Derek Prince - God's Law And Grace Are Mutually Exclusive
Now, let’s go on from there. The next thing I want to say, and this is where people begin to get shocked, His law and grace are mutually exclusive. You cannot benefit from both, it has to be one or the other. If you go on in Romans chapter 6, to verse 14, it says: For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. So those are two mutually exclusive alternatives. You can be under law or you can be under grace but you cannot be under both at the same time. And if you’re under law you’re not under grace, and if you’re not under grace you're not under law. The implications of what Paul says are very far reaching. He says sin shall not have dominion over you for you are not under law but under grace. The implication is, if you are under law sin would have dominion over you. The only way to escape from the dominion of sin is to stop trying to keep a law and avail yourself of God’s grace.
I told you this would be shocking. I can see some of you are already a little bit shocked. Now in Romans 8:14 Paul says: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Who are the real children of God? Those who are led regularly by the Holy Spirit. That’s the alternative to keeping a set of rules. You can keep the set of rules or you can be led by the Holy Spirit, but you can’t do both. There’s a little illustration that I use which comes to my mind. I think I’ll use it just to make this vivid. There’s this young man, he’s just graduated from a Bible school. He’s got a degree in theology. He’s strong and healthy. And he’s got to make his way from a certain point to a certain destination. God says to him, Now you’ve got two alternatives. You can either use the map, or you can avail yourself of a personal guide.
This young man says, Well, I’m pretty smart, and I’ve got a degree in theology. I know how to read maps. I’ll take the map I don’t need the guide. When he starts off the sun is shining, the birds are singing, but about three days later, it’s dark. It’s the middle of the night, he’s in a forest, he’s on the verge of a cliff, and he doesn’t know whether he’s facing north, south, east or west. And a gentle voice says to him: Can I help you? Do you know who that is? The Holy Spirit, the personal guide. So he says, Holy Spirit, I really need you! The Holy Spirit gets him out of his position and they start off on the road again. Then after a little while, he says to himself, You know, I think I was a bit silly. I could have handled that without any help. I really didn’t need to panic. He looks around and his guide is no longer there. He’s on his own. So, well I can make it.
So, another three days later he’s in the middle of a bog. Every step he takes he sinks deeper and he can’t get out. The gentle voice says to him: Perhaps you need me now. Oh, Holy Spirit, please help me! Only You can get me out of this. And so he goes on with the Holy Spirit walking on the way that leads to his destination. Then he says to the Holy Spirit, to his guide, he says, You know, I’ve got a very excellent map. Maybe I could share the map with you. And the guide says, Thank you but I don’t need the map, I know the way. Besides, I was the one who made the map. You see the message? How long will it take before we realize we cannot do it on our own? It’s not our good works. It’s not our keeping rules. It’s the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of grace. As many as are regularly led by the Holy Spirit these are the sons of God.
And then in Galatians 5, Paul returns to this theme. And I want to say to you this theme is one of the major themes of the New Testament. Anybody that has never really mastered this theme is in a state of twilight. I think that’s where a lot of Christians live, they live in a kind of twilight, halfway between law and grace and they don’t know which is which, and they don’t know how to avail themselves of God’s grace. But in Galatians 5 in verse 18, Paul says: But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. He said earlier, as many as are led by the Spirit, these are the sons of God. So, you’ve got the choice. You can live like a son of God be led by the Holy Spirit, or, you can turn your back on the Holy Spirit and try to keep the law. But you cannot combine the two. This is the essence of what I’m trying to say to you. This is where people get into a twilight. They’re half trusting grace and half trusting their own little set of rules, which they’re keeping.
Please understand I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to keep rules. What I’m saying is keeping rules does not make you righteous. Did you get that? I think I better say it again. Keeping rules does not make you righteous. Most of you belong to some kind of church or denomination and it has it's rules. I think if you belong to that particular group you ought to keep the rules. If you can’t keep the rules you shouldn’t belong. But, keeping the rules does not make you righteous. In fact, it’s really a major source of division in the body of Christ because most religious groups have got their own set of rules. The Catholics have one, the Baptists have another, the Seventh Day Adventists have another, the Pentecostals have another, and so on. And most of the people in those groups think keeping our rules makes us righteous. Then they look at the people that keep a different set of rules and say, Well, they’re not really righteous, because they’re not keeping our rules.
So you see what legalism does? It divides the body of Christ. The Baptists are free to keep their rules, provided they’re scriptural. The Pentecostals likewise, The Catholics, provided they’re scriptural. But bear in mind none of them are made righteous by keeping their rules. They’re made righteous by faith. The problem is if we get focused on rules, we’ll probably miss out on faith. and we’ll find ourselves in that twilight again. Or, like the young man who thought he could do it by the map, and ended up in a bog. Some of you know what it’s like to be in a bog. In fact, some of you are here now because you got out of the bog, and you realize you needed the Holy Spirit. Amen?