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).Originally posted by The Lamb
The Law does not point us to Christ, the Holy Spirit does. If what some are saying is true, that the Law converts us, the RYR is one example against this idea. For when presented with the Law, the RYR was happy thinking he kept it. Absolutely no conviction, but once Christ pointed to Himself, he went away sad.
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.WLC
Question 14. What is sin?
Answer. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.
Here Paul says that the Law DRIVES us to Christ. WHY? Because we realize our UTTER inability to save ourselves!Gal 3:24 Wherefore the Law was our Schoolemaster to bring vs vnto Christ, that we might be iustified by Faith.
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:Question 72: What is justifying faith?
Answer: Justifying faith is a saving grace, wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit and Word of God, whereby he, being convinced of his sin and misery, and of the disability in himself and all other creatures to recover him out of his lost condition, not only assents to the truth of the promise of the gospel, but receives and rests upon Christ and his righteousness, therein held forth, for pardon of sin, and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation.
Luther is most helpful on this point:Rom 3:9 What then? Do we excel? Not at all! For we have charged both Jews and Greeks before, all with being under sin;
Rom 3:10 according as it has been written, "There is not a righteous one, not even one!"
Rom 3:11 "There is not one understanding; there is not one seeking God."
Rom 3:12 All turned away, they became worthless together, not one is doing goodness, not so much as one!"
Rom 3:13 "Their throat is a tomb being opened;" "they used deceit with their tongues; the poison of asps is under their lips;
Rom 3:14 whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.
Rom 3:15 Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Rom 3:16 ruin and misery are in their way;
Rom 3:17 and they did not know a way of peace;
Rom 3:18 there is no fear of God before their eyes."
Rom 3:19 But we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those within the Law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world be under judgment to God.
Rom 3:20 Because by works of Law not one of all flesh will be justified before Him, for through Law is full knowledge of sin
Calvin discusses this in his Institutes of the Christian Religion:It is true, we live in the New Testament and ought to have the preaching of the Spirit only. However, since we are still clothed in flesh and blood, the preaching of the letter is also necessary in order first to put people to death by the Law and destroy all their self-confidence, so that they may know themselves, become hungry for the Spirit, thirsty for grace, and so be a people prepared for the preaching of the Spirit. Thus it is written of St. John that he prepare the people for Christ, saying (John 1:29): Behold Him, He is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the whole world. This was the ministry of the Spirit.
Now these are the two works of God that are frequently commended in Scripture: He kills and makes alive, He wounds and heals, He destroys and builds up, He condemns and pardons, He brings low and lifts up, He rebukes and brings to honor. So it is recorded in Deut. 32:29; 1 Sam. 2:6 f.; Ps. 113:7; and other places. These works He performs through the two ministries: the first by the letter, the second by the Spirit. The effect of the letter is such that because of His wrath no one can continue to exist; that of the Spirit is such that because of His grace no one can perish. Ah, this matter is so preciously profound that it deserves to be spoken of constantly. But the pope and human precepts have hidden it from us and have fastened an iron curtain before it. God have mercy on us. Amen
What Luther Says, 2284, Vol II, p. 736
I would ask those who think that conviction may happen APART from the law, where from Scripture might they fancy such a notion?8. We must now explain the third part of the definition, and show what is meant when we say that repentance consists of two parts, viz., the mortification of the flesh, and the quickening of the Spirit. The prophets, in accommodation to a carnal people, express this in simple and homely terms, but clearly, when they say, "œDepart from evil, and do good" (Psa_34:14). "œWash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment; relieve the oppressed," &c. (Isa_1:16, Isa_1:17). In dissuading us from wickedness they demand the entire destruction of the flesh, which is full of perverseness and malice. It is a most difficult and arduous achievement to renounce ourselves, and lay aside our natural disposition. For the flesh must not be thought to be destroyed unless every thing that we have of our own is abolished. But seeing that all the desires of the flesh are enmity against God (Rom_8:7), the first step to the obedience of his law is the renouncement of our own nature. Renovation is afterwards manifested by the fruits produced by it, viz., justice, judgment, and mercy. Since it were not sufficient duly to perform such acts, were not the mind and heart previously endued with sentiments of justice, judgment, and mercy this is done when the Holy Spirit, instilling his holiness into our souls, so inspired them with new thoughts and affections, that they may justly be regarded as new. And, indeed, as we are naturally averse to God, unless self-denial precede, we shall never tend to that which is right. Hence we are so often enjoined to put off the old man, to renounce the world and the flesh, to forsake our lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of our mind. Moreover, the very name mortification reminds us how difficult it is to forget our former nature, because we hence infer that we cannot be trained to the fear of God, and learn the first principles of piety, unless we are violently smitten with the sword of the Spirit and annihilated, as if God were declaring, that to be ranked among his sons there must be a destruction of our ordinary nature.
Institutes, Book III, III, 8