Sovereign Grace Baptist Church

Free Grace Media

Of Princeton, New Jersey


AuthorClay Curtis
TitleLaw and Grace
Bible TextExodus 21:18-36
Synopsis We will compare and contrast law and grace. We are only looking at a few characteristics of the law; then we will look to Christ and see what it is to be under grace. Listen
Series Exodus 2016
Article Type Sermon Notes
PDF Format pdf
Word Format doc
Audio HI-FI Listen: Law and Grace (32 kbps)
Audio CD Quality Listen: Law and Grace (128 kbps)
Length 50 min.

Series: Exodus

Title: Law and Grace

Text: Exodus 21: 18-36

Date: January 6, 2019

Place: SGBC, NJ


We are in Exodus at Mt Sinai.  Moses is receiving the law from God.   The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just and good because God who gave it is holy, just and good.


God’s chief attribute is holiness.  God only does what is right because God is holy.  There was a time my greatest comfort was in God’s absolutely sovereignty to rule over all.  But as God grows us in wisdom and understanding we find even greater comfort knowing above all, God is holy.  The comfort in God’s absolute sovereignty is not his sovereignty alone, but that God is holy so that he only uses his power to do what is right. 


If today the devil was given absolute sovereignty, it would not be his sovereignty that would terrify us.  It would be that he is unholy, so he would only use sovereignty to work sin.  If the devil were holy we would have no reason to fear because he would only work righteousness. 


God’s absolute sovereignty is comforting to us who believe because we know that God only does what is right due to his holiness.  As we look at God’s holy and just law we see that God is holy and just.


Subject: Law and Grace


Proposition:  We will compare and contrast law and grace.  We are only looking at a few characteristics of the law; then we will look to Christ and see what it is to be under grace.




Exodus 21: 18: And if men strive together, and one smite another with a stone, or with his fist, and he die not, but keepeth his bed: 19: If he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that smote him be quit: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed.  


The law is equitable.  It exacts no more and no less than it demands.  The injured man did not die therefore the man who smote him shall not die—“be quit” means he is free from that law of murder.  But the exact amount of wages lost, as well as his medical bills, shall be paid in full by the offender.  The law is equitable.  The exact penalty owed must and shall be paid to the law.




Exodus 21: 20: And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. 21: Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.


The law is no respecter of persons.  It does not regard who the person is that is smitten, nor who the offender is.  In the law before this one, a free man smote a free man.  Here a free man smote one who is bound.  It is a servant who is male or maid who is female.  They could be an Israelite servant or Gentile servant.  If they “die under his hand, he shall surely be punished.”  But if the servant lives, yet is unable to work a day or two, the master shall not pay for wages lost, because he is his money.  Still, the law does not feel sorry for the smitten person simply because it is a servant or maid, male or female, Jew or Gentile.


God is no respecter of persons.  Therefore, God’s law is not.  It matters not if a person is bond or free, rich or poor, male or female, Jew or Gentile.


2 Chronicles 19: 7:…for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons…


Deuteronomy 16: 19: Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons…


In our day, the closest thing we have to slaves or maids is employers and employees.  But grace says do not even give a need for the master to chasten a servant.  This is the heart where the Spirit of God is working:


Ephesians 6: 5: Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6: Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7  With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8  Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. 9  And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.




Exodus 21: 22: If men strive, [two men fighting each other] and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart [she delivers early] and yet no mischief follow: [both mom and infant are fine] he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. [if the judges determine the husbands payment just or they raise or lower it, he shall surely pay]  23: And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, 24: Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25  Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.  26: And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake. 27: And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.  


The law is just.  It demands an eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand and so on.




Exodus 21: 28: If an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die: then the ox shall be surely stoned, and his flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be quit.  29: But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death.  30: If there be laid on him a sum of money, then he shall give for the ransom of his life whatsoever is laid upon him.  31: Whether he have gored a son, or have gored a daughter, according to this judgment shall it be done unto him.  32: If the ox shall push a manservant or a maidservant; he shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned. 33: And if a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit, and not cover it, and an ox or an ass fall therein; 34: The owner of the pit shall make it good, and give money unto the owner of them; and the dead beast shall be his. 35: And if one man’s ox hurt another’s, that he die; then they shall sell the live ox, and divide the money of it; and the dead ox also they shall divide. 36: Or if it be known that the ox hath used to push in time past, and his owner hath not kept him in; he shall surely pay ox for ox; and the dead shall be his own.


The law reaches to man and beast, son and daughter, manservant and maidservant and master.  Any and all who break the law shall suffer the curse and condemnation of the law.


Exodus 34: 7:…God will by no means clear the guilty


There is much more we will see about the law as we go on.  But in these few statutes we see: the law is equitable, the law is no respecter of persons, the law is just, and the law reaches to all lawbreakers.


One more thing, what about the man who does not break the law?  Did we see the law demand anything of them?  No, the law has nothing at all to say to a righteous man, only the guilty. 


1 Timothy 1:9: Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10: For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; 11: According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.


The law only speaks to them who are under the law, which are lawbreakers.   That includes every person who believes not on Christ under the covenant of God’s grace.  To them the law is the ministration of sin and death—given to declare them guilty:


Romans 3:19: Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.  20: Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.


If you have never cast your care on Christ then here this word John 3:36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.  Now, give me your undivided attention.  May God give you grace to believe on Christ this hour!




God sent his only begotten Son and Christ Jesus was made flesh, made under the law, that he might redeem his people from the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.  So the spotless Lamb of God bore the sins of his people on the cross.


When Christ came under the law on the cross bearing our sin:


·         The law was equitable—it demanded exact payment for every sin of every chosen child of God.  Christ paid it all!


Romans 5: 16: And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one [offense] to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.


·         The law showed no respect of persons—when sin was found on his own Son, Romans 8:32: [God the Father] spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for [all his people].  Sinner, don’t imagine that God will pass over you because your parents believe, or because you did your best; if God spared not his own Son, he will not spare you and me!


·         The law was just—Christ said, “My God my God why hast thou forsaken me…for thou art holy and I am a worm and no man.”


·         The law reaches to all—on the cross, each and every one of God’s elect was crucified when our Substitute drank the dregs of the cup of God’s fury dry.


Romans 5: 19: As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.  20: Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.


And grace reigned indeed!  He sent us the gospel…


Galatians 4:6: And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.


Romans 6: 1: What shall we say then? Shall we [who believe] continue in sin, that grace may abound?


Believer, how can we?  We are dead to sin by Christ’s death and we are alive unto God by his resurrection.  The Spirit of Christ in you will not allow our sinful flesh to dominate our inward man anymore.


Romans 6:14: For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.   


Christ condemned our sin in the flesh. Now, the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us!  We have established the law in perfection—in every jot and tittle—with a righteousness far, far, far better than the Pharisees—apart from any of our worksjust like Abel, Enoch, Noah, like Abraham 430 years before the law was given at Sinai—through faith in Christ!


Romans 8: 1: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.  


Oh believer, does your heart not overflow!  We are in Christ Jesus by God grace and by God’s grace we “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”  God’s grace has made us willing bond servants of Christ.


Romans 8: 2: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.




Matthew 5: 38: Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.


“If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”  Now, we “serve in newness of spirit not in the oldness of the letter.”  What does that mean?  We are under the rule of Christ—we walk by faith—led of Christ, looking to Christ, learning from Christ, moved by Christ—constrained by his love for us—and this life we now live in the flesh we live by the faithfulness of Christ our Husband producing this fruit in us.  It does not mean that we are a doormat.  It means we seek to live unto God with a clear conscience as peacemakers like Christ our Peacemaker.


Isaiah 53:7: He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.


Did anyone learn that from the law we looked at?  It is not found in one of the ten commandments.  We learn this looking to Christ, hearing him say,


Isaiah 50:6: I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.


1 Peter 2: 19: For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.  20: For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21: For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25: For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.




Matthew 5: 40: And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41: And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42: Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.


Walking by faith we remember that God had a lawsuit against us.  Yet, Christ laid down his life under that law and robed us in the garment of his own righteousness and his great love for us constrains us so that.


Beholding Christ’s superabounding grace—grace that did much more abound over our sin—his love compels us far more than any man can compel us so that—"whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.”


What has he given to you, brethren?  We cursed him, he blessed us.  We hated him, he did us good.  We despitefully used him, and he everliveth to make intercession for us.


John 1: 16: And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.




Matthew 5: 43: Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44: But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45: That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46: For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47: And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48: Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.


This is not teaching that grace is common.  It is not!  But if Christ had respected our persons, surely he would have never chosen me or given himself for me.  But he loved his people without a cause in us.  Oh, we love our brethren above all—they are members of our own body and Christ is our Head.  But it is our aim to do good to all men because our Master tells us to do so, not because they earned it. 


1 John 4:10: Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.


Christ teaches us to be perfect as our Father.  What does that mean?  In Christ Jesus, we are perfect.  In Christ we are holy and without blame in the Son of his love, cccepted in the Beloved.  As he is so are we in this world—complete!


1 John 3:1: Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:


But we cannot be perfect in this body of sinful flesh?  What does he mean?  Here is what he means:


James 2: 1: My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. 2: For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; 3: And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: 4: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? 5: Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?


Romans 12:18  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.


And when it comes to our brethren.


Ephesians 4: 32: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. 5: 1: Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.


My brethren do you see that grace and love is a far better rule than law?  May God make us live by grace.