In the last “Dear Co-Laborer” issue we evaluated the distinction between legality and morality. If you will patiently bear with me, I will take this a step further. In this issue let’s look at the foundation or basis of both legality and morality.
Simplisticly stated, legality is the rules of man and morality is the rules of God. As noted in an earlier issue of this paper, neither legality nor morality have force apart from accountability. Without accountability people will consider law to be negotiable.
For example, if the state highway patrol went on strike, how fast would people drive? You would rightly answer, “As fast as they want to drive.” The speed laws are still the law of the state, but there is no enforcement.
If there is no accountability, truth is relative rather than absolute. Just as the state, which defines the content of legality, must have accountability in order for law to have impelling force, so also God, Who defines the content of morality, must have accountability in order for His Law to have force.
HOW PEOPLE GO TO HEAVEN
It is precisely here that GRACE in the New Testament and Law in the Old Testament become confused. Both the Old and the New Testaments teach that grace is the sole path to heaven.
“Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). From these verses it is easy to see that no one gets to go to heaven on his own merit.
By grace, God reached down and pulled some into heaven to be with Him forever. To satisfy His justice in saving the sinner when He had already said, “the soul that sinneth, it shall die,” He sent His Son Jesus to die for us. In this we see that the difference between heaven and hell is not the difference between the performance of one person vis-a-vis another. Those in heaven are not less sinful than those in hell. People are in heaven rather than hell for only one reason, the grace of God manifested in the propitious death of Christ for the sinner.
ACCOUNTABILITY IN ETERNITY
If the line between heaven and hell is crossed by grace alone, then where is accountability in eternity for the sinner, both saved and lost? God, holding the sinner accountable for his sin and thus barring him from heaven, transfers this accountability to His Son who died on the cross, thus enabling the believer to enter heaven. This being so, is there any further accountability in eternity?