Law Preaching

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by The Lamb, Apr 10, 2005.

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  1. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    I agree that this is a false dichotomy. What does the Holy Spirit convict us of? Sin. What is sin? Sin is NOT "missing the mark" (unqualified).

    Must the PREACHING of the law of necessity come before conversion? At some point in time, maybe. The law of God is written on men's hearts. Men know that they are sinners. However, the preaching of the Law CLARIFIES what their consciences convict them of. But it is still through the law, that men are convicted, and it is through the law that men realize their depravity, and are driven to Chirst.

    Here Paul says that the Law DRIVES us to Christ. WHY? Because we realize our UTTER inability to save ourselves!

    Paul labors this model in Romans chapters 1-3. Chapter 1, Paul chastises the gentile for their sinfulness. Chapter 2, Paul says the Jews are even worse in that they were given the law *proper* and STILL disobeyed. Chapter 3:

    Luther is most helpful on this point:

    Calvin discusses this in his Institutes of the Christian Religion:

    I would ask those who think that conviction may happen APART from the law, where from Scripture might they fancy such a notion?
  2. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore

    Dr. Clark,

    Amen and amen and amen!

    After my conversion to Christ at the age of 33 I was so happy and joyful at the thoughts of all my sins being forgiven. But it didn't take long for some of the evangelical circles I was in and listening to - to absolutely "kill" grace and throw a blanket on Christ. And it wasn't all "arminians" either. Those were some dark dispairing times for me, I practically lost Christ altogether.

    The more "the law" was preached or a law disguised as Gospel the more dispairing I became. Where did my focus go? Loving God? Loving my neighbor? Not at all - it turned in upon myself, am I saved, dispair, depression and misery. Or if I did do external obediences it had nothing to really do with the person I was serving but with my personal fear of punishment and hope of reward. Though, so obviously stated I would have denied it if asked that way. It would do MANY good to contemplate old Luther's fear of "punishment/hope of reward" Vs. "gratitude" deeply concerning the Law and the Gospel.

    It never fails today, when I hear the Gospel in all of its sweetness (a rarity in most churches) it always lifts my heart from my self and toward others. IT gives the power, IT is life.

    It scares and saddens me deeply to see reformed churches going down the very Christ obscuring path that most of us are fleeing from.

    Unfortunately in some "reformed" circles you'd think Martin Luther was the enemy of the reformation, replaced by the yeast of John Wesley and Charles Finney (except for blatant statements of arminian theology regarding the two).

    Blessings In Christ's Sufficiency ALONE,

  3. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    This is not accurate. Christ saves us FROM the law!

    [Edited on 5-14-2005 by Jeff_Bartel]
  4. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    As to the final judgment, the Reformed confessions, in contrast to the Auburn Ave folk are quite clear.

    For example, Belgic Confession Art 37 is says that at the judgment, <<Then the books will be opened and the dead will be judged (Rev 20:12) according to what they have done in this world, whether good or evil (2 Cor 5:10). Indeed, all people will render account for every careless word they utter (Mt 12:36), which the world regards as mere jest and amusement. The secrets and hypocrisies of men will then be publicly uncovered in the sight of all.>>

    If we stopped reading here, we might conclude that, though we are justified in this life (as some argue) sola gratia, sola fide at the judgment, the basis of justification will be different. It will not be only Christ's alien righteousness imputed to me.

    Indeed, some in the Reformed churches are arguing today that, at the judgment, our sanctity (the work of the Spirit in us and our cooperation with the Spirit) will be at least part of the basis on which believers shall be judged.

    The Belgic does not stop there, however. It continues:

    <<And so for good reason the thought of this judgment is horrible and dreadful to the wicked and evildoers but it is a great joy and comfort to the righteous and elect. For then their full redemption will be completed and they will receive the fruits of their labor and of the trouble they have suffered. Their innocence will be known to all and they will see the terrible vengeance that God will bring upon the wicked who persecuted, oppressed, and tormented them in this world.>>

    Again, we see the clear distinction between law and gospel in Reformed soteriology. To those who stand before God outside the imputed righteousness of Christ, the judgment is rightly a terrible thing. To those, however, clothed in Christ's perfect righteousness, the judgment is not law, not an occasion for condemnation, but an occasion for rejoicing. It is not bad but good news. The innocence of the righteous elect shall be made known.

    That is why Reformed theology has always distinguished between justification, i.e., the declaration by God that believers are justified by the imputed righteousness of Christ, a definitive declaration that cannot be improved or supplemented by our sanctity (as the Belgic Art 22 says, either Christ is sufficient or he is only half a Savior) and vindication. The latter is God's declaration that, despite all the claims to the contrary, his elect really are just. Justification received in this life is not for this life only.

    This is also the doctrine of WLC 90, which speaks of believers being "openly acknowledged and acquitted."

    Should the judgment make us shudder? Yes, but not because the terms of the test have changed, but because of what will occur to those outside of Christ.

    For believers it should be a cause of comfort and peace.

  5. The Lamb

    The Lamb Puritan Board Freshman

    Jeff Sin IS mising the mark. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin. We have all fallen short of Gods perfect Law.

    SO I dont know where the false dichotomy is, neither do I know what all these cliches mean, but that matters little to me.

    To once again clearly emphasise my understanding. AS Larry and R Scott have done much better at.

    To disguise the Law as the Gospel, or even gracious is an error. CTERS make this mistake in order to dispel a Dispensational understanding.

    THe LAw must be preached. But cannot be preached more than or without the remedy of Christ. And to also seperate the Law into 3 parts is something foreign to scripture also. All I read is it is the LAw= the Old Covenant. Of which I believe Christ satisfied. There is no need to hammer the Law to people continuously. THe letter is dead and kills.

    LAw preaching must become secondary to preaching Christ and His cross. TO burden people with the LAw makes one look to ourselves constantly and away from Christ. This is my whole point in this thread. I have read many puritans and reformers alike who preach the Law as if it was gracious and life giving. It is NEITHER. It WAS our schoolmaster, but now is done away with because of Christ. Keep the Law in its place and it will serve just fine. Elevate the Law as Gospel and it will destroy. The LAw has no power of the elect and cannot condemn those in Christ Jesus.

    Here are some examples taken from R Scotts website.

    William Twisse (1578-1646). How many ways does the Word of God teach us to come to the Kingdom of heaven? Two. Which are they? The Law and the Gospel. What says the Law? Do this and live. What says the Gospel? Believe in Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. Can we come to the Kingdom of God by the way of God's Law? No.Why so? Because we cannot do it. Why can we not do it? Because we are all born in sin. What is it to be none in sin? To be naturally prone to evil and ...that that which is good. How did it come to pass that we are all borne in sin? By reason of our first father Adam. Which way then do you hope to come tot he Kingdom of Heaven? By the Gospel? What is the Gospel? The glad tidings of salvation by Jesus Christ. To whom is the glad tidings brought: to the righteousness? No. Why so? For two reasons. What is the first? Because there is none that is righteous and sin not. What is the other reason? Because if we were righteous, i.e., without sin we should have no need of Christ Jesus. To whom then is this glad tiding brought? To sinners. What, to all sinners? To whom then? To such as believe and repent. This is the first lesson, to know the right way to the Kingdom of Heaven.: and this consists in knowing the difference between the Law and the Gospel. What does the Law require? That we should be without sin. What does the Gospel require? That we should confess our sins, amend our lives, and then through faith in Christ we shall be saved. The Law requires what? Perfect obedience. The Gospel what? Faith and true repentance. (A Brief Catechetical Exposition of Christian Doctrine, 1633).

    J.C. Ryle (1816-1900). To be unable to see any difference between law and gospel, truth an error, Protestantism and Popery, the doctrine of Christ and the doctrine of man, is a sure proof that we are yet dead in heart, and need conversion. (Expository Thoughts on John, 2:198-199).

    William Perkins 1558-1602). The basic principle in application is to know whether the passage is a statement of the law or of the gospel. For when the Word is preached, the law and the gospel operate differently. The law exposes the disease of sin, and as a side-effect, stimulates and stirs it up. But it provides no remedy for it. However the gospel not only teaches us what is to be done, it also has the power of the Holy Spirit joined to it....A statement of the law indicates the need for a perfect inherent righteousness, of eternal life given through the works of the law, of the sins which are contrary to the law and of the curse that is due them.... By contrast, a statement of the gospel speaks of Christ and his benefits, and of faith being fruitful in good works (The Art of Prophesying, 1592, repr. Banner of Truth Trust,1996, 54-55)

    John Calvin. This is confirmed by the testimony of Paul, when he observes that the Gospel holds forth salvation to us, not under the harsh arduous, and impossible terms on which the Law treats with us, (namely, that those shall obtain it who fulfill all its demands,) but on terms easy, expeditious, and readily obtained (Institutes, 2.5.12).
  6. kceaster

    kceaster Puritan Board Junior


    You are not understanding. If you think the Puritans were preaching some kind of "boot-strap" theology, and a heavy laden works righteousness, you just don't have a leg to stand on. Both of these methods were part of the Remonstrance and later Finney, et al.

    You're missing it. Take a deep breath.

    If you're chafing at the law, realize that God is calling you to repentance, for one. If you're overwhelmed because you think someone is trying to force obedience upon you in order for either your justification or sanctification, you do need to get away from people like that. But I assure you that I am not trying to say that at all. Look at my signature line. "...make you complete to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory..."

    As has been said before, Paul states clearly that he wouldn't have known what it was to covet unless the law showed him. So, how is it that God makes us complete to do His will? Well, in order for us to do His revealed will, we must obey. But the verse goes on to tell us that this obedience is worked in us. Obedience according to the law is nothing we can do. Even in sanctification, the Holy Spirit is the one doing the work in us, we can take no credit at all.

    So, to chafe at doing what is well pleasing in the sight of God, really does mean that you are not necessarily listening to what the law has to say, but concentrating on what it's telling you to do. You're the one who puts the works spin on it, you're the one who makes it seem like someone is preaching to you works righteousness. Because without the spirit of Christ in us, we cannot obey at all.

    The preaching of the law should be an encouragement, not an encumbrance.

    That is where your disconnect is happening. But take courage. We all have this disconnect. The apostle Paul probably had this disconnect from time to time, although all that we have are his inspired, "good" thoughts.

    I go back to something you really did not acknowledge before. If we do not preach the whole counsel of God, we are wrong. If we think that we are in the age of grace and do not need to preach on the law, we must ask ourselves why Paul features it so heavily and why our Lord's favorite book was Deuteronomy.

    Yes, Joseph, there must be balance and yes, it must be preached correctly. But to neglect the OT, or just to preach the Psalms and all the glorious stories we like to hear, is a mistake the modern church has been making for some time now.

    One last thing: If our preaching is Christ-centered, which I believe it is, then we can never have an improper balance. The preaching of the law does not lead us to a wrong position as long as we are constantly putting the focus where it needs to be. But, if we only preach the NT or preach grace all the time without proper balance in the whole counsel of God, then we can begin to go down the road of easy-believism and cheap grace.

    I hear from you that there must be a majority of grace and a minority of law. This is your false dichotomy. If we preach Christ, we're going to do as Paul did and rightly bring out the law where it is needed, ALWAYS showing that not only has Christ fulfilled it on our behalf, but also that He works in us both to will and to do.

    In Christ,

  7. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore

    I think the issue with the Puritans is three fold. And I love much of Puritan writing, however, one must be discerning when reading them.

    First, as mentioned on other threads they were far from monolithic in their theology.

    Second, the influence of pietism on Cotton Mather, a key Puritan figure, cannot be ignored or summarily rejected.

    Finally, as Ken Jones on WHI just recently and rightly observed the Puritans so heavily emphasized application (which is self focused by definition and action) that it has greatly and tragically affected American Christianity, and not in a positive way. Many more than not pastor's today across the boards look and emphasize a "practical application" rather than Christ/Grace/Gospel. Allowing the later to do what the Word of God promises it will do.

    The issue is emphasis. Luther and the magisterial reformers emphasized the objective work of Christ. This is not universally so with the Puritans who tended to be heavily into the subjective experience of conversion and its evidences.

    As this grew in their thought life this lead, it seems, to the Puritan's morbid introspection (which is away from Christ).

    So, one can read them, but read with great care.


  8. The Lamb

    The Lamb Puritan Board Freshman

    Kevin, LArry painted pretty much what i am attempting to say, but he did it much better. This is my issue. Preaching the law constantly as a predominant feature in a believers life, will inevitably lead to self looking instead of looking to Christ. This leads to a moralistic theology that creates an imposible remedy. When one is confronted with the Law, and told it is stil binding on us in the New Covenant and that evidences of your life will be looked based on your obedience leaves Christ out of the picture.

    The puritans did not preach a works righteousness by calling it that, but some spoke of the practical application that many were driven nuts because we can never meet the bar. IT only creates doubts in a believers mind and one will constantly wonder if they are an elect of God.

    As an aside, I am sick of hearing "False Dichotomy" I do not even know what it means!!!!!!!!!!! hahahahahaha

    Again I will say that the Law, the Whole Council of God must be preached, but must be preached through the blood of Christ. To set the tables of stone in front of a person without Interpreting them through Christ is a mistake. There is no more do this and live. IT is all "Christ has done it, so we can now live"

    The Law brings death, The Gospel brings life. I want life, not death. The New Covenant is about life. To be constantly taught how much one fails and how depraved one is is not warranted in scripture. It is there as a reminder of how gracious God is for saving those whom He saves.

    When we die as believers the Law will attempt to condemn us, but Christ says wait, I suffered your curse. And now there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.

    The false theology of pietism is not at all about grace even though it may disguise itself as it.

    And I know you are not telling me that you believe this should be the case.

    ANd I believe you are mistaken that Paul had an even balance of Law vs Gospel. He preached Christ and Him crucified. Paul was the Doctor of Grace before Auggie. not the Doctor of Law.

  9. Texas Aggie

    Texas Aggie Puritan Board Freshman

    Christ does not save you from obedience to His law... he saves you from the curse of the law which demands your death. The law, the spirit and your will are all involved with your sanctification. Please give me a scripture where Christ has freed us from obedience to the law.
  10. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore


    You are setting up a false dilemma. We are saved from obedience to the Law for the purpose of Justification and its fruit sanctification, not raw antinominism.

    Here you go, just one for starters: Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
  11. Texas Aggie

    Texas Aggie Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks Larry. I take this passage to mean "if it is by grace, it (justification) is no longer conditioned on works or anything man has accomplished. Otherwise grace would no longer be grace... it is rendered useless."

    I can see that we are saved from having to obey the law as a necessity/condition of our justification. This notion is impossible since we are all born with a sinful nature and will not/can not obey the law as unregenerated man.

    Under Grace we are equipped with the power to obey the law (for we are given His Spirit). We are also specifically given the law (written in our hearts and in our minds). I still do not see how we, as regenerated men, are free from obedience to the law.

  12. kceaster

    kceaster Puritan Board Junior

    My Last Word...

    It sounds as though many are still chafing at the law. I really don't know how to respond to this. You know, it really is quite simple. Those in whom the Spirit of the Lord dwells, obey Him. Whatever the Spirit does within us, He does according to the Law of God. He cannot act contrary to it, nor can He keep from obeying the law.

    So, if we are filled with the Spirit at all, the law will never chafe us. We know that we are called to righteousness, not FOR our salvation, but BECAUSE OF our salvation. Righteousness and obedience is the fruit of salvation, a byproduct.

    If He is working in us to will and to do, then He obeys the law. If we are cooperating with Him, it is not to our merit, it is to His. He is working in us so that we die to sin and live to righteousness. If we obey we are nothing more than giving God His due, and we ourselves are unprofitable servants.

    This is what grace is about, folks. Grace works within us so that our wills are turned to God and we freely obey the law.

    So, if a pastor preaches practical application, we should not chafe. We should pray for God's grace to work within us so that we can apply this truth. Just because we live in grace, doesn't make the law untrue. The law is perfect because it is God's will. Why would we chafe at God's perfection. Of course it doesn't save us, because we can't perform it perfectly. But that should never make us shy away from knowing the law. To know the law is to know God, to know what He expects, to know what is His will. If we would turn our heads just because we're not mature enough to see it, I really don't know what to say about it.

    The bottom line is, if we are going to obey the law in heaven, and make no mistake about that, there is no reason why we shouldn't start now. As long as we know that our obedience merely makes us unprofitable servants, then there can be no harm in it whatsoever.

    Men abuse all the doctrines of Scripture. That is no reason to avoid preaching obedience to the law.

    WCF XIX, section 5: The moral law does forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof; and that, not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave it. Neither does Christ, in the Gospel, any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.

    In Christ,

  13. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore

    Nobody is chaffing at the Law, they are chaffing at those who dream that good works issue forth from law proclaimation rather than the Gospel proclaimation as Scripture proclaims or a confused version of the two. Are you saying that you are absolutely sinless - or as you put "nor can He keep from obeying the law"? The very existence of the flesh within the Christian, the battle between the Spirit and the flesh is a battle over this very issue - the point of contact for war is the Law. The Christian love's the Law of God but the Christian in this life also wars with self. This is explicit in the Lord's prayer for request of forgiveness of our daily sins.

    The Law is loved through the lens of Grace. If you say you love the law apart from grace (even by implication or presentation for motivation) then you do not really "love the law" at all for you do not truly have the Law, but a diminished version you are calling the Law. If you REALLY love the Law then you will by necessity dearly love and treasure the Gospel first, for it is Christ Who REALLY fulfilled the Law. Any thing less really hates the Law, though it pretends to "love the Law."

    The problem is - is that many think that "once I become a Christian the Gospel is for unbelievers only". They forget that the Christian too needs the Gospel. Why? So, he/she will actually do good works. Paul's Gospel letters where to Christians in the church.

    I'll say it again those who vainly imagine that persons are inspired by the Law without the emphasis on grace in order (or a confusion of the two) to do good works are fooling themselves and deceiving others. For such is destroying and killing true good works.

    Paul warns in Galatians 4:28-31,

    28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
    29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted (mocked) him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
    30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
    31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.


    Opening of Martin Luther's TREATISE ON GOOD WORKS (short excerpt)

    I. We ought first to know that there are no good works except those which God has commanded, even as there is no sin except that which God has forbidden. Therefore whoever wishes to know and to do good works needs nothing else than to know God's commandments. Thus Christ says, Matthew xix, "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." And when the young man asks Him, Matthew xix, what he shall do that he may inherit eternal life, Christ sets before him naught else but the Ten Commandments. Accordingly, we must learn how to distinguish among good works from the Commandments of God, and not from the appearance, the magnitude, or the number of the works themselves, nor from the judgment of men or of human law or custom, as we see has been done and still is done, because we are blind and despise the divine Commandments.

    II. The first and highest, the most precious of all good works is faith in Christ, as He says, John vi. When the Jews asked Him: "What shall we do that we may work the works of God?" He answered: "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him Whom He hath sent." When we hear or preach this word, we hasten over it and deem it a very little thing and easy to do, whereas we ought here to pause a long time and to ponder it well. For in this work all good works must be done and receive from it the inflow of their goodness, like a loan. This we must put bluntly, that men may understand it.

    We find many who pray, fast, establish endowments, do this or that, lead a good life before men, and yet if you should ask them whether they are sure that what they do pleases God, they say, "No"; they do not know, or they doubt. And there are some very learned men, who mislead them, and say that it is not necessary to be sure of this; and yet, on the other hand, these same men do nothing else but teach good works. Now all these works are done outside of faith, therefore they are nothing and altogether dead. For as their conscience stands toward God and as it believes, so also are the works which grow out of it. Now they have no faith, no good conscience toward God, therefore the works lack their head, and all their life and goodness is nothing. Hence it comes that when I exalt faith and reject such works done without faith, they accuse me of forbidding good works, when in truth I am trying hard to teach real good works of faith.

    III. If you ask further, whether they count it also a good work when they work at their trade, walk, stand, eat, drink, sleep, and do all kinds of works for the nourishment of the body or for the common welfare, and whether they believe that God takes pleasure in them because of such works, you will find that they say, "No"; and they define good works so narrowly that they are made to consist only of praying in church, fasting, and almsgiving. Other works they consider to be in vain, and think that God cares nothing for them. So through their damnable unbelief they curtail and lessen the service of God, Who is served by all things whatsoever that are done, spoken or thought in faith.

    So teaches Ecclesiastes ix: "Go thy way with joy, eat and drink, and know that God accepteth thy works. Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment. Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity." "Let thy garments be always white," that is, let all our works be good, whatever they may be, without any distinction. And they are white when I am certain and believe that they please God. Then shall the head of my soul never lack the ointment of a joyful conscience.

    So Christ says, John viii: "I do always those things that please Him." And St. John says, I. John iii: "Hereby we know that we are of the truth, if we can comfort our hearts before Him and have a good confidence. And if our heart condemns or frets us, God is greater than our heart, and we have confidence, that whatsoever we ask, we shall receive of Him, because we keep His Commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight." Again: "Whosoever is born of God, that is, whoever believes and trusts God, doth not commit sin, and cannot sin." Again, Psalm xxxiv: "None of them that trust in Him shall do sin." And in Psalm ii: "Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him." If this be true, then all that they do must be good, or the evil that they do must be quickly forgiven. Behold, then, why I exalt faith so greatly, draw all works into it, and reject all works which do not flow from it.

    IV. Now every one can note and tell for himself when he does what is good or what is not good; for if he finds his heart confident that it pleases God, the work is good, even if it were so small a thing as picking up a straw. If confidence is absent, or if he doubts, the work is not good, although it should raise all the dead and the man should give himself to be burned. This is the teaching of St. Paul, Romans xiv: "Whatsoever is not done of or in faith is sin." Faith, as the chief work, and no other work, has given us the name of "believers on Christ." For all other works a heathen, a Jew, a Turk, a sinner, may also do; but to trust firmly that he pleases God, is possible only for a Christian who is enlightened and strengthened by grace.

    That these words seem strange, and that some call me a heretic because of them, is due to the fact that men have followed blind reason and heathen ways, have set faith not above, but beside other virtues, and have given it a work of its own, apart from all works of the other virtues; although faith alone makes all other works good, acceptable and worthy, in that it trusts God and does not doubt that for it all things that a man does are well done. Indeed, they have not let faith remain a work, but have made a habitus of it, as they say, although Scripture gives the name of a good, divine work to no work except to faith alone. Therefore it is no wonder that they have become blind and leaders of the blind. And this faith brings with it at once love, peace, joy and hope. For God gives His Spirit at once to him who trusts Him, as St. Paul says to the Galatians: "You received the Spirit not because of your good works, but when you believed the Word of God."

    V. In this faith all works become equal, and one is like the other; all distinctions between works fall away, whether they be great, small, short, long, few or many. For the works are acceptable not for their own sake, but because of the faith which alone is, works and lives in each and every work without distinction, however numerous and various they are, just as all the members of the body live, work and have their name from the head, and without the head no member can live, work and have a name.
    From which it further follows that a Christian who lives in this faith has no need of a teacher of good works, but whatever he finds to do he does, and all is well done; as Samuel said to Saul: "The Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt be turned into another man; then do thou as occasion serves thee; for God is with thee." So also we read of St. Anna, Samuel's mother: "When she believed the priest Eli who promised her God's grace, she went home in joy and peace, and from that time no more turned hither and thither," that is, whatever occurred, it was all one to her. St. Paul also says: "Where the Spirit of Christ is, there all is free." For faith does not permit itself to be bound to any work, nor does it allow any work to be taken from it, but, as the First Psalm says, "He bringeth forth his fruit in his season," that is, as a matter of course.

    M. Luther excerpt
  14. kceaster

    kceaster Puritan Board Junior

    Final Word, Part II....

    I completely agree with the fact that we war with the flesh. But when we win the war, it is really the Spirit winning the battle. Whatever good we do, we do because of the grace of God, through His Spirit. Whenever we sin, we do so because we are fallen creatures. In other words,, whenever we obey the law, it is really the Spirit of Christ working in us to obey. Whenever we disobey, it is our own spirit of humanity working in us. Bottom line: We do not sin - God in us. We sin - our flesh rising up against God.

    This is why the Psalmist in 119 says four different times that he loves Gods law. But wait...this was prior to grace, right? Sorry. The law is gracious, too, in that God could have left us in the dark about our sin. Before y'all fly off the handle, I am in no way advocating that the law has enough grace to save us. But it was gracious in that God reveals Himself through it.

    This is the very reason why dichotomy keeps coming up. You guys are dividing what cannot be divided. The Gospel is truth. The law is truth. The OT is truth, the NT is truth. The old covenant is truth, the new covenant is truth. Christ is the Word in the OT, Christ is the Word in the NT. You are pitting one thing against another, when they are both God.

    There is gospel in the law. There is law in the gospel. If you think for one moment I am advocating the preaching of the law over the gospel, that is not what I am saying. There MUST BE BALANCE.

    In Christ,

  15. Texas Aggie

    Texas Aggie Puritan Board Freshman

    How about a basic definition of the gospel supported by scripture. What does the gospel declare? What is the focus? Please give me a simple definition of the gospel. Thanks.
  16. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore

    Sorry, no it was not it assumes it first. Nor is the law "gracious", that is a common error, for it flows from God's nature not His will, that is why Paul says the Law in and of itself is good. But to the sinner/violator pure love becomes condemnation to the hater of said love. The law not only does not have "enough" grace - it has none, nada, zero it exacts nothing less than what it requires.

    John Calvin's commentary on a similar Psalm 19:7 is helpful, : "As the conversion of the soul, of which he speaks immediately after, is doubtless to be understood of its restoration, I have felt no difficulty in so rendering it. There are some who reason with too much subtilty on this expression, by explaining it as referring to the repentance and regeneration of man. I admit that the soul cannot be restored by the law of God, without being at the same time renewed unto righteousness; but we must consider what is David´s proper meaning, which is this, that as the soul gives vigor and strength to the body, so the law in like manner is the life of the soul. In saying that the soul is restored, he has an allusion to the miserable state in which we are all born. There, no doubt, still survive in us some small remains of the first creation; but as no part of our constitution is free from defilement and impurity, the condition of the soul thus corrupted and depraved differs little from death, and tends altogether to death. It is, therefore, necessary that God should employ the law as a remedy for restoring us to purity; not that the letter of the law can do this of itself, as shall be afterwards shown more at length, but because God employs his word as an instrument for restoring our souls...

    ...But here a question of no small difficulty arises; for Paul seems entirely to overthrow these commendations of the law which David here recites. How can these things agree together: that the law restores the souls of men, while yet it is a dead and deadly letter? that it rejoices men´s hearts, and yet, by bringing in the spirit of bondage, strikes them with terror? that it enlightens the eyes, and yet, by casting a veil before our minds, excludes the light which ought to penetrate within? But, in the first place, we must remember what I have shown you at the commencement, that David does not speak simply of the precepts of the Moral Law, but comprehends the whole covenant by which God had adopted the descendants of Abraham to be his peculiar people; and, therefore, to the Moral Law, the rule of living well "” <<<he joins the free promises of salvation, or rather Christ himself>>>, in whom and upon whom this adoption was founded. But Paul, who had to deal with persons who perverted and abused the law, and separated it from the grace and the Spirit of Christ, refers to the ministry of Moses viewed merely by itself, and according to the letter. <<<It is certain, that if the Spirit of Christ does not quicken the law, the law is not only unprofitable, but also deadly to its disciples.>>> <<<Without Christ there is in the law nothing but inexorable rigour, which adjudges all mankind to the wrath and curse of God.>>> <<<And farther, without Christ, there remains within us a rebelliousness of the flesh, which kindles in our hearts a hatred of God and of his law, and from this proceed the distressing bondage and awful terror of which the Apostle speaks.>>> These different ways in which the law may be viewed, <<<easily show us the manner of reconciling these passages of Paul and David, which seem at first view to be at variance.>>> The design of Paul is to show what the law can do for us, <<<taken by itself>>>; that is to say, what it can do for us when, <<<without the promise of grace>>>, <<<it strictly and rigorously exacts from us the duty which we owe to God>>>; but <<<David, in praising it as he here does, speaks of the whole doctrine of the law>>>, <<<<<which includes also the gospel,>>>>> and, therefore, <<<under the law he comprehends Christ.>>>" --John Calvin's, Commentaries

    It is not a dicotomy but a distinction, not a divorce from or separation of but a distinction, you incorrectly assert that. This is plain enough for even a child to see in the very quote you pulled from my post where I stated Christ fulfilled the Law. It cannot very well be a dichotomy if grace FULFILLS it (the Law). I suggest researching the term "dichotomy" and "distinction". Or as Paul answers the same question you set forth here in Romans 5:31, "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law."

    Here in lies your confusion of the two which is the entire point for the distinction - and this confusion is NOT the Reformed or Lutheran view historically.

    This has always been the historic cry for those who dismiss the power of the Gospel, John Wesley.

    To put it a way the M L Jones said once, (paraphrased) "If your presentation of the Gospel does not bring the charge leveled against Paul in Romans, "what shall we sin that grace may abound", then you've never presented the Gospel at all."

  17. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    If by "gospel in the law" and "law in the gospel" one means that the God revealed the good news in the history of redemption under Moses and that Jesus preached the law, no true Protestant could quibble. or has.

    If, however, one means that mood of biblical revelation which says "do and live" is both law and gospel or that "Christ died for sinners" is both law and gospel, then one has defaulted on the Protestant hermeneutic for this is fundamentally a Roman way of reading Scripture (i.e., a hermeneutic).

    When we speak of law and gospel we are not speaking primarily in historical categories, but in HERMENEUTICAL categories. We have always been quite clear that the Gospel is revealed from the beginning of redemptive history (i.e., Gen 3). This is the teaching of Heidelberg Catechism Q. 19.

    As for a biblical definition of Gospel, the closest thing in Scripture is Paul's characterization in 1 Cor 15 which focuses on the objective accomplishment of redemption in the work of Christ.

    For more on this, readers might request a free magazine from WSC called EVANGELIUM. A while back the seminary published an issue on the present controversy over justification which addressed this exact issue. See or call 760 480 8474

    As to "balance," well, who gets to define balance? Was Paul unbalanced in his denunciation of the apostle Peter for compromising the gospel by refusing to eat with Gentiles? Was he unbalanced in his comments in 2 Cor 3 about Moses and the Old Covenant? Is Hebrews ch. 7 balanced? Hiding in someone's definition of balance could be a load of rationalism and moralism. Perhaps not, but who knows?

    Perhaps better than "balance" is "distinction." It was the medieval failure to distinguish law and gospel which the Protestants, including Calvin, repeated criticized.

    What I don't understand is why we feel the impulse to to re-invent this hermeneutical wheel? Have we discovered something re law and gospel Luther and Calvin did not understand? If so, I'm anxious to know what it is.

  18. kceaster

    kceaster Puritan Board Junior


    You are aware of what I posted from the WCF on the law, right? Further, you are aware of the fact that the LBCF is word for word the same on this point, right?

    I'm not sure how you think what I'm saying is not Reformed. I'll point it out again and add some more of the same chapter.

    WCF XIX:V. The moral law does forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof; and that, not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave it. Neither does Christ, in the Gospel, any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.

    WCF XIX:VI. Although true believers be not under the law, as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified, or condemned; yet is it of great use to them, as well as to others; in that, as a rule of life informing them of the will of God, and their duty, it directs and binds them to walk accordingly; discovering also the sinful pollutions of their nature, hearts and lives; so as, examining themselves thereby, they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against sin, together with a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and the perfection of His obedience. It is likewise of use to the regenerate, to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin: and the threatenings of it serve to show what even their sins deserve; and what afflictions, in this life, they may expect for them, although freed from the curse thereof threatened in the law. The promises of it, in like manner, show them God's approbation of obedience,and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof: although not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works. So as, a man's doing good, and refraining from evil, because the law encourages to the one and deters from the other, is no evidence of his being under the law: and not under grace.

    WCF XIX:VII. Neither are the forementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the Gospel, but do sweetly comply with it; the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely, and cheerfully, which the will of God, revealed in the law, requires to be done.

    LBCF XIX:V. The moral law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof, and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave it; neither doth Christ in the Gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.

    LBCF XIX:VI. Although true believers be not under the law as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified or condemned, yet it is of great use to them as well as to others, in that as a rule of life, informing them of the will of God and their duty, it directs and binds them to walk accordingly; discovering also the sinful pollutions of their natures, hearts, and lives, so as examining themselves thereby, they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against, sin; together with a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ and the perfection of his obedience; it is likewise of use to the regenerate to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin; and the threatenings of it serve to shew what even their sins deserve, and what afflictions in this life they may expect for them, although freed from the curse and unallayed rigour thereof. The promises of it likewise shew them God's approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof, though not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works; so as man's doing good and refraining from evil, because the law encourageth to the one and deterreth from the other, is no evidence of his being under the law and not under grace.

    LBCF XIX:VII. Neither are the aforementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the Gospel, but do sweetly comply with it, the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely and cheerfully which the will of God, revealed in the law, requireth to be done.

    I would also ask you what is meant by Christ when He commands us "teaching them to observe all things I have commanded." Whatever Christ commands is law, and that law is to be taught to disciples that they should observe it.

    In Christ,

  19. Rich Barcellos

    Rich Barcellos Puritan Board Freshman

    There seems to be a tendency in our day to equate law and gospel - i.e, "the law in the gospel" and "the gospel in the law". This is often done by monocovenatalists, those who do not believe in a covenant of works and that grace was present in the prelapsarian state. This, in my opinion, has serious problems. Surely, God's goodness and condescening kindness was present in the prelapsarian state, but to claim that grace, as understood in subsequent revelation, was present distorts the law/gospel antithesis of subseqeunt revelation. The tendency with this kind of protology ends up mixing law with gospel and ends up in a practical denial of justification by faith alone in Christ alone apart from all meritorious works. It blends two things which God has not joined together.
  20. kceaster

    kceaster Puritan Board Junior

    Just in case I haven't been clear. I do not deny the covenant of works.

    If I have not been clear, please see my post in which I included Chapter XIX of the confession.

    In Christ,

  21. turmeric

    turmeric Megerator

    My experience (uh oh, she used the e-word!) is that in hearing the Gospel preached, of Jesus' righteousness imputed to me and my sin paid for by His death, and in being taught that the faith God gives me to believe the Gospel is gradually transforming me into Christ's image, I'm always afraid it's antinomian, but it isn't. It's counter-intuitive. I have to do something don't I? I have to try, to be disciplined, or at least to get myself to some emotional place where I can "let go & let God", don't I? You mean I don't have to do ANYTHING, it's been done? I just have to believe it? Doesn't sound right, does it? Someone will accuse me of quietism here, probably, but it seems that in just believing the Gospel & really trusting God, I find myself wanting to keep the Law, because it is good, because God is good and has been so kind to me. It seems like a natural result, that I try to do it more & more, not to make Him love me, but because He already does love me in Christ.

    Sorry this post is so long.

    [Edited on 5-15-2005 by turmeric]
  22. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore


    I don't want to "fight" with you, so please don't take this debate as a personal attack. I don't. Just thought that needed to be said to avoid it becoming that. For my own sake if nothing else!

    What Dr. Clark said is more clear than I could ever make it.

    I'm not saying the Law is never preached or never taught, but a clear distinction must be made as to its theological use. No man is saved by it, nor is anyone empowered by it to do good works. EVERY REFORMER, Luther, Calvin, others recognized this. Why? Because the Gospel is the power not the Law. Naked law NEVER gives power, the Gospel does. Thus in relation to justification, assurance, faith, and where the Christian finds rest and continued strength to do good works in gratitdue is by the Gospel and it alone can CAUSE this. The entire stucture of Romans from start to finish is guilt, grace and gratitude. That is why Paul says at the beginning that "the Gospel is the power...". It is even very interesting that Saul (Paul) was the pharisee of pharisees (proclaimer/ambassador of Law) before conversion, then became the greatest proclaimer and ambassodor of the Gospel, set apart for the GOSPEL of God.

    The Law no longer THREATENS the believer. Yes, we teach it in its capacity as Calvin put it as a part of our restoration - which already assumes justification. Otherwise you are back to Rome, even if you use it post conversion this way. Even the very nature of the term Gospel (Good News, NEWS) is entirely different from Law. Law demands and demands flawlessly. Yet, Gospel is news, it declares or indicates a fact done and done for me...not what I do. It is not What Would Jesus Do but What Jesus Did that empowers the Christian.

    Otherwise, in the realm of justification, assurance, faith and comfort as to my/your/our position in God's sight can never be known. It would be the opposite of faith. Jesus Himself said when asked, "What must we do to work the works of God..." "...this is the work of God, that you believe in Him Who He has sent."

    Ask yourself, "Why you do ANY good works and deeds?" Your answer to that is crucial. And you don't have to give it to me openly, just yourself. And honestly answer yourself. Is it some form of fear of punishment/hope of reword, restoring guilt or similar? OR is it gratitude? The former is law only and EVEN if one does external good works of the mightiest measure by men's standard, then all is sin. The way is really narrow! IF it is gratitude, then it is by faith and even the most bungled and smalle good work, even giving of a drink of water, is accepted on account of Christ.

    But be careful for we even can turn gratitude into a work such is this "oil in our bones". As Calvin advised, "The best way to engender and maintain a sense of gratitude is to do away with our foolish opinion of ourselves for even our gratitude is unacceptable to God." That is incredibly freeing and it savours of Gospel. Ponder about what Calvin is saying there, it wasn't obvious to me at first.

    Always Your Brother In Christ,

  23. kceaster

    kceaster Puritan Board Junior


    Thanks for saying so. But I'm not taking it personally. I love you, brother.

    I wrote somewhere above that obedience to the law is a BYPRODUCT of our salvation, not the cause of it. I also wrote that whatever work is wrought within us, it is not to our merit, but is the complete work of the Holy Spirit in us. We can never obey the law without the Holy Spirit working in us both to will and to do. And even when we do obey, we are no more than unprofitable servants giving God His due and right as our creator.

    So, all of that to say that my obedience to the law is completely a work of grace in me. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

    Now, my question to you about this is what does it mean to "...not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Can we be transformed in the renewing of our minds, and prove what is the perfect will of God apart from His law?

    Also, I would be interested to hear your comments on the sections I quoted from the WCF and LBCF. Do you agree with what they are saying?

    In Christ,

  24. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore

    I'm not certain exactly what your asking here? I'll give it a try though.

    You missed the crucial part of the verse, "THEREFORE..." "I beseech you THEREFORE, brethren, BY THE MERCIES OF GOD, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your REASONABLE service. V2. And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God..."

    Then in verse 5 we see grace as the driving force again, not law but grace/Gospel, "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think..." HOW? By Law in which our heads become pumped up with ourselves, or we are selfishly driven by fear of punishment/hope of reward? No. "...but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of FAITH."

    Just like Luther said, as long as faith is highest (and by necessary extension faith's object Christ found in the pure unadultrated Gospel) then all are humbled. However, when not all forms of schism's arise when faith is not, even among the good gifts of God which occurred at Corinth for example.

    Not to be conformed to this world is to lay down my self-righteousness in whatever form it takes, even by the use of the Law, especially by the use of the Law, look to Christ and with eyes fixed there grow in grace out of gratitude for Him Who loved and gave Himself for me. No longer driven by fear of punishment/hope of reward (selfish motivation) out of gratitude for Christ has already gained all for me - serve my family, neighbor and in whatever ways providence meets me/you.

    That is what separates the Christian from the pagan and religious. All others serve morality and law for self gain, etc. They may externally actually in reality serve (Ghandi for example or pagan organizations that help 3rd world countries, some deceived Christains driven by Law). Yet, if it be revealed to them that all they do is sin apart from trusting in Christ crucified for themselves, even more that Christ ALONE justifies them without ANY works - that a murderer rightly on death row who has now turned to Christ will be in heaven and they will not as they stand apart from Christ - then they would rage against God and claim what injustice has befallen them. They who serve mankind so greatly. Then wonder why they should ever do so if no reward is theirs. Thus, proving they are selfishly motivated and would rather let the world burn and starve to death if they cannot get their reword in heaven and with God. This proving themselves murders at heart and not the whitewashed tombs they outwardly exude.

    Faith and faith alone (looking to Christ alone) is the only thing that separates a Christian from all other institutions, philosophies and religions of man. Without it, as Luther says, one cannot tell the difference from a Jew, Turk, Christian or Pagan.

    The Law, good in and of itself, can never do this for it provides not the power but the Gospel alone does. You can never forget that EVEN as a Christian you/we/me are STILL great sinners and daily add to our debt as we experience time and space. The best day of the best true saint in his/her best good work is STILL nothing less than sin. It only becomes accepted by Christ blood alone, and that is Who we look at. Even the clunkiest of our works for God does not regard the work but the faith that endears to His Son.

    See how little we treasure the Gospel and Christ which should be the greatest treasure - but would rather treasure our works guided by the Law disguised as "loving the Law". I'll say it again, if you really love the Law then as a sinner you/me will treasure pure unmingled Gospel.

    Does that answer?

  25. kceaster

    kceaster Puritan Board Junior


    I was looking more for what we are to be conformed to. Are we conformed to grace? How does one be conformed to grace because it was not created in us. Grace is not part of what God put in His creature, except that we show no malice towards any living thing, but equity and common goodness. The grace we were created with I would consider common grace. But that is not the grace you're speaking of. You're speaking of the unmerited favor of God in salvation. Therefore, how do we conform to that? We cannot even cooperate with it, we do not have what it takes. This is why salvation is all of God, and only His grace saves.

    Secondly, what does it mean for us to have a renewed mind. Is this also grace? Is it gospel? As Paul states in two other places, when we are renewed in the inner man, we return to how we were created before the fall, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness.

    All of these things are conformity with the law and attribute of God. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature. What does it mean to be a new creature? That he no longer sins? No. The believer still has to contend with sin. That he no longer cares about offending God? No. Our lives in Christ, are built around repentance. That he is no longer required to live before God in the light of what He knows to be true about God. Disobeying any of the moral law in the OT is not befitting a new creature. Truly we cannot be fully obedient, but does that mean that we keep on sinning that grace may abound?

    Therefore it is needful and necessary for the child of God to be conformed to the image of His Son. How is this done apart from the Holy Spirit sanctifying us? How does the Holy Spirit sanctify us apart from the Word? How does the Word by which the Holy Spirit sanctifies us not include the law of God?

    In truth, John tells us clearly that we love God not, if we do not obey His commandments. Don't confuse salvation with this. Don't confuse justification with this. Yes, we are saved (already, not yet). Yes, we are justified. Yes, we have been definitively sanctified. Yes, we continue to be sanctified. But all of these things are in accordance with the law of God. And all of this was done on our behalf by the Lord Jesus. But those who are in Him will obey God, plain and simple. Not FOR their salvation, but BECAUSE OF their salvation. Otherwise, grace would have taken the requirement of the law away.

    If all this is true, then the believer needs to hear constantly how far short he falls from the righteous requirement of the law, how much he must rely upon Christ his savior, how much he needs to live a life of repentance, and how much through faith he should seek to obey God, taking every thought captive, every day of his life.

    The Christian walk is all about application. But application does not presuppose ignorance. In order for me to apply the truth of Scripture, I have to have heard it, I have to know what it means (by the Spirit's illumination), and I have to walk in faith to do it (the Spirit working in me both to will and to do.) Again, it is not FOR my salvation, but BECAUSE OF my salvation.

    We cannot think to walk before God, love Him, be conformed to the image of His Son, without applying His law. And we cannot apply His law, without first hearing it expounded.

    In Christ,

  26. The Lamb

    The Lamb Puritan Board Freshman

    Again Kevin. If this is the Biblical example, I am surely missing it. When the Law is constantly harped on, and we are constantly told how short we fall, then we will always begin to fight the battle of sin ourselves. It is not ours to fight and we will always fail.

    By using the Law in this manner, the Elect will never truley experience the abundant life Christ promises in John 10. God looks at the Law through Christs Cross. That is how I look at the Law. Through the cross. God looks at me and sees the righteousness of Christ. When I sin, He still sees the righteoussness of Christ. IF not, then I would be killed and have eternal death apart from God. That is what the Law brings. I do not serve God out of fear. When I sin, which is everyday, God chastises me and breaks me and builds me up with grace. I do not deserve it, I deserve death, but He grants life through His Son.

    God conforms us to the image of His Son, it has nothing to do with us obeying His commandments.
  27. kceaster

    kceaster Puritan Board Junior


    When I am reminded how much I offend God, I do not at first think how I need to do something to please Him, I look unto Jesus the author and finisher of my faith. I am constantly reminded by the law of God how far I fall short and can never please Him through my works. The law shows me how far I have fallen from God, the gospel reminds me that I have been brought near by His very Son.

    Tell me, then, why does God discipline you? Does He forget that you are covered by the righteousness of Christ? Surely He is not punishing you for your sins, but He is making you die more and more to sin, so that you may live unto righteousness. How does He do this apart from the law?

    I can't even begin to tell you how wrong this statement is. You are still laboring under the assumption that to teach the law means that pastors are calling their churches to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, that they are calling God's children to works righteousness. As long as this is your presupposition you will fail to see what we and Paul are getting at, namely, "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."

    And this is not servile fear as you have assumed. There is a quite healthy fear of the Lord that marks the child of God. And in this fear is the beginning of wisdom.

    In Christ,

  28. The Lamb

    The Lamb Puritan Board Freshman

    IF we are pointed to Christ Kevin. The role of the Holy Spirit and Gods ministers is to constantly point us to Christ. The Law does not remind me how far short I fall. The Holy Spirit reminds me by pointing me to Christ, not the Law.

    He disciplines me because He loves me in Christ. I do not believe God has His Law in mind when He disciplines. I believe He only has His elect in Mind.

    Paul was not talking about obeying the Law per se. But his teachings. Paul constantly said, we are not under the Law but under grace. IT is much worse to sin against grace that it is to sin against the Law. THe warnings in Scripture are not thundered because men break the Law. Paul is constantly admonishing people for sinning against the grace of God. Look at Hebrews 6 and 10. These warnings are about neglecting the savior, not the Law.
  29. Rich Barcellos

    Rich Barcellos Puritan Board Freshman

    Joseph said, "The role of the Holy Spirit and Gods ministers is to constantly point us to Christ. The Law does not remind me how far short I fall. The Holy Spirit reminds me by pointing me to Christ, not the Law."

    Joseph, are you claiming that the law has no place in the process of sanctification? This, if it is the case, would be a denial of the third use of the law (i.e., the moral element of the OT law retains binding force and directing power in the life of the believer as employed by the Holy Spirit). This (i.e., third use) is pretty standard Reformed Theology. Or, are you claiming that the Holy Spirit does not use the law per above, but the gospel alone? This would be catagorized as doctrinal antinomianism, according to Jonathan F. Bayes in his work, The Weakness of the Law.
  30. The Lamb

    The Lamb Puritan Board Freshman

    Rich I am not claiming anything. The elect in the New Covenant are not under the Law. It is that simple. We cannot be both under the Law, and not under the Law.

    The Law has its place, but has no power over us. God does not view His elect with His Law in the picture. The Law only brought and brings death. He chastises those becase of His love for his Elect.

    The LAw has no grace whatsoever. This is a traditional understanding that overemphasises what the Law was and is for. What is gracious about death? God showed absolutely no unmerited favor by giving Israel the Law. Of which the stones were meant for.

    Christ alone becomes teh bar for all the elect, not the Law. The two tablets are very important in the life of the believer, I am nto dismissing them all together. What I have issue with is Paul saying we are dead to the Law, yet constantly having the Law preached to us as if it brings life or comfort. The believer will be immediately convicted of his sin by the Holy Spirit, but because he lives under grace now, he serves God because of His grace, not because of His law.

    We are to live according to the Law as interpreted through Christ and His cross, not the old covenant stones. For instance, now I murder when I have hate in me, now I commit adultery when I look at a woman with Lust.

    I have always wondered why Christ said, "You have heard it said....." Instead of "You have seen it written.." The Pharasees burdened people with their interpretation of the Law, binding there conscious with loads and loads of junk.

    And this is what happenned with many moralistic pietistic puritans and still happens today. The law brings a curse, the Gospel brings life...

    The Old Covenant is another way of describing the Mosaic Covenant. 2 Corinthians 3:14 . The Old Covenant is also described as the First Covenant. Hebrews 8:1, Hebrews 9:1,18 . The Mosaic Covenant is described as the ministry that brought death. The Israelites are described as having the veil of unbelief over their faces whenever they read the Old Covenant (Mosaic Law).
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