The purpose of the Law was, basically, to bring us to the Messiah. It is essential to start here. Once I understand the purpose of the law, I can move on.
What would I move on to? How about grace? That would be a good start.
With the result that the Law has become our tutor and our disciplinarian to guide us to the Messiah, so that we may be justified, that is, declared free of the guilt of missing God’s goal (aka sin) and its penalty, and placed in right standing with God by faith. (Galatians 3:24).
Once I am saved and become a follower of Jesus, God desires to glorify Himself through My good works. Jesus is clear on this. Following Jesus means I will do good deeds.
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and recognize and honor and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
Paul explains it this way.
For we are His workmanship, His own master work, a work of art, created in the Messiah Jesus reborn from above — spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used for good works, which God prepared for us beforehand taking paths which He set, so that we would walk in them living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us. (Ephesians 2:10).
Therefore, good works follow the decision to follow Jesus; they do not precede it.
Conflict between “grace” and the “Law” can arise when someone:
- Misunderstands the purpose of the Law.
- Redefines grace as something other than “God’s benevolence on the undeserving”
- Paul makes this clear (a Pharisee himself). “But if it is by grace God’s unmerited favor, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace it would not be a gift but a reward for works.” (Romans 11:6)
- Tries to earn his own salvation or “supplement” the Messiah’s sacrifice.
- Follows the error of the Pharisees in tacking manmade rituals and traditions onto his doctrine.
- Fails to focus on the “whole counsel of God”.
- “For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose and plan of God.” ~Paul (Acts 20:27).
When the Holy Spirit guides our search of Scripture, we can “study to show ourselves approved unto God” (2 Timothy 2:15) and discover the beauty of a grace that produces good works.
The Pharisees and teachers of the law accuse Jesus the Messiah’s disciples of not following tradition
- Mark 7:5 — The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?”
Jesus the Messiah accuses the Pharisees and teachers of the law of hypocrisy
- Mark 7:6–8 — And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me. ‘But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”
- Isaiah 29:13 — Then the Master said, “Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote.”