Obey the Gospel?

Discussion in 'NT Epistles' started by arapahoepark, Jan 8, 2017.

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  1. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Senior

    What does it mean to obey the Gospel? I have heard different things similar to the obedience of faith view. One says merely faith, the other says that the gospel does include commands and both believe there is a historical, particularly Puritan, precedent so that leaves me confused. Of the latter is true how then does one avoid neonomianism/FV/NPP?
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
  2. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    It may be helpful to distinguish what obedience to the law and obedience to the gospel look like. Obedience to the law merits. Obedience to the gospel receives Christ's merits.

    Neonomianism changes the obedience of faith that receives into an obedience of faith that merits. It is a new law on easier terms.
  3. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    There is a broader and narrower use of the word "gospel" in the holy Scriptures. This is helpfully explained by John Colquhoun, Treatise on the Law and the Gospel, pp. 111-112. Note especially the last sentence as a direct answer to the question.

  4. Daniel M.

    Daniel M. Puritan Board Freshman

    I believe that the Church needs to expand its understanding of the gospel. I posted a thread on reddit with what I think a compressed understanding of what that true gospel is.

    As for your question, obeying the gospel is humbling oneself to the plan of God and using the freedom God alotted to us within His sovereignty to glorify His name as much as possible by means of good works (preaching the gospel, loving one's neighbor, etc.) that proceed from faith and sanctification, both of which we confess are from Him and not from us.

    In so doing, we fulfill the Law of Christ, which some would argue is the charge of Christ for us to echo in His adherence to the moral law and trusting in His finished, atoning work on the cross to pay for our sins and in the seal of God's approval of Jesus' work in the resurrection.

    To make it simple, obeying the gospel is:

    - Endeavoring to be taught by God through His Scripture about what the gospel is
    - Bearing witness to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in not only helping us abstain from sin, but creating good works and changing our character
    - Proclaiming to everyone in our lives who Jesus is and trusting in God to help us bear the reproach that comes with that
    - Never relying on one's own strength to do anything and always attributing every good thing to God
    - Having constant communion with God through prayer and Word, as well as participating in His community of believers

    That's my take, but I'm always open to being corrected, thank God.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
  5. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    The more strict division that we maintain with the Apostle is that between salvation by grace, versus salvation by works, or salvation by works plus grace, although there is also a relative distinction between gospel and law which has been clarified above ( Ephesians 2:8)

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  6. Daniel M.

    Daniel M. Puritan Board Freshman

    I think that, in examining how to obey the gospel, a visualization is useful.

    Remember that the moral law, though not exclusively so, tends to tell humans what not to do. "Don't kill, Don't steal, Don't lie."

    I think the Law of Christ is a reflection of a correct understanding of holiness. Holiness is not only being set apart from sin; Holiness is an overflow of righteousness and goodness that invariably affects its surroundings.

    So, in theory, Christ fulfilled the moral law in remaining sinless. But His law, set forth by His example, is not only a refrain from sinning against neighbors, but actively pursuing that neighbor and loving him as you would yourself! It's an interacting law of love and goodness, not a neutral law of abstaining from evil.

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  7. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    The ten commandments are not the moral law, but "summarily comprehend the moral law;" and when we interpret the ten commandments we are to understand that a prohibition requires the opposite duty. So, "Thou shalt not kill," requires us to make all lawful endeavours to preserve our own life and the life others. The moral law is a perfect rule of duty. Nothing is to be added to it or taken from it.

    The Lord Jesus Christ did not prescribe any new law. There are no works of supererogation. He gives us the moral law out of His mediatorial hand as the perfect rule of righteousness, and explains the law in its original meaning according to its spiritual and perfect nature. Christ was made under the law and fulfilled all righteousness; His righteousness is perfect, and this righteousness is imputed to believers for their justification. If our Lord had given new precepts He would have needed to come again a second time to atone for our sins because we would have sinned anew in breaking those precepts and it would have required another work of obedience and suffering to save us. But as it is, thanks be unto God, He has appeared once in the end of the world to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. There is no new law, no new sin, no new sacrifice to be made for sin.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017
  8. Daniel M.

    Daniel M. Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree with MW's post above in the following: Nothing is lacking in the law of God, and the Ten Commandments are not only prohibitory in nature.

    I did not mean to convey the idea that Christ authored a new set of precepts that completely overwrite or "improve upon" the letter of the Mosaic moral law.

    My post defines and is contrary to the erroneous and prevailing understanding of Jesus' contemporaries (and sadly, some of the church today) regarding the law that He fulfilled.

    In fulfilling the law and obeying perfectly, Christ became the flawless model of the what God's righteousness looks like in the flesh.

    I think Paul wrote the words "the Law of Christ" to get the first century church not to envision Pharisaic rigidity and error upon hearing the word "law", but instead the proactive and influential works of Christ that God looked upon and saw perfection.

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  9. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Graduate

    The message of the Gospel is the Cross of Christ, and His resurrection. We believe in those truths to become saved by His grace, ad then once saved we are to obey the Lord Jesus nd submit to His rule/reign over us, and that will include obeying his stated commands in the NT. Done to show that we are now one of His own, not in order to become one of His own!
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