I'm not sure that's what happens because is not until afterwards when he turns to them and says that any one of you is without sin. Let them be the first to throw a stone at her. It's only then that they begin to fade away, but at any rate, that's what they did eventually under the scorching days of Jesus Christ and the conviction of the spirit of God. My left beginning with the oldest, probably because those were older and accumulated the largest number of sentence. One by one they were gone. Finally Jesus was left alone. It was there with the woman he asked her the question, he said, woman, where are they has no one condemned you her reply was no one, Lord, in this marvelous responsive Jesus then neither do I condemn you go now and leave your life of sin is hard to imagine a more gracious ending to that story starting with the life of the woman. The law of God in the teaching of Jesus Christ was at stake. Jesus and maintained all three. Yet even at this point, we haven't quite got to the meat of the story because the question still remains, stroked Jesus about condemn the woman but on what possible basis that he refused to condemn the woman that he gets willy-nilly say I won't do it. Can God do that I'm able to set the reason he did. It is because some will require two or three witnesses in the capital offense of all of the witnesses a God he was the only one left. He knew what she had done. Of course he knew that sort of thing that he was still only one accuser. While it may be technically and yet it's hard to think of God somehow wiggling out of a difficult problem by at technical problem with the law legal technicality.

You know people get off.

Even though their guilty escape condemnation in the court of law today, but nobody admires that we say, but that's the price we pay in our judicial system to protect the innocent. No a lot of guilty people escape but it's hardly laudable. Everything of Jesus Christ getting out of it that way asked the question again how didn't happen. How did Jesus actually succeed well. Reason he didn't condemn the woman I'm sure you're well aware is the same reason why he doesn't condemn us for our sin. I didn't condemn the woman he didn't condemn her because he was going to die for swine history hadn't done it yet was still some time away year to cover it may be, but he was going to die and so it was on the basis of his death that she was saved.

Just as Adam and Eve were saved and David was saved and Moses was safe and testament figures was by anticipation what he himself was eventually to do on the cross, Jesus forgave her but he didn't do it easily get a great personal cost. That's the gospel it's the only solution to the problem of human sin and the judgment that hangs over the heads of every single one of us because we are sinful.

How can you escape condemnation. Jost righteous deserve condemnation of Almighty God so sends it shall die. There's only one answer answer is Jesus Christ dying in your place. The innocent one, taking your seven upon himself here. Some characteristics of the reign of law versus terrain grace restrained by Jesus Christ on the logon demanded righteousness for men under grace, God gives righteousness to men because of the work of his son under law.

Righteousness is based upon Moses and good works under grace.

Righteousness is based upon Christ and Christ's character lived out his people under law. Blessings accompany obedience under grace, God bestows blessings is a free gift under law.

There's nothing in men or women by which we can achieve what God demands under grace that power is made available to us yet we must never think somehow because we are saved by grace. This either encourages or permits us to go on sinning by to see how the story ended.

Jesus ended by speaking to the woman saying I will not condemn you now go and sin no more. That's why I am sure in the first chapter of John among other things, you have the emphasis upon proof grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Grace, yes, but also the truth that God requires righteousness in his people, and if we truly experience race, and we must live as holy men and women because we belong to him but I'm glad he did it the way it did. You know how the statement goes, neither do I condemn you.

Now go and leave your life of sin. One of Jesus and set it the other way around.

Jesus said to the woman leave your life of sin and I won't condemn you.

What kind of hope with that day, she would've said to herself. Well I'll try to do it but I failed in the past will probably fail again and if I fail again I don't have forgiveness. I certainly will have condemnation see if that were the way Jesus said it, then we would be saved regardless of all the fancy words we use a grace we want to be saved by works because grace would be contingent upon our confession of sin in our repudiation of that's not the way Jesus Jesus said neither do I condemn you why because I'm in the die for you. I'm in a pay the full price of your sin.

You're not going to be saved by works are to be saved by my grace and by my vicarious atonement.

But now because I've done that because I will do it in your case go and sin no more.

Leave your life of sin is all the difference in the world to the woman respond.

I'm sure she did because you to experience the grace of the eternal son of God. Instead of condemning her which he deserved and forgiven her on the basis of his own death after this what Jesus did go to the cross.

I can imagine her standing there among the crowd saying he is dying for me in order that I might be saved. Now, I conclude just by asking this all of us are somewhere in that picture were either living by law or living by grace. Maybe there were the rulers for a handle on the law was given by God.

It was meant elective said they were even convicted of said at least as Jesus Christ applied to them for convicted so much that they faded away December the woman they were saved by the law law only part they faded away six months later a year later, whenever it was they were back there clamoring for his death because they hated one would expose their sinful nature, you may be in their shoes. I don't mean that you're using the law to come down hard on somebody else that you may be doing that, but maybe your living by law only in the sense that you are convicted by law, and so rather than live without you fadeaway here today to do everything you could to get away from Center City moved to the mainline or the other way around. Anything to get away from Jesus, maybe like that. Maybe you like the crowd while the people and I they are like the crowd. The crowd was standing around people were watching spectators.

They were impressed. I don't know how they must've said while this teacher certainly has power. He writes in the ground looks in their face and they all go away and they leave the woman alone while presence of mind and character of that man when they saw him forgive the woman they must've said all that is marvelous is nice, but they went home. I forgot about it. They went their way.

Maybe you have been impressed with the gospel of Jesus Christ of that great but it's never touched you a spectator. You're really not involved maybe are not involved with anything that's a characteristic of your life suggest of all the people in the story the very best one. The only one that anybody who knows anything about the gospel would ever want to be as a woman exposed public disgrace center adulteress as one of sin was forgiven by Jesus Christ and woman went away not only forgiven the change. So I am sure he became a messenger of that very gospel of grace other people. Can you imagine her in later days. Somehow getting what Jesus Christ done testimony throughout her whole life for the business.

He saved me any saved by his death law came by Moses law condemn me for grace and truth really did, Jesus Christ. I hope the one you're able to identify with is that woman. If not you can do it right now because that same Jesus Christ of God upon the cross… As your Savior if you will have it so pray. Father, we thank you for the streusel spray story of Jesus and the woman great truth illustrates that grace truly did come with Jesus in his person by his actions in the bubble accomplished on the basis of his death while you slanted in our lives is us to respond as we should. Grace and use it to bring many people to the knowledge and experience of salvation through what Jesus Christ is not a you are listening to Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by.

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