How often have I heard exhortations concerning mixing Law with grace, and that we are to beware of any teaching that has any ‘law’ in it. Having never been a legalist myself, I probably don’t fully appreciate the concern that some have in this area. I certainly don’t want to diminish a valid issue for many believers. But perhaps what we are talking about isn’t a ‘law vs. grace’ conflict. Consider the following:
The fourth edition of the United Bible Societies' Greek Testament (1993) lists 343 Old Testament quotations in the New Testament, as well as no fewer than 2,309 allusions and verbal parallels. The books most used are Psalms (79 quotations, 333 allusions), and Isaiah (66 quotations, 348 allusions). An index in the Jewish New Testament lists 695 separate quotations from the books of the Old Testament in the New.
Whatever the actual number is, there can be no doubt that the New Testament contains many, many quotations from the Law and the Prophets. The phrase ‘it is written’ can be found almost 70 times! Some have felt that reading, quoting or referring to the Old Testament in their teachings is ‘mixing the Law with grace.’ You can’t really preach grace without mixing in the Law. Paul couldn’t!
So, perhaps the issue isn’t whether or not we can mix law and grace, but whether or not we can mix ‘law keeping’ with grace. The grace message cannot be separated from the revelation of Jesus in the Law. However, ‘law keeping’ must be understood in a different light.
Paul appealed repeatedly to the Law as a foundation (a good one) for his grace message. In fact in his last letter (2 Timothy) before his imminent death, Paul said: “Scripture is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17) These same Scriptures "are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 3:15)
These scriptures are the Law and the Prophets, the same Law and Prophets that Jesus said referred to Him! “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27)
As Paul said, the Law is spiritual, holy, just and good (Rom. 7:12, 14). The Law has a purpose in the message of grace. However, ‘law keeping’ does not. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Using the Law to understand spiritual truths about the Kingdom and about Christ is not ‘mixing the Law with grace.’ Trying to keep the Law in order to be made righteous is mixing law keeping with grace.