God Has Always Been Graceful

… knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. Galatians 2:16 NKJV

Many find grace in the New Testament, but there is also plenty of grace in the Old Testament as well. While Paul says no flesh will be justified by works, that includes those in the Old Testament as well. Those living during Old Testament and New Testament times are all saved by “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”Revelation 13:8 NKJV

This puts the cross before Adam and Eve! Before sin and the written law came on the scene we already had the cross! 

Grace is not new to the New Testament. It is in the Old Testament as well. It was at Sinai. 

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; Exodus 19:5 NKJV

In this passage God is pledging His grace to us. 

The word, “obey” is the Hebrew word “shema,” which means to listen. Doesn’t “listen to my voice” make perfect sense? The word, “keep” is the Hebrew word, “Shamar,” which means to “keep watch,” “cherish” and “regard.” 

We are already familiar with the word covenant, which is always one-way promise when God is involved. In Genesis 12:1-3 God made a covenant promise to Abraham without asking Abe to promise anything, only believe. 

Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

So in Exodus 19:5, God is promising us that if we listen to His voice, and cherish His promises, He will make us a special treasure. Salvation has always been based on the grace of God’s promises. In Exodus 20, God begins the commandments with,

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. “You shall have no other gods before Me. Exodus 20:2-3 NKJV

God is saying, “you did not save yourselves from bondage by your works. I saved you by my grace. Because of this I promise you won’t need any other gods beside me.”

Even Jesus overcame temptation by trusting His Father’s promises. 

The Saviour overcame to show man how he may overcome. All the temptations of Satan, Christ met with the word of God. By trusting in God’s promises, He received power to obey God’s commandments, and the tempter could gain no advantage. -Ellen White, Ministry of Healing, Page 181.

The works of the flesh were never a part of the everlasting gospel in the Old or New Testaments. When Paul said, “for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified” he was not implying anything new. He was establishing a fact as ancient as God Himself. God has always been graceful. 



God Has Always Been Graceful — 5 Comments

  1. I wonder why God chose Abraham to make His covenant with. Of all the people of the world why Abraham? Could it be because of the way Abraham had chosen to live his life and the character he had developed? If so, then works (the way Abraham had lived his life) are very important. "Have you considered my servant Job" was God's response to Satan and God goes on to say that Job "fears God and turns away from evil". Clearly pointing to the works of Job.
    While the battle between works and grace will always be a topic of debate I think in the end both will be found equally important throughout history and until the end of time. The importance of being faithful to what one knows to be right and trusting in God's promises (faith), will always be the keys that unlock the storehouse of God's endless and amazing grace.

  2. William after reading your comment about grace in the old testament, it never occurred to me that it is found in the old testament, I did some checking and found that it was definitely in the old testament, very near the beginning. Genesis 6:8,But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. This was just after saying " I will destroy man who I have created" Genesis 6:7. It is logical when God offers His grace it is for good reason. The Bible is full these opportunities. Genesis 6:5 is one of the best examples because we are familiar. The story of Noah and the flood is a classic example of refusing Gods grace. What a terrible shame!

  3. Love was there first, then sin entered the world and when the penalty was too great a price for the transgressors, Grace became love in action. Working to save. Grace was the answer to a broken heart. Grace was the provision made for us on the cross of Cavalry. Grace calls to see who would reciprocate that love in human form. Amidst the darkness and pull of sin, would we be able to stand out like Abraham, Noah, Job, David of old and try to love Him as best as we can? Would we then also find Grace and the promises of blessings that come with living in obedience and faith?

  4. Good Morning William:
    Thank you for presenting this example of old testament grace found in Exodus 19:5.
    Just the verse previous is this: "You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagle's wings and brought you to Myself." Ex. 19:4 NKJV

    The event referring to when Moses stood before the Children of Israel and pronounced, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold you peace." Exodus 14:13,14 NKJV

    So when God said, "You have seen what I did to the Egyptians" Ex 19:4 May we take that as a warning,a cautionary tale not to harden our hearts? In this one passage are both examples of grace and mercy accorded, and judgement rendered.


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