FLESH AND SPIRIT
LAW AND GRACE
By Henry Jaegers
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. (Galatians 5:1,2)
Contrary to popular opinion, the Emancipation Proclamation was not first proclaimed at Gettysburg by Abraham Lincoln but was given by Paul the apostle to the churches at Galatia. Although there are not many great writers who expound this marvelous book, it stands out as one of the most important books in the New Testament concerning the subject of Christian liberty.
It is no wonder that God uses the apostle Paul to declare this wonderful message as he faced a serious problem in his ministry. Paul compares it to having experienced freedom from bondage, instead, they have chosen to return to their chains and to be content therewith. And what slave would do so unless his freedom was worse than his former life?
There is a reason that I have decided to venture into this area of study. I have been concerned for a long time over Christians who misunderstand the subject of Law and Grace. When I attended Bible school, this subject was taught by Mr. L.E. Maxwell, our principal, and president. It proved to be the most liberating study that I ever had in my years at Bible school. Perhaps, it was meant to be that way as part of our overall curriculum. I believe one of the greatest problems that hinder the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is this problem of false teaching and misunderstanding of the clear teaching of Scripture on the subject of law and grace. When Paul told the Christians at Galatia that they have "fallen from grace", he was not talking about losing their salvation; he was talking about losing their liberty in Christ by embracing false teachings.
I find it necessary to talk about this matter because I have seen so many Christians who lacked an understanding of this particular subject and the thing that causes me most concern is how it has affected my own family. Paul made a statement to these Christians that "ye did run well, who hath hindered you?" I am just beginning, but I do not want to distract you with lengthy discourses and take us off the crux of the matter. If you are not walking in the spirit, it is probably because you have been hindered by some type of false teaching in your Christian walk. Let me share in closing, my particular testimony in this matter.
When I began my Christian life and went to college for the first time, I was eager to learn about God's word. I spent much time in the local Christian bookstore finding out the best books that I could read to help me grow in my Christian life. I knew that I had a lot to learn, and my heart was so hungry for the word of God that I read just about everything and in so doing, I was exposed to a lot of false teachings, but due to my inexperience, I could not recognize them as such because they were uttered by men who were popular in the Christian world and by the books that they wrote.
One of the first books, I was encouraged to buy was “the Schofield reference Bible. I treasured this book and I read it with great anticipation, but something strange occurred to me as I was studying the subject on the dispensations. The first four were no problem, but when I came to the dispensation of law, a red flag went up in my mind. Mr. Schofield said He went on to say that the law was first proposed to the children of," the dispensation of promise and did when Israel rashly accepted the law." Israel, he explained, when they accepted God's proposition (so-called)
God imposed the law upon them, though God wanted them to float on the eagle's wings of the promise given to Abraham. The proposition which was made in good faith became an imposition upon them because God did not want them to respond that way to his law.
At first, I thought it was due to my low IQ or lack of biblical knowledge that causes this red flag to go up. I had read in the book of Deuteronomy that God said that when the children of Israel accepted this proposition (so-called), God said they have well said what they have said when they said: "all that the Lord has said, that will we do." Who was I to question these great teachers of the Scriptures on these matters?
For years, I disregarded this experience on my part as lacking understanding, so I laid it aside and gave it no more concern. But when I entered Mr. Maxwell's class on Law and Grace, I experienced a great liberation as I began to understand what was the law, why was it given, what was its purpose, and most of all what was it that the law could not do. In this class, Mr. Maxwell gave clear teaching on the purpose of the law and I had discovered over the years of how this lack of understanding of Law and Grace, predominates in the Christian world. Law is taught as opposed to grace but the true teaching of Scripture is the purpose of the law is to bring us to grace not to keep us from it. Failure to understand the relationship of the law to grace results in compartmentalizing the Scriptures. The result is that the Old Testament becomes a less important part of the word of God. There is much to say on the subject and Paul says it clearly throughout the book of Galatians on how law and grace and the flesh and spirit are closely related. May God enable me to communicate the subject's to my brothers and sisters in Christ, so that they may experience true freedom and find deliverance from that which may hinder their ability to walk in the spirit to avoid the works of the flesh".