Such short words, but what a huge difference in meaning – and what a huge difference in our lives as we understand how these words are used concerning truths in the new covenant. Is it “both law and grace” or is it “either law or grace?” Is it “both the old and the new covenant” or “either the old or the new covenant?” The answers to these questions have a huge impact on all areas of people’s lives: salvation, sanctification, growth, ministry, well-being, prosperity etc.
A. The Promises of God Are “Both – And” Not “Either – Or”!
1. All the promises of God are “YES” in Christ.
(2 Cor. 1:10, Rom. 8:32.)
No need to negotiate with God: “If I renounce this promise, can I then have the other promise instead?”
Not “either serve God or be financially blessed.”
Not “either become a pastor or have a good house.”
(At the same time: We know what our highest values are and what we prioritize the most.)
2. The fulfillment of God’s promises is for everyone!
(Rom. 1:10-13, Rom. 8:32)
Not “either him or me,” but “both him and me.” God is rich enough for us all! There is no discrimination!
No need for competition or envy, but rather let’s encourage each other and stand together.
B. The Two Covenants Are “Either – Or” Not “Both – And”!
1. Either the old or the new covenant, not both the old and the new covenant at the same time.
We cannot read some here and some there and think that it’s all concerning us today…
The old covenant based on the law was given via Moses and was valid until the cross.
The new covenant started at the cross/resurrection/Pentecost and is the only one that now is in effect.
Hebr. 8:6-7 …a better covenant… For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.
Hebr. 8:13 In that He says, ”A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete.
The old covenant (and all its system) is over. The sacrifice of blood is no longer valid (as it was never able to remove the sins.)
Example: Payment of annual fee for driving cars. The stamp for 2007 is no longer valid in 2008.
Jesus fulfilled the law in the old covenant as He became the perfect lamb offering and obtained ETERNAL forgiveness for sins! Now there is no longer any need for more sacrifices to get forgiveness for sins or obtain blessings from God. A brand new covenant has started – with better conditions and promises. And it works in a different way.
2. Either Judaism or the Gospel of Grace, not both Judaism and the Gospel of Grace at the same time.
Judaism is the old covenant, and the Gospel of Grace is the new covenant.
C. Law And Grace Is “Either – Or” Not “Both – And”!
1. The old covenant was based on the Law of Moses, and the new covenant is based on grace.
When the Bible talks about “the Law,” it most of the time refers to the Law of Moses. We are under a different law, called the law of Christ / the law of Love.
Grace and the law of Christ are connected together, but grace and the Law of Moses are opposites.
Since God is a God of grace we can see much of God’s grace in the Old Testament too, even though God at that time was not yet reconciled with men through Jesus.
2. We are under grace and not under the Law of Moses
(John 1:17, Rom. 6:14)
“Since we are under the Law it is really good that we have the grace,” is a wrong statement that mixes the two.
The Law of Moses was given to the Jews for a purpose and for a certain time period.
Jesus then fulfilled all the requirements of the Law, and on the cross he annulled the Law.
The Law of Moses is no longer in effect.
No religions can help people save themselves by their own works, but Jesus has been given as Saviour for all people in all kinds of religions! HIS sacrifice is valid forever!
3. We live and serve in “the newness of the Spirit” and not “the oldness of the letter.” (Rom. 7:6, 2 Cor. 3:6)
Even though we are not under the Law of Moses, sometimes we have still brought some of the “ways of the letter” into the Churches or into our personal lives. However, the Bible says that when we preach the pure Gospel without mixing it with the Law we will see much more glorious results. We’ve got something better.
D. Self-righteousness And God’s Righteousness Are “Either – Or” Not “Both – And”!
(Rom. 10:3-4, Phil. 3:8-9)
1. Self-righteousness is based on our own life and works; God’s righteousness is based on Jesus’ works and life. The Gospel (the good news) is that we have received God’s righteousness as a gift. Self-righteousness (Law, old covenant) and God’s righteousness (grace, new covenant) should not be mixed.
2. We never come to God based on our self-righteousness but based on God’s righteousness given to us. Self-righteousness is no longer valid! (And it was never good enough anyway.)
Our own works are not valid to deserve salvation, healing, God’s favor, ministry, etc.