The Law Demands, Grace Supplies
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
Ephesians 2:8–9 NLT
In Luke 18, we read about a rich young ruler, who came to Jesus saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18). I believe that through this story, the Lord wants to help us understand that we can be justified only by faith and not our works.
Justification by faith produces hope, peace, and joy and a heart for Jesus that results in good fruit. Attempting to be justified by works produces fear, anxiety, and an inability to produce lasting fruit.
When the rich young ruler came wanting to be justified by his works, the Lord gave him the law to bring him to the end of himself. Jesus said to the rich young ruler who thought he had kept all the laws, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
The rich young ruler was found lacking in one thing. The very first commandment is, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Ex. 20:3). Yet money was his god—he walked away sorrowful when the Lord asked him to sell all that he had (Luke 18:20–23).
There is no record that he gave even one nickel to the poor. But look at what happened when Jesus invited Himself to Zacchaeus’s house. Not one commandment, just pure grace was given. And it resulted in Zacchaeus’s giving half his wealth to the poor and making a public commitment to repay fourfold to everyone he had stolen from!
The law demands, grace supplies.
The law demands, and it results in fear, guilt, and sorrow. Grace supplies, and it produces generosity, holiness, and inward heart transformation.
Now, you tell me, which gospel should we preach? Justification by works through the law? Or justification by faith through the power of God’s grace?
Unfortunately, there are many believers who after they have been saved are taught and believe, like the rich young ruler, that they can be justified before God only by their works. They end up conscious of failing Him and with a fearful expectation of God’s punishment and judgment.
Every bad thing that happens to them reinforces that fear. Even when things are going well, they are fearful of losing God’s blessings or protection because of a mistake they may have just made.
The result? Insecurity, dread, anxiety, and all kinds of fears become constant companions that rob them of the joy of living, let alone living life with boldness and confidence.
Beloved, no man can meet the demands of the law and be justified. We can be justified only by faith in the blood of the Lamb. If you are not anchored in this truth and if your conscience is not washed by the Lamb’s blood, you will always be fearful.
Our justification is from faith to faith, not faith to works. It is “accomplished from start to finish by faith” and faith alone (Rom. 1:17 NLT)!
This devotional is taken from the book Glorious Grace—100 Daily Readings from Grace Revolution.
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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version ®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.