The Law of God Not Antithetical to Grace

In what ways do the Ten Commandments reveal the grace of God?

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Maybe some people think of the law of God as constrictive and antithetical to grace, but when we look at the way that God gave the law in the Old Testament, we can see that it was a gracious thing for God to give the law in the way that he did. What we see is that God gave the law to his people after he redeemed them from bondage of slavery in Egypt. As he lead them out and powerfully intervened on their behalf, he then brings them into the wilderness and condescends to them and reveals his plan for how they are to live under the lordship and the kingship of God who is their Great King. And so the law is not something that God required his people to keep in order that he then might redeem them. Instead, the law was given after God redeemed them from Egypt and shows his people the way that they are to live under the lordship of God as Great King, and how they are to live among one another as a redeemed people. And so, whenever you read about the law in the Old Testament, it's already being given in the context of God's gracious condescension to his people. And, in fact, if you read Deuteronomy 6, when the fathers are asked by their children, "What is the meaning of the statutes and the rules that God had given them?" The way the fathers are to respond is to begin by reminding the children of God's gracious and powerful deliverance of them from Egypt, and after he delivered them, then he brought them and gave them his laws in order that they might be preserved alive. And so, the law is a gracious condescension of God to show us who he is, to reveal his character, and to guide us in the way of blessing. To follow God's law would lead to blessing instead of cursing, and this shows us God's grace even in the giving of the law.

Answer by Dr. Brandon D. Crowe

Dr. Brandon D. Crowe is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary.