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What does the Bible say about law and grace?

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How does the Bible describe God's law?

God's commandments show us how to love and are not burdensome (1 John 5:3 1 John 5:3For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
American King James Version×
). The apostle Paul said that love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:9-10 Romans 13:9-10 9 For this, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 10 Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
American King James Version×
). Jesus Christ summarized the whole law as love for God and man (Matthew 22:37-40 Matthew 22:37-40 37 Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
American King James Version×
). Christ also said those seeking eternal life should keep the Ten Commandments and He listed several of them as examples (Matthew 19:17-19 Matthew 19:17-19 17 And he said to him, Why call you me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments. 18 He said to him, Which? Jesus said, You shall do no murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and your mother: and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
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).

James called God's law a royal law and a law of liberty (James 2:8 James 2:8If you fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you do well:
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, 12). The psalmist loved and meditated on God's law—it gave him wisdom and understanding—it was sweet to him (Psalm 119). The apostle Paul called it holy, just and good and spiritual (Romans 7:12 Romans 7:12Why the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
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, 14). The heart of the New Covenant is that God's laws will be written on our hearts and minds (Hebrews 10:16 Hebrews 10:16This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, said the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
American King James Version×
).

What happens when we disobey the law?

The Bible calls this sin (1 John 3:4 1 John 3:4Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
American King James Version×
). As obedience brings blessings, disobedience naturally brings curses (Deuteronomy 28). All unhappiness, misery, anguish and woe have come from transgressing God's law. Sin leads to death and, sadly, we have all sinned (Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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; 3:23). God hates sin so much that He made the penalty for sin death. But He loves us so much He let His Son pay that awesome penalty for us (John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
American King James Version×
).

What about grace?

Grace is undeserved favor that we receive from God, and it includes the gift of forgiveness. We deeply appreciate God's grace and forgiveness, made possible through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Law and grace are both wonderful gifts of God. Law shows us the wretchedness of our putrid evil sins and points us to repentance and forgiveness through God's grace. Grace leads us to utter appreciation for our holy and merciful God and to a deepening desire to be like Him. How? By doing what He says—obeying His law of love in its full spirit and intent.

For more information, please read our booklet, The New Covenant: Does it Abolish God's Law?

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