An excellent little study on law and grace. I found the first copy I owned in a thrift store and then loaned it to a friend and never got it back. Thankfully, Amazon had it in their inventory. I wish more Christians would read and believe this little book. Then perhaps you wouldn't have as much wacky garbage in our churches.
I have often found, through the years, that a smaller book dealing with a specific topic is often a better book --Dr. McClain's book on the Mosaic Law, and it's relationship with Christian life, is no exception. We are awash in the idea that Christians should somehow be "under" the Mosaic Law, or the "moral parts" of the Mosaic Law, or the "Ten Commandments," in the modern Church. While I understand the concern over people who proclaim Christianity, and yet don't live like Christians, I also think this concern is a little overblown. If we expect no priest between us and God, then we should refuse to stand between God and other believers, as well.
Dr. McClain begins this short book by discussing the usage of the word "Law" in the writings of the Apostles. He convincingly argues that this word virtually always refers to the Mosaic Law, rather than some other law of God, or even some other body of law. The next chapter moves into what is bound to be somewhat controversial, how the law could give eternal life. His contention here is that if you actually could follow the Mosaic Law perfectly, then you could really attain eternal life. The problem is, of course, that none of us can follow the Mosaic Law perfectly, from the moment of birth onwards.
The counter to this argument is that we are born in sin, rather than simply sinning from the first breath we take. The law can only lead to eternal life for those who are not born with a sin nature, which leaves all normal humans out.
In the fourth chapter, the author discusses why God gave us the Mosaic Law. Here his emphasis is on the idea of keeping sin in check, rather than as a day-to-day law code for Israel --but these two concepts are not really opposed to one another. In chapters 5, 6, and 7, he discusses the Law and Israel, the Law and gentiles, and finally the Law and Christians.
Chapter eight moves into the meat of his argument, discussing the dangers of putting Christians under the Mosaic Law. His central point is that if you put Christians under the Mosaic Law, you have made grace of no value --you have spurned grace for the Law. He also discusses problems with trying to follow some part of the Law and not others, referring back to his own discussion about the unity of the Law in earlier chapters.
If the Law is not the standard of life for Christians, then what is? In chapter 9, Dr. McClain argues the proper standard of life is through the Spirit --that while using the Law as a reference, the Christian should seek maturity in the Spirit for daily living. Finally, the author provides some objections to his thesis, and his answers to these objections.
If you're interested in understanding the relationship between the Mosaic Law and the Christian life, this is one of those slim little volumes worth taking the time to read.
It was Augustine who said "Love God and then do as you please." That is definitely not McClain's position. After reading and re-reading "Law and Grace," I think its message is right on. It promotes neither legalism nor licentiousness. It is one hundred percent in favor of holy living, and not of throwing the Law out the window, but yet being ever so careful as to NOT commit the grievous mistake of the legalists of divorcing the commands in Scripture from all the concrete examples of the grace, mercy, and love of our Lord that we see mingled throughout its pages, and thereby failing to see THAT (as opposed to sterile duty) as the very modus operandi for any obedience to those commands. In no way is this booklet advocating that notion that "love is all you need." But where some people only know one extreme or the other, McClain, by exegesis, has found the proper balance between the two unbiblical extremes. The Christian is neither in debt to keep the Law, nor free to do his own will. Rather, he lives wholly in the sphere of grace. And yet, grace does not embrace sin; grace renounces sin! So the more we see Christ, the more we see grace. But the more we see the Law, the more we see Christ!
Biblically Solid! This book is a concise powerhouse of arguments to equip any Christian with a Biblically sound defense of salvation by grace alone through faith alone. It provides a strong Biblical case against those who would still try to live "under the Law," while inspiring a stronger walk with God BECAUSE we live in grace! This is a great gift for anyone struggling with this issue. I have purchased several copies for others.
I have had this book for over twenty years. This is one of those books you won't find at the "Christian" book stores. I bought this one as a gift for a friend because we are studying Galatians in our Bible study.
I would recommend this to anyone studying Galatians or Romans. I is a book to use as a reference and to combate the legalists in your midst.
The book is great,the content, and analysis of this important subject, but the pages have come off their binding-now they are all basically individual pages, totally unglued,almost after I had read very little. So the book was in poor shape, -the middle part broken apart, like what happens with some books. I was disappointed in that one aspect, but the book I would recommend for sure.
This is the first book I have read by Alva J. McClain and I love his writing style. So easy to read and understand! Rev. McClain spent over forty years teaching and preaching and, from the perspective of his writings, he was a grand, Spirit-filled man of God. I love this book! Very informative and very Biblically based. You will love it! And you will grow in your faith while reading it!