You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me -- : John 5:39 (NIV)
We are saved by grace. Not by law. That is central to the theology of Christianity.
The concept of that was baffling to many Jews. For hundreds of years, Jews had waited for their Messiah. And then he comes and he says that law they’ve been following since basically forever is not going to save them. Shocking to say the least.
It’s only through losing the law that we can see God.
Jesus clearly says we must be born again—that this law of the past is not the law of the new. But even after he rose from the dead, even believers were a little confused by it—even they struggled with it. They wanted to believe while clinging to the old ways of things like circumcision.
It took a fiery little man named Paul—a man who was once such a hardcore Jew, he was willing to persecute Christians—to ultimately listen to the spirit and recognize that we couldn’t have a salvation by grace while still applying the laws of the past.
How awesome—how totally awesome it must have been to be standing next to Paul when he realized all of this—and how much pride he must have lost to admit all this. His background, though, is what made him so much on fire for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. When I think about Paul—about a man with so much authority that he could say the law isn’t important now, I have to stop and say whoa.
So why are people so into law even today? Into telling other people why they are not doing what the Bible says? Because grace is so difficult to understand—it’s beyond us. For us to say that the only thing that can possibly save us is the love of God—that we can't earn it, that we can’t buy it, that we can’t find it—that is difficult to get. And so while saying we believe in grace, we subconsciously, perhaps, try and find little things that save us on top of it.
But all that is a lie. We are saved by grace alone. The law means nothing.