17For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.
17For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
What is the purpose of God’s law to a fallen and sinful humanity? It cannot be a means of salvation, for all are born sinners and spiritually dead. For this reason, no one is able to fulfill God’s law as righteousness requires. So, if the law is not to obtain righteousness then what is the purpose? In this sermon titled “The Law and Grace,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones answers this question by expounding John 1:17 and the great truth of the law as a means of revealing a sinner’s need for salvation by God’s grace alone. The law always looked forward to Jesus Christ who came to die to fulfill it. By His death the Christian has been healed and by His keeping the law, they have been made new. To try to obey the law as a means of salvation is to deny the gospel and reject God’s grace in Christ. This is why the church must always be clear that all are to seek righteousness not as a means of salvation, but because Christ has made them new creatures by the power of the Holy Spirit working in the hearts and minds of all who believe. This gospel is the only way of redemption and restoration with God and humanity.
- The law and grace should not be seen as opposites. They have a close relationship where the law points to grace.
- The law itself contained grace. God gave the ceremonial law which provided a way for forgiveness and approach to God. This showed the need for grace.
- The law prophetically pointed to grace. The sacrifices were a shadow of the ultimate sacrifice of Christ. They were meant to point to something greater to come.
- The law shows our need for grace. It reveals God's holy standard and our inability to meet it, showing our need for forgiveness and salvation by grace.
- Nothing but grace can save us. The law shows we are helpless, hopeless, and dead in sin. Only grace can give life and salvation.
- The law defines grace. Grace is the free, unmerited favor of God. It is given not because of anything in us but because of God's nature.
- The law indicates what grace must do. It shows we need forgiveness, new birth, and power which the gospel provides through Christ.
The Book of John
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.