Causes for Confusion of Law and Grace -- By: Roy L. Aldrich

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 116:463 (Jul 1959)
Article: Causes for Confusion of Law and Grace
Author: Roy L. Aldrich


Causes for Confusion of Law and Grace

Roy L. Aldrich

[Roy L. Aldrich is President of Detroit Bible Institute, Detroit, Michigan.]

The Error of Legalism

The most persistent and widespread and deadly error of all Bible history is legalism. The natural mind has an affinity for legalism and corresponding disaffection for grace. The multitudes prefer to spend their money and labor in a vain attempt to merit what God declares can be secured only “without money and without price” (Isa 55:1–2).

The believer, saved through grace, is God’s masterwork. This is the teaching of Ephesians 2:1–10. “For we are his workmanship [masterwork], created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10).

On the other hand Satan’s masterwork consists of those deceived by his systems of self-righteousness. “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Cor 11:14–15). Israel, with all of her light, followed this path of deception: “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Rom 10:3).

But those who are saved by grace are not automatically delivered from legalism. The old nature, with its affinity for a merit system, still remains. The Galatian Christians were saved by grace but later entangled in dangerous forms of Mosaic legalism. “Are ye so foolish! having begun in the Spirit are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal 3:3).

It is probably true that no believer is without some taint of legalism. It is more certain that no one fully comprehends the grace of God. Isaiah declares that God’s willingness to “abundantly pardon” sin is as different from our thoughts about this matter as the heavens are higher than the earth

(Isa 55:7–9). But all of this does not free us from the obligation to understand what we can about the grace of God for only to the extent that we apprehend grace are we safe from legalism.

In the following pages we shall show that the believer is free from every aspect of the law ...

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