Law Preaching

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

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  1. The Lamb

    The Lamb Puritan Board Freshman

    Not at all Joshua. Not even close. Label it what you will, but it is not Dispensational.
  2. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore

    Exactly and this is what one of the confessions states that many claim they follow: 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.

    I agree with Mr. Smith, I don't think Joseph in any since is advocating antinominism which is usually the immediate counter cry of a legalist when a strong Gospel is set forth IN ORDER TO OBEY THE LAW'S REAL COMMANDS FROM THE HEART. AGAIN, AND AGAIN THE GOSPEL IS THE POWER! This does not necessitate the foolish accusation of "shall we now sin that grace may abound". Like Luther it is trying to show where real and true good works and deeds, obedience to the Law come from - not the negation of as some would slander. They arise from the Gospel and faith, not the naked Law. Nobody, as much as I can tell, is advocating a life of licentious living, NOBODY! The Law is loved by grace first and by grace continued, naked law does not give the power it demands. Otherwise one has fallen into the Galatian heresy (saved by grace/sustained by works/law) which brings forth the Apostolic cursing.

    And to continue to throw the accusation of being anti-law/licentious living in light of clear refutation and denial of it boarders on slander. The antinomian in essence has made "a law" out of disobeying the law. That is NOT what is being said here. It is a mere DISTINCTION between Law and Gospel and the application of both in preaching.

    This distinction is not setting Law against Gospel but properly setting them both forth unconfused. Just as Paul says, Romans 3:31, "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." If you REALLY love the Law as you claim then you will cherish first and foremost that which FULFILLED the Law (that is done what the Law really required, if you really love the fulfillment of the Law) and that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Law Fulfiller. Then, the gratitude toward the FULFILLER of the Law, Christ, drives one's desire to obey the Law. IF one thinks one loves the Law apart from the fulfillment of the Law, the Gospel, one is plainly deceived and really doesn't love the Law at all but one's vain attempts to fulfill it cheaply and insufficiently. The perfect irony here is that to confuse this distinction or eliminate it IS in reality to pit the Law against the Gospel.

    Psalm 119 is very simply answered in that it assumes grace at the outset. Read post of Calvin's commentary regarding Psalm 19, similarly. It is a confession of the Christians heart BECAUSE of the Gospel and that alone. Apart from the Gospel such a confession of "loving the Law of God" is hypocritical for it denies the only fulfiller of the Law Jesus Christ.

    Behold the Son of God hanging upon the cross as He drank every bitter dreg of the wrath of God poored out upon Him for our sins that he did not commit. Behold the darkness as we sinners literally were killing our Redeemer the light of life who lived perfectly according to the Law. As Christ's body is laid in the tomb and the tomb closes look and see what the infinite price of all our sin/law breaking (past, present and future - thought, word and deed) cost the Son of God. Behold your/my total depravity as you vainly think you really obey the Law before conversion and even now.

    Only through Christ can you love the Law.


    Larry H.
  3. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    So can you say that you love the law?

    Can you say:
    Psa 119:5 Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!
    Psa 119:12 Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes!
    Psa 119:15 I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.
    Psa 119:16 I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.
    Psa 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
    Psa 119:20 My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.
    Psa 119:24 Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.
    Psa 119:29 Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law!
    Psa 119:34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.
    Psa 119:35 Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.
    Psa 119:40 Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!
    Psa 119:44 I will keep your law continually, forever and ever,
    Psa 119:45 and I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts.
    Psa 119:47 for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love.

    I'll stop you find your delight in His commandments? Do you love them? From your posts it sounds like you do not and you want to say that you love Christ but not his law...I hope I'm not making a hasty generalization...

    I wish I loved the law the way David does in this beautiful Psalm. Regretfully although I confess with my mouth that His commandments are a sure guide I run from them and make my own path...
  4. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore

    Dispensationalism makes a metaphysical break by failing to see the difference between the theological use of the Law/Gospel and the historical Law/Gospel. In other words they marry the two (theological/historical) and then say the Law is no longer active in the NT upon the believer. That is entirely different and contra to the Reformers Law/Gospel theological distinction. The Disp. divorce this entirely not distinguish it. There is a difference in divorcing it and distinguishing it.

  5. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore


    To love Christ IS to love His Law. But not without Christ.

    David, the author, foresaw Christ/Messiah, thus grace/gospel, and thus loved the Law. Hence, the Psalm rests upon grace. This is why David could say he really loved the Law of God, the fulfiller of it was his cherished One (Christ).


    [Edited on 5-18-2005 by Larry Hughes]
  6. The Lamb

    The Lamb Puritan Board Freshman

    :ditto: Chris to your question. I hate the Law without Christ. I dispise it. Through our redeemer the Law is Holy.
  7. Myshkin

    Myshkin Puritan Board Freshman


    Thank you for answering my questions. I will now show why I asked them:

    (I got the questions from some material written by JI Packer who holds the classical protestant reformed view on law/gospel)

    1. is Dualistic Antinomianism (the Gnostic view)
    2. is Situationist Antinomianism (the situation ethics view)
    3. is Dialectical Antinomianism (the Neo-orthodox view; Karl Barth)
    4. is Dispensational Antinomianism (the contemporary evangelical- dispensational view)
    5. is Christ-Centered Antinomianism (a hyper-Calvinist view)
    6. is Spirit-Centered Antinomianism (a hyper-Calvinist and/or Gnostic view)
    7. is Legalism
    8. is the classical protestant reformed view

    Based on your responses to these, we are not on the same target. What you are claiming here in this thread is antinomianism. But then you assert a partly "œyes" to question 7 which is legalism. You are speaking in dialectics, which is what is confusing us all in this thread, and why I agreed with you in a judgment of charity. But now I am lead to conclude that while you rightly criticize those who confuse the gospel and law, you are swinging to the other extreme by separating gospel and law. Antinomianism separates law and gospel, the reformed view distinguishes law and gospel, and legalism confuses law and gospel. You have lumped the reformed view in with the legalist view and then reject both. When you can see the difference in these 3 categories, then I think you will see that those you think are being legalistic really are not. It helps to read authors in context to know whether they are responding to legalism or to antinomianism. Without this context, it will always look like they are stating something false.

    So I have 3 last questions for you:
    What Puritans and reformers do you think are being legalistic by preaching the law? What are some present day authors/examples who hold the same view that you are stating here? What reformed confessions teach your view?
  8. The Lamb

    The Lamb Puritan Board Freshman

    How can one misunderstand language so plain? Now, under Christ, we are
    delivered from the law; that law is dead, and we serve Christ in the
    spirit, "not in the old letter." So again he says, urging this point: "That
    the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after
    the flesh, but after the spirit." Chap. 8:4. Paul uses the word "flesh" for
    the outward "works of the law." See Gal. 3:2, 3. We do not walk according
    to the outward form of the law, but we do obey the intent and spirit of it
    or its "righteousness," as he here calls it.

    The higher law of God, supreme love to God and equal love to our neighbors,
    upon which the Jewish law hung, was the "spirit," "righteousness," or real
    intent of "the law." This "first and great" law Christians do keep, while
    free from the mere letter of the law, which was bondage. Hence to the
    Galatians who were being troubled with Judaizing legalists, Paul wrote:
    "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for
    an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is
    fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as
    thyself. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law." Gal.
    5:13, 14, 18.

    Now the law for the Christian is not that written in the book or on the
    tables of stone. It was not the letter but the spirit of that law which the
    apostles taught. So Paul says. Then he says that "the ministration of death
    written and engraven in stones, was" "done way." Verses 7, 11. Surely,
    then, Christians are free from the letter of that law; but it is still to
    be studied with reverence and its spirit carried out in Christian duties
    though in form these must differ from Jewish duties. The observance of the
    Lord's day meets the spirit of the fourth commandment. We are circumcised
    in heart, not in the flesh. Rom. 2:26-29.
  9. Rich Barcellos

    Rich Barcellos Puritan Board Freshman

  10. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    Would you also say that the Law is Holy outside of our redeemer? yes it is condemning that is why you hate it but it is still just and holy reflecting God's character.

    I agree that the law in the Christian's life should be seen alongside Christ in all aspects.

    I'm asking questions to try to understand if you in your own Christian life go to the law at all - still keeping Christ in view. Do you meditate on the law and seek to understand its requirements so that you may love Christ all the more? All the while keeping in mind that the Holy Spirit empowers the whole process...etc. etc. etc.?

    (Not trying to be combatitive but sincerely trying to figure your thinking out...)
  11. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Its TOTALLY dispensational, as well as Antinomian tot he MAX. [Toleration level reached.]

    Joseph, here is the maxim - this is non-negotiable: (and this applies to everyone)

    If you can't hold to an orthodox view of the law as stated in the confessions, then we don't want that view posted on the board. We don't want NCT posted, FV posted, Antinomianism, Judaism, etc. That's the maxim.

    That means your view is deviant. (And as much as you deny its Antinomian, it is - its exactly what Tabletalk magazine repudiated some time back, and what one of our brothers here Pastor Barcellos wrote on in "Defending the Decalogue", which I would prompt you to read.)

    If you can handle not posting that information, as right as you believe you are on it, you can continue on the board. (Again, this is not anything everyone signed onto the board understanding). If that is a problem, we can part ways now.

    I don't want NCT, or dispenstaionlism in this light, on such a large subject of orthodoxy and the Law, on the board.

    Is that clear?

    [Edited on 5-18-2005 by webmaster]
  12. The Lamb

    The Lamb Puritan Board Freshman

    All I will say is if Packer had enough time to make up a quandry of confusing questions as you presented, he did not focus too much on the Cross. I have no clue what those labels mean. As far as you thinking I am antinomian, that is fine, I have been called worse. Believe me I am not. I know the difference of the categories. But you have presented too many labels made from man.

    it is very simple.

    I love the Law through Christ. I hate it without Christ.

    The Law does not sanctify, Christ sanctifies.

    I am ok with being labeled a hyper or high grace beleiver. My answers are in line with Paul. He is the final revealor of the ful gospel given by Christ. Not Packer.

    "The law was given by
    Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." John 1:17. This implies a
    change. "Ye are not under the law, but under grace." Rom. 6:14. "Under the
    merciful dispensation of the gospel." John Wesley. "The law was our
    schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
    But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster," Gal.
    3:24, 25. "Ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ," Rom.
    7:4. "Now we are delivered from the law," verse 6. "Christ is the end of
    the law," Rom. 10:4. "The ministration of death written and engraven in
    stones was glorious." "That which is done away was glorious," 2 Cor. 3:7,
    10. That ends the decalogue.

    "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments
    contained in ordinances," Eph. 2:15. "Blotting out the handwriting of
    ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out
    of the way, nailing it to the cross." "Let no man therefore judge you in
    meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of
    the Sabbath days," Col. 2:14, 16, "For the priesthood being changed, there
    is made of necessity a change also of the law." "For there is verily a
    disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and
    unprofitableness thereof." "For the law made nothing perfect but the
    bringing in of a better hope." Heb. 7:12, 18, 19.

    Is this clear enough or not?

    [Edited on 5-18-2005 by The Lamb]
  13. The Lamb

    The Lamb Puritan Board Freshman


    I am just hoping I can sleep tonight knowing I am a deviant.

    God Bless You matthew.

    May I ask what type of debate is "allowed?" I see blood and swords being drawn on baptism and the Supper. Why is the law so sacred as not to even speak about it in distinct understandings?
  14. The Lamb

    The Lamb Puritan Board Freshman

    The second site did not work Richard. Thank you for the articles. I will read them with care and enthusiasm
  15. The Lamb

    The Lamb Puritan Board Freshman

    I meditate on the Gospel and Christ. This empowers me to be guided by His fullfilling of the Law.
  16. Rich Barcellos

    Rich Barcellos Puritan Board Freshman

  17. The Lamb

    The Lamb Puritan Board Freshman

    Wow. I do have a NCT tendancy. I am going to have to review what i wrote in some parts. I do not believe this is heretical, but I know I do not propose all that Zens, Zaspel and the like propose. Thank you for the Articles Richard.

  18. Rich Barcellos

    Rich Barcellos Puritan Board Freshman

    Dear Joseph,

    I can send you another piece I wrote on NCT and John Owen. It may help understand the issues from a historical and theological point. Email me at [email protected] if you want it. Press on!
  19. biblelighthouse

    biblelighthouse Puritan Board Junior

    Thank the Lord that we all help each other out on this board!
    Richard, thank you for showing Joseph those articles. And Joseph, thank you for being open to seeing your NCT tendencies, as well as being willing to review some of what you wrote. (Joseph, you also might want to read Richard's book, "In Defense of the Decalogue" . . . :) )

    Everybody, please go easy on Joseph for now. I know what he is going through. I myself was enamoured with NCT for quite a while. (And you have to admit it is a LOT better than classic dispensationalism!) I honestly believe that God used NCT as a sort of "halfway point" for me on my road to orthodoxy. I believed in the doctrines of grace long before my mind was cleared of my faulty understanding of Jeremiah 31 and Hebrews 8.

    Just think about how many of us on this board were anti-Covenant-Theology at some point. Covenant Theology is a HUGE issue, and it's not something a person generally comes to understand and adhere to overnight. As long as Joseph is willing to dig a little deeper into considering the biblical arguments for both sides, we should all continue to exercise charity. (I'm not saying that anyone in particular hasn't.)

    Joseph, as you look more deeply into the differences between NCT and true Covenant Theology, it will be interesting to see if you follow some of the same paths that others have in similar situations. Let us all know from time to time how your studies are going.

    I can't resist asking this question:

    Have you read Witsius? :book2:


    Your brother in Christ,

    [Edited on 5-18-2005 by biblelighthouse]
  20. Rich Barcellos

    Rich Barcellos Puritan Board Freshman

    Joseph G.,

    You are right that many have taken the path the other Joseph is taking and came out CT. Others came out NCT or some other mediating position. I was DT (early and mid 1980s), kind of, then became CT of the RB type. My studies of NCT came as a result of being a pastor and having to deal with it in our church. The book was first a study program used for pastoral counselling. A friend of mine got it and somehow it got into the hands of Tom Ascol (Founders Press) and the rest is history. The book is outdated a little. But my review of NCT by Zaspel/Wells and a piece I wrote on NCT and John Owen bring my thoughts a little more up to date.
  21. The Lamb

    The Lamb Puritan Board Freshman

    Joseph: Thank you for the comments. I assure you I research EVERYHTHING with charity and openess. Well not everything but most issues.

    In my studies I know I am not 100% Dispensational, nor 100% CT, nor 100% NCT. And I am comfortable with it now. Some here obviously are not, but that is between them and God. It bothers me little to be labeled a Hyper, High Grace, Antinomian. For the learned Dr. Gill was called these names also as well as others who served our Lord with more Zeal and Love than those who criticised them.

    That said, wherever our Sovereign Lord has decreed that i end up, all the Glory goes to Him alone. Not the Law, not Wistus, Not McMahon, Not Zens, not Zaspel, not Darby, Not Owen, and definately not my sinful self.

    Thank you all for the dialogue that WILL continue!!!!

    Glory to God Alone.


    [Edited on 5-18-2005 by The Lamb]
  22. The Lamb

    The Lamb Puritan Board Freshman

    Larry, The Galatian Heresey is exactly what bothers me about the improper use of the Law by some.

    Like I mentioned in an earlier post, some reformers and puritans leave the Law out of justification and rightly so, but bring the Law back into play for sanctification. This is heretical and unfounded.

    This whole nonsense of the Law pointing us to Christ, then Christ back to the Law is an error. Now whoever the proponents of this are, whether they ar CTERS, Dispensationalists, puritans, reformers, roman catholics, doesnot matter one bit. IT is the Galatian heresey. I would even go as far as saying Justified by grace alone, Sanctified by obedience to the Law. This makes absolutley no scriptural sense. Justified by Christ, Sanctified in Christ is the biblical warrant.

    If I am wrong, I will stand corrected. But this seems to be the "paradox" presented by some. That our growth in grace, that our Sanctification is based on the Law. Paul would be sick over this!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Sounds a tad like Bonhoeffer.
  23. biblelighthouse

    biblelighthouse Puritan Board Junior

    Paul never chided the Galatians for trying to keep the law.
    Paul chided them for trying to obtain *salvation* by keeping the law.

    That is a big difference!

    Nobody is saved by keeping the law. But all Christians are required to keep the law. That distinction is critical.
  24. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    It is VERY critical. Its the heart of the matter.
  25. turmeric

    turmeric Megerator

    One more time...the Law has no power to make us righteous or to sanctify us, but it DOES point us to Christ, He DID keep the Law on our behalf. Without the Law we would have no justification, not because WE can keep it & live, but because Christ has kept it for us. To take an antinomian position is almost like saying that God has changed His standards & doesn't care how we live, but He CAN'T change! We are still under the Law, but Jesus has met our requirement, so we are under GRACE.

    Oops, I see I was too late.

    [Edited on 5-19-2005 by turmeric]
  26. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore

    Oh really, Paul seemed to be speaking very differently. Paul chided them for trying to sustain salvation by keeping the law which is why he said very clearly without equivocation in Galatians 3:

    1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, <<<<before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you>>>>? (THE GOSPEL)
    2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
    3 Are ye so foolish? <<<<having begun in the Spirit, are ye <<<<now>>>> made perfect by the flesh?>>>>

    Paul in complete continuity with Romans knows the POWER is in the Gospel to do the Law, not in the Law to keep the Law.

    BIG DIFFERENCE! The Gospel is for the Christian too and is crucial for growth in obedience to the Law. Without which all is lost and by which, the Gospel, true works come from and can only be done from the heart. If you do them by the Law, keep the Law by the Law, then you've lost everything and your works are worthless and in fact deny Christ altogether.


    [Edited on 5-19-2005 by Larry Hughes]
  27. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Larry, if you are follwing Josephs' posts and his ideas, we'll tolerate that no more (he's had his privaledges removed). But again, as I said to him, so I said to everyone, no Antinomian ideas will be tolerated.

    Let's ask this question:

    Romans 7:10, "And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death."

    Is it the Law or is it imputed sin that causes the law to bring death. Obviously, Paul, being the good theologian he is, knew the purpose of the Law from the beginning was to bring "life."

    If this is a hard concept of what "life" is, then a few other Scriptures may help of which are the same Greek words and Hebrew counterparts:

    Matthew 7:14 "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

    Matthew 18:8 "If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire.

    John 10:10 "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

    John 20:31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

    Acts 11:18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life."

    Okay, okay, I won't quote the whole NT and all the verses.

    So the Law (i.e. the character of God or "life" of God) brings us life.

    Sin ruins the Law's ability to do that. The Law does not ruin the ability, because that would be saying "God" ruins the ability for us to have life since the Law is a perfect representation of His character and will.

    What seems to be overlooked throughout the "argumentative" ones in this thread, is a failure to understand what the Law actually is.

    So, again, I'll beat the drum, or blow the horn - mess up the Covenant of Works (which includes understanding the Law of God) and the rest of theology goes to pot, as is represented in this thread fromt hose arguing against historical theology.
  28. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore


    I'm not following Joseph's line of thinking if it is that the Law is bad, to be hated and to be despised in reality. Which in defense of Joseph, I don't think what he means, but I cannot read a man's mind. I think Joseph, as much as can be gleaned, is being an honest Christian who feels and detects the tension of the indwelling flesh within him while he desires to love the Law of God and thus God per Romans 7. I think his cry is an honest cry seeing his sin, though being communicated in a way that comes off as "hating the law" entirely. It seems to be an honest cry of "God have mercy on me a sinner" rather than the scoffing, "I'm glad I'm not like these tax collectors and sinners". I believe he is saying as should any true Christian that his confession is, "Lord I have not loved you with all my heart, mind, soul and strength nor my neighbor as myself in thought, word or deed - past, present or future. I deserve your wrath for being such a sinner against your holiness and your holy Law, but do not look upon me nakedly but clothed in the righteousness of Your dear Son Christ Jesus. And on account of Christ have mercy on me." This should be the confession of all true Christians. IF this is true of Joseph, having felt the sting of God's holy law, then it is shameful of any one claiming to be a broadcastor of Christ to not point him back to Christ and the Gospel. For Joseph openly claims to be a struggling Christian. John Calvin himself considered himself to be a minister of assurance above all else for he knew the power of the Gospel.

    Now, that having been cleared up. Against the Law - No not at all, quite the opposite - that is the point of my arguments for distinction. The Law must be preached in all its full pure rigor and the Gospel in the same way. It is when the two are confused that we fall into a kind of morality - lesser law and lesser gospel which is really neither of the two. I apologize if I came off as advocating otherwise. It was the statement way back that "there is law in the gospel and gospel in the law" that alarmed me, which confuses completely and relentlessly the CoW and CoG by extension.

    I agree Paul is quite clear that it is sin that sleighs the Law breaker via the Law, I've taken nor stated no other thing. The Law is life to him who lives by it. But the sinner (the state of all of us) takes what is good and life giving and causes it to be himself an instrument of suicide (though in reality the Law is life itself). Paul could not be more clear that the Law is good and holy in and of itself, it is only "poisonous" (so to speak due to the evil opposition of sin/lawlessness) to the sinner.

    The Gospel of Christ removes the sin and accomplishes the Law's demands. "Demands" is kind of a tough word here due to our modern usage having a negative connotation attached to it. At the heart of it the Law is really love and loving in its most pure and divine sense. As to where sin is anti-love (the term "hatred" really falls short of being an antithesis to love) and selfishness.

    The Law requires the heart to be fulfilled not externals only (hypocrisy). The Christian loves the Law, but yet fails at it every day from the heart for he/she lives in the tension of not yet being perfected and with much flesh still warring. He/she strives to live his/her life by the Law with the Gospel always up front. Why? Because if he/she attempts to acheive the Law nakedly by the Law at length - he/she will fail because the flesh will then "use the Law" in an attempt to justify itself again.

    We must be aware constantly that the flesh is always itching to justify itself and raise itself up by the Law (this is not the Law's fault which is good and holy but the sinful fleshes abuse). When the Gospel is removed in a persons thinking, even temporarily by bad preaching confusing everything (say for a week after a Sunday), this begins to materialize in one's thinking: The Law demands this and live, thus fear of punishment/hope of reward arise which is in direct opposition of meeting the Law's heart demands which desires fulfillment purely from a heart that love's the Law and is not "whipped" to obedience by fear/reward (selfishness/sin).

    This is why the Gospel must be with the Law and neither confused for Christ removes the fear of punishment having paid the price and Christ has given His righteousness to us thus the reward is given already. NOW, with this up front, Christ, one can TRULY love the Law of God for the Law's sake and imperfectly as we do guide our life by it (the 3rd use of the Law). The third use of the Law comes along with the Gospel not apart from it nor confused with it. Which is Calvin's point on Psalm 19 already encompassing grace.

    Practically it works like this for example: The Law says love my neighbor as myself, that is selflessly. Outwardly and externally anyone can make a show of this - even Ghandi. But what is the heart motivation for the Law 'sees this'. If I am "doing the Law", loving my neighbor by some external act, my job, etc..., and I am doing it from a fear of punishment or hope of reward - then my act of "loving my neighbor" is really inwardly, that which the Law judges, a selfish and sinful act of loving myself (the one desiring reward and avoiding punishment) and not my neighbor at all. My neighbor is in this sense an object that I'm using to gain for myself. If that is my motivation the perfect Law of God which is love pure and sees the heart then that is what the Law condemns. However, if the Gospel is in my heart, mind and soul I then have no such fear of punishment for Christ has gained all for me and likewise I have no selfish hope of reward for Christ has gained all for me by Himself. Now free from the Law's demands in the sense due to sin, I can actually begin to exercise the Law's true nature which is pure love entirely out of myself & toward my neighbor's well being without selfish gain toward myself.

    Thus, faith which necassarily forces me outward & onto Christ, also forces the reality of the Law. How is this faith had & strengthened to which the true nature of theLaw begins for us? By hearing and rehearing of the Gospel?

    Now we don't do this purely in this life which was Calvin's point about gratitude in which we must do away with our foolish opinion of ourselves for even our gratitude is unacceptable to God. Point being is that Christ, the Gospel, has gained all so we need not attempt to gain God's favor for we cannot anyway only Christ. And by doing this we are free to do the works of the Law.

    I hope that helps some. Thanks for the opportunity to clear that up.

    Your Brother In Christ Alone,


    [Edited on 5-19-2005 by Larry Hughes]

    [Edited on 5-19-2005 by Larry Hughes]

    [Edited on 5-19-2005 by Larry Hughes]
  29. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore


    I'm not sure if you still visit the board given recent events, but I have no forwarding email for you.

    Below is an excellent article by Dr. Michael Horton entitled "What's Really At Stake" that truly and clearly addresses this very issue (Puritans introspection/and internal debate over this issue, Covenant confusion and confusion of Covenant/Justification within the Covenant, the false idea of the CoW being gracious, etc...) (Link Below). It is a very helpful and servant-ministering article.

    I wish I had found it sooner as it would have helped immensely. I think you will find it good food for your soul.

    Your Brother In Christ,


    PS: Oops here's the link -

    [Edited on 5-21-2005 by Larry Hughes]
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