Book Review: Law & Grace by J. Alva McClain

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The careful student of God’s Word recognizes that there is a discontinuity between the Old and New Testament. That is, he sees a very real difference between the people of Israel and the Church. They are distinct in many ways including their future blessings and way of life.


This distinction between Israel and the Church raises many questions for those who desire to apply the Old Testament. Should the interpreter directly apply Old Testament principles to New Testament believers? If so, in what way? If not, why not? More precisely, since the entirety of Scripture is “useful” (or “profitable” kjv 2Ti 3.16) how should the New Testament believer view the Mosaic Law? Many volumes have been written with the sincere goal of aiding the modern believer in his interpretation of the Old Testament.

Alva McClain’s work, Law and Grace, is an essential read for those with any of the above questions. As an introduction to the subject of the Law, this book is a must. McClain aptly demonstrates that the Old Testament Law was designed to show sinners their plight. With this divine purpose (though there are others) in mind, he shows that the Law has never brought salvation to the Israelites, Gentiles, or Christians.

Yet, the Law is not to be ignored. The last three chapters are especially helpful. In those McClain discusses the dangers of putting Christians under the Law. He also demonstrates that the Law is profitable and should be studied by every believer.

At times, this book is somewhat pedantic. This should not frustrate the reader. The book is only 80 pages with 10 chapters. The brevity of each chapter allows the reader to quickly reread portions that were not assimilated the first time. Besides that, the reader will appreciate the wealth of information found in such a brief book. Furthermore, the believer will gain a new appreciation for the Law and its divinely intended roles.

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