My biggest error as a Christian was not correctly dividing the word as God calls us to do. I mixed the Old Covenant law with the New Covenant of grace. Adding the law to any degree, even under the pretext of balancing grace, makes grace of no effect.
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. Gal 5:4 KJV
But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace. Rom 11:6 NAS
This led me to live under guilt and condemnation plus a whole host of other issues that the law brings instead of the no condemnation and victory that an abundance of grace brings.
those who receive an abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! Rom 5:17b BSB
Purpose of the Law
I have spent years sharing my faith with thousands of people face to face and a hundred times that in print. I say this not to brag but to let you know I have a decent amount of experience using God’s law for what it intended to do, make a person conscious of their sin.
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God's sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. Rom 3:20 NIV
I offer grace to the brokenhearted and I present the law to break hard hearts, show them their sin and need for the Savior. Once the hard heart is broken like a farmer breaks up the hard soil before planting, the gospel can be planted. Jesus always offered law to the proud and grace to the humble.
I do this is because the Bible is very clear that the law is made for the unrighteous, not for the righteous. In other words, the law is made for the unbeliever and not the believer.
Realizing the fact that law is NOT MADE for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 1 Tim 1:9 NASB
Once a person puts their faith in Christ they become righteous, right with God. God no longer call us by sinner or any sinner subtitle like liar, thief, unholy, profane, adulterer, etc, as He did before we believed. We were yet sinners before we came to Christ. After Christ, we are always seen as righteous in Christ by God. The law is not for the believer, the righteous.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Rom 5:8 NAS
God does not address us as a sinner or sinner subtitle even when we fail because Jesus is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Rom 10:4 NAS
We are under grace and not the law, so our inherited sin nature is no longer our master.
For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Rom 6:14 NAS
Our acts of sin after Christ cannot bring the wrath of God onto us because we are under grace, and where there is no law, there is no transgression of the law, no sin in God’s eyes.
For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. Rom 4:15 NASGod is not counting our sin under the New Covenant."AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE." Heb 10:17 NAS
We no longer refrain from sin out of fear of punishment. With right believing, we are constrained naturally from acts of sin by the love of Christ.
For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 2 Cor 5:14 NAS
But in my strong desire to please God with an unrenewed mind, I previously made a major error.
For years, in the back of my mind, Satan deceived me to doubt that Jesus righteousness was enough, and thus I did not divide God’s word correctly in 1Tim 1:9 - the fact that law is NOT MADE for a righteous person. Therefore, I would apply the law to the righteous in Christ too, other believers and myself. In truth, I now realize that adding the law meant I did not fully believe the gospel and Jesus clear words in John 3:16 and many other verses. But I would have never agreed with you if you told me at the time. After all, I was sharing the gospel on a very regular basis, telling all they just needed to believe, to be saved by grace through faith. However, in my zealousness to please God, and out of fear that if I sinned and did not do good works, I might not be saved, I was a closet Pharisee. I said all the right things, we are saved by grace through faith alone, Jesus is all you need, etc. But in my heart of hearts, I was not trusting Jesus 1,000 percent. I was hanging onto to the law to some degree, like a man hanging from a cliff by his fingernails. I was fearful to let go of the law fully and trust Jesus alone. I lived in fear of God’s punishment, fear of what other Christians might think, and the fear of falling headlong into sin if I let go of the law. I also lived under the guilt, condemnation, and the heavy burden the law brings. This led me to do the dead work of trying to maintain my salvation by law-keeping and good works while judging others who I saw as doing less. This despite the fact, the Bible is clear that the law makes God’s grace that saves me of no effect and can never make a person right with God.
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith inJesus Christ to all who believe. Rom 3:20-22 NIV
There were times when when my error led me to doubt my own salvation. This came from comparing my own righteousness to the law. I always fell short no matter how much I did. This put a big target on my back for Satan’s attacks, exactly why Satan wants Christians to think they are still under the law. If I compare Christ’s righteousness that is mine by faith, to the law, there is no question about my salvation. No up and down ride in the faith, no fear, just God’s love that casts out all fear. His righteousness is our rock-solid foundation and no weapon formed against us can prosper.
No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD. Isa 54:17 KJV
There is an innumerable number of negative consequences that come with mixing the Old Covenant law with the New Covenant of grace and truth. First and primarily, it strips the gospel of God’s power in our lives. It leads us to do dead works for the enemy out of fear of God’s punishment, instead of works that are alive and please God.
Another major negative consequence of believing we are still under the law ourselves is that it guarantees we will measure other believers by the law, count their sins, hold them against them while judging their righteousness by their actions. This fosters doubt in them and in ourselves when we are supposed to be building each up in the faith in our times of need. This is something God promises He will never do to those who are righteous by faith alone.
Thus the law had become our guardian until Christ, so that we could be declared righteous by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. Gal 3:24-25 NET
"FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES, AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE." Heb 8:12 NAS
This was happening while I knew that there was still sin in my life. I just judged their outward sin as bigger than mine like the Pharisee did with the tax collector at the altar, justifying that I was right with God and they may not be.
By incorrectly measuring other believers by the law, I decided that some I knew might not even be real believers or a true Christians. By using the law as measuring stick for believers instead of Jesus righteousness, I was working for the enemy fostering doubt.
Judging others under the façade of helping them, allowed me to overlook my own seemingly smaller sins and made me feel better. It was the same thing I did before I came to Christ to justify myself, compare myself to others. It was pure self-righteousness mixed with grace, law for them, grace for me, produced from an unrenewed mind. I was doing the exact same thing that led Jesus to call the Pharisee’s hypocrites. The only thing that can get a Christian the title of a hypocrite is to judge others when we know for certain our flesh will commit sins until the day it dies in this life. Acting like I kept the law in public while knowing I still had sin in my life. I had no right to judge others sins by the law, and my sins, no matter how small they might seem to me, by grace. Oh, what a hypocrite I was.
"For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Matt 7:2 NAS
Could it be that If I measured others by the law, and myself by grace, God was saying I would be measured by the law too? If I measured the sins of others by the law and not grace, would God do the same to me? Was the story of the unforgiving servant in Matt 18:23-35 a message for me? That would not work out well for me.
"For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matt 6:14 NAS
Therefore, I realized I had to drop my stone just like the Pharisees did when Jesus said, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." John 8:7b NAS
I could no longer minister the letter of the law to believers. I had to minister the Spirit of the law (Love), to myself and others, just like Jesus did when he died for me while I was still a sinner.
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Cor 3:6 NIV
I realized that I was not called to count sins or hold them against people. I was called to reconcile all people to God, not counting their sins.
namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 2 Cor 5:19 NAS
This did not change once they became a believer. When I look around my church, while some may be caught up in sin, I see people who want a way out of that sin, not a way into sin. I am supposed to encourage their faith in the gospel and promised salvation in a believer’s time of need, just like I would hope they would do for me. I am not supposed to point my finger and call believers who sin false Christians on the highway to hell. Pointing them to the law that we can never keep only ends up creating more doubt in their life. I point them to Jesus and encourage them in the faith. I remind them that he promised eternal life to all who believe, and the burden of that promise is on God, not man. It is all about Jesus and we are to trust Him 1,000 percent.
Can you imagine how united the church would be if we all built each other up in the faith in God's promises? Can you see why Satan wants us to add the Old Covenant of law that brings division and self-righteousness into the church? The law that makes grace of no effect?
Do I still use the law? Yes. I use the law for the hard-hearted unbeliever. To break the hard heart so the gospel can be planted. I never use the law for the believer who is righteous by faith. I do as Paul did and remind those who state they trust Jesus and are caught in sin of who they are in Christ and encourage them in the faith. I lift them up out of the mud and let them know that is not where they belong as a child of God.
Much of the Church Makes the Same Error of Mixing Law with Grace
The major error of mixing the Old Covenant Law of Moses with the New Covenant of Grace and Truth is very common among believers. It is an error that is encouraged by Satan himself. This error is often unknowingly preached from the pulpits and written in books. It is presented in a very diluted manner. If mixing grace with the law were presented in a bold manner, it would be rejected wholesale. Hidden the way it is in messages, it is swallowed a little at a time and adds up in the believer’s life. Most Christians who mix the two are not even aware of it and would deny it if asked. It is something we know we should not do but are deceived into doing out of fear. Only you know if you are mixing law with grace. Only you know if you are trusting Jesus 1,000 percent. If you are trusting Jesus alone, that is wonderful. If you have any doubts at all and still experience fear in your life, I encourage you to do a radical study of the New Covenant alone for one year, so the veil will be lifted fully off your heart and eyes and you will walk in the power of the gospel. This is important, so be honest with yourself and before God.
But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; 2 Cor 3:14-15 NAS
More New Covenant Bible studies that apply:
The New Covenant of Grace and Truth Replaced the Old Covenant of Law
If You Believe You Have Been Saved
Did Jesus Sacrifice Provide Forgiveness for Our Future Sins Too? Yes
Trying to Quantify Belief is a Deception from Satan
Leave the Burden on God
Jesus Did Not Die to See If You Can Qualify
God WILL NOT Erase Your Name from of the Book of Life, Christian
Doubt and Unbelief are the Precursors for All Sin and Turmoil
Jesus is The End of The Law for Believers
Christians are Blessed Because God is Not Imputing our Sins
Satan Will Always Point You Back to the Law
Fallen From Grace
What is the One Unforgivable Sin?
Christians Are Not Under the Law of Moses, Our Standard is Much Higher
Do You Know the Spirit of All of God's Laws?
Christians Are Not Qualified to be Ministers of the Letter of the Law
Letter Kills, Spirit Gives Life
Keeping the Letter of Gods Law, Cannot Fulfill Gods Law
Believers are Never Called Sinners in the New Testament
These People Will Not Inherit the Kingdom of God
Jesus Never Called a Believer a Hypocrite
I Am Holy, I Am Sanctified, I Am Perfected
God Said a Believer Can Never be Considered Unholy
How Christians Dilute the Power of the Gospel in Their Lives
If Sin Has Dominion in Your Life, You are Living Under the Law, Not Grace
Doubting Your Complete and Total Forgiveness is What Keeps You Sinning, Christian
What is The One Thing That Keeps a Believer in Sin?
How to Stop Sin
How Grace Defeated Sin in My Life
Questioning Another's Salvation, Creates Doubt, Does Satans Work
Paul's Method for Talking to Christians Caught in Sin
How to Stop Making Bricks for Satan and Walk Freely Into The Promised Land
Who is Jesus Talking to with Depart from Me I Never Knew You?
Study the New Covenant in the book of Hebrews. Many more New Covenant Bible Studies HERE. Jesus poured out His blood for the New Covenant of grace and truth, replacing the Old Covenant law of Moses. Believers are exclusively under the New Covenant, the last will and testament of Jesus that began after the cross.
And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. Luke 22:20