1st Pentecost Under Law
All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.” And Moses reported the words of the people to the LORD. Exodus 19:8
And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell dead of the people that day about three thousand men. Exodus 32:28
1st Pentecost Under Grace
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Acts 3:37
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. Acts 2:41
In both events, there was a doing involved. Under the Law it requires a self doing. And we see the result. It brings death, because we are by nature sinners. By nature we are flawed. And nothing flawed of it’s own can become flawless.
The Law stands as a whole. If we move to keep it, we must keep all of it. There is no pick and choose. And if we break just one part of the Law, we have broken all of the Law.
The problem of doing under the Law is that there is no faith involved (Galatians 3:12). The Law requires our doing. The greatest commandment is,”You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.” (Deuteronomy 6:5) And the second is like it, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18)
Your love! You are the source of the do! But we are flawed. So our doing is flawed. So our love is flawed. So we have broken the Law.
“But I give it my best!” You exclaim. Your best doesn’t cut it. You are condemned under the Law for breaking the Law.
There is another Pentecost, however. And just like the first Pentecost, there is doing involved. Paul writes,
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: Romans 5:20
So what is the doing under grace? Notice our parallel passages? Under the law, “we can do.” But under grace, “what shall we do?” The fist is self generated, the second is self searching. The first, closed minded. The second, open minded.
Jesus said, “‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.'” (John 13:34)
Here is a commandment. It is not a Mosaic commandment but new. So under grace there is a doing as well.
But notice, “as I have…” The source of the doing has shifted. But let’s work further to clarify this. John wrote it, so let’s let John explain it.
In 1 John (his first writing, by the way), he references what he later wrote in John 13:34. So we understand that this letter, 1 John is written to explain this commandment.
John writes, “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” (1 John 3:21-22)
The condemnation of the heart is a direct reference to Pentecost under the Law and also under grace. The commandment here, again is not Mosaic but a reference to Christ’s new commandment. We know this, because he says in verse 23, “And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.”
“believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,” This directly references Peter’s answer to the populous in Acts 2:38-39. “and to love one another as he commanded us.” Again, this is a reference to Jesus commandment in John 13:34.
John is saying, believe on Christ’s love for you. And when you believe on Christ’s love for you, give that love to others.
He then moves on to clarify the source of this love.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:10-11
The source of the do has changed. It is no longer you, but Him. It is no longer you loving God, but Him loving you. It is no longer, “all that God commands we will do,” it is, “what more can I do?”
Because of Christ’s death, grace has come. That has brought a change for us. Our pleasing God is no longer keeping the Law. Our pleasing God is receiving His unconditional love for us.
Only when we receive His love can we walk as He walks. Paul also confirms this saying, “Therefore be imitators of God, as dearly beloved children.” (Ephesians 5:1)
When we know we are loved, our hearts are changed. And He is the source of our doing.