Some Folks Need Law, Others Need Grace

Christians need to know when to use the law and when to use grace when sharing the Gospel or talking with fellow believers.

Fifteen years ago, I was with a group of Christians who did a survey of sorts. 

We went to Old Town Ft. Collins, Colorado, on a Saturday night and asked passers-by if they had obeyed all of the Ten Commandments. 

Amazingly, 90% said they had. Most also told us they thought they were "good enough" to get into heaven. 

Evangelist Ray Comfort says we should emphasize the law (sin and repentance) when sharing Christ with proud people and emphasize grace with humble people (people who are already aware of their sins). Sadly, most Americans are proud, and we do them a great disservice if we stress grace before law.

If people hear about grace before understanding their sin, they may not see their need for grace. 

Even those of us who know Christ sometimes forget the meaning of the word.

Today let's consider the fact that the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life (Romans 6:23). We deserve hell because of our personal sins, but those who follow Christ receive eternal life instead. Wow!

A Scripture to Ponder

Galatians 3:24 is an interesting passage. In the NIV it says: “So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.” 

The Greek word translated “guardian” means “trainer.” 

I enjoy comparing translations and it was quite helpful in this case: 

The Berean literal Bible: “our trainer unto Christ.” 

The KJV: “our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.” 

The NKJV and NASB 1995: “our tutor.” 

The Amplified Bible puts it this way: With the result that the law has become our tutor and our disciplinarian to guide us to Christ, so that we may be justified [that is, declared free of the guilt of sin and its penalty, and placed in right standing with God] by faith.

This verse tells us that the law forces us to confront our sins and see ourselves as sinners who need a Savior. Most Americans come from the perspective of feeling we are "good enough." We most often need to hear the law before we hear the message of grace.

For a great explanation of presenting the law in evangelism, see Hell's Best Kept Secret.


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Christians need to know when to use the law and when to use grace when sharing the Gospel or talking with fellow believers.

Bible Love Notes


  1. Ray's advice makes a lot of sense. Thank you for sharing it and your thoughts on grace. So comforting.

  2. Gail,
    Before I was married I told my future husband I was a Christian. I also thought I was good! What a wake-up call when I really saw my sin for what it was! Thank God for His mercy and patience with us. Thank you, friend!

  3. Gail, the timing of this devotional was perfect (God's timing always is...) in response to my request to God to guide me as I respond to the prideful behavior of a (trauma-suffering) child for whom I have been a guardian for 15 years. Grace and sweetness have been met with abuse (because I am a safe target for the anger), over and over, and I have felt led to have to be more stern, giving more deserved consequences, which has been met with even more rebellion and abuse. I prayed, specifically, for God to make sure that I stay in His will as I respond to her. God, knowing our needs before we do, had your devotional right there when I opened my e-mail, which validated that the leading I've been feeling from Him is being interpreted correctly. (Thankfully, God also provided a therapist who is a Believer, and she is supportive of how I am responding to the behaviors.)

    Thank you for your clearly Spirit-led writings with which you bless us!

    1. I'm so sorry about your struggle with your child, and I've prayed that God will continue to give you wisdom and peace and I also pray that you will no longer be abused.

      It's a blessing to hear that the biblical principles in this devotion were helpful.

  4. A comment from my friend Jude Gibbs that went to the wrong location:
    'Hell's best kept Secret' is a very good 'sermon'. TY! for sharing that. It reminded me of a conversation I had many decades ago when I was young (physically & spiritually) with an Assistant Pastor. I was trying to understand some Scriptures that on 1st glance seemed to be contradictory. The 'A.P' pointed out that the Law is for the 'unsaved' & Grace is for the 'saved'. As Christians, we are no longer under the Law (Gal. 3:25) Actually, all of Gal. 3 addresses the difference of being under the Law vs. under Grace. Paul calls Believers: 'foolish' who place themselves back under the Law. But for unbelievers, they do still reside under the Law.

    This caused me to ponder. Are prisoners (rapists, murderers, etc.) being set 'free' in today's culture due to a failing of the Church to make such a distinction? Do those who are making such decisions believe they are setting these felons 'free' to show them a 'worldly form' of Mercy & Grace? They seem somewhat perplexed when such felons commit another crime once they are released as if they've never heard of 2 Pet. 2:22, Prov. 26:11. Perhaps, and I don't know for certain, all the modern day teaching of 'Grace', neglecting the teaching of Law and the O.T., has produced this 'fruit'.

    'Food for thought'. (((HUGS)))

    1. Good insights, Jude.
      And good questions.
      I think many people today believe in what is called "cheap grace." They think a person can be genuinely saved and have no concern for their sins.

      We are no longer under the rules and regulations of the Old Testament laws, many of which dealt with external things like diet, sacrifices, and ceremonies.

      Christ fulfilled those laws and now with God's Spirit in us, we obey the New Testament commands. Cheap grace comes in when we think we are not responsible to live as Christ commands.