By: George Zellar

“For the law was given by Moses,
but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

The law reflects God’s holy and righteous standards to which we have all miserably failed to measure up. Grace involves God’s love and unmerited favor, freely bestowed on wretched sin- ners who do not deserve one drop of kindness. They deserve judgment and wrath instead.

The law demands righteousness; grace freely justifies (Rom. 3:24). The law utterly condemns the best person; grace saves to the uttermost the worst person (1 Tim. 1:15). The law kills; grace makes alive (2 Cor. 3:6). The law says, “Do;” grace says, “It is done!”

The law is prohibiting and demanding; grace is beseeching and bestowing (Rom. 12:1; Eph. 4:1). The law curses; grace blesses. The law shuts every mouth before God; grace opens the mouth in praise to God (Psalm 40:3). The law says, “Pay what you owe;” grace says, “I freely forgive you all!” The law says, “The wages of sin is death;” grace declares, “The gift of God is eternal life.”

While the law reveals sin, grace atones for it. The law demands obedience; grace bestows power to obey. The law brings distance between guilty man and God; grace reconciles man and draws him near to God (Rom. 5:1,10). The law promises life only on the basis of perfect obedience; grace offers good news to disobedient, guilty law-breakers.

Mt. Sinai has its place and its purpose, but thank God for Mt. Calvary, the place from which all grace abounds: “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Rom. 5:20).

“Run, John, run, the law commands, but gives me neither feet nor hands; far grander news the gospel brings; it bids me fly and gives me wings!” (John Bunyan).

Have you experienced God’s superabounding, life-transforming grace?


George W. Zeller has served on the staff of the Middletown Bible Church for more than 40 years. He is a graduate of Grace Theological Seminary where he studied under Dr. John Whitcomb. He has written numerous Sunday School lessons, Bible study materials, doctrinal booklets, and various papers on a wide range of Biblical topics. These studies are accessible at

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