Saved By Grace Through Faith Not Of Works

Why was Jesus Christ condemned to die? What is the real purpose of the Ten Commandments and the reason for the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and the real truth on how we are saved? Multitudes have heard emotional discourses on sin and salvation but they still do not understand the logic and reason that require a blood sacrifice. So let's push aside all the rubbish and confusion that has obscured the truth on how men are saved and see what the Bible really says.

Just imagine the horror of standing before a judge and hearing the sentence of death pronounced against you. The Cross and the ten CommandmentsCan you imagine how you would feel? Probably not. But you have felt the driving guilt and fear when God's Word stabs you with this sentence: “The wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23. So why do we feel fear and guilt? Because “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23.

The words are there and the meaning cannot be misunderstood. The word “all” might just as well be spelled John Jones or Mary Smith or whatever your name may be. The shocking fact is that you are under the sentence of death! You have been found guilty before the law and there is no court of appeal in the world that can reverse the sentence and find you not guilty. The fact is you are guilty as sin. According to 1 John 3:4, “sin is the transgression of the law,” and you must plead guilty to breaking the law. Whose law did you break? Paul answers quickly, “I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” Romans 7:7. There's the answer! The Ten Commandments is the law that was broken and it demands death for the transgressor. In desperation the sinner searches for a way to be justified in the sight of that broken Ten Commandment law. How can the sentence of death be turned aside? Can man atone for his own sins by obeying the Ten Commandments of God for the rest of his life? Back comes the answer in language that no person can possibly misinterpret: “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight.” Romans 3:20.

There is a reason why works will not justify a soul. If a man is found guilty of stealing and is sentenced to ten years in jail, he can indeed justify himself by works. By serving his ten year sentence, the man may satisfy the claims of the law. He is considered perfectly justified and innocent because he has worked out his deliverance by fulfilling the pronounced sentence. In the same manner, a murderer can be justified by works if he serves the twenty five years of his sentence. But suppose the sentence is death instead of twenty five years. Can the prisoner still justify himself by works? Not a chance! Even if he should work for one hundred years at hard labour, the law would still demand death. The truth is that “without shedding of blood is no remission. … So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.” Hebrews 9:22-28.

This is why works can never save the sinner. The penalty for sin is not ten years in prison or twenty five years of hard labour. The sentence is death and the law cannot be satisfied except by the shedding of blood. That unchangeable law with its unrelenting death sentence could no more be removed than the throne of God could be toppled. The guilt of the past cannot be erased by resolutions of good behaviour in the future. The sinner is forced to confess that he owes something that he cannot pay. The law demands death and he cannot satisfy it without forfeiting his own life for eternity. Now we come to that question that has created confusion for multitudes of Christians: If the works of the law cannot save a person, is it therefore necessary to keep the Ten Commandments law? Apparently this was a burning issue in the early Church, because Paul asked the same question in Romans 6:1. “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” In other words, does grace give us a license to disobey the Ten Commandments of God? His answer is: “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

It is interesting how Christians in this age of relativism can invent their own definitions that condone lawbreaking. The Bible says sin is violating the Ten Commandments; the law which has been described as irrelevant by many modern theologians. Do not be deceived. Every one of those great moral precepts is just as timely and needful today as they were when God wrote them on those imperishable tables of stone. Nothing has ever happened to make them less binding than they were when God gave them. In fact, we have already seen how Jesus came to magnify the law and open up its spiritual application, making it more comprehensive than the legalistic Pharisees ever imagined. Under the distilling influence of Jesus Christ's perfect life of obedience, we can see the spiritual details of law keeping which are neither recognized nor made possible apart from Him. At this point we must be very careful to designate also what the Ten Commandments cannot do. Even though it points out sin, it has no power to save from sin. There is no justifying, cleansing grace in it. All the works of the law cannot save a single soul. Why? For the simple reason that we are saved by grace through faith, as a free gift. “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20.

Do not stumble over this crucial point. We cannot earn forgiveness by working hard to obey. No sinner can gain favour and acceptance with God because he keeps the law. The Ten Commandments were not made for the purpose of saving or justifying. They were made to show us our need of cleansing and to point us to the great source of cleansing, Jesus Christ our Lord. The Bible speaks of the law as a mirror to show us what kind of persons we really are. “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” James 1:23-25.

Looking into the mirror all day or rubbing the mirror all over your face will never provide any cleansing. The work of the mirror is to reveal the spot and to point the dirty one to the sink for actual cleansing. The Ten Commandments law in like manner can only condemn the sinner by giving him knowledge of his or her condition and then pointing them to the cross for true cleansing. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9. Paul further emphasizes this point in Romans 3:20-28Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin....Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

So Paul states that we are not saved by keeping the Ten Commandments, but as we have seen, we cannot be saved if we do not desire to keep them either. This confuses many people so let's put this yet another way. If we did have to rely on keeping the law to be saved, we would be eternally lost as there was only One who could and did keep them perfectly. This is why we are saved though FAITH in Christ's redeeming sacrifice and the GRACE of God. So does this mean the Ten Commandments are made null and void through faith? We would certainly have a large amount of contradictory scripture if this were so. Using the NKJV, Paul leaves no room for misunderstanding and finalizes Romans chapter three stating, “Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.Romans 3:31. See also saved by faith alone.

God's grace is His unmerited, undeserved favour that is preceded by the act of genuine repentance of our sin. If there were no law, there would be no need for God's grace. See Romans 6:1-2; 14-15. Note also the Biblical definition of sin. 1 John 3:4. As one can see, for sin to exist there has to be law because “sin is lawlessness.” Paul is therefore saying that the concept of God's “grace” or forgiveness establishes that the Ten Commandments are still in effect as sin is breaking His law. God's grace through faith requires a law that defines the sins to be forgiven. Without the law we would have no way of understanding what sin is or is not because “by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20. So repeating Paul, “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.” See also not under law but under grace.

The Ten Commandments - Page 4