“I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain”
We now conclude Paul’s address to Peter. This verse is the knockout punch of chapter 2. This verse is Paul’s final stroke to those who claim salvation or sanctification by law.
I do not set aside the grace of God;
The words “set aside” mean make void, cancel God’s grace. If we go back to the law, we cancel out the work of the cross. The grace of God is put as of no value, set aside, nullified, annulled. Self-righteousness declares invalid God’s provision in Christ. We annul God’s grace when we inject our righteousness. If we refuse grace, then Christ died without an adequate cause (“vain”). Christians must recognize the validity of grace.
We do nothing to attain God’s grace. We do not go through religious motions or righteous works. We do not have to climb any mountain, swim any sea, or cross any deserts. God gave us salvation and the Christian way of life free of charge.
Legalism voids God’s grace; grace and law are mutually exclusive.
If we maintain that we gain God’s approval by works, we abolish grace. Then there is no reason for the death of Christ. His death would be unwarranted and superfluous. It is a serious thing to negate grace.
The essence of God’s grace is to give us something we do not deserve. Salvation is a gift (Romans 4:4). Grace and merit are mutually exclusive. If God gives salvation by grace, then it is not I who do the work. If I do the work, then it is not God who gives salvation. If I do the work, then I get the glory. If God does the work, then He gets the glory.
“And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work” (Romans 11:6 ).
When we inject our righteousness into salvation or sanctification, we thwart the efficacy of Christ’s work for us. God’s grace and our work are contradictory. We must choose one or the other. They cannot both be true at the same time.
I understand much clearer the grace of God
Thank you for the simple clarification!
Thank you for the explanations.
But why do we need to strive for good works as Christians.
And also, the visions of hell as some people have had and how that some christians ended in hell confuses me.
Moreso, how do we relate “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” with this chapter.
Anny, good works are a manifestation of the grace of God on our lives. Faith always produces something. The argument of James is faith works. We need to separate cause and effect. We should never put the effect before the cause. See my studies on James.
There is no way Christians land in hell. People who imagine this comes from their own thinking, not the Bible.
On the phrase “work out your salvation” see my study on this verse: http://versebyversecommentary.com/philippians/philippians-212-2/
Thank you, Grant, for your prompt response.
Very clearly written about the grace , self righteousness, salvation and sanctification. Excellent clarification.
Such a gifted teacher you are! Thank you so much for taking the time to explain in detail the scriptures.
Thank you, Heather.