Answer: The above graphic reflects how a lot of people approach the Bible—circling the parts they like, and scratching out the parts they don’t. But Luke 4:4 says we have to live by every  word of God. So, what does the Bible say about grace and obeying God’s law?

It is true (wonderfully true!) that the Bible says we can be saved by grace: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). And it’s true that “grace” means something you can’t earn. God’s forgiveness is certainly something we can never earn!

Yet, the Bible also warns all of us “not to receive the grace of God in vain” (2 Corinthians 6:1). How can we avoid receiving God’s grace in vain?

The Apostle Paul answers: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:1-2). Paul is saying pretty plainly here that those who have genuinely  accepted God’s grace—His freely extended pardon—will have have turned away from practicing sin and will be seeking to live their lives based upon faith. Our obedience, or lack of it, demonstrates how deeply we believe and trust God.  Faith and obedience—just like grace and the law—are not mutually exclusive, but rather are coupled and mutually dependent. 

So, accepting God’s grace means obeying Him and turning away from sin. But how do we know what sin is? Again, the Bible doesn’t leave us hanging: “Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4, AKJV). God’s law tells us what sin is and what it isn’t.

The idea that grace and law are somehow “opposites” is just plain wrong and not at all what the Bible says.  When Jesus offered grace to the woman caught in adultery, He told her to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11).  James says in the Bible that “faith, by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” and, concerning Abraham, “Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?” (James 2:17, 22).  And the Apostle John tells us that “this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).

So, being saved by grace doesn’t meaning ignoring God’s commands! It means embracing them all the more. That’s what your Bible says!

We understand that this does not represent a comprehensive answer on this topic. Comments? Suggestions? Discuss with a minister?

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